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5 free project management software solutionsLooking for project management software solutions? Here are some of the best options to choose from.

Project management software adoption is on the rise, as project managers and business leaders increasingly seek out such tools to increase operational efficiencies and meet business goals, according to Capterra’s Project Management Software User Research Report, released Wednesday.

Functionality remains the most important factor project managers consider when making software purchasing decisions, the report found. Before selecting the software that is right for your project needs, businesses and project managers must evaluate their internal environment, identify projects, confirm that software will sufficiently support all aspects, and do a trial run, a previous Capterra report advised.

SEE: IT project management: 10 ways to stay under budget (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“Organizations across industries need project management tools—and many of them needed them yesterday,” Eileen O’Loughlin, senior project management analyst at Capterra and the survey’s lead analyst, said in a press release. “Nearly 70 percent of users evaluated and purchased PM software in less than six months. This quick adoption shows just how critical PM tools are as businesses look to streamline and improve workflows.”

The report surveyed 400 US-based project management professionals, nearly 200 of which were project management software users.

The following seven factors were ranked as the most important in project management software purchasing decisions:

  1. Functionality (40%)
  2. Ease of use (24%)
  3. Price (9%)
  4. Customer support (9%)
  5. Implementation/training (8%)
  6. Company reputation (5%)
  7. Software popularity (5%)

Project management software trends

Cloud-based project management tools are on the rise, the report found: 60% of project managers surveyed said they now deploy cloud-based solutions on their current PM tools, while 40% said they use on-premise or desktop solutions. This matches up with organizations’ increasing transition to the cloud in general, as cloud-based tools allow project managers to access information and updates in real-time, across devices.

Cost also plays a major role in software purchasing decisions: 49% of users said they start their software search expecting to pay less than $5,000 annually, and 49% said they end up spending that amount, the report found.

Some 70% of users said they are largely satisfied with their current PM tools, and report improvement in a number of areas, including an increase in the number of projects completed on time, according to the report.

Project management software usage is also evolving, the report found. Task boards, portfolio management, and gantt charts are the most desired project management tool features, it added. Most notably, these tools are changing from those designed for technical users to those for less technical business professionals who have moved into project management roles later in their careers.

For more, check out Why your software project failed, and how to succeed next time on TechRepublic.

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Project manager meeting with team for decision on planning milestones and deliverables, Gantt chart schedule on computer screen, 3 people in office

Image: iStockphoto/NicoElNino

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