We techies at the Bayer Center frequently hear the question “What’s the best project management software for our organization?”
In a recent Google search for project management software packages, this Wikipedia page came up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_project_management_software
This entry displays a matrix of 125 different project management software packages and shows the following capabilities (in Yes/No format) for each:
- Collaboration software
- Issue tracking system
- Project portfolio management
- Resource management
- Document management
- Web-based (or not)
Here are some tips for wading successfully through a list of software choices of this magnitude:
- Examine the projects you will want to manage with project management software. Make a list of project-related information you absolutely need to track and information “it would be nice” to track.
- Get input from others in your organization who will use (or possibly use) the software. Others may have different project-related informational needs and wants.
- Use your list of needs and wants to “shortlist” three to five software packages to research.
- For proprietary software, schedule a live demo, if possible, and ask a lot of questions. Many software package providers will offer a live demo in a webinar-style format. Ask the sales representative giving the demo to show how to accomplish various tasks from your “needs” list. Inquire about your “wants” list too. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to in order to get enough information to help with your decision.
- If a free trial version of the software is available, download a copy for evaluation purposes. Attempt to use the software as you would when managing a project and see how well it handles tasks from your needs and wants list. Select a few other potential users from your organization to do the same and compare your results.
- Check references, particularly if you will be purchasing or licensing the software. Ask your sales rep for references from nonprofits (similar to yours in mission and budget, if available) and make some calls.
Remember, if your organization needs to make software selection like this, doesn’t have the time to put into the research process, and would like expert advice to guide you, a Bayer Center technology consultant is available to help you make the right choice. We provide Software Selection Decision Support as a consulting service for a reasonable fee, and can help your organization save time and money by helping you select the most appropriate software the first time around. To inquire, call us at 412-397-6000 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.