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5 effective project management tools you should try

by Elizabeth Harmon

Managing a project can be a difficult balancing act, regardless of the project’s size. You not only need to plan out the project itself, then execute it, but control each stage, monitor the performance of various people involved and keep track of your budget and resources.

Of course, you can manage all this by putting pen to paper, with endless email chains, or by creating a simple Gantt chart in a spreadsheet. However, there is now a wealth of project management software and tools aiming to help you stay on top of everything and work smarter.

If you run a simple Google search for “project management tools”, you’ll see 860 million results returned. Finding a suitable project management software solution for your business can, therefore, quite understandably, be quite an overwhelming task. But we’ve taken the hassle away from the process and have done some of the research work for you. So, here are five popular and effective tools that we think you should consider trying if you need help with your project management:

Basecamp

This is a project management and communication tool which can help you keep track of everything, whilst remaining transparent. Your team, external contractors and clients can also use it to stay in the loop regarding your project and communicate easily. You can create a to-do list where tasks can be assigned to various people. There’s a message board so you can talk with team members and even share important files, as well as key calendar dates relating to the project. Setting up an account is simple and as it’s a web-based software, it allows you to access it any time, from anywhere, even from your mobile device. This is a paid-for tool, but charges a flat fee per team, rather than charging per user.

Asana

Keep your projects on schedule with the help of Asana. With this tool, you can organise your team, manage tasks and easily track the progress of your projects. Start by creating a project board and breaking work down into smaller tasks. You can assign individual tasks to your team members, so you know at a glance, who is working on what. You can add deadlines, labels and mark the priority level of each task. Not only can you see everything from a board view, but you can also create a visual project plan too, so you can see how everything fits together and how everything is set to pan out over the duration of your project. To help keep everything in one place, so you don’t need to flick between multiple sites, Asana support over 100 integrations, such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Gmail, DropBox, Slack and more. Plus, with Asana’s mobile app, you can stay up-to-date on progress wherever you are. You can get started on Asana for free, but you may want to explore the paid plans, to benefit from some of their advanced features.

Trello

This is a popular project management tool which is extremely flexible and easy to use. It enables you to see, at a glance, how a project is progressing. It’s also available as a mobile app, which helps you keep track of projects, even whilst you’re on the go. Start by creating a board for your project, followed by lists, and then add individual tasks. Tasks can be moved to different lists, assigned to various people in your team and labelled. You can add deadlines to tasks too, so everyone understands the expectations and you’ll receive notifications each time a deadline is nearing, overdue, or when a task has been completed by a user. Trello is also free if you want to try it out. However, if you are managing a lot of projects at once, want to benefit from integrated tools and other features, a paid subscription may be worth considering.

Jira

Jira can help you create a clear view of your project and the tasks that need to be delivered. You can view these as boards or view the bigger picture via a visual roadmap. Each task can be assigned to a team member, with deadlines and labels. You can even integrate your tasks with tools you already use, such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Box, Salesforce etc. But to help add even more benefit to your project management, Jira provides reports. This is a useful feature which allows you to see, in real-time, how your team is really performing. A free 7-day trial is offered, but after that, you will need to pay a monthly fee based on how many users will be using the tool.

Wrike

Wrike can help by providing you with a platform where tasks can be added, priorities can be set, and progress can be monitored. It has built-in collaboration features, which means that everything you need to complete your project, remains all in one place. There’s no need to continuously switch between various tools or have masses of email chains. Wrike is easy to use, whether you’re in the office, or on-the-go and is already used by companies such as Google, HootSuite, Mars, L’Oréal and Hawaiian Airlines. For some of the more basic features, Wrike is completely free, but you may want to consider their paid plans to benefit from many of their advanced features.

This is not an exhaustive list of available project management software and tools. There are hundreds of options available and more being developed all the time. However, if you need help managing your projects, then this list is a good starting point.

If you are interested in improving your project management skills, either to get noticed in your current role or so you can add it to your CV, look at our Project Management Learning Library. We have over 1,070 digital assets aimed at developing your project management skills. You’ll learn more about Project Management Essentials, Best Practices in Project Management, CAPM, JIRA, Basecamp and much more.

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