How to Determine If a Project Management Tool Can Scale
We’re talking about growth here, right? Growth can take on many forms – revenue growth, business growth, or team growth.
What does “growth” mean in the context of project management software?
- More projects to complete
- More users to add and train
- More reports to create and share
- More conversations surrounding projects
- More clients to interface with
- More meetings to talk about more projects!
…and generally just more more more!
In this post, I will break down three main categories in project management most impacted by scaling a team into “What to look for” and “Red flags” to avoid.
It’s important to note that these aren’t all deal breakers or “must-haves”. Every team is different. But these are important features or indicators that a tool was built with scalability in mind.
How to determine if a project management tool can scale
Now that we’re on the same page, what key things should you look for in a project management tool that it can handle a growing team?
What to look for…
A Support team devoted to your continued success. Notice I didn’t say has “good support”. Everyone says that. Your project management vendor should provide you an on-boarding plan, online (and offline) resources, and quick response times.
Training and support for all. Growing teams will add users that like to learn in different ways. Besides live training, make sure the Success and Support team has a searchable knowledge base, on demand training videos and webinars, and a FAQ.
Short learning curve. It is critical that the tool itself be approachable and easy to understand for anyone. Even the least tech-savvy person in the office should pick up the tool quickly.
Extra payment for support services like 1-1 training. If you need help, it should be a quick search, email, or call away. You shouldn’t have to be forced into purchasing the highest tier package or worry about paying follow up invoices for support.
Bonus red flag: When group webinars are free, but anything personal costs money.
A ticketing system. Is there a worse feeling than when you have a problem and you know you are just a number in a sea of support requests?
Wait times of 24 hours or more. Imagine having a question and knowing that you can’t fix it until the next day. Really? Workzone prides ourselves on a 10 minute response times during business hours.
What to look for…
Tools with a 10,000ft view of all active projects to identify potential bottlenecks in a project’s life cycle. As projects are added, it becomes critical for a project manager or coordinator to look at their team’s work as a whole.
The ability to organize and separate projects by departments/units/regions. Workzone calls this type of organization “Workspaces”. For example, an agency could use Workspaces to separate external clients. As an agency adds clients, keeping each client’s projects together keeps a team organized in a fast-paced environment.
The ability to save recurring projects as templates. Gone are the days of copying/pasting the old project into a new one in Excel. Project templates will save a growing team time in the project creation phase.
You can’t see the status of all projects at one time. Without being able to quickly assess the state of your projects or tasks, things will slip through the cracks.
No separation or structure to organize clients or departments. Projects for one department are at risk to get mixed in with another department!
You can’t save projects as templates…Time is what you need to save. There’s no reason to waste it on administration.
What to look for…
To-do lists for individual users. When a team grows, managers need more time to devote to strategy development and planning. They can no longer hand work out and automated to-do lists in a project management tool are a perfect solution for a team to continue getting work done.
A tool that is adaptable to the way users like to work. Some like to work visually in a Gantt Chart, others like looking at a macro level through an all projects dashboard, and others like the perspective a calendar view gives. A growing team will inevitably have different people with different ways they work. Your tool should cater to that.
Different levels and permissions for users. Everyone on the same level of permissions works for a small team, but growing teams need a separation of roles and permissions.
A user can’t get a personalized list of things to do. Without that focus, users may get distracted and work will slow.
A tool only gives you one way to work. Without the flexibility of different ways to work, users will get frustrated. Workzone uses an all projects dashboard, Gantt Charts, and a calendar to manage projects.
When all users are treated the same. Roles need to be defined from Admins down to Reviewers only.
A couple of strategic questions to ask…
- Is there a limit to how many projects or tasks we can have?
- What if my team grows exponentially over a year or two? What changes would we have to make or expect to make?
A note on pricing…
Project management tools are usually priced per user. Pricing should scale down as you add users. Here’s a comprehensive post on how project management tools are priced.
Where does Workzone fit in all of this?
Workzone is dedicated to helping teams get more done. That’s why Workzone offers unlimited support and training to all customers with a rigorous and interactive onboarding and training experience.
- A few more points where Workzone stands…
- Everyone is eligible for 1-1 training
- Everyone gets a personal to-do list
- Everyone has project templates
How can we help your team scale with a project management tool? Book a meeting today to learn more about how Workzone helps teams scale their project management.