When is it time to use project management software?

ktrope

I am currently managing multiple projects. How do I know when it's time to move my project management from spreadsheets to project managemen software?

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JOiseau
Vote Up (44)

Good insights, there's a point where you reach a critical mass and everything turns to mud when  you're trying to track it all with spreadsheets, index cards and whiteboards. On the other hand, I've seen overkill on the project management software side, using expensive PM software, sending staff to training sessions, etc., when a two-dollar pack of index cards would still do the job nicely. It's just a matter of comfort level--if it's working well with what you have, there's no hurry to move up.

Ty Kiisel
Vote Up (44)

Once an organization exceeds eight or nine active projects, spreadsheets and other manual methods start to become problematic. Most organizations start to see the value of moving from spreadsheets to project management software when they realize there is more to successfully managing projects than simply "getting it done." When project leaders start looking at establishing and consistently managing processes, it makes sense to start maintaining and managing projects in some kind of centralized location (often some kind of project management tool).

jimlynch
Vote Up (36)

It's probably a good idea to do it right from the start. I'm not sure that bothering with spreadsheets is a good habit to get into in the first place. Get yourself a good piece of project management software and then use that as the basis for all of your projects (unless the project is tiny and can be done very quickly). It's just a good habit to get into to make use of the organizational advantages of project management software.

Dhan
Vote Up (35)

 

Though my answer is posted after a while, I hope it will help other viewers too.

 

You have mentioned that you are using excel spreadsheet to manage project, I would argue that spreadsheets are inherently NOT collaborative and scalable. I have posted an article comparing Excel-way & PM Tool-way of managing projects here (http://blog.zilicus.com/do-you-use-spreadsheets-to-manage-your-projects/)

 

Now you have much easier & cost effective alternative - cloud based software are at your disposal, really.

 

 

  1. You can take trial, evaluate the software for free of cost
  2. Only if you are convinced of software, you can decide to purchase subscription (pricing is transparent in most cases)
  3. These subscriptions are really cost-effective compared to on-premise or enterprise application however you still get equivalent functionality or even more collaborative
  4. The important criterion for you is scalability in terms of number of projects & could be number of users also. So you can evaluate cloud based software with reference to these parameters.
I would like to suggest our own web based project management tool - ZilicusPM for your pursual (http://www.zilicus.com)
Hope this helps.
Thank You,
Dhan

 

 

HeidiBeck
Vote Up (34)

I agree with jimlynch, don’t waste your time on trying to efficiently manage your projects with spreadsheets. I don’t claim that it’s impossible, it’s just inefficient use of managerial time and resources. Moreover, spreadsheets lack collaboration features that are essential for staying on top of the projects, so you need to rely on email or Skype to keep track project updates or discuss task bottlenecks with the team. On the other hand, online project management tools allow you to track project, progress in real time, collaborate with your team and much more.  

 

I’ve also left some recommendation on choosing the best PM app in the answer to the question posted by JOiseauWhat is a low-cost but efficient project management system?”  It’s quite long, so here is the digest:


  1. Choose a web-based, easy-to-use and flexible tool
  2. Try to avoid free PM software
  3. Don't spare time to test different solution 
  4. My personal recommendation is Wrike

johnw
Vote Up (29)

I suggest you start doing it right away, spreadsheets are not efficient when it comes to project management and I think anyone can alter the data if it doesn’t have that much security. Sharing what we use in our company, Basecamp and Time Doctor are two best software that we used for almost 3 years now. Basecamp keeps all our projects, data and people in one place while Time Doctor serves as our time tracking tool to monitor all our employees  around the world. It’s more efficient and reliable at all times.

 

Akhilesh Sharma

For me proofhub works best
David Brutt
Vote Up (24)

I think it's the high time to start using one. Just wondering, how you are able to manage your communication without getting confused about which client sent what and when etc. Spreadsheets are a big "No" for sure and you should discontinue its use asap so that you do not land up into mess and that's not the only point, project management software like Proofhub will not only take care of multiple projects but will ease out the communication process as well.

It offers free trial for you to evaluate if its fits in your business requirement.

mwarton
Vote Up (16)

If you are managing multiple projects, larger or longer running projects, it is probably high time to use project management software.  The effort required on your part to continually update multiple spreadsheets and ensure everything is accurate must be overwhelming.  Consider the small cost of project management software compared with labour costs when making your decision.

 

Check out the article "When is it time to use project management software?"

 

Key points are that by using project management software (like our product TaskTrakz) you get:

  1. Better team communication and collaboration by creating a central repository of information
  2. Real time visibility into the status and progress of projects
  3. Automatic archival of historical project information which can be easily lost with manual methods
Shenoi Victor
Vote Up (4)

If you are using any project management software and if you have your own business or company, then the purpose of project management is very high and helps to manage time, scope and budget so that you can make a profit.Specifically, you must estimate time for completing tasks and record actual time to see if you are on time and on budget. If the client adds scope, then you need a way to record those tasks for future requests.

 

For managing mutiple tasks at once, a dashboard view across projects is good along with associated resources so you can forecast resources and see your commitments.

 

I'm using Replicon suite for project and time management, billing, invoicing, etc. It is available for Mac and Windows and all of its features are more user-friendly.

 

Thanks!

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