There are many quality project management programs out there to choose from, but to narrow down the selection, you need to determine what exactly you want it to do. Just like ice cream has different flavors and additional toppings, there are many “best” tools with added “bells and whistles” that you might not need in a management program. Before you start shopping for the best project management tools for your business, ask yourself the following questions:
Do We Even Need It?
If you are a small to medium-sized business that is sick of the email glut happening in everyone’s inboxes—and all the things “slipping through the cracks” as a result—you need a project management tool. Not to mention that the Post-It notes relative to a collaborative project that may be stuck to every inch of your working space unfortunately can’t be seen by everyone else working on that project! Having everyone be able to view the same calendar, participate in the same online chats, and contribute collaboratively toward the same endeavor is a huge plus for any business. Being able to share attachments, view archived and categorized tasks and know at a glance who’s doing what are all the “additional toppings” I referred to earlier.
Chances are, your business could benefit from a project management tool. But once that’s determined, how do you know which one to use?
How Much is Enough?
A good idea when shopping for project management tools is to download a free trial—almost all apps offer two- to three-week trials—so you can download and “test run” before obligating to a long-term subscription. For the small business, look for plans that charge a flat monthly rate for a set number of licenses or for unlimited licenses, with two or three different tiers of “added toppings.”
Different pricing tiers are based on the amount of features, amount of storage space and/or number of users that will be utilizing the system. You can choose a lower tiered plan to start, try it out with a few key members of your team, then determine from there if you feel upgrading to a more robust level would be more advantageous to your employees and your company.
Tiered levels allow small businesses to be able to utilize the same features as larger enterprise plans, but at a price that fits within their budget.
What to Look For:
But what specific tools and features are out there for businesses? Here are the main aspects of project management tools.
Collaboration — Many project management software include communications and collaboration tools, a huge benefit when you have people spread all over the map needing to log into one central online workspace and work as one collaborative team. If a collaboration tool isn’t built into the project management system, check to see if they connect to a collaboration app your company may already use, such as Slack or Google Docs.
Task Management — When shopping for a project management system that fits your company’s specific needs, you might discover that instead of a “full-blown” program, you may do just fine with a scaled-down task management app. Some examples of good task management programs are Trello, Asana and Basecamp.
Scheduling — Having a shared calendar that everyone on your team can access and edit is critical for staying informed with what’s happening around the office. With a well-equipped calendar, your team will never double book appointments or meetings again, which will help your business run more efficiently. Try Daylite for a robust calendar option.
Bottom line: Do your homework. Evaluate how members of your company team currently communicate with each other, and which project management tools would be most beneficial for them to excel in their role, which, in turn will benefit your customers…and your bottom line!