PM Software is from Mars…or is it Venus?

10 May 2015
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red mars planetThe mission of establishing permanent human residence on Mars, and the set departure date for the first crew in 2026, has spawned a series of questions about the possibility of vacationing to this “Red Planet”. While some have high hopes as to the possibility of taking weekend jaunts to Mars, the reality is that when or if commercial space travel does happen, it won’t only be costly, but lengthy too – with the expected length of visit being up to four months at a time. The same can be said about the expectations vs reality when it comes to purchasing a PM software; it’s much more complex and time consuming than you might think.

The project management software market is understatedly crowded, with over 300 available options. And it is of utmost importance that you take the time to understand the vast landscape of this market – and ultimately, which solution will serve you best.

A straightforward analogy is when you walk into a Best Buy to purchase a laptop, only to find isles of endless options and no benchmark to consider. It seems at that point, that the simplest thing to do would be to call on a representative from the store, who presumably specializes in understanding the varied models, and whom can lay out the differences for you in a simplified context. Consider us your PM software specialist.

The various softwares present an immense difference in usability and features; but the real complication comes from the fact that the project management software category, is not well defined. This results in products that potentially offer only one element of project management, i.e. reporting, scheduling or file sharing, easily slotting themselves into the project management software category, further diluting the market and making your buying process, that much more difficult (if you’re not prepared).

The market is bursting at its seams with project collaboration tools such as Basecamp and portfolio project management software in the likes of Microsoft Project. This infographic gives a snapshot of the PPM/PM Categories and a brief explanation for each:

PPM/PM Categories Definitions
Project Collaboration Basic communication and sharing of project information, documents and emails to optimize project results.
Project Management Bottom up approach to manage the people, time lines, scope, budget and activities within a finite time frame for a project defined by the end customer/stakeholder.
Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Takes a holistic approach to managing projects with great consideration given to their impact on the people, processes and corporate objectives. The idea is to develop a project management environment based on a group of interrelated goals that are linked to a single group of people with finite availability and talent.
Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Provides a top down approach to strategically align and optimize potential and active projects with the corporate objectives and available resources grouped into different portfolios.
Professional Services Automation (PSA) Managing the entire life cycle of service-based projects from sales (CRM), project delivery, time and billing and invoicing fed back into Accounting.

The reality is that most companies & people looking to purchase a PM Software, don’t realize the large undertaking of choosing the most viable solution, until they’re in the thick of it. In this 6 part series of articles, our aim is to help you navigate the different categories of software in the Universe of PM software.

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