"Get feedback from other people and departments as each department may have goals it would like to attain or a different idea of what it would like/need the software to do," Henslee says. "This will also help with the implementation and usage of the software itself; if team members feel they were a part of the decision making and that their needs are being met, they will invest more of themselves into process."
6. Make sure the PM software integrates with core apps, like email. "[Another] important selection criteria when choosing a product is its integration capabilities," Brown says. "For example, everyone uses email." Therefore, "a solution that also posts messages to email will increase user engagement and extend the reach of the product," she has found.
7. Choose a solution that offers good vendor and community support. "When selecting [project management] software, look for [a vendor] that has a rich user community so when questions arise or looking for best practices you can turn to fellow users for advice (using online forums)," says Joanna Wyganowska, PMP, director of marketing at Intelligent InSites, real-time healthcare location system (RTLS) software platform provider.
8. Compare project management solutions."Create a checklist based on your needs and compare products to each other," advises Brown, who notes that many project management solutions offer free trials. Then "have both the project manager and the team members review the software." And if outside parties (e.g., contractors, business partners, vendors) will also be using the software, solicit their opinion, too.
9. Establish goals early on. Ask, what am I looking to get out of using project management software?, says Mark Kenny, president, Hippo Solutions, a project management solution provider. What do you want it do? Create status reports? Forecast? Serve as a collaboration tool? "Once you define [your goals], it will provide clarity to how to setup your software, how to use it, and how to train people on it. Otherwise, the implementation is like a ship with no rudder."