There are several project management software available in the market, differing widely in features and cost. The proper software will help you in getting more productive and let you complete more work easily and quickly. A wrong choice will become a constant irritant and an impediment rather than a convenience.
The following checklist will help you choose the one best suited for your needs.
- Features and complexity
- Low-end products have limited functionality and suitable for a few, simple projects. They are available on hosted-only environments as well as software that you can download and install on your server.
- Mid-range products are more versatile and are also available both as a hosted service and downloadable software.
- High-end products are perfect for organizations which handle huge volumes of work as well as a big workforce. The range of features available on these allows complete control of a project with extensive workflow.
- The platform used by the product.
- Hosted service: This is called software as a Service (SaaS) and you do not need to bother about downloading, installing and maintaining the software. However you have to pay a monthly fee based on the usage level, number of users, projects etc.
- Downloadable software: Some companies offer downloadable software that you can license. Again, there may be different versions based on the number of users and projects. Here the upgrades need to be downloaded and installed again whenever these are released to get the benefits of the new features added to the software. There is a one-time fee as well as an annual maintenance fee.
- Another way to look at the platform is the language or operating system. A compiled software cannot be altered. It can just configured based on the settings module. Open source software allow you to edit the original software and add new features. However when new versions are released, these changes have to be applied again.
- Modification and customization options
- This has been discussed in the above point. Simple users won’t need to configure the software much. However medium and advanced level users will like to have extensive configuration options or access to the source code so that they can build a customized version for their needs.
- Multi-device access
- Now that software access is not restricted to desktop PCs, the software should have an option to access through a smartphone or tablet device.
- Access control
- The software should allow access restrictions based on user group or user account.
- Multi-role permission settings segregating different clients accessing the system without being able to view other projects apart from their own.
- Advanced users will require extensive access control for projects with different people being allowed to access details, see and upgrade progress, take out reports and make modifications. However smaller businesses and teams will not like to get in to these issues as these can cause needless complications and a steep learning curve.
- While smaller teams can manage with the pre-built reports, advanced usage will necessitate options to create lots of reports with or without programming.
- Interaction with other software and tools
- A good software will allow the data to be exported into different formats and there should be provision to interlink other software like calendars, email systems for optimum usage and allowing the user to work in her native work settings.
A thorough need analysis and compatibility matching will ensure that you achieve high user satisfaction ratings and increase productivity on sustained basis.
A1Tasks caters to the small and medium businesses and teams who need to get to speed quickly and whose project management requirements are limited. If you value speed of adoption and convenience of operation more than having large number of features, A1tasks will be a good fit.