The Project Management discipline has been going through a wave of disruption over the last decade. The globalization of business prompted the collaboration narrative, the rise of cloud tech disrupted traditional PM technology with the onset of SaaS-based project management software. Social project management has made its way into project management systems and simplified the user experience and improved adoption. The digital transformation push in enterprises is going to lead project management to the next level of evolution. While the holistic picture looks rosy, there are some worrying patterns:
- Project Success: Almost half of all traditional software projects are delivered late or exceed their budgets. For every $1 billion invested in the U.S., $122 million is wasted due to poor project performance. Only 2.5 percent of companies successfully complete 100 percent of their projects. (Source: GetApp, a technology research company)
- Project Management software adoption in SMB: PM software adoption in SMBs is still hovering around 35%. Around 60% are still using manual methods, no-PM methods or no systems at all. (Source: Software Advice Report)
- PPM maturity: Enterprises are still grappling with Project Portfolio management and according to PMI pulse, portfolio management maturity is at a mere 25% in organizations.
The evolution is inevitable but for organizations to benefit from it, we need to make project management adoption a priority and look at a structured way to address it. In this blog, I aim to put this in perspective with some insights from GetApp’s Project management software features report.
The ideal feature set
One of the reasons why companies still use multiple tools including non-PM software for project management is that they are looking for a variety of features and probably don’t find tools that address all their needs. The survey conducted by GetApp validates this point. According to the survey results, more than 56% use specific project management software every day. However, about 74% of managers use two or more tools regularly and about 5% use more than 10 tools for project management.
The feature set is one of the most important criteria for software purchase, and it requires careful thought. From a buyer’s perspective, they would love to have everything packed into a single platform. From a software provider’s perspective, planning the feature set is a very careful and strategic thought process and making it a superset will end up being counterproductive for the users. The solution lies in finding the balance. For businesses, all-in-one project management software is definitely the way to go but not without a project management roadmap. As a project management software provider, we feel that buyers jump into the features & benefits too early in the evaluation process. Every business is different and it is important for decision-makers to assess where they are and where they would like to get to. Mapping that journey and objectives along the journey to the software feature set will determine deciding factors like adoption, user experience, scalability, business fit and most importantly the RoI. So to summarize, there is no such thing as a generic ideal feature set; it’s really an organization specific ideal feature set.
Scalability drives software purchase decisions
Among the survey respondents (who presently use some project management tool), about 12% pointed to Task management and about 11% cited collaboration are the most common project management software features that respondents say are missing.
GetApp’s research revealed that one specific feature was not in substantial demand over others. Instead, respondents cited a wide range of features that they need most urgently, hat this clearly highlights is that an organization’s needs change over time. As they grow, the teams grow, the priorities change, the skill sets evolve and therefore the desired feature sets also change. Having said that changing software every few years to meet changing needs is not very effective or economical, taking into consideration the learning curve, the training needs, and integration efforts. It is time for buyers to recognize that project from budget management and more integrations to idea management and reporting. W management is not just a tactical activity but a strategic process. So I reiterate, the time you spend building a project management thought-process and a roadmap for scale. This will ensure that when the growth actually happens, the infrastructure is already in place to support it.
Budget is not the problem: The right fit is
More than half of respondents (57 percent) work at organizations with annual budgets of $2k or more for project management software.
91 percent of project managers are willing to spend more for project management software that includes the missing features they need.
A research study from CEB found that just 14 percent of B2B buyers “see a valuable difference between brands’ business value.” Essentially B2B buyers give more weight to value and business fit than the product brand. Project Management software providers need to absorb this insight and act on it. There are a lot of discussions that suggest that today’s project management software tools are not evolving as quickly as the project manager role itself. Project management is becoming more of a business strategy role than the traditional, IT-based position.
A market becomes lucrative only when buyers have a strong need and vendors fulfill that need. Project Portfolio Management (PPM) software market is only of the most established and market size is expected to grow from USD 2.52 Billion in 2015 to USD 4.63 Billion over the next five years, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.9%. The insights presented in this article present a big market opportunity for project management software vendors. While all-in-one project management software will address most of the scalability needs, vendors should think about offering options with different sets of features that are built for different users and company sizes. This gives buyers a product that scales alongside the needs of their business and vendors the ability to build a loyal client base.
This article leverages insights from Getapp’s Project management software features report. GetApp is a Gartner Company.