Project management is the cornerstone of any productive business. Software tools designed for project managers, and tools that can be adapted or used to enhance the project management process are imperative to successful and well executed projects. Often, however, we’re overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the tools that we make use of. Knowing which applications are effective for what can often be a case of trial and error, leading to lost time and money. Let’s try and clear away some of the fog around these applications and look at five of the best project management tools.
A visual representation of your project, the deliverables and other nuances of the project can be incredibly useful, and Trello excels at this. It’s built with collaboration in mind and can be useful for both team and your personal organization. Many agile software development teams make use of Trello for their workflows, but there is definitely use for it in other departments and teams – stretching all the way from human resources to helpdesks and marketing.
Trello is a simple tool, dividing a task board into columns, and allowing you to create cards which act as tasks. People and resources can be assigned to these cards, and they can be easily color coded based on your personal key.
The Gantt chart is the very foundation of project management, and a tool like GanttPRO or a similar project planning application is a must-have in any project manager’s application portfolio. GanttPRO is a free application that lets you quickly and easily build Gantt charts, complete with resource allocations and export tools, all nicely packaged in a drag and drop interface.
If you have a need to keep time records for your projects, then a tool like Toggl becomes indispensable. It allows you and your team, employees and freelancers to track the time spent on specific projects or clients, and a combination of these. It has handy export features and native applications if you don’t fancy using it in a web browser. Expect to pay for Toggl, but you’ll quickly see that the price is worth the boost to productivity.
Slack is perhaps one of the most widely used project collaboration tools today. It organizes your conversations and communications into open channels and integrates with many of the tools mentioned in this list, like Trello. In a modern world where the short text message is the preferred way of communicating, Slack will help your business significantly cut down on the volume of emails you send and receive, and instead have you exchange messages in a quick and easy chat environment.
Microsoft Office has to be included in any list where productivity is front and center. It’s a fully-fledged and integrated productivity suite that includes tools for just about anything. In fact, using the made-for-purpose Microsoft Project might eliminate the need for at least two of the tools on this very list. Harnessing the power of the applications as parts of a whole instead of individually will greatly increase your productivity too. For example, using a tool with which you can take your Outlook Calendar and you can export as Excel, CSV or PDF file might mean you can use it as a Toggl alternative.
Project management and the many different forms and methods available to you and your business’s project managers can only be enhanced with the correct set of tools. Providing well thought out and useful collaborative and project management focused applications and workflows will see you get more from your people, which will lead to enhanced productivity and better profits.