Project Management Software Requirements Checklist and Template

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Managing a project with software can be intimidating if you’re not the most tech-savvy person. That means making and implementing project goals can be challenging when many project managers aren’t necessarily software experts. Luckily, project management software exists to make the process smoother and better for everyone. To find the perfect solution for your organization, you should start by gathering your project management software requirements. We’ve compiled a convenient checklist to help you get started:

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Project Management Requirements Checklist

This article will:

During the vendor selection process, it’s easy to get confused by the variety of tools and features on the market. Therefore, to avoid any distractions, it is important to know your organization’s needs and requirements. Check out the following comprehensive checklist that we built to get started on the right foot.

Begin By Answering These Questions

Where do you want to deploy the software?

This is one of the most fundamental questions to consider while looking for a product, and your PM software search should start with precise knowledge of your environment. Look for a product tailored to your industry or consider the department where you want to deploy the software. You can also choose according to the size of your organization. Also, the type of projects you undertake, like financial or IT-based, client-facing or internal, can create a baseline for the search.

Who will use the system?

Explore your software options based on the needs of your teams. These platforms can be utilized by an entire team, multiple teams or multiple organizations. The product scope should be based on both user feedback and vendor demands. Also, understanding your projects’ scope is vital to avoid unnecessary expenditure on functionalities and required capacities. Keep your organization’s future growth in mind to help gauge how scalable your new software should be.

How much technical assistance do you need for implementation?

Answering this will help you decide the desired flexibility of your PM solution. Buyers should have an idea of how they want the onboarding process to take place. Some systems don’t require technical knowledge on how to set up while others require expertise. Look for products with training tools and services if you are deploying software for the first time. If your end-users have used it before, then formal training sessions might not be necessary.

How much can you invest?

Knowing how much you can invest is undoubtedly a significant factor to consider. The prices of products may vary dramatically depending on the features provided, technical assistance and even according to separate tiers of the same product. After establishing your requirements, you can make better decisions and minimize unwanted costs.

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Key Requirements

Projects

The “project” part of project management is the core of this kind of software. Specifically, project management software oversees projects for software development, network upgrades, cloud computing, hardware installations, virtualization rollouts and other tech-based projects.

Software allows managers to define projects for their teams, laying out crucial information like scope, risks, assumptions, etc. This has the benefit of centralizing project information and cutting down on time-wasting communication to confirm project expectations.

If a project is standard for your organization, users can utilize pre-built plan templates that the solution stores for you. These templates can be based on a range of methodologies for your industry, or on specific use cases from previous projects. This makes it incredibly efficient for project managers to start a step ahead, rather than from scratch with every project.

SmartSheet Project Management Templates

Smartsheet offers diverse project management templates.

However, if a project is not standard, software also allows users to create new custom project templates. This maintains the organization and cohesion of the team without restricting them to a standardized template. Plus, once a custom template has been made, it can be easily duplicated for future use.

  • Define and Describe Projects
  • Pre-built Project Templates
  • Custom Project Templates

Tasks and Requirements

Part of managing a project is managing the team working to get it done. Software offers a range of features to allow project managers to organize and streamline their team. Users can segregate large goals into smaller tasks and subtasks, breaking down work into manageable structures. They can also give these tasks due dates to ensure the overall project stays on schedule.

Keeping a project on track requires specialized business rules. Software lets users define custom rules to ensure security and compliance from all team members. They can also automate certain actions like changing the priority of issues, assigning tasks to users, etc.

A Kanban view is a system based on the Japanese concept of Kanban, a simple planning system designed to promote efficiency and productivity. At its most basic, it separates tasks into three groups: to do, doing and done. It breaks tasks down into manageable chunks and monitors productivity in a simple and visual way. Software simplifies workflows and boosts efficiency by offering in-system Kanban views of tasks.

JIRA's Kanban View

Jira’s Kanban view of project tasks.

Another feature solutions offer are task dependencies. This allows users to assign tasks to team members that are dependent on other tasks, as well as organize tasks based on dependency. This keeps activities organized and on-track so no one is ever confused about what jobs need to be completed first in a queue.

  • Task and Subtask Creation
  • Business Rules
  • Kanban View of Tasks
  • Task Dependencies

Users and Roles

Because many projects involve sensitive information, role-based access to the project is critical. Solutions offer guest account access, which lets users invite clients, vendors, freelancers and other participants to access the project to limited degrees. This helps ensure data security and proper hierarchies of responsibility.

Another key feature of PM software is that it lets managers create user groups. For instance, freelancers are relegated to their designated sections of the project, but managers can see everything. This helps streamline collaboration and reduce confusion between teams.

  • Guest Accounts
  • User Groups Creation

Workflows

In addition to Kanban task views, user groups and task creation features, PM solutions allow users to create customized workflows. This means they can either follow pre-built suggested workflows with standardized task tracking or build their own. By defining how issues transition from one status to the next, users can stay organized and on-task.

  • Custom Workflows

Business Intelligence and Reporting

Business intelligence tools were once the purview of powerful enterprises with cash to burn. But now, most other types of software offer some elements of BI to help users. The goal of BI applications is to give users detailed reports and data related to their business processes.

Project management business intelligence capabilities offer a range of analytics and reporting options. Users can generate pre-built reports from templates that include standard KPIs like ROI or performance metrics. Summary reports offer managers an overview of project activities, tasks, deadlines and milestones. Users can view charts, performance metrics and other crucial KPIs to monitor their teams’ progress and ensure the overall project stays on track. These features usually include helpful charts and visualizations like bar charts, pie charts, donut charts, line graphs and more.

Dashboards are interactive and user-friendly interfaces that let users engage with BI functions. PM solutions with BI capabilities let users create dashboards with customizable views of key project data. This data is displayed in easily digested visualizations like graphs, charts, summaries and more. These dashboards even offer real-time updates so your project managers are always up to date.

Zoho Projects Reporting Dashboard

An interactive reporting dashboard from Zoho Projects.

If pre-built report templates aren’t enough, most solutions also offer the ability to create custom reports. These can be filtered by project status, milestones completed, priority, owner and a range of other parameters within the queue. This increases project visibility and allows managers to organize multiple projects at once.

A particularly useful data visualization offered by software is a resource utilization chart. This interactive visual helps users monitor work allocation amongst team members, ensuring that each person only gets the work they can handle and that work is distributed fairly.

  • Pre-built Reports
  • Summary Reports
  • Dashboards
  • Custom Reports
  • Charts and Visualizations
  • Resource Utilization Chart

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Functional Requirements

These are the nitty-gritty features of project management solutions that help get day-to-day jobs done. Custom fields allow users to create custom qualifiers for tasks and projects. This helps in task filtering, assignment and completion by ensuring clarity and promoting organization.

Webhooks are basically an alert system between applications. Whenever something happens on a server, a webhook will ping the host server with a notification. They are executable commands sent from one app to another over HTTP rather than the command line of your computer. How this manifests in project management is the ability to set push notifications for completed tasks, moved tasks, issues, etc. These automated alerts help keep managers up to date and team members accountable.

Project management also enables financial management capabilities. Users can track project budgets, bids and expenses through the budgeting and forecasting feature. This not only helps keep current projects on-budget, it helps management plan for future projects based on estimated and actual project expenses.

In the same vein, solutions offer risk management modules that help users identify and track risks associated with individual projects. This is especially crucial for projects: because they are usually based around implementing new technology for an organization, they are prone to first-time first-use penalties. This refers to the total risk that a company assumes when trying out a new piece of tech, and is crucial to take into consideration when risk management planning.

“Notebooks” refers to the in-software support of writing and sharing formatted content within a project interface. These files can then be downloaded as PDFs, enabling easy knowledge and information sharing both within the project and externally.

Something to find out when you’re shortlisting vendors is whether or not that vendor offers a free trial of their product. If so, how long can you access it? Many vendors offer this feature, and if they don’t, most will have demos or other example content like tours and FAQs to give users a feel for the UX.

  • Custom Fields
  • Webhooks
  • Budget and Forecasting
  • Risk Management
  • Notebooks
  • Free Trial

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Technical Requirements

These requirements focus on the technological needs of users. For instance, does this solution offer mobile access? If so, does this come in the form of a mobile site or a native app? This can be important if team members work remotely or simply for tracking project activity on the go.

A repository is a central storage location for data, files and code. It is utilized primarily by version control functions, which store various versions of files. This helps prevent crucial data from being lost and can keep a project on track in the event of accidental deletion or computer crashes. Systems offer included source code repositories to store multiple versions of files, but there are also third-party hosting options if you want even more control.

Does your organization use CRM software? If so, ensuring your software can successfully integrate with it is crucial. Integration can sync contacts directly between the systems, reducing data entry tasks and the risk of data duplication, as well as give users a direct connection with clients for customer support tasks.

Another important integration is that with email. Whether it’s Gmail or Outlook or another email suite, integrating your software with email offers a range of benefits. First, users can sign up for email alerts on tasks to ensure team members are alerted when a new task is moved into their court or a dependent task is completed. This boosts productivity and streamlines communication across channels.

Identity management is the name for a suite of security features that controls who has access to what data and which applications. The core of this is role-based access, which lets managers control what types of users or which individual users have access to specific systems and networks. This is useful for more than just mitigating the possibility of employees stealing data; when only crucial users have access to sensitive data, it also reduces the likelihood that a hapless employee with a computer virus will accidentally compromise the security of the system.

A final key integration capability of PM software is integration with file storage systems like Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc. This includes seamless conversion of document types as they are transferred, direct access to the file storage system within the user portal of the software and file attachment capabilities.

  • Android and iOS Native App
  • Source Code Repository
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Integration
  • Email Clients
  • Identity Management Systems
  • File Storage

Timesheets

Time tracking is vital for meeting deadlines, maintaining budgets and achieving success. Timesheets let employers track employee’s tasks and record time spent on projects or clients. You can check the validity of task estimates and also get early alerts about delays. A successful timesheet solution makes it convenient for your team to complete their tasks and improve project management, payroll processing and billing systems.

  • Online Time Tracking

Ease of Use

Above all, the most essential of your project management software requirements checklist is the need for a straightforward system. Some complicated tools involve a steep learning curve that can take users large amounts of time to get used to. You can use free trial offers of various tools to figure out how they work before opting for a specific system.

  • User-Friendly

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Next Steps

This comprehensive project management system requirements checklist should help you prepare for the process of selecting the perfect software solution for your organization. No solution is perfect for every company, so make sure you establish strict needs before you begin shortlisting vendors. Our free requirements template can assist you in this process and help save time by providing a pre-built set of criteria based on industry standards. Good luck in your software search!

Pooja VermaProject Management Software Requirements Checklist and Template

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