Your Guide to Software Selection

IT Project Management Software Requirements Checklist

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

Projects

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

IT PM 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.

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If a project is standard for your organization, users can utilize pre-built IT project management plan templates that the solution stores for you. These templates can be based on a range of project management 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 offers diverse project management templates

However, if a project is not standard, IT project management 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. IT project management 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. IT project management 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. IT project management software simplifies workflows and boosts efficiency by offering in-system Kanban views of tasks.

Jira Software’s Kanban view of project tasks

Another feature IT PM offers is 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 IT projects involve sensitive information, role-based access to the project is critical. IT project management 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 IT 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, IT 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

BI

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 on the goings-on of their business.

IT PM business intelligence capabilities offer a range of these 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 the 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. The types of charts and visualizations offered by BI features include bar charts, pie charts, donut charts, line graphs, etc.

Dashboards are interactive and user-friendly interfaces that let users engage with BI functions. IT 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, etc. These dashboards even offer real-time updates so your project managers are always up to date.

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 IT project management 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 IT 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 IT PM 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.

IT PM 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, IT PM offers risk management modules that help users identify and track risks associated with individual projects. This is especially crucial for IT projects: because they are usually based around implementing a 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

Technical Requirements

These requirements focus on the technological needs of IT PM 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. IT project management 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 a CRM? If so, ensuring your IT project management 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 IT PM 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 IT 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

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Final Thoughts

This comprehensive IT project management 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. Good luck in your software search!

Did we miss any key requirements? Do you feel confident in moving forward in your software search? Let us know in the comments!

Bergen AdairIT Project Management Software Requirements Checklist

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