Like a leaky roof, trying to solve project management challenges with multiple tools may get the job done, but it won’t do it well and it won’t last. Many project managers use email, Excel, an analytics tool, and a task tracking tool all from separate vendors. Using multiple tools is a careful balancing act—requiring a significant amount of manual transfer between tools that increases the likelihood something will get lost (or a new leak will pop up) when you’re not paying attention.
What you want is a project management software that gives you all the online PM tools you want in one place. But research points to a field of professionals using a variety of software solutions to manage their projects.
According to a stat from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 44 percent of all project managers use no software for their PM needs. And we know from conversations with peers across the industry that of the more than half of PMs who do use software, many toggle through multiple tools in order to get their work done.
Perhaps these statistics contribute to another—in research done by the Standish Group, fewer than a third of the studied projects were completed on time and on or under budget. The difference between successful and unsuccessful implementation of PM software is that one drives efficiency and improved outcomes, while the other is a wasted investment.
Juggling different PM tools with your team only adds to the chaos. Get the one PM solution that has all the tools you need.
In this article, we’ll help you gain a better understanding of project management technology by explaining:
- The difference between “project management tools” and “project management solutions”
- The advantages of an all-in-one PM system
- The importance of native integrations
PM Tools vs. PM Solutions
To understand the difference between PM tools and PM solutions, let’s return to the analogy of the leaky roof. One leaky roof can cause any number of problems in a home—it has to be fixed. And there are a few ways to go about doing that.
First, you could do a set of small touch-ups: put a bucket under the leak, pull a tarp over the roof, add some tar, or use a roofing patch. These are all short-term fixes that together will keep your roof from leaking for a time, but won’t solve your overall problem. In fact, new leaks are likely to start springing up all over your roof and you’ll have to hurry with your set of mixed tools to each new area.
On the other hand, you could purchase a brand new roof. It’s a bigger investment of time and money upfront, but in the long run it will save you both. The cost of many small fixes adds up and a new roof means no leaks for years to come.
One PM Solution For All Your Needs
A PM solution, on the other hand, takes care of all those needs (task tracking, timesheets, reporting, calendars, and more) in one central hub. It also houses all the procedures that make those tools work. A full PM solution solves project management challenges without cumbersome manual work or the risk of dropping the ball as projects move between one tool and another.
A solution, unlike multiple tools, is also scalable and shareable. In a set of disparate tools, one might break as your organization grows and changes, forcing you to find a replacement and spend time researching and training. The right project management software will scale with you and make it simple to onboard new users as needed.
PM solutions also make it easier to share project data between members of your organization. With a set of multiple tools, you may be sharing from different tools for each project. Those team members not directly associated with the PM process are likely to experience confusion as you switch from one tool to another. Everyone in your organization can get on board with one solution. It will become a staple of your software suite that team members across functions will learn to use and understand.
Finally, a PM solution that offers native integrations can bring apps you might love using into your project management workflows software so you won’t have to jump around from email to chat apps to cloud storage and back to a separate project app.
During your software search, look for vendors that offer a variety of pre-built connections to common work apps, or at the very least, access to a flexible API for setting up your own integrations. In some cases, you can use a third-party tool like Zapier to configure custom integrations between your PM system and other products.
It’s logical that many project managers have acquired an arsenal of PM tools as they’ve grown in their careers. With each new challenge, they keep what’s worked in the past and add new tools as needed. Yet taking the time to set back and replace that toolbox with one elegent PM solution will pay off in the long run in terms of time, money, and growth.
Get an all-in-one project management solution that is easy to onboard with your team, has all the features you need, and doesn’t require extensive training to implement. ProjectManager.com is consistently rated the #1 project management software. Start you free trial today.