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We ran a project to find a system to help run our projects

Here’s our advice for when you’re after a new project management system to deliver your communications strategy (or any other strategy…)

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If you’re delivering a communications strategy (or even just a PR strategy or a marketing strategy), you need to ensure that every strand of it is happening as planned. If you don’t, business performance suffers. For the brands we work with, that could mean their tech innovation failing to make an impact, them struggling to fill an office building after launch or their business support not reaching the people it should.

Staying on top of all strands of a strategy (comms or otherwise) needs good project management and, for that, you need a good project management system. As we grown as an agency, so too have the number of things we need from our project management system, so it was time to find a new one.

Not all organisations need a project management system of course. If you just sell a product or a service, then it may be the case that you can do without. If you’re delivering work for customers or clients though, it’s likely you need some means of managing the work from start to completion. Our search was pretty extensive, so we can share some tips off the back of it.

Work out what you need 

Knowing what you need may seem like an obvious starting point when researching pieces of software, but it’s particularly pertinent for project management systems. They come in all different shapes and sizes, from simple task management tools like Trello, to big, granular systems like Accelo. Do you just need a way of tracking what tasks need doing? Or do you need sight of team capacity across multiple projects? Build a clear understanding of your requirements. 

Be prepared to trawl 

Not only do project management systems all differ in what features they have, but there are a lot of them. While that means that you can almost certainly find a system that closely matches your needs, it also means that you might have to review a lot of systems to find it. Naturally, our search started online, but we honed our results by using sites like getapp.com and alternativeto.net to find similar solutions to the ones we liked best. We also had some success by simply asking similar agencies what systems they use. 

Know where you can compromise 

Even with a good likelihood that you’ll find a system that closely matches what you’re after, there’s still also a good chance you may have to compromise slightly. That might down to no one system having the exact feature-set you’re after, or it may be down to other reasons like cost. Knowing which features you can live without will make this easier for you.

Photo by Ferenc Horvath on Unsplash

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