Like many project managers heading busy offices, you might rely on a confusing heap of Excel spreadsheets, disjointed email messages and disorderly sticky notes to get by. Mac project management (PM) software can streamline the organization process, increasing your productivity and freeing up your team to take on more projects. This means more revenue generated using the same amount of resources. Some project managers report production increases as high as 30 percent using PM software. Mac project management tools will manage your projects and keep all communications organized, including requests, issues and change alerts. Most of these solutions are cross-platform compatible and even include apps for mobile devices.
To satisfy the needs of traditionally educated project managers, the best Mac project management software supports traditional project management methodologies, including interactive Gantt charts and Agile SCRUM processes. However, this type of software also includes PM tools for ad-hoc project managers who may not know anything about formal PM methodologies. These services also help satisfy the needs of your stakeholders; project planners for Mac can create reports, monitor budgets and expenses, provide free client access to projects and facilitate collaboration across time zones with 24/7 online access. Most PM tools will even invoice clients and integrate with your company's accounting solution, along with Outlook, Salesforce and other tools, either via direct integrations or application programming interfaces (APIs). Increasingly, project management tools also include social media tools for better team collaboration.
With the top software, you'll also get free client interfaces. Using these tools, your customers can submit requests and view the status of projects. So that you can manage your own security protocols, many software products allow you to install the solution on-premise.
If you are looking for a cross-platform PM solution that supports Windows PCs, Macs and mobile devices, check out Clarizen. For PM software that offers advanced social media tools, try Genius Project. If you want to get your team on board quickly with a minimal learning curve, consider Workfront. You can read additional articles on Mac Project Management Software in our Learning Center. To help you decide if the benefits of new project management software justify its cost, we've prepared the article "Cost Analysis: Determining the ROI of Project Management Solutions," which you can use to run some numbers.
While evaluating these PM solutions, we compared their basic project management tools, such as budgeting and task management, as well as their resource management and collaboration features, like team-member management and social media communication tools. When you add a project management solution, you're often choosing a partner that will stay with you a long time, so we looked at how active the developers are in creating new features based on market demand. We also checked if they provide advanced professional service options to support your company through the years. The best Mac project management companies evolve with emergent technologies, satisfy their clients' requests for new features and provide exceptional one-on-one customer service.
Other considerations: Project management software should keep pace with new technology. Therefore, we checked with each company about the new features they have added over the past year and what new features they have in development. We also evaluated those features, using the following questions as a guideline: Are the products useful, and do they respond to market and customer demand? Do these features respond to emergent technologies? Does the company respond when you need help? Will a representative fly in to train your team in person?
Below are the criteria we used to evaluate Mac project management software:
Project Management Tools
The most adept Mac project management software balances traditional project management tools with emergent technologies. For example, your software should support traditional PM processes such as Waterfall, Agile, PRINCE2 and Chain methods, but you should also be able to use this software to create new processes specific to your needs. The best Mac project management solutions should also help you manage project portfolios, budgets, issues, requests, risks and tasks. Finally, the best software will help you satisfy stakeholder requirements with advanced reporting options and easy ways to share these reports.
Mac project planning software should easily manage all types of resources, including team members, external resources, generic resources, documents and physical assets. The best project planning software for Mac can also track related expenses and timesheets. When reviewing these products, we considered advanced resource-management tools such as those that manage resources and tasks across multiple projects, as well as filters for sorting resources by ability and skill level.
Since Facebook and Twitter made social media ubiquitous, people have demanded easy-to-use collaboration features and social media-type team collaboration tools. Top Mac project management systems include streaming discussion feeds, messaging and email integration. Many also let users tie discussions to specific files; for example, some software makes it possible for team members to add commentary to a design image the team is working on together. The best project planners also provide online portals for interacting effectively with clients and other stakeholders.
Ease of Use
You adopt project planning software to make your work life easier, so the software should be easy to use. You and your team may face a bit of a learning curve, though, so we gave higher ratings to PM solutions that provide adoption plans to help clients get the rest of their team on board. These plans help team members learn how to maximize the software's potential as quickly as possible. We also looked for convenience features such as drag-and-drop tools, project templates, project cloning and task copying.
Integration & Professional Services
Since adding project management software usually marks the start of a long-term partnership, look for a company that provides long-term assistance. Clients should receive support throughout the life of a contract, and the support teams should be dedicated and motivated to help you resolve all issues to your satisfaction. Look for the features that matter most to your business: if you have a large company where a lot of people will use the software, you may need better on-site training.
The best project management solutions work with your existing business systems. If not, the software company should create custom integrations for your business or provide access to APIs so you can have them created. Nearly all solutions provide Outlook integration, and many have out-of-the-box integration with popular accounting software and Microsoft products such as SharePoint. Other professional services include implementation assistance, scheduled checkups with a dedicated account manager, 24-hour telephone support and one-on-one training.
Most Mac project management solutions work across platforms, so it doesn't matter if your office uses all Macs or a mixture of Macs, PCs and mobile devices. No matter what operating systems your team uses, team members can use these project management tools to increase efficiency, gain clearer insight and, ultimately, take on more projects.