The answer of course is Yes, but digging deeper, the question arises: what special needs do L&D teams have regarding features of project management software, that off-the-shelf solutions might lack?
Of course, project management software has exploded in popularity. Crowdsourced software review site G2 counts 397 project management software solutions currently available. Indeed, simply because there are so many does not mean that any one of these would make sense for instructional design teams.
Let’s have a look at the special needs of L&D teams when seeking project management tools to help guide them and keep them on track as they develop learning experiences for employees.
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ADDIE and Instructional Design Models
Conventional project management software is not built for instructional design because such software doesn’t incorporate the often iterative process of designing courses.
For example, most project management tools focus on the completion of tasks and measure the number of tasks completed by the due date in a dashboard or column/Kanbanformat, as a way to show project managers what is coming due and what is late.
However, the back and forth process of ADDIE and other instructional design models doesn’t fit in with the nature of traditional project management. If a subject matter expert finishes providing the text-based content, they would simply mark it off as complete in regular project management software. However, in instructional design, once the SME has handed in their work, they continue to be needed on the project to refine messaging, as designers and programmers will need the SME to step in and adjust content as needed.
In fact, a search for ADDIE on G2 delivers zero results:
This does not mean that no generic project management software would be of use to learning teams. However, if out of close to 400 software solutions, none mention ADDIE, the most widely-used instructional design model, then a special, purpose-built project management suite for learning professionals should be considered.
Data Capture Back to the Business
Conventional project management software does capture data—data on projects completed, on time, late, and such.
What is missing is the ability to capture data that needs to be sent back to the business to understand the time and costs associated with the development of courses or training support materials.
While many project management software tools allow integrations, such as for timekeeping or expense tracking, those are add-on’s and could be costly for L&D’s use. Instead, a project management suite purpose-built for learning teams would have such features already built in.
Another issue with generic project management tools is that they simply have managers assign tasks to team members without understanding what the capacity of those team members is to carry through and complete their tasks.
Project management software for L&D needs a deeper layer of understanding each team member’s capacity to contribute to the project.
An additional layer of reporting is needed that informs the manager of the following:
- How much time each time member truly has to contribute to specific tasks on the project
- The expected amount of time needed to complete that task
- The expertise level needed to complete that task, and whether the assigned employee meets that level.
As such, regular project management software does not meet the needs of today’s instructional design teams.
Use this eLearning Project Plan Template to keep all the relevant information in one place and maintain oversight on the project’s progress.