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How to Choose the Right Multi-Project Management Tool for Your Needs

Need a better way to manage your ongoing project deadlines? 

Whether you need to plan multiple construction projects, SaaS product designs, or keep up with candidate profiles, you need a tool that can help you handle it all. 

More importantly, you need a tool that can help you do your work faster and better.

In this short guide, we’ll teach you how to choose the right multi-project management tool for your unique needs in just five simple steps.

But first …

Why use a multi-project management tool? 

From managing complex projects to tracking individual tasks, a multi-project management tool can help you stay ahead and optimize the entire process.

For instance, one of the challenges of managing multiple projects is balancing the demand and supply of resources across different tasks and timelines. 

A multi-project management tool can help you allocate your resources efficiently and effectively by providing a clear overview of your current and future capacity so you can adjust your plans as needed. 

For example, if you’re running a retail business, resource management features can help you optimize inventory levels to avoid overstocking or understocking products. A multi-project management tool can help you forecast your inventory needs based on historical data, market trends, build project templates and customer behavior. It can also suggest optimal replenishment strategies to meet your goals. 

You can also use a high-level overview to monitor project progress in real-time to make sure all of your project schedules stay on track.

But there’s something else you can do if you choose the right multi-project management tool …

The importance of looking for a multi-project management tool with workflow automations

If automating repetitive tasks is a top priority to you, then you need project management workflow software

By choosing a multi-project management tool, you can centralize task allocation, timelines, and communication, promoting team collaboration and reducing bottlenecks. But if you choose a multi-project management tool offering custom workflows, you can automate routine processes, shaving hours off your projects. 

In other words, you can leave redundant work to the bots, so you can focus on bigger priorities instead.

And speaking of priorities …

1. Get clear on your software goals 

To choose the right project management platform for your entire team, you need to know the project management methodologies you’ll be using and your top software goals. 

Start by assessing your current and future needs. How many projects do you manage currently? What’s the complexity level? 

For example, if you have several project managers and team members, you may need to prioritize a tool that offers unlimited users. Additionally, if you have endless deliverables to attend to, you may need software that offers unlimited projects. 

Next, what features do you need — resource allocation, time tracking, financial management? 

For instance, if you’re using personal loans to fund projects, you may want a tool that offers budgeting or financial integrations so you can monitor repayments and interest alongside project costs. 

Or, if you’ll be building custom boards, you may need a platform that offers project templates so you can save time on the tech side.

It’s also important to consider ‌user experience. You need a tool that’s easy to navigate, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy. It should also be scalable — as your business grows and evolves, so should your project management tool.

To streamline the goal-setting process, follow this simple two-step framework:

  1. Outline your top pain points. What are your software concerns? For instance, not having a high-level overview, complicated or lengthy onboarding, a steep learning curve, and price sensitivities.
  2. List your must-haves. What are some functionalities your project tool must have? For example, multiple project views, the ability to create custom boards, and a online client portal.

Once you’re clear on your goals, carve out time in your calendar to …

2. Review tools and jot down their pros and cons 

Head to Capterra, G2, and other software comparison sites to review multi-project management tool options. 

These tools may have other names, too, such as:

  • Workflow software
  • Project management workflow software
  • Project management platform 
  • Work OS 
  • Productivity software 
  • Online project management tool 
  • Remote productivity software

By having your priority list in front of you, you’ll be able to narrow down which tools will work best for your unique project plans. 

You’ll also need to weigh these options by listing their pros and cons. 

For instance, you might love Trello’s Kanban drag-and-drop features and task views, but its automation limitations may be a big concern. On the flip side, you might love how customizable monday.com’s automations are, but its learning curve may be too steep for your current implementation plan. 

Be sure to also read reviews that cover specific tool alternatives so you don’t alienate potential options just because they’re not as well-known as others. 

For instance, the following guide on reliable Citrix alternatives can help readers interested in remote access solutions discover more affordable and versatile options. These “alternatives” lists are also helpful because the reviewer has already researched each option’s pros and cons for you.

(Image Source)

After you’ve organized your pros and cons, it’s time to …

3. Create your top contender list 

Refer to your comparison notes and eliminate ‌software tools with more cons than pros. 

Next, note which contenders have additional features and integrations that can help you work even better. Consider that some tools will let you use Zapier to connect to more integrations than what they offer. 

By taking this extra step, you can do your due diligence to find a platform that works as a one-stop shop. 

For instance, if you track team project time, see if any tools on your list offer free time clock integration or time-tracking features. 

For example, with Connecteam, you can track time for specific project tasks. All tracked hours are automatically organized into a digital timesheet that you’ll be able to review and revise whenever you want. This can help you better optimize resource allocation across all of your projects. 

Or, if your projects require large pools of data, you may opt for a tool that can integrate with a data synchronization tool, like Hightouch. Renowned for its versatility, Hightouch can also sync data to your CRM, e-mail, advertising tools, and more. 

In other words, you may be surprised at how many tools you can set up to work in unison. Thankfully, when you find the right tech stack, you won’t need to bounce around between endless apps — everything you’ll need will be in one convenient location.

Next …

4. Sign up for trial plans for the remaining tools on your list 

Once you have a solid set of tools you like, it’s time to take them out for a test drive. 

Luckily, most software options offer a free trial on their basic plans, but some also let users try out their premium plans. 

Keep in mind that the trial period for each tool will also vary. While some platforms may offer generous 30-day free trials, others may cap you at seven days. 

That’s why it’s crucial to make the most out of each tool’s trial period. 

To do so, set up project simulations and test workflows to see how each tool functions in the real world. 

During the process, be sure to monitor each individual project’s progress and any custom automations you set up. You’ll also need to test out project view features to make sure you have full visibility across all your deliverables. 

Then, take a look at your software priority list again. Are the tools you’re testing measuring up to your expectations? Do the features, integrations, and details work the way you need them to? 

Use this information to …

5. Eliminate any tools that don’t align with your operational needs and invite your project team to test the rest

You’ll know pretty soon into your trial period which tools make the cut and which ones need improvement.

With this experience in hand, cross out any remaining tools you know won’t do the job. 

Finally, ask your team what they think! Outline your favorite options and have them sign up for free trials so they can provide feedback about which tools help them do their work better. This is key to unlocking hidden roadblocks or opportunities you may not have caught yourself. 

If you still have concerns after your team settles on a tool, sign up for a demo with that platform’s sales department. 

They can walk you through each feature and answer any specific questions you may have. They can also help you set up the onboarding process and provide resources to shorten the learning curve.

Wrap up 

Finding the right multi-project management tool for your needs isn’t rocket science — but it does require careful time and attention.

While software review sites have done a lot of the comparison work for you, there’s nothing like examining and testing the software yourself. In today’s guide, we walked you through how to do just that in five simple steps. 

For good measure, here’s a recap of the steps we shared today:

  • 1. Get clear on your software goals
  • 2. Review tools and jot down their pros and cons
  • 3. Create your top contender list
  • 4. Sign up for trial plans for the remaining tools on your list
  • 5. Eliminate any tools that don’t align with your operational needs and invite your project team to test the rest

That’s it for now.

Here’s to your success!

Author Bio:

Jeremy is co-founder & CEO at uSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency working with brands like Monday, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar, and more. He also buys and builds SaaS companies like Wordable.io and writes for publications like Entre

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