Small businesses are already lean on resources such as staffing, for instance. Scaling up is hard. Resources are scarce, and it just gets worse while your business grows. Technology, thankfully, is much more affordable, dependable, and can actually do a better job than people can (for some tasks, though). That explains the rise of SaaS applications and the populated segment that project management software industry has become.
In spite of the availability of so many tools, businesses really have to try to get their hands dirty working with a few chosen tools to arrive at the one that perfectly aligns with their business processes.
Here are some reasons, however, why you should avoid heavy weight project planning and management software such as Microsoft Project, Worketc, or others:
You can’t bootstrap with heavyweights
The way heavyweight project collaboration tools are built; you’d only get a basic feature set for free. In fact, none of those so-called popular tools have free plans. You’d certainly get a free trial though. You’d not take a free ride if you have no intention to buy, would you? If you are a startup or a business looking to bootstrap your business to the profit finish line, you are already starting with the wrong set of tools. You cannot possibly bootstrap with a running bill like that, can you?
You have options
We don’t say that the project management software heavyweights are bad. In fact, these tools are robust, extremely capable, and absolutely helpful for businesses. It’s just that not all businesses will need such expansive feature sets.
Further, small businesses have plenty of options to choose from and no one’s really breathing down on your neck for any kind of loyalty. The best way to find the project management tool that really works for your business is to play, tweak, and pick on free trials (most tools have either trials or even free plans) and then figure out what works best for you.
Find a match
If your business is small but if you have project management software with too many features or if it requires you to actually get trained or to understand, it’s just not for you.
Time is precious. Everyday wasted in trying to understand how an application works or how it fits into your business process is money left on the table. The feature set of the project management system in question should fit right in for your business. Go find that match. Don’t stop until you find the one that works for you.
Kinks are not tolerated
Project management is hard enough. The last thing you’d want while projects are in progress is when systems don’t work. Just like uptime guarantee for web hosting is critical for web hosts, a trouble free application is what you’ll need for effective and time project management.
Features you depend on don’t work. Integrations don’t go smooth. Emails are not delivered. Notifications don’t show up properly. You’d need none of those. You have enough on your hands already. You don’t need kinks.
Small is beautiful
If you were a small business, you’d need nothing bigger than the size and scope of your business.
For instance, if you a solo-business owner and if you are using an enterprise software such as Microsoft Project, you can switch to cloud based alternatives such as WorkZone quickly, and without hesitation. Microsoft Project is a very capable application; it just doesn’t fit your business. What you’d rather need is an app that’s light, simple to use, integrates with other apps that you might be using already, and is much more affordable.
Reduce your exit cost
Let’s assume you picked Microsoft Project to start with. For the cheapest plan, you’d pay about $30 per user/month. Assuming you have five users, you’d be shelling out $150 per month. If you were to work with it for 6 months, only to look for alternatives, you’d have already spent $900 and you’d barely have anything to show for it.
In essence, you now have an exit cost of $900, which will be hard to account for under a sub-heading called “trial”. We call it exit cost; just don’t ask us why. Experimenting with cheaper options with other project management tools which charge you a fixed monthly price for X number of users is a more viable option.
Save time & hassle
While we did mention money in the previous point, we neglected to mention the projects you already started, the contacts you’d have added, and the database of documents, files, and other information you’d have thrown into the projects in those six months.
Migrating that data is a pain (ask anyone who has to do this for a living or to save his or her business). While in the “looking for alternatives mode”, start with dummy projects if you can and not with real (paying) ones. Further, don’t go overboard right away and zealously throw in all the information you have on any one tool until you find the software that you can work with.
Projects could be your lifeblood. They make you cash. Handling projects well and delivering on time could be the only USP you might be able to differentiate yourself with. Managing teams is crucial for businesses that depend on talent, skill, and productivity of a global team to get work done.
A project management tool should be the last reason why work didn’t get delivered.
What is the project collaboration tool you work with? Why are the tools you work with your preferred choice?