There are lots of options for project management software in Australia, so how do you decide if a solution is right for you? It can be hard to cut through the sales talk, and tech jargon to understand what the options actually do, how they differ and what they can do for your business.
To help you out, we’ve pulled together a “no nonsense” guide to what to look for in a project management system. It’s just a few things to keep in mind when you’re on the hunt for your best solution.
If you want to get the best bang for your buck, you should be looking for a solution that covers all (or as many as possible) of the features you need. There’s two key benefits to this. Firstly, it helps to unify your operations under one roof. It keeps your team on the same page and helps you to combine info from all functions, instead of missing opportunities because your business has been siloed
Secondly, it can save you money to consolidate your subscriptions into one cost. Rather than paying for two or three solutions (eg. one to manage stock, one to manage timesheets and a third for customer information), you can keep your costs down by finding a solution that does more.
A good solution should make going from A to B easier for your team, not just make it possible. In theory, you could run a business without a project management system, but the time and frustration it would cause would make life hard and growth nearly impossible. So the purpose of a good solution is not just to enable you to do something, but to do something better.
If you want a way to measure, compare how you do that function now, or how you would do it, with the solution. How much time or how many clicks does it take? How reliable is the solution (does it work 100% of the time)? The right solution will take you from A to B, without having to go to AA, AB and AC on the way.
Leaving the workshop on time everyday is the dream for all business owners. Saving a little time on every task you do can help you make this dream a reality, but you don’t want to cut corners. You can save time by entering rough information in your stocktake, or guesstimating quotes rather than working out what's involved, or not submitting a timesheet at the end of the day - but you absolutely shouldn’t. A good project management system should save you your time by making it easier to do things right.
For example, a project management software with Xero integration can help you accurately and consistently report your profits and losses without cross checking and double entering data. Make sure the software you are looking at makes doing the right thing easier than they currently are, so you and your team have no reason to cut corners and can leave work on time every day.
Everything your business does to improve should improve the experience of your end user. After all, retaining and gaining customers is the way that your business becomes profitable and able to grow. It doesn’t have to be a direct benefit, but you should be able to see how a project management tool will help improve things for your customers.
For example, are you able to set up templates to help quote the client faster? Are you able to track stock so you can easily determine if you have the resources you need for a rush job? Does the system have a CRM so you can keep track of contacts and jobs easily for a more seamless experience? Your new system should be able to say “yes” to all of these.
The investment of the software needs to be worth it. Can the option you are looking at save you the more money than you’re planning on spending? It can help save and make money in the ways we have chatted about (customer retention and time saving), but can also help more directly.
A project management software with time tracking can help you ensure your making money on the labour of projects. Are you charging for three hours, but the project consistently takes six? The right solution will help you uncover this. It should also show you your profitability in general, so you can be sure that you are taking into account every cost on every project and charging appropriately.
It’s all well and good that the system you are looking at seems to do all the above, but how can you know for sure? One of the biggest problems that business owners face is not understanding what is happening in your business and having to make blind decisions. A project management system needs to give you visibility through easy to understand reports and metrics.
A project management system that will give you budget tracking, general financial tracking and stock control information will prove to be better for forward planning than those that don’t.
Ultimately, what your business needs is up to you, but a project management system with all the above will offer great value for your business. The more features, at a price that makes sense to you, the better! If you are in the market for a project management system, take a look at the 4 ways to choose the right project management system.
If you want more advice on what to consider while moving platforms and updating your software, check out this article by Forbes.