Results of Our Survey on Project Management Tools

Hi guys! We are extremely grateful to all those who participated in our recent survey on project management tools (if you haven’t done it yet, feel free to do it now — all opinions should be considered!), and now we’d like to share the results we’ve got. We are sure that they will be interesting for many of you, and maybe you will even be able to use them in your practice like we are going to do ourselves.

It should come as no surprise that requirements of managers, developers and other members of software development teams to the project management tool used in their companies are quite different, and one can see that from the survey results. However, it’s needless to point out if it’s managers, developers or other specialists who rocked the vote in question. Turns out, it doesn’t matter really, and here’s why.

Survey participants

We’ve received responds from project and product managers, developers, PMO directors, Scrum masters, product owners and team leads, CTO, UI/UX designers, DevOps engineers, freelancers, QA engineers, developers with some project management duties and vice versa. And guess what — most of them are not satisfied with their tools. Regardless of their role or team position. Regardless of their rights for decision making. In exact figures, only 17% of all respondents find their project management tool good enough for their needs. About 38% don’t like their tool too much. Another 40% think that their tool could be better. Up to 5% hate their tools and wish to replace them. But only several percent are really ready to do this.

Quite a daunting picture, but we’re set to see it in detail.

Most of the respondents described themselves as project managers, team leads, product owners and so on. Many of them are working on own startups and thus have the right to choose or, at least, participate in the decision-making process. So, their dissatisfaction with tools they’ve come to use does not stem from lack of opportunity to suggest a better option.

Team sizes

Then, most of the respondents work in small teams: 54% — up to 10 employees, 28% — up to 20 employees. It’s rather simple to move to another platform/project management tool for a small team, so it can’t be the reason for sticking to a suboptimal solution either.

Willingness to change something

Moreover, about 77% of respondents stated that it would be easy to replace their tool with a new one. Other 23% have been using a particular app for too long a time and think that it would be difficult to retrain for another one. But even in this case, we’d say it depends. Many of today’s project management tools are quite similar, common features are many and almost any given interface is looking familiar to a seasoned PM tool user. Data transfer into a new platform doesn’t seem to us to be that much of a hassle these days. Should we at all be driven to believe any ‘app habit’ is involved?

Used now

And when it comes to the statement of the preferred app by our respondents, it is certainly not the choice of bad, primitive and overly simplistic tools that plagues the survey results. On the contrary, most of the respondents, as we could guess, use Jira (46.2%) and Trello (12.5%). These applications provide users with quite a wide range of features, extensions, and settings.

Needs of the teams

Our judgement based on this data is that either even the most advanced existing solutions are not enough provision for respondents’ needs or functionality is not at all where it’s at. Interestingly, each individual respondent has stated far less requirements than we expected. To name some popular choices, the most requested functions were the ability to find something in the project history (for 60% of respondents), integration with other services (55%), speed, convenience, and responsiveness (55%). On the other side of the claims spectrum, extensive access settings were the least claimed (13%). Such are the small number and basic nature of requirements from each participant that even the leading solutions on offer can’t satisfy at the moment. We tend to believe that what really matters is the ability of a tool to solve tasks without complicating the workflow.

Let’s sum up

So, what’s the bottom line? Users are not satisfied with existing tools but continue to use them just because they don’t have a better alternative. It is foolish to change something in one’s workflow if a new solution does not solve existing problems but only shifts them unpredictably into another field. As a result, some of the respondents even told that they hate their project management tools but no other tool can do what they need. Some teams resort to using several different tools at the same time to organize their workflow. Other ones (3%) had to develop own tool to get what they need.

As a software development team, we have got some of these observations before from personal experience. This was one of the reasons to create an own project management tool for our needs instead of using third-party solutions. Now, having studied and analyzed the experience of other teams and companies, learned the differences in requirements for the tool of specialists in different roles, different IT fields, with different experiences and team sizes, we aim to identify patterns and combine the optimal solution for everybody in one product.

Such a tool that would be equally useful for various project conditions, satisfying managers, developers, QA engineers, UI/UX designers, DevOps engineers, etc. If not for every task and everybody, then, at least, for some teams. And before you criticize, remember those 17% of our survey respondents who are completely satisfied with their tools. And ask your teammates whether they belong to those 17%. If we could increase this number to at least 20%, this would be a good start. And lastly, always listen to the opinion of your team, and not just other managers, when it comes to choosing project management and other workflow tools.

We are grateful for your detailed answers and additions to the options for answers. If you want to help us further, share the survey with your teammates and IT friends. Maybe we’re missing some important results and opinions.

If you have other questions to our team, feel free to contact us. Have a good time and good luck with your projects!

Riter development team