Project Management Tool Selection
Get the features you need (not those you’re sold!)
It’s time to move on from spreadsheets.
Your business deserves more.
Perhaps you’ve put off moving to a new enterprise tool because there are so many choices on the market. So many of the key features seem similar. How do you differentiate? And if you haven’t been involved with software selection before, how do you know what you need?
That’s where we come in.
Selecting the most appropriate tool for your business is a critical element for improving your project portfolio management capabilities. It’s also a big capital investment – one where it pays to make the right choice first time.
Ten Six can help speed up your tool selection process and help you pick a product that is the perfect fit for what your project managers need right now.
Benefits of using expert support
Project management tool selection can feel like an intimidating prospect – for many companies, this is the first time they’ve had to make a decision about the kind of project management software they want to use.
It doesn’t have to be hard. There are plenty of benefits to working with a qualified partner during the selection process.
Speed up the process. An independent voice can help you navigate the maze of different choices and quickly find the products that are right for you.
You might not need all the available modules. We’ll recommend that you only buy the modules that are required for the work you’re doing.
Look beyond the popular
Enterprise project management tools aren’t always the first to show up in a Google search. Enterprise tool suites from Oracle Primavera, Deltek, Microsoft and Unanet are the powerhouses behind many successful project-driven organizations. We can help you create a shortlist of products and point you to market-leading products – instead of the popular tools.
See what the tool can do
Try before you buy! You’ll be able to see what the product can really do because we have the ability to set up a test environment for many products. Let project managers trial the product before you make your final decision.
Make the right decision
Our many years of experience in tool selection and implementation will help you make a confident decision. Ten Six consultants have worked with (and, in many cases,) for, all the major tool vendors. We know the way they work and the best ways to integrate products with your existing environment.
Clarify your requirements
What do you want the product to do? That’s the starting point. There are only so many ways to deliver project management services, and you’ll find that powerful project management tools all tick the box for common functionality:
- Project timeline creation
- Project tasks management
- Resource allocation
- Time tracking
- Project budget management
- Project management workflows
- Reporting features and dashboards
- Collaboration features (like a message board and document sharing).
But when you need enterprise project management software that’s a perfect fit, using this ‘standard’ list of must-have features is only the starting point.
We often see tool choices driven by what a manager used to use in their old job – even if that was a totally different situation.
There is a better way. Ideally, you’ll create a list of functions and features that must be present in the new tool. Clarifying your requirements can be a time-consuming job, especially if there is no one on the team who has experience leading the process.
Here are four common roadblocks we see before companies turn to us for help.
Requirements are too vague
The problem with vague requirements is that most of the tool vendors are able to check all the feature boxes on your requirements and then write a narrative stating how they can satisfy them.
If this is the case, how do you differentiate among the vendor responses? Price aside, often the vendor that delivers the best demonstration or best demonstrates an alignment to cultural fit, wins. And the winner’s tool features could end up being the most cumbersome to use.
Requirements are not defined
This often occurs when the buyers don’t have enough understanding of the subject matter at the outset, and their requirements evolve as they start talking with vendors.
The buyers become a little better educated with each vendor interaction. The danger in this situation is that the vendors know this and promote features that are unique to them.
These features can become a distraction and may not be essential to a successful implementation. We have seen some companies rule out a better suited vendor because they don’t have these unique (but unnecessary) ‘sales features’.
Requirements are padded
In many cases, overly detailed requirements have features that are not really necessary or required.
The requirements list gets padded with more detail after interactions with vendors. Again, this gives the vendors a chance to promote features that demonstrate well and look slick, adding more features to the list.
Even if the project team would never use those features in real life.
Requirements are missing
What the tool does is important, but we often see companies overlook other requirements like user experience, remote access, security, integration, customer support, support for updates, and more. These are crucial to the overall success of your implementation.
We can make sure nothing important gets left off your requirements list.
Our proven process ensures that you quickly get a list of must-have requirements and can target vendors who meet your needs
The decision makers must understand your real requirements well enough to make sure they are going to satisfy the organization’s needs. This may mean educating senior management and the tool selection team before you embark on the tool selection process.
We can help with all of that so you can make a quick, confident choice.
Support with Supplier Demos
Once you’ve got a robust list of requirements, and have created a tool shortlist, you’re going to want to see those products in action.
It’s really important that you make the most of your software demo time with sales people and technical experts, as this is a crucial step in choosing the right product.
We’ve seen vendors with the project management tool that best satisfies the requirements taken off the selection list because the product demonstration didn’t go well.
Don’t risk ending up with an inferior product because the demo doesn’t impress. Here are some real-life examples of companies that chose a product that was a worse fit because they couldn’t see past the demo.
The company that missed out on the product with a great track record and many satisfied customers because of a technology glitch.
This can happen to anyone who performs live demonstrations. The important thing to understand here is whether it’s a characteristic of an immature product or a more serious issue, or simply configuration errors, user error, or something else. We have seen many products demonstrated that suffered technical glitches or human error resulting in their removal from the selection list; products that otherwise have a great track record and are being used successfully in the real world.
The company that chose an inferior product because the vendor of the best tool didn’t seem to understand their business.
There are many causes for why a vendor might not have a full understanding of your organization’s requirements including: vendor staff changes, lack of preparation, lack of industry knowledge, apathy, and so on. The important thing, again, is to understand why and make an objective judgment based on logical reasoning.
The company that chose their team’s second choice as the first choice sales expert didn’t seem to know what the tool could do.
A vendor lacking knowledge of their own product is unforgivable but it does occur. It could be due to staff attrition, lack of resource availability on the demonstration date scheduled or simply a bad resource call by the vendor.
While this reflects poorly on the vendor, it does not necessarily mean that the tool suite is a bad fit or that after-sales support would be lacking.
It may not be easy to recognize whether there are serious issues with a vendor’s product or something just simply went wrong at the worst possible time. It is certainly easy to be wowed by a great product demonstration, and that can affect objectivity and ultimately your decision.
An independent third party, who has seen it all before, can help you cut through the sales showmanship and focus on the features that matter to your entire team.
The important thing is for you to be in control of the demonstration process. Getting external help to guide you through the tool selection process can help save time and a potential costly mistake.
How it works
Ten Six offers consulting and support to help you choose the right project management tool for your business.
Whether you’ve just won a new contract and need to upgrade your project management capabilities quickly, or have realized that it’s time to move on from spreadsheets, we can help.
We can help you work out what you really need, shortcut your product selection stage and support you through supplier demos so you get the perfect tool for your team – and we’ve been doing it for clients like you since 1999.
What we do
Ten Six is a specialist project management consulting firm and we love tools! Our consultants have worked with, and for, most of the major vendors over the years. We’ve got deep domain knowledge of the market and act as an impartial advisor so you get the solution that is going to work best for you.
And if you need any help with implementing the tool, training the team, or supporting your colleagues with the new ways of working, we can do that too.
Reduce the risk
Investing in an enterprise project management tool is a big decision. You’re committing the organization to a large spend, and a change management program that will dramatically change the way project work is planned, tracked and controlled.
The decision is going to affect a lot of people and processes:
- There might be system integrations required
- Teams need training on the new tools
- Project status reports need to be created
- Executives need to be briefed on how to interpret the data being produced from the software.
All in all, it’s a significant undertaking, so it’s important to get it right.
Reduce the risk by working with Ten Six consultants who have in-depth experience of a range of different products and the vendors who manage them. As well as providing practical guidance to help you make the right decision for your business, an expert third party can negotiate potential license and cost savings.
Ready to ditch the spreadsheets?
With so many enterprise implementations costing more than originally forecast and taking significantly longer to implement than planned, it makes sense to ensure that you’re selecting the right tool for your organization.
Project management tool selection is too important to leave to change. Use our robust process, with support from people who know what they are doing, and you’ll end up with a product fit for your business and that can grow with you as your project management methods evolve over time.
Let Ten Six, with decades of enterprise project management tool selection and implementation experience, help you deliver project results faster with the right software.