Managing multiple projects with multiple people is a time consuming job. If you’re organized and have ways to easily communicate with project participants the job can be less stressful, more efficient and hopefully more profitable. Finding the right tools to accomplish this might take a little trial and error, but hopefully this list can give you jump on where to start and what to look for.
Most of the tools suggested here are web-based and work on both PC and Mac computers and don’t require you to install any software to use. They are SaaS (Software as a Service) tools that allow you to use them with little to no set up or custom software installation. This is ideal for small to mid sized companies, especially ones without an IT department to manage or maintain custom software.
PROJECT MANAGEMENT & TEAM COLLABORATION
Some of the most important features for good collaborative project management tools are organized communication, file sharing and task management. When you have all these features in one system, it makes it easier to get a project to the finish line.
Communication is key for getting a project done while working with other people. Whether its only one other person or several different teams of people, having a centralized area where everyone can discuss and communicate in an organized manner will help keep a project pressing forward.
File sharing is the ability to upload files where everyone that should have access to it is able to download and review. Some examples of file sharing would include a photo for a project that your team needs to weigh in on or a text document that needs comments and markup.
Task management is ideal with larger projects so that to do items don’t fall through the cracks and work can be delegated and tracked. A good tool will allow you to organize tasks into groups, assign the work to another team members and have the ability to set a due date.
Using these tools regularly will create a repository of all the conversations, tasks and files associated with a project. It will make it easy for new people joining the project late to get quickly up to speed.
· Basecamp (Monthly fees)
· Wrike (Monthly fees)
· Asana (Free up to 15 users)
· Skylight (Monthly fees)
· Trello (Basic is free)
CONFERENCE CALLS AND VIDEO
Technology allows us to better collaborate remotely with people and teams. These tools are useful if you have staff working from home, clients in another state or just happen to have team members spread across the globe.
· Skype (Free)
· Google Hangouts (Free)
· Go To Meeting (Monthly Fees)
· Join.me (Monthly Fees)
Almost every email service out there has limitations on file sizes that you can attach and send. This makes it difficult to collaborate and get feedback on large files, especially when you are working with media assets like video and large scale graphics. The tools below make it easy to share documents over the web in a secure manner. They also have the option to store your file publicly if you need to share with people outside your team.
· Dropbox (Free up to 2 GB)
· Copy (Free up to 15 GB)
· Box (Free up to 50 GB)
Time tracking is important for any sized business for measuring efficiency and productivity. This affects the bottom line and the profitability for your company. Some of the project management tools listed do include time tracking built in, but depending on the needs of your business, they may not be robust enough for reports and statistics.
· Timely (Free for 1 user)
· Harvest (Monthly fees)
· TSheets (Monthly fees)