You put in the time to research the idea of cloud-based project management solutions—you know they are secure, provide amazing accessibility, and give you the ability to work from home on snow days—so now what? As impatient as you may be to dive in head first, remember your first project management best practice – proactively plan – and follow these tips:
Whether you have an annual budget to work with or you’re lucky enough for a special circumstances budget to move to the cloud, you have to know how much money you have to work with. All cloud services are not created equally, and you need to be prepared to field some standard questions:
1. Is it better for you to pay monthly by user or space limits?
2. Are you committed enough to pay annually to get the discount they’ll surely offer you?
3. Does your budget have any wiggle room or is it set in stone?
Regardless of whether you’re managing a team of 10 or 100, there are suitable options for cloud-based software. Important questions to answer before reaching out to any company are:
1. How many users (team) do you need logins for?
2. Will your clients need access? If so, what all do they need to be able to do (file upload, communication streams, approval functionality, etc)?
3. Do you need integration with any other platforms (Google Apps, Salesforce, Quickbooks, Office, etc)?
The cloud is a competitive space—being up front and clear about your needs will ensure you get the best software to fit them.
Alright, you’ve narrowed it down to some potential companies to work with…I know, I know—you’re busy. But this part is super-important: make time available to do demos of the software you’re looking into. You’ll gain not only a better understanding of the company’s offerings, but also their company culture, and how responsive they’ll be to your needs. The ultimate factor in what led to me choosing Mavenlink as our cloud-based project management solution was not how great of a solution it is (which it is, and no, they’re not endorsing me) but how great they are—I felt confident starting a partnership with them based on how they held themselves during the demo (and of course the meetings after) I made time for.
Now that you’re armed with some useful tips to get the ball rolling, you’ll soon be able to tack a closed sign on your traditional project management software and officially change your address to the cloud. Determine your budget so you don’t get caught up in wanting something you can’t afford. Determine your needs so you have all your bases covered and hunker down for some software demos (you won’t regret it when you find the perfect solution). Just remember to let your team know you’re diving into Research Land and try to have some fun along the way!