Every creative team has different workflow. Differences in workflow mean you have specific needs, which require specific features in a project management application. Many project management software applications try to dazzle you with a long list of features.
Few people use all the features even in applications like Word and Excel. More is not always better, but there are several software features for creative teams that you should look for when selecting a project management application.
1. Customization. The value of customization cannot be overstated. You probably have a tried and true way of completing projects with your team, but most project management software is designed to fit the needs of a wide range of users. The developers have found a method to make the app work for a broad base of users. This requires you to fit your workflow to the app. Creative users often resist using the app if they have to change the way they work. Look for an app that can be customized to implement your workflow. You will not be sorry.
2. Support. Many developers limit the support they provide for their Project Management apps. We think that support should be available as long as you are using the software. Some support is better than none, but users change, teams grow, and the creative work changes. The best software vendors will support you through the changes your team experiences. Make sure you are able to talk to a live person, with experience, about your software. They should be able to support you with challenges you face and help find solutions. Good support will save you hours of trial and error, minimize frustrations, and allow you to focus on getting jobs out the door.
3. A Trial Period. Most project management software applications will offer a demo of their software. A demo provides a good first look, but demos cannot complete the picture. A trial will allow you to get to know the vendor and get a hands on feel for how your workflow will be implemented in the app. Run a test project through the software and make sure all of the moving parts work together to accomplish the goals you have set. Start with a job request and end with a status report. After entering a few jobs in the software you will know whether or not the software will work for you.
4. Industry Knowledge. A lot of project management applications are built with the one-size-fits-all model. This works for some, but most creative teams have specific workflow needs. Find a project management application created for your industry. This will save you time and minimize the frustration of trying to fit your workflow into an application designed for the masses. Software created by someone in your industry will include pre-populated templates, fields, calendars, and reports. These will save you loads of time. It’s also possible that the features within the application will be designed to implement the types of projects you typically encounter. And if the app is designed for creative teams, it is more likely to be intuitive for the creative user.
5. Web-Based Application. Hosting your software in-house is appealing at first, however, the large PaaS companies hosting web applications for the enterprise are the safest place to keep your data. Your IT resources are probably already stretched too thin. The PaaS providors are able to invest huge resources into security, safety, and reliability. The new PaaS providers are certified by third party security analysts and have comprehensive backup processes with teams of engineers whose sole purpose is to keep your data safe. In-house IT professionals are great, but they are always spread too thin. An in-house web server is a finicky beast that is susceptible to hard drive failures and shut downs. And they are expensive. Platforms like salesforce have previously unheard of reliability. When was the last time Amazon.com was down? And most are dedicated to continuously improving your overall experience with new features, apps, and updates like the Salesforce platform where you can find the JobSuite app. The new PaaS providers like salesforce allow you to focus on your business rather than maintaining your server.
Regardless of the specific features you need within a project management software application, the five features listed above should be at the top of your list when shopping for software.
Did you like this post? Project management software can offer many benefits and will increase the productivity of your workflow. Check out our post on The Top 5 Ways Project Management Software Increases Efficiency for more information!