Picking the best software for your business is an important task, especially when it comes to project management. Your team has goals to achieve and projects to complete. To do them right you need a tool that facilitates your efforts, is easy to interpret, and keeps you organized. The challenge is there are SO many project management tools available online. Which one is right for you?
Unfortunately, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ tool that’s perfect for everyone. But here are a couple of ways to make your tool search a bit easier.
Start With ‘Must Have’
Make a brief outline of how you’d like a tool to improve your work flow. Are you trying to centralize communications? Do you need to see the status of certain tasks? Decide what functions you’ll be using.
Then, break your wish list into two columns: ‘Must Have’ and ‘Nice to Have.’ This will help you focus your priorities. For example the chat function in some tools can be replicated by email, Skype, Slack and a dozen other tools. But for some companies a built-in collaboration function is a ‘must have’ feature. They want discussions centralized and easily sorted by project.
Projects or Processes?
Next, decide whether your focus is on managing projects, or processes. The software you choose will be affected by this critical distinction.
A project has an end date and a point at which it is no longer worked on. An example is designing a website. When you hand over the site to the client the project is completed. If you are looking for project driven tools then you might look for features like Gantt charts to track project status against the target completion date. A project focused tool might also be stronger in features such as connecting tasks to staff availability.
A process has a recurring element to it. For example, your company probably has a sales process that is the exact same for every new sales lead. Every lead is treated the same way, according to rules established by your sales process.
For example, when a visitor registers on your website a new card is created on your kanban board. The contact might then be contacted for a meeting. If that goes well then they might be upgraded to a marketing qualified lead. And so on. This same process repeats again and again as new visitors register on the site and need to be helped through to becoming clients.
A process oriented tool might emphasize features like check lists, which support repeated actions. Another helpful feature is task dependencies. When one action is ticked off, a new task is created, sometimes in a different work area.
A Place To Start
The number of tools on the market seems to grow every month. Listing them all would be nearly impossible. But here are a few places to start your quest for project management success.
If you are leaning towards project oriented tool then take a look at Wrike, Teamweek, Clickup, and TeamGantt
If you are leaning towards process oriented tools then check out Trello, Asana, and KanbanFlow.
For hybrid users Monday and Pipefy are worth a look.
And remember, if you don’t find what you’re looking for just change your search criteria. A Google search for “project management tools” will return different results than “team task management tools”.
As with many things, “what’s best?” depends on your unique situation. There’s no ‘best’ solution, only the one that’s right for you.
Pricing is of course a consideration when choosing a tool. Given how much work goes into developing amazing task management solutions, price shouldn’t be a primary consideration. It is however worth noting that some tools like Trello, Bitrix 24 and Zenkit have very robust free tiers. So much that you may not need to purchase an ongoing subscription.
Starting with a project management tool is a pretty big commitment. Once you start with a new software, it’s not easy to pivot mid-stream to another tool. Choose wisely!
The easiest way to find the solution best for your company is to do a free trial of all the products that match your basic criteria. It’s easy to quickly eliminate solutions that are obviously “not right” for you. It’s a lot tougher to narrow down the ones that “might” be a good match. The only way to know for sure is to take some time to use them for a very small project to see how it goes.
If you think you might like a tool, but haven’t had enough time to properly evaluate it just let the developers know. Most of the time they’ll be more than happy to extend your free trial period so you can make a confident decision.