September 15, 2015

Finding The Best Project Management Solution

Well, it all comes down to priorities.

Whenever I worked with a corporation or company, there was always an in-place method of project management. There were times when I wished so hard that I could change it because it really didn’t fit my needs, but for the most part, it was a set-in-stone, easy to use method that at least ensured that everyone was on the same page.

After 10 years of being in Corporate America, I made the jump and began my own business. I freed myself from the rigid practices of the automotive business and basked in the glow of being my own boss. That glow lasted about a week until I realized that as much as I had gotten rid of a lot of the undesirable parts of corporate, I inherited a number of challenges. The one that was extremely high on my list was finding a project management system.

It’s funny, when I was working for the proverbial “man”, I wished that one of the stakeholders of the company would consult me on what I thought would be the best Project Management system. I could list the things that I wanted to change about our CRM, and had a sure-fire plan that I thought would make things work. It wasn’t until I was responsible for making the decisions that part of me wished someone would just assign a project management system to me.

My business launched back in 2008, so at the time there weren’t an overwhelming amount of choices for project management software. I also had never had my own business before so I was at a loss in both experience as well as available resources. At the time, I chose to use the exact Customer Relationship Management system that I used in the automotive business. I purchased a login, and changed all of the process triggers to reflect my business. I spent countless hours perfecting the processes. Unfortunately, no sooner did I get to a point that I was content, the service went out of business and I was back at square one.

I learned a lot during the process – especially about my own business needs and culture. When I was left with the task of finding another project management system in 2011, I not only had more resources to consult, I also knew exactly what I wanted in a system. I personally needed something that put a huge focus on custom processes. Since all of my clients have different needs, I needed something that was easily customizable to my specific requirements.

If you’re a small business owner faced with the decision of which project management system to with, my advice to you is to get very clear on what your priorities are. Personally, I need client integration and the ability to perform client collaboration. As much as I use my project management system to organize myself, I also allow my clients to have a login to see my processes and to collaborate if necessary.

So, I identified my priorities in a Project Management System to be time management, collaboration, and task delegation (since I now have an assistant). Because of that, I found that BaseCamp was the ideal system for me. You may have similar needs, or completely different needs. But the important part is that you imagine what your ideal organization method would look like and then seek out software that supports that.

Back in the days where I worked in big businesses, I dreamed of the day I could design my own project management system that would allow me to effectively complete tasks and lay out projects. With great power comes great responsibility, though. Gone are the days when we can blame the man for not mandating necessary changes. It’s all on us now. Luckily there are countless resources, fellow business owners, and lessons learned that we can use to choose a system that works best for the business.
 

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