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First thing in the morning, a business owner checks his email, wondering what his team did the day before. On the other side of the globe, the business’ content manager is turning in for the night, ending a full day of work. In the past, communication between the two would have been tricky. Now, they’re able to leave comments and suggestions on projects, show changes they made, and bring in the rest of the team despite the time zone difference.
As more businesses have hired remote workers, the need for richer collaboration has grown. Fortunately, online tools have evolved to meet that need, giving companies new ways to approach project management.
Project management tools have evolved in impressive ways over the last decade. Employees can share information in more ways than ever before. Many project management tools even provide training opportunities and help employees move upward in their company. Given the wide variety of options, it can be difficult to choose the tools that best suit the needs of your business. Let’s take a look at five of the best project management platforms to use in 2019:
Asana is one of the most-used project management tools out there, having options for solo entrepreneurs as well as big businesses with huge teams. Their free version is effective for a lot of project management needs, from creating detailed to-do lists grouped by project to building complex workflows via boards. There are a few methods for tracking hours per project or task, if you need a way to set limits or determine how much to charge a client.
By upgrading to a paid plan, you’ll be able to access more features that make things like creating templates and planning work easier. You can also add team members and keep certain projects private, sharing them with individuals or groups as you choose. Since an Asana task shows all of the actions that have been made on it, you can keep an eye on your team members. Seek out those who are performing especially well and consider them for more advanced projects.
Jira is one of the top project management tools for teams that are gearing up to release software. Jira is considered an agile tool for agile teams, which is key to creating a cross-functional workforce able to create, test, and release a product on its own. While Jira may be intimidating for beginners, it’s robust enough to handle even complex software releases.
With Jira, teams can enter projects into a central database. Each project will go through a predetermined workflow. These workflows set the guidelines for how projects proceed and transition through its stages. While it’s designed for agile project management, it can also be used for traditional project management.
KanbanFlow allows users to take advantage of the Kanban method, a way to visualize a project and all of the steps required to see it through to completion. It’s helpful for individuals, but it’s especially useful for teams. Team members can see all the components that need to be worked on and then move them to the next column for the next task or to show completion.
There are a lot of Kanban project management tools out there, but KanbanFlow has the unique ability to time tasks. In addition to seeing how long a task takes, KanbanFlow can also show how long a task has been in the same column without making progress.
LiquidPlanner is the project management tool of choice for businesses that need the versatility of a wide variety of features and have the time to learn how to use them. It’s also useful if teams need to track ongoing issues. LiquidPlanner’s reporting tools are robust, giving supervisors insight into each employee’s performance.
Individual pieces of work can be assigned to a particular user or an entire group. What’s nice is that the tool takes into account the other work that the person or team still has to do and smartly estimates project deliverables. This prevents assignments from building up and keeps workloads from becoming overwhelming.
Wunderlist is a fantastic tool for all types of project management, whether you’re a business of one or a larger company. You can use the original Wunderlist and adapt it for your needs, or you can upgrade to Wunderlist Business for more management options. Wunderlist has desktop and mobile apps, making it easy to update it from wherever you are.
If most of your project management relies on creating tasks in a to-do list, Wunderlist is an easy-to-use tool. It’s efficient, intuitive, and a breeze to learn. You can add employees to your account and assign them tasks, and you can also add all sorts of things to tasks, like links and screenshots. Children’s formal wear brand owner Lisa Chu states, “I love this app because it’s a lot more efficient than a notepad, and I can add my employees onto Wunderlist and assign them a task directly from this app. Without this app, my life would be very unorganized.”
There is a direct relationship between office organization and employee morale. Keeping an organized space and offering tools to help employees organize to prepare for daily tasks gives them a greater sense of structure and purpose. In a similar fashion, your virtual workspace can impact morale. These project management tools can bring structure and improved communication between workers — necessary accommodations for creating a functional, unified remote workforce.
You can continue handling your project management the old-fashioned way, with cluttered calendars or hard-copy planners. The idea of project management, though, is to lessen your workload when it comes to administrative tasks and planning so that you can focus on the most creative or critical aspects of a project. The best project management tools for you will be ones that enhances your work experience — not those that distract from it.