At one time keeping track of progress on projects meant an endless stream of meetings and progress reports. Just reporting on work or progress took valuable time away from actually getting work done. Now, with a wide range of digital project management solutions, project managers can get real time information about what stage of completion various tasks are in without having to gather the team for time-consuming meetings. Project management solutions can also make transitions smoother when team members change or even if someone is just out sick for the day. Here is an overview of some of the top project management solutions and how to choose the right one for you.
Figure out your priorities
If you need to track mileage or expenses, that will require a different type of project management solution than a business that has multiple projects in various stages of development or a business such as a florist or bakery that mostly needs to track daily tasks and match them with inventory. One great way to start finding the right solution for you is to prioritize your needs and then find the best solution for them. Here are some potential tasks that you may need project management solutions for.
- Tracking orders
- Managing inventory
- Collaborating with others
- Managing projects using a timeline
- Integrating with other solutions
- Time tracking
- Mileage and expense tracking
- Customizing workflows or creating custom fields and reports
Once you have an understanding of what your biggest needs are for your individual business, you can start finding the right solution to meet them. In addition to logistical needs, you may find that you actually prefer the layout or format of one solution or another. Conversely, however, you may find you prefer one program while the rest of your team actually integrates better with a different type of solution.
Here are some of the best project management solutions and some features of each.
Teamwork projects is possibly one of the most robust project management apps on the market. Teamwork Projects also integrates seamlessly with hundreds of other apps and programs you may use such as G-Suite, Quickbooks, HubSpot and Zen Desk. It is fully customizable to meet the individual and specific needs of your business. If you want a project management solution that is completely 100% tailored to your specific and individual needs, then this is the solution for you.
BaseCamp is essentially a cross between Evernote and Slack. It offers the communication and chat functionality of slack but with a more visual interface. It also offers the same functionality that Evernote offers to share media and attach images, ideas or files. Think of BaseCamp like an idea board that the entire team can comment on while still being able to track the progress of ideas from conception to completion. Best of all, BaseCamp offers flat rate pricing for businesses large and small and a 30 day free trial.
Asana is like a multi-person to-do list that allows you to assign tasks, see what has been completed, what is in progress and quickly reassign tasks. While some businesses may need a more robust project manager that integrates seamlessly with a number of other apps and programs, sometimes you just need something simple, streamlined and easy to use. If you have a small business or just want to try it out for a while, Asana offers a free version that you can upgrade to a paid monthly subscription if your business grows or you want more features.
Sometimes, the best tools are the ones you may already be using. If you already have a subscription to Office 365, you may have all the project management tools you need without having to shell out for another subscription. Microsoft Excel has several pre-made projects management templates for you to use, but if you don’t like what they have to offer, there are plenty more floating out in the community or you can even make your own.
Trello is a highly visual project management tool that is based on the Kanban technique. Trello allows you to actually visually follow tasks from start to completion and quickly match various tasks to different projects. It allows you to quickly ascertain what stage each project is in and how close to completion each is, as well as quickly determine where there are roadblocks or obstacles. If you have to manage various projects simultaneously, Trello might be just right for you.
Whatever your needs, there is most likely a project management tool that is just right for you. From the largest company to the smallest independent business, project management tools can help you make the most of your time and keep you on track.