Choosing Project Management Tools: Who Has the Decisive Voice?
Among all the variety of project management and collaboration tools it can be difficult to choose one that will equally satisfy all team members. And, as a rule, nobody does it. Managers select some software without long disputes and discussions with developers – and all employees begin to use it with more or less productivity. Of course, they are guided by reasonable criteria, take into account the requirements of the workspace, projects, available budget, experience and recommendations of their colleagues and many other factors. But is this enough for the successful work of the whole team? What if we give our IT-specialists more freedom in choosing project management and collaboration tools? What advantages can we get and what problems can arise?
Team's opinion value
We are convinced that when choosing such tools, the opinion of developers should at least be taken into account. First, the world of technology is changing so quickly that it's sometimes difficult to keep track of all the new products appearing every day. Involving more team members in the decision-making process will allow you to make a more informed decision, consider a wider range of factors, embrace and analyze different opportunities, learn about advantages and disadvantages that third parties are silent about. Maybe many of your senior and middle developers have already worked in other companies and on other projects before, have studied different project management solutions on personal experience and they have something to share.
Moreover, giving developers the right of choice in this matter may increase their engagement and boost productivity. Collaboration is often more effective when it is driven from the bottom up. The independent choice of tools for cooperation and task management will allow the team to better customize the working environment for the specific needs of the project and the workflow. In addition, use of approved by the team, advanced and convenient technologies will increase the attractiveness of the company in their eyes, and therefore – let you attract and retain good employees.
Another advantage of involving the development team in the choice is their ability to improve it or even suggest their own solution. Some companies create internal software for usage by their workers with the most efficiency. They let employees to develop tools that will be suitable for the particular team and project needs, which they will be comfortable to work with. And, of course, the company gets an ability to avoid using third-party software, be more independent and flexible.
You can assume that such a democracy in the organization of the workflow can damage the discipline or cause high costs for the company itself. However, if conservatism and some other concerns could restrain the company from moving to new software solutions before, then today this must not be difficult at all. In the current market conditions, the company should be open to new ideas and follow the innovations not to be left behind. You don't need to change the workflow for each new solution, just look through the most promising ones to use them when they really can improve your team productivity. Fortunately, today it's quite easy to test new solutions and go to them if necessary. Low risks and costs of such a decision - these factors can facilitate the transition to another task management tool.
At first, most of these tools have a demo or a free trial to begin with. Let you team to experiment with new proposed solutions before implementing them in the workflow. Secondly, most today's software products provide simple and quick integration with popular services which you are probably using. Thus, changing the environment does not threaten you with the loss of any data or developments and will pass as smoothly as possible. Complete API integration, Jira's add-ons market, Slack's chatbots ubiquity are vivid examples of this. It gives the whole team ample opportunities to learn available technologies and solutions to boost its productivity without compromising and losing the stability of the work.
However, providing flexibility and freedom of action for the team, managers still have to observe and control the process of interaction between its members. The software used must meet the safety criteria and the requirements of the project. There should be no confusion in the organization of collaboration. Managers have to specify general standards and agreements that everyone will follow to avoid ambiguity and misunderstanding. A good project management tool must cover a set of necessary tasks to stay really collaborative.
Joint decision making
A joint choice of a management and cooperation tool can be difficult and time consuming, but the successful implementation of this task is worth it, since communication and awareness in the team are essential conditions for resultative work. Bringing fresh minds to this task, its joint solution by all team members, taking into account the experience of other companies and new technologies will allow us to find the best approach to organizing the workflow with maximum efficiency.
And who in your company is responsible for the project management and collaboration tools you use? Are you satisfied with their choice?
Riter development team