Tips for Introducing Project-Management Software into Your Organization

By Stanley E. Portny

Before you rush out and buy any project-management software, plan how to maximize its capabilities and avoid associated pitfalls. Do the following to help you select and install your software:

  • Be sure you have a firm grasp of project-planning and control approaches before you consider any software.
  • See what software other groups in your organization are using or have used; find out what they like, what they don’t like, and why.
  • If possible, ask someone who already has a copy of the software whether you can spend a few minutes exploring its operation.
  • After the package is on your computer, load a simple project or a small part of a larger project to practice with (that is, enter the activities, durations, interdependencies, resources, and so on).
  • Use only a few of the program’s capabilities at first (determine the effect of small changes on your schedule, print out some simple reports, and so on); use more capabilities as you get more comfortable with the software and feel the need for them.
  • Consider attending a formal training program after you’ve become comfortable accessing the software’s different capabilities.
  • If you’re still not comfortable choosing the project-management software for your organization yourself, consider engaging the services of an outside consulting firm with experience in helping organizations like yours to help you select and implement the software.

After you’ve undertaken these steps, you can effectively use software to support your project planning and control activities. On an ongoing basis, ensure that you obtain all updates and changes to the software, and consider purchasing software upgrades that introduce significant new capabilities.