How to Choose the Right Project Management Software
Construction project management software is nowadays essential for planning and executing projects, running construction sites more smoothly, coordinating among many different tasks and different people. Among other things, project management software can help with the following:
- Planning: tasks and subtasks, who is responsible for carrying them out, the time each of them will take, the cost and tools necessary to carry out
- Responsibility: determine which responsibility is whose and being able to track whose responsibility it was if something goes wrong.
- Communication between team members
- Being up-to-date: plans, materials constantly updated to make sure everyone is working on the latest version
- Reporting: holdups and other issues can be reported straight away.
- Keeping track of data: being able to measure performance and progress from one week to another
When thinking to upgrade to a software or looking for a new one, there are a number of important factors one should consider. Bear in mind that the “best” construction project management software for one company might not be the best for you and your company.
What really matters:
- The size and number of your teams. Small teams have naturally different communication and collaboration needs than bigger ones.
- The size and number of projects you normally run at the same time. Again, different software are ideal for different types of projects.
- What devices you already use – ergo, what devices should the project management tool be optimized for.
- Know your team: know what your team is comfortable working with. Keep in mind, for example, that older co-workers might struggle more with complicated software
- Find out which features you would like the software to have – and make a priority list. Out of a long list of features you’d like to have, pick only a handful you think are essential for you.
Let’s talk about features. Every software is different and has its strengths and weaknesses, different level of complexity, provides different user experience and of course is available at different prices. Below is a list of features you can find in project management software: it’s a good place to start when you’re looking for a software to help you run your projects.
- Look for the option to set deadlines and assign responsible people to each task and subtask
- Gantt charts and project reporting to be able to see the progression of each task, to show the work completed, to see if deadlines are met and adjust future ones.
- Look for task dependency to link one task to another so that task B starts only after task A has been completed
- Task prioritization is another useful feature
- Having a project template is great for creating a set of tasks and subtasks that can be reused for different projects.
Communication and collaboration:
- Make sure you can comment on projects and singular tasks, giving notifications to the people involved when changes are made or updates are put in action.
- Look for file and document sharing features as they are an important part of collaboration: you should be able to upload drawings, pictures and other files and share them with others.
- Note: Giving access to co-workers may not be enough as your team members should likely be able to edit too.
- Real time updates are important: everyone needs to be working on the latest version of the project and it’s always useful for everyone to know at what stage the work is.
Integration with other software: Your software should ideally allow for integration with other tools you’re using, first and foremost to help the transition to the new software and then to allow for collaboration. Find out which industry-specific features you’d like your software to have.
Cost: it’s always an important element to keep in mind. Make sure your choice of software doesn’t break the bank and look for company package options if you’re running a substantial number of projects. Make sure to double-check for hidden costs as well.
Simplicity: an easy-to-use interface makes it more accessible to all team members and is faster to implement and a time saver in the long run. A construction project manager can think s/he picked the best software solution – but if the rest of the team doesn’t comply or has troubles working with it, it’s a definite fail.
Technical support: assistance is crucial when adopting a new tool and can make the difference between a successful implementation and buying a software nobody on site is able to use. Make sure start-up training and helpdesk/online support are provided.
One last tip: ask for bespoke solutions. Standard packages may not fulfill your every wish, so look out for the option of customizing your software to suit the way you and your team work. Being able to add some features and remove others you don’t use might be important. Moreover, “Try before you buy” is always a good rule. Take advantage of trial periods. Have your team try out the software and give you feedback during that time.
Switching to construction project management software will undoubtedly cost you some money, time and effort. But once the transition is made, you’ll be able to see for yourself how it will save considerable amount of all three.
Try Geniebelt for your future Project Management Software, you can book a demo and learn more about how it can save you time and money on your future projects!
Written by Taylor Ryan – Head of Marketing at Geniebelt.
Geiniebelt is Simple Project Management Software for the Construction industry. Our software allows project managers to easily collaborate with contractors, schedule tasks, export reports, and more.