Not Enough Time to Do it All? These Tools Might Help
Guest Post: Sharon Hurley Hall
When the Communications Network conducted its 2011 “State of the Practice Survey,” foundation communications practitioners said their biggest frustration — “far and away” — was not having enough time to do all that is being required of them as their roles grow. If finding more time to get everything done isn’t an option, perhaps some help can be found in taking advantage of online project management tools.
Here are six we identified, including five that are free:
- manage multiple projects
- break those projects down into tasks
- assign those tasks to people or teams and prioritize them
- set and track deadlines and timelines
- track decisions and changes
- facilitate team collaboration and communication
- upload and share files
- update team members about project status
- run reports on projects
See if you find one or more you like from the list below.
Free Project Management Software
You can’t beat the price point of Asana – it’s free for teams of up to 30. Asana offers multiple workspaces, real time updates, subscriptions to projects and tasks, activity feeds and much more. It also includes priority headings and tags. One of its best features is the ability to handle most functions via email. This web app (also available on iPhone) is known for its speed and responsiveness, incorporating a range of keyboard shortcuts to ensure that you can get things done quickly. People use it for everything from simple task lists to complex projects using agile project management methodologies.
Trello takes a different approach to project management. The workspace is like a big, supercharged whiteboard, where you put your tasks on cards and then arrange them in lists. Each card includes notes, due dates, checklists, labels, collaborators and attachments and there are good filtering options so you only see the cards you want. All activity on each card is tracked and saved so you always have a project history. To collaborate with others, just add them to a board, and then assign cards. People can even vote on the info on cards if you need to poll opinions and the site includes real time notifications.
Freedcamp is a web app that incorporates easy management of user permissions, instant notifications (with email reply), an all-in-one project dashboard, a group wall for project communications (great for easy information sharing), project templates for repeated tasks and milestones. The customizable dashboard includes widgets to pull in project information from different sources and it integrates with a range of add-on apps.
Want to add a bit of pizzazz to your project management tasks? Then try Moovia, which has one feature that sets it apart from the rest. It uses gamification as a tool to encourage teams. That means team members’ profiles include badges for teamwork, engagement and personality – what fun! Apart from that, Moovia includes a project dashboard incorporating the same type of updates you’d see on social networks to make sure everyone is kept up to speed. Behind the scenes it works with various project management methodologies. It also incorporates Gantt charts and integrates with Google Docs.
Teambox is another popular online collaboration and project management tool, which is available not just on the web, but for iOs. It also integrates with Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Drive, Dropbox and Box, and includes a whopping 15GB of free storage. The basic level is free for up to 5 users, and it’s only $5 per month per user for more than that. Teambox integrates tasks, conversations and files into a single workspace. Discussions are also centralized and can be shared with clients. Additional features include pages for notes, time tracking, group chat, calendar sync and Gantt charts.
Basecamp is one of the most popular paid, or “enterprise” project management tools online. One of the key features for Basecamp is that everything that relates to a project is on one page – which means there’s just one place to check for project parameters, lists, files, and brainstorming. There’s fine control over who sees what and all discussions are in one place. It even incorporates a team calendar. The app includes real time project updates, a daily email report and the ability to track every single project change and see who’s made it. You can even recover deleted material. With prices ranging from $20 to $150 a month, there’s a level for every type of user.
What management tools are you and your team using? We’d like to know more about how our members are collaborating!
Sharon Hurley Hall has worked as a blogger, journalist, academic and ghost writer over a career spanning more than 20 years. Connect with Sharon on her website.
Cloud Map Image: Martin Burns/Flickr