Operational Excellence

5 Signs it's Time to Change Your Project Management Tool

by Julie Huntley, July 27, 2016

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But how do you know when your project management tool is broken?

Your team may be so busy doing things the way that they are used to doing them with your project management tool that they don’t have the time or reason to consider alternatives. But maybe your system really is broken.

You might be inadvertently wasting time, exhausting resources and disappointing clients if you are not communicating and collaborating as efficiently as today’s agency project management software allows.

Here are five signs it’s time to change your project management tool.

1. Course corrections are common.

You may think you know what the client wants and assume that your team does as well. But can any of you reliably turn to creative briefs or correspondence that clearly conveys your client’s expectations? If not, you may be frequently shifting strategy or revising deliverables to accommodate requested changes. Facilitate communication between clients and creatives by using a project management tool that provides shared access to briefs, proofs and other essential documents. This will help you avoid delays and satisfy clients. You can also use it to document the need for, and approval of, change orders, thereby preserving your project’s profitability.

2. Inboxes overflow.

E-mail was once cutting edge. But so was the eight-track player. You may as well be listening to disco if your project management tool requires you to communicate via long email chains. Streamline communication by using software that allows you to chat, post comments and share feedback among team members and clients. This will provide more time for doing the work as opposed to discussing the work.

3. Good help is hard to come by.

It may be time to change if you spend more time consulting your software’s help section or calling the vendor’s support desk than you do managing projects. Can you really afford to frequently stop to figure out how to get your software to do what you need it to do? If it’s not easy to use, it may not be for you. It should make you more efficient, not less. You should be able to adapt it to your workflows rather than the other way around. User-friendly, customizable agency management software yields optimal results.

4. Same worker, different work.

Your project management tool should allow you to avoid bottlenecks by evenly distributing the workload among available team members. If one or two people are always busiest, your software may not be providing enough visibility into availability. You should be able to always see what tasks are being worked on by whom so that you can speed a project up by shifting work from an overloaded team member to one who is comparatively free. Improving your resource management capability can also help you set feasible timelines, thereby avoiding the need to constantly work under pressure.

5. Clients seem confused.

Clients don’t like to be surprised, particularly by invoices. If your clients keep asking why they are paying so much and how their money is being spent, then you may want to look for agency management software that simplifies estimating, displays budget statuses in real-time and customizes invoices according to their clients’ preferences for details. You may even be able to improve cash flow as well as client service by integrating your project management software with accounting so that you can receive accounts receivable aging reports, which you can follow through on for collection.

Your project management tool may have once been the best available and it may have served its purpose at one time. But just because it was once great or you have seemingly used it forever doesn’t mean that you can’t find one that’s better. Objectively assess your needs and determine your software’s ability to meet them efficiently. Look for signs that it’s time to change and then do so quickly to keep your projects on track, your agency profitable and your clients happy.

What signs indicate that it’s time to Change Your Project Management Tool to you? Share them with us.

 

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