Project management tools are software applications or platforms that help individuals and teams plan, organize, and manage various aspects of a project, such as tasks, timelines, resources, and communication. Examples of project management tools include Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Jira, and Monday.com etc.
These tools can be used for various types of projects, such as software development, marketing campaigns, and construction projects. Some tools offer basic features such as task assignment and tracking, while others provide advanced capabilities such as resource allocation, budget tracking, and collaboration tools.
As a founder or senior executive, it is important to choose the right project management solution for software development in order to ensure the success of your projects.
The right project management solution can help you stay organized and on track, ensure the quality of your software, and ensure that your development team is working together efficiently. The goal of this blog post is to provide an overview of the various tools along with a framework for how to evaluate them and choose the right partner for your needs.
Why do you need project and task management tools?
Project management tools are useful for several reasons:
- Task Management: They allow team members to assign, track, and organize tasks, set deadlines, and monitor progress.
- Communication: They provide a central location for team members to communicate, share files, and collaborate on tasks.
- Resource Management: They can help you manage resources, such as people, equipment, and materials, and ensure that they are being used effectively.
- Time Management: They can help you keep track of time and ensure that tasks are completed on schedule.
- Budget Management: They can help you track expenses and ensure that you stay within budget.
- Risk Management: They can help you identify potential risks and develop plans to mitigate them.
- Reporting: They can provide detailed reports on project progress, expenses, and other metrics, which can be used to evaluate project performance and make data-driven decisions.
Overall, project management tools can help teams to be more organized, efficient, and effective in their work, which can lead to better project outcomes and increased productivity.
Which are the top Project Management tools?
Despite its laid-back yoga-inspired name, Asana is a dynamic project management tool used by companies all over the globe. However, it does have a few quirks that could stress you out - making you want that quick yoga session!
The software offers Team Pages where ideas and conversations are shared for all to see as well as a ‘Smart Box’ where team members receive only important project updates rather than all messages back and forth. It can be integrated with a large number of other systems including Google Drive, DropBox, Github, MailChimp and more.
- Project timelines for simple workflow management
- Tons of helpful integrations
- Drag and drop functionality for task management
- Limited features on the free version
- Project team members will find it hard to collaborate without a plan
- Not meant for heavy project management
JIRA is a popular project management software that caters mostly to agile, software development teams. Within the software, these teams can create customizable scrum boards, kanban boards, and make use of agile reporting (in real-time). Users can also track bugs, view any outstanding issues and monitor time spent per task. JIRA comes with a robust set of APIs that enable users to connect it with many third party softwares.
- Agile Work Management
- Organization Alignment
- DevOps Visibility
- Regular Release of New Features
- Challenging Setup
- Missing Communication Tool
- Limited Project Management
Trello is unlike these other project management softwares in that it is an online kanban tool. This means that it visualizes an entire project in just one single view. Trello makes it possible to make cards and move them around on the ‘board’. These cards can display – for example, conversations or to-do lists, which can be placed on a board, making them accessible for any of the designated tool users.
- Simple and user friendly interface
- Easy task management and scheduling
- Useful power-ups for additional functionality
- No views other than Kanban views
- No reporting features
- No advanced features like native Mind maps, Docs, and Gantt charts
- Relies on external integrations for functionality
Clickup is perfect for process and task management. You can customize your workflow, assign tasks and add different types of dependencies for tasks. If you work Agile, this tool will suit you. Manage your sprints, manage the resources, check the workload of your team and work together with other teams in this tool.
- Can keep track of multiple projects and assignments
- Gantt chart tool to manage your project task dependencies
- Time tracking capabilities
- Supports embedding of Google Project and Google Sheets
- Powerful mobile apps for iOS and Android
- Learning curve due to the number of available features and level of customizability
- No Table view in the mobile app
Basecamp is a popular project management software that is widely used by many project management teams. This software offers several different collaboration features such as a designated discussion area where users can leave behind comments. Additionally a recap of the projects your team is working (e.g. statuses and updates) is sent out on a daily basis to your email. Users can contribute to discussions via email as well.
- Find particular team by using its powerful search tool to locate files or conversations
- Lack of milestones and customization options as well as the inability to add an estimated duration for a task or assign it to more than one user.
Zoho projects is an extensive project management software with a clean and straightforward interface. This software covers the following areas: everything from Project Planning (breaking down projects into manageable units) and Gantt Charts (to visualize the progress of tasks) to Reporting Tools, Collaboration Software (to ease contact between consultants, vendors, employees and clients) and Document Management. It can also be integrated with tools such as Google Apps and DropBox.
- Project planning to the smallest details.
- Communication in the form of forums, wiki, feeds and chats
- Team productivity by inclusion of tools like Global Timers, timesheets and resource utilization charts
- Knowledge sharing as team members have easy access to each other's work
- Poor dashboard functionality
- High learning curve
- No way to know if all features have been used
- Bug reporting needs work
- Searching for tasks needs improvement
Formerly known as dapulse, Monday.com is another good online project management solution available today. However, it is named after everyone’s least favorite day of the week. Is that a sign of things to come? Let’s find out :) Start with Monday.com by creating your personal workflow. With this workflow you can visualize and highlight elements like time management, text or locations. You can share and work with this tool with your whole team and save time by only recording the important documents and conversations.
- Open API architecture allows you to add custom integrations
- Detailed reporting capabilities
- Ability to add freelancers and third-party agents
- Cannot handle complex projects
- No free plan
- Mobile apps need work
How to choose the best project management tool for your company?
How should you decide which of the tools mentioned above suits you and satisfies all your organizational needs? And once you decide, how can you ensure a succesful implementation? Here is a quick framework you can use:
1. Define Your Needs
Identifying current problems in the workflow is the first step in choosing a project management tool. It is important to look for a tool that addresses those specific issues and is flexible enough to adapt to the unique needs of your organization.
Cross-functional compatibility is also important as it allows for seamless collaboration between different departments and teams. Additionally, it is important to consider scalability as the company grows, as well as the ease of use and implementation.
With this in mind, there needs to be consideration of the company culture and the project management methodology adopted by your organization. You want your project management tool to fit seamlessly into this organizational fabric.
2. Put together an Evaluation Team
It is important to organize a team that represents different functions within the organization to ensure that the chosen project management tool meets the specific needs of each department. This team should include representatives from sales, marketing, management, and specialist roles to ensure that the tool is flexible and can accommodate different user perspectives and requirements.
Creating standards of evaluation is also crucial, as it ensures that everyone is on the same page when evaluating the tools and providing feedback. This can include criteria such as ease of use, scalability, collaboration capabilities, and cost.
3. Test the Tool
After narrowing down your options to a few top contenders, it is important to thoroughly test the tools to ensure they meet your organization's needs.
One way to do this is by committing to a specific time frame during which your team will use the tool to its fullest capacity, piloting a project and evaluating its effectiveness.
During this testing phase, it is important to take advantage of any resources provided by the vendor, such as help documents, webinars, and customer support. This will help you and your team become familiar with the tool and its capabilities.
Additionally, it can be helpful to request a demo of the tool from the sales team to see it in action and ask any questions you may have.
It's also important to consider the level of support and training offered by the vendor. Some tools offer 24/7 customer support, coaches and support staff to help you get started and ongoing assistance. This can be helpful in ensuring a smooth implementation and adoption of the tool within your organization.
4. Get Management Buy-in
After a successful pilot, it's time to convince your higher ups to switch to this project management tool. When addressing the executive team, it's important to keep these things in mind
- What potential objections will management have that I can address?
- What management pain points does this tool help solve?
- Do we have data to prove the effectiveness of the project management solution?
5. Purchase and Implement the Tool
Congratulations on getting management approval for the project management tool! Now it's time to move forward with a detailed implementation plan. This plan should include a timeline for when the tool will be rolled out to the entire team and how it will be integrated into the existing workflow.
It's important to consider the training needs of your team members and to plan for who will provide that training. Some tools may have built-in training resources, but it's important to assess whether those resources are adequate for your team. You may need to consider additional training, such as webinars, workshops, or one-on-one coaching.
It's also important to consider any existing software that needs to be integrated into the project management workflow. It is important to have a plan in place for how to integrate the new project management tool with your current software and systems. This will help ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible and that your team can start using the new tool effectively right away.
6. Review and Iterate
After implementation, you should review the impact this tool has had on your organization. Did it truly address the needs you set out to fulfill in step 1? Get feedback from your team after everyone is past the learning curve. Does anything need improvement?
Additionally, the project management tool may have features that you were previously unaware of. Continue to work with client success and attend training workshops that might be relevant for your workflows to further integrate the tool into your organization!
In conclusion, selecting the best project management tool for your organization or team requires careful consideration of your specific needs and goals.
Factors to consider include the size of your team, the complexity of your projects, and the features and functionality offered by each tool. By evaluating the pros and cons of the popular tools shown in this article, and taking into account the specific requirements of your organization, you can make an informed decision and choose the tool that best fits your needs.
It's also important to keep in mind that the tools can be changed as per the project requirement or company standard down the road so it is not a decision that needs to be locked in stone forever. For example at Rocket, we had previous experience with JIRA which was quite complicated so we started with Trello but soon realized that we needed more powerful functionality and after a brief evaluation process switched to using Asana.
Good luck with your journey!
Rocket pairs talented recruiters with advanced AI to help companies hit their hiring goals and knows technology recruiting inside out. Rocket is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley but has recruiters all over the US & Canada serving the needs of our growing client base across engineering, product management, data science and more through a variety of offerings and solutions.