The Top Ten Ways On Getting the Most Out Of Your Free Project Management Software or Project Management System

Most of us do

We tend to overcomplicate something that does not need to be over complicated. This applies to everything, including our project management software. Many of us do not use the tools that we have in front of us. Many of us do not listen when someone in the office is trying to help. We do this because we think we know what we are doing. We do not want to appear weak by asking for help.
The truth is, we are going to appear stronger by asking for help. We are going to appear stronger by using the project management tools and techniques we have right in front of us.

Talking To Others

We asked around. We talked to other project management personnel. We wanted to find out what we are doing wrong, so we do not make the same mistakes moving forward. The project management personnel we talked to gave use about ten tips to ensure proper usage. 
"It is time to stop fighting it. You are making this harder on yourselves than it needs to be"

Ten Project Management Tips That Need To Be Looked At More Closely

1) You need to find the PM system that works for you and your firm. So many companies pick the wrong PM system. We do this because we do not know what we want and need. We need to figure out our wants and needs first.

Here is an example:

Are you looking for something basic for your company? Are you looking for something that will streamline the basic communication and share the files? You need to pick a PM system that does this. Try to stay clear of the project management software that comes with all the extra bells and whistles. 

Back To the Basics

There are certain features that do resource management and reporting. This is going to be intimidating to someone who is not used to it. This is why some of your team may be refusing to use the software. It may be too confusing to them. You need to have something that your whole team is not afraid of.
There may be a few IT people on your team, but you need to think of your whole team. Not everyone is educated in this field. Spend the money on what you need, not what looks "pretty". There may be 1 or 2 people who know the ins and outs, but you cannot make your choice based on those 2 people.
2) Do not forget about the mobility factor. This is a mistake many companies make. Some are going to gain access to you by using their mobile device. How many of you are equipped to deal with this through your management software tools? You may be investing in free project management software and it is not cutting it. You may need to upgrade to include this feature. You may need to put out some money to do so. 
3) How many of you are sharing your data with others? Using Cloud applications is a good way to do this. This completes the cycle when it comes to expenses and payroll deductions. Your management tools and resources need to be able to accomplish this task. 
How many of your co-workers know how to use the system you have? You may need to go with another tool. There are many out there. You have to find the one that fits your co-worker's expertise level. Some of the PM systems are to complex.
4) You need to be realistic with what you expect. How many of you are expecting too much from your co-workers and your PM system? This may be one of the reasons why your co-workers are refusing to do certain things. You may be expecting too much when it comes to their learning capabilities. 

Your Office Personnel

Some of your employees may be simple office people who do not know anything beyond Windows or Microsoft. An office person is not the same as an IT guy. The IT guy is trained in this sort of thing. Your office personnel is not. 


Your PM System

Your PM system has three basic duties. There are the data acquisition and management. 
There is the decision support. The last one is the reporting and graphing. The idea is for the system to offer support for the process, not replace them. How many of you are expecting the system to replace the process? You need to adjust your way of thinking. This thinking is one of the main reasons why things fail. Take a step back and stop being so aggressive.
5) There needs to be a champion in the group. It cannot be one person. It has to be the whole group, including management. This is another reason why you may be facing failure. Everyone in your group needs to have access to the proper training and tools. 
When there is only one to champion the progress, it is hard to gain a win.
It is an "all or nothing" attitude. Does someone have misgivings on how to use the software or the tools they provide? Find out what the problem is and work on a solution. Part of this solution may require handing out tools to help the person learn. Part of this adoption process means having regular meetings and review what is and is not working. The system will be limited when companies fail to adopt this practice.
6) Do not do this all on day one. Many people refer to this as the "Big Bang Deployment" theory. How many of you have watched The Big Bang Theory Show? You know what we are talking about then.
This is going to be a recipe for disaster. How many of you have done this already? It did not work out so well, did it?
"Rome was not built in a day"
These processes need to be rolled out over a period of time. These PM systems were not created in a day. How can you expect your team to get it all in one sitting? This Project Management Tips 101. Roll out everything to a small group of people at first and see how they react. The reaction you get from the first few people may indicate how the rest of the implementation will go. 
7) You will need to spend some time setting things up in the beginning. You cannot just tell them what is happening and then throw your staff to the wolves. This may work as "training" at a place like Kohls, but not in an office setting like you have. 

Patience Is Key

Some people require more training and discussion than others. Spend time on those who need it and go from there. The more time you spend with your staff, in the beginning, the less time and questions your staff will have for you later on. 

A project management system is like a person's brain. We all learn at different rates and speeds

No one person is going to get it all right away. Some may take longer to process something that others. The more patience you have for your staff, the more productive they will be throughout the workload.
8) Everyone needs to be on the same page here. You cannot offer training on the new PM system and have someone on your staff use something else. It is the same as everyone getting trained for Windows and one person using Microsoft or Excel. The communication line is going to be blurred. When you have one office employee doing his own thing, then you have chaos. 
9) Try to use a PM system that keeps track of cost and production. This will allow you to make changes on the fly without causing too much disruption to normal business hours. Your profit margin and on-time delivery is an essential part of your success. You do not want to ruin it by having to fix a production cost issue, leaving your system down for hours on end.
10) You should never be afraid to ask for help. This goes for you and your staff. This takes us back to what was said in the beginning. There may be an issue in training with your new PM system. There may be a delay in production because someone on your team is afraid to ask for help. 


Your Options

You can sit and talk your team through it. You can give them some PM resources to study up on. You can hire a third=party to help with some of the issues. You can do all of the above. The more time you take to help someone better understand what they are supposed to do, the happier your team is to do the work required. 
To get more information on project management tools and techniques for your office click here.