Any growth-focused CEO knows that without the tools that not only facilitate, but power growth, there will be setbacks and growing pains aplenty. Scaling a company is all well and good until you realize that the rudimentary tools put in place when you were just starting out can significantly hinder the growth process. This is no more prevalent than in project management (PM) software.
A small company overseeing a handful of projects might have originally been able to get away with managing everything with a few excel spreadsheets, but as projects and team members grow, a more robust solution is needed. So, it’s no surprise that the industry is expected to reach $6.68 billion USD by 2026.
Keeping projects on track with a comprehensive PM software solution means boosting performance through a number of avenues, the most important of which being risk, resource, and demand management. And with poor project performance leading to $122 million wasted for every $1 billion invested in the U.S., it’s likely that – despite the growing market size – the potential for the value of a PM solution is not being explored by countless U.S. organizations.
Let’s take a look into exactly how the right PM solution sets you up for the best chance for future success.
Optimized resource management
A tool that gives you real-time insights into the exact state of your resources as well as allowing you to effectively predict the needs of each project is crucial to optimized growth – or growth with no resource wastage.
AI-enhanced tools that analyze the data input from team members on all projects exist, and use this information to allow the team to see what predictions and trends lie ahead. In fact, according to Gartner, AI will have generated $2.9 trillion in business value by 2021 – so it’s something to look out for in a PM software solution.
Humans aren’t able to identify the trends that AI can uncover from datasets on their own, yet these insights are essential in staying informed of where and when to scale existing resources, whether budgetary or manpower related.
For example, energy efficiency engineering firm SES Consulting uses a project management software tool to gain real-time insights into the capacity of their team members to make sure that they’re not overloaded. With a resource planning feature, staff can review their tasks and priorities to make sure they have sufficient time allocated to each task, and adjust their schedule accordingly.
This also means they can effectively plan projects according to the resources that the teams have available and ensure that the relevant deadlines are achievable. This was certainly the case when SES faced the task of managing a retrofitting project that spanned multiple phases and years – only with a PM software tool were they able to keep track of the different project streams led by different teams, to keep them on-time and on-budget.
There’s no doubt that companies face increasingly riskier and more frequent decision-making scenarios as they scale. And, while human-led risk management may have been sufficient for your small business, one that needs to manage simultaneous projects and the risks associated with them must have a tool to keep them under control.
PM software tools that include key metrics, such as schedule performance, allow SES to understand how on-track they are to hit deadlines. This gives teams considerable planning capabilities, allowing them to adjust deadlines or allocate more resources to a certain area in order to prevent things from going off track.
Reports from PM software tools should also allow teams to maximize their risk aversion by providing an at-a-glance view of all projects, activities, and milestones from a centralized platform. This means team members can identify trends and risks in schedule performance, as well as outliers that indicate something going wrong. Unexpectedly having to deal with a missed deadline is a heavy blow to morale, image, not to mention profitability – using a PM software tool to mitigate these setbacks is crucial for a growing business.
Dealing with demand
As your business grows, you’re undoubtedly faced with a number of daily choices regarding what to prioritize and what can wait. These decisions are often made on an emotional basis, such as which client is the most demanding, and they remain uninformed by the data that they should be powered by.
Helping you to gather important metrics on certain projects and tasks to understand which should be treated as high priority should be a key feature of any PM software tool. For example, let’s say you have a number of projects or initiatives on your plate but you only have the capacity to work on 25% of them. Assigning each project a score based on different criteria such as potential value, resources required, risks involved, and continuing maintenance level can help you make the most measured, logical decision.
Undertaking this process manually might work when you’re managing just a few projects, but as they increase in number, a tool to do the calculations for you will become a necessity. That’s where PM software comes in – to help you prioritize, reduce risk, and make the most informed business decisions as your business grows.
As your business is just starting out, investing in brand new shiny tools that seem to cater to much more than you need is understandably not on the top of your priority list. However, it’s important to understand that as your business grows, it needs tools that not only grow with it, but help to drive that growth too. A PM software tool should be seen as an investment that can give you data-powered insights into your resource usage and availability, project priorities and potential risks that allows you to scale without the growing pains.
Written by Vadim Katcherovski.
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