Project Management Software: the Pros and Cons of Traditional Tools
Project management often feels like a plate-spinning trick – balancing multiple projects, tasks, milestones, and team members. All are simultaneously in motion, and any misstep could cause everything to come crashing down. It takes effort to balance innovation, efficiency, and execution, which is where an effective project management system can help. In fact, 77% of high-performing projects use a traditional project management software like Monday, Trello, or Basecamp.
A traditional project management system offers a comprehensive container for your methodologies and project plan and all project information. It eliminates the limitations of managing data in spreadsheets or other legacy tools. It gives you a clear view of your project from start to finish, improved risk analysis capabilities, and an increase in collaboration across your team.
Sounds impressive, right? But before you rush into any decisions, it’s also important to be aware of the flip side of the coin. The potential drawbacks of many traditional project management systems include substantial investment, added complexity, a learning curve that could feel like climbing Mount Everest, and, there are also concerns around data security and access controls to consider. Understanding your needs and options is critical, and highlighted by the fact that the majority of project managers are dissatisfied with the level of project management maturity in their organization.
Whether you’re a project manager on the lookout for a new solution, an operations leader trying to drive your team’s efficiency, or a decision-maker weighing options to improve project success rates while keeping costs in check, you need a clear understanding of project management system pros and cons – and knowledge about modern solutions that may provide the best fit for your requirements and goals.
The Pros of Using a Traditional Project Management System
1) A Centralized Project Repository
Having a centralized project repository is like having a super-efficient personal assistant who knows everything about your projects, readily available 24/7. It is an all-encompassing platform that holds every piece of project information you need, creating a single source of truth with real-time updates and access. This is just one of the advantages of project management.
When planning new projects, assigning tasks, or tracking progress against milestones, the project management system ensures all relevant data is at your fingertips. If you have a remote team spread across multiple locations – and maybe even time zones – working on a crucial project, instead of grappling with disconnected communication threads, documents, or spreadsheets, everyone turns to the project management system. All updates, feedback, and communication are logged and visible, keeping everyone aligned and saving you from the chaos of conflicting versions, missed emails, and error-prone Excel spreadsheets.
2) End-to-End Project Views
An end-to-end project view gives you the power to track project initiatives from idea to completion in one place. Imagine you’re launching a new product. With this feature your task management is in one view, you can see all tasks, their assigned owners, and each role and milestone in the overall project timeline. It’s like having a map for your project journey, clearly outlining where you start, who is involved, what roles they play, and the final destination.
This keeps everyone informed about their roles and responsibilities, and highlights dependencies, ensuring smoother transitions between each phase of the project. Stakeholders can easily review current status at any time, providing transparency and giving the data and analysis for proactive problem-solving.
3) Better Forecasting and Risk Analysis
A project management system is like having a crystal ball when it comes to forecasting and risk analysis for your projects. With all tasks, assigned roles, milestones, time tracking, deadlines and overall resource allocation in one system, most systems will allow you to set automatically triggered alerts when a deadline or budget item is at risk.
Let’s say you’re working on a large construction project with many moving parts. As the project progresses, some tasks take longer than anticipated. Instead of realizing this at the eleventh hour and risking the committed project completion schedule, the project management system automation flags this early. Now you can address the delay before it impacts the overall project, maybe by better resource management or adjusting timelines. At-a-glance dashboard insights help keep your project on track, avoiding last-minute scrambles, unwelcome surprises and costly budget overruns.
4) Improved Collaboration and Communication
Project management systems act like virtual conference rooms, facilitating seamless collaboration and communication among teams. With integrated communication tools, discussing ideas, addressing issues, and documenting decisions become effortless.
Consider a scenario where your team is working remotely. Instead of juggling multiple communication channels, your team can use the project management system to see all deliverables, chat, share documents, and update the project progress. It can be viewed in the format a user prefers, whether it’s gantt charts or kanban boards. This keeps everyone on the same page with automatic notifications, maintaining a collaborative environment despite physical distances. Plus, with the ability to access the system from any device or location, updates can be made and issues can be addressed promptly, ensuring smooth project execution.
The Cons of Project Management Systems that Come Out of the Box
1) Potentially Costly Investment
Despite the numerous advantages, traditional project management systems often come with a hefty price tag. There are the costs associated with acquiring the software, and often there are key capabilities that require the purchase of additional modules. You also have the cost of implementing the system, and the inevitable ongoing maintenance costs. These are disadvantages of project management – when the software solution doesn’t fit your business.
Suppose you run a small startup and are considering traditional project management systems. While the features may sound enticing, the costs might outweigh the benefits, especially when you factor in the expenses that come later, like maintenance and upgrades.
An alternative could be opting for a no-code platform to build a custom project management app. This could save money, be more time-efficient and allow you to tailor the tool to your specific needs.
2) Can Add Unnecessary Complexity
While designed to simplify and streamline your work, some project management systems can sometimes add complexity you don’t need, particularly for smaller or simpler projects where complex gantt charts aren’t necessary. It’s like giving a state-of-the-art espresso machine to someone who only drinks instant coffee—it can be overkill. The cost of bad project management – a solution that doesn’t engage users – is high.
For instance, if you’re a small business or startup organizing a small team event, using a full-blown project management system might turn a straightforward task into a labyrinth of unnecessary features, making you less agile. Even projects with more moving parts can become unnecessarily complicated unless you’re using the right tool.
It’s important to look at all the options available to you before making a selection. New no-code platforms, with templates to get you started quickly, give you the power to quickly and affordably create a customized app that meets your unique requirements, without writing a single line of code.
3) Can Involve a Steep Learning Curve
Every new tool added to your tech stack comes with some amount of a learning curve. Project management systems are no exception. Depending on the complexity of the system, you may need to invest time and resources in training your team to use it effectively.
It’s like getting a new high-tech gadget. It holds a lot of promise, but is potentially time-consuming as you figure out all the functions and features. The same applies to implementing a new project management system like Microsoft Project. It can be an initial hurdle that slows down project progression and could even lower adoption rates if team members find it too complex to navigate.
Investigating simpler, no-code platforms can provide the robust project management tools you need while providing a simple, intuitive user interface that cuts the learning curve.
4) Data security and access controls
While having all your project information and communication in one place is convenient, it can also be a double-edged sword. If the system’s security measures and user access controls aren’t robust, sensitive data could fall into the wrong hands.
For example, imagine you’re working on an education-related project with student information included. Without granular role-based user access, someone without the proper authorization could potentially view sensitive data. So, when choosing a system, make sure it offers the ability to set permissions based on user roles. This protects your data and also streamlines workflows because team members don’t get overloaded with irrelevant information. They can focus on their specific tasks and updates.
The Better Alternative to a Traditional Project Management Tool: Build your Own with No-Code
No-code refers to a development approach that allows individuals without programming knowledge or coding skills to create applications and software solutions. Businesses should create their own project management app with no-code instead of buying a traditional tool because it offers customization, cost-effectiveness, agility, rapid deployment, scalability, integration capabilities, and ownership/control. This allows organizations to tailor the app to their needs, reduce costs, adapt quickly, deploy rapidly, scale easily, integrate with other tools, and maintain control over their technology.
Although building your own Project Management tool with no-code seems like a daunting task, no-code allows builders to create apps in just a few minutes rather than a few months. Knack also offers scaleable, usage-based pricing so you can show return-on-investment quickly.
Charting the Right Course in Project Management
Project management is complex, filled with many tasks, multiple teams, and pressing deadlines. A thorough analysis of your team and business requirements will help you choose the best project management system for your needs. With the right system in place, you’ll be well on your way toward efficient and successful project implementation.