Every team needs a project manager, but not every team needs project management software. In fact, there are certain situations where project manager would be more of a hindrance than help. If you don’t know the difference, you may end up wasting your money—or even worse, time.

You know you don’t need project management software if:

Projects are Small, Simple, and Fast

Most projects are huge, lumbering, and complex, and need an orchestra’s worth of people to pull off over the course of months, or even years. Others, however, are small and quick, and can be finished in a couple of days or less. These micro-projects are over and done with so quickly that managing it via a project management tool can take even longer than the project itself. If your business is modeled on these quick one-off projects, then perhaps you don’t need project management software to track them.

You’re a One Man Team

Project management software is most effective when coordinating multiple contributors. So solo operators or freelancers, especially in the creative fields like writing or graphic design, don’t often need full-featured project management software to manage their work—especially if they handle quick one-off projects like I mentioned above. Instead, they can get away with using task management tools with simpler features.

Your Process Already Works

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Don’t be afraid of using low-tech methods of managing projects if that’s what really works for you. My old design agency used to schedule projects on a huge whiteboard dotted with post-it notes. I’ve also received comments from people who are perfectly happy with their combination of Excel and Outlook Express. Don’t feel pressured to upgrade to an awkward project management software if your people already have a good thing going.

As always, the key to knowing whether or not you should buy is to do a proper evaluation of your requirements and see if new project management software really will help. But remember that businesses change all the time, so it’s a good idea to reevaluate your needs at least a couple of times a year.

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