As your business grows, it makes sense to think about the software and systems you can bring in to help make things more effective. There’s certainly no shortage of packages to choose from – some will be too expensive, some may have too much functionality, some may come highly recommended. It’s a crowded field and a significant investment. So how do you choose the business task management software that’s right for your business?
As a company that has significant experience in daily task management, we’ve come across a lot of different task management systems, and we’ve seen first hand how difficult it can be to try and shoehorn a system to meet your demands – or the other way round. So we have put together this guide to help you understand what you need to know and what you need to do in order to find an efficient way to manage your daily tasks.
You’re looking for a tool that helps you do things more efficiently. This will not only help to manage projects; it should also have an impact on your cost margins and your bottom line. So whilst there’s always a cost attached to bringing software on board, you’re likely to see a good return on investment. Before you buy, here are the key steps to follow:
Step 1: Identify your needs
You can’t pick a project task manager without knowing where you need help. So the first step is to identify your current challenges and where you think specific software is able to help you. Do you need a tool that schedules tasks across your team? Do you need specific project management tools like Gantt charts? How detailed are your projects – do you need a system that can handle complex projects with multiple teams?
Setting out your requirements as clearly as possible will help you to see fairly quickly which systems may or may not work for you. You’ll also need to consider budget, integration with existing systems, training, technical support, ability to scale with your business growth and other practical factors.
Step 2: Do some research
Where do you start? This is where your network comes in really useful. Ask other businesses what they use and how their software works for them. Look for guidance from your professional bodies and find some genuine reviews of the packages you’re considering. For example, Zapier’s list of the best project management software. Don’t just stop at the best-known names – there may be something out there that’s focused on your business market or has functionality that would be particularly useful. Pull all your research together to put together a longlist of products, and then look at those critically to decide which ones to test.
Step 3: Get testing
Most of the systems on your list will have a free trial of some sort. This lets you see the functionality of the system and see how it might work for you. Make sure that your free trial includes all the features on offer – you can’t make a decision based on a ‘lite’ version of the software.
To test effectively, draw up a comprehensive list of tasks, features and requirements and mark each piece of software against these criteria. This will give you a good idea of how each program performs. You may also want to make a list of pros and cons, and note any additional information, such as cost, licence requirements and support.
Don’t do all this by yourself – your team will need to use this software too, so make sure they have a chance to test it and give you their feedback. This inclusivity is important because it helps to bring your team on board with the decision making, and may also help you spot gaps in your own testing.
Step 4: Collate feedback
There’s always an element of instinct with this type of purchase – particularly if two or more systems are very close in terms of what they do and what they cost. Your deciding factor might be based on the support you’ll get from the provider, or by the usability of the software. You might also want to be sure that the task management software can grow with you as your business grows. Take the time to get feedback from your team and add it to your own thoughts so you can make a fully informed decision.
Step 5: Plan your next move
Now that you’ve shortlisted and tested the task project management systems, it’s time to make a decision. This is when you can look deeper into reviews, ask to speak to existing customers and work out your budget and potential return on investment. At this point, you may also need to talk to your accountant to discuss affordability, and also to the software suppliers to see if they have an introductory package or start-up offers that you can take advantage of.
This is also a good time to check out how the provider manages the sales process, including how the systems are installed and how you and your team are trained and supported. Sometimes, the approach to this area of the deal can make all the difference, so don’t ignore it.
If you need support with business task management, why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above to find out more?