As a busy business owner, manager, or top executive, you know from experience how tricky it can be managing work time effectively and ensuring that projects are always completed to deadlines. As an organization grows, too, it becomes more and more important for there to be systems in place to track and manage projects so that they don’t run over time or budget.
However, according to a study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (that reviewed more than 10,500 projects from 200 companies around the world) only 2.5 percent of the recorded companies successfully completed all of their projects. This can certainly have a large, and very negative, impact on the long-term growth of a business.
If you want to get on top of your business deadlines, it pays to enroll in a top project management course to learn effective techniques for leading a team and managing tight timeframes. It also helps to take advantage of some of the many fantastic online software programs that are available these days to help keep on top of projects, even if teams are operating from various locations around the world. Read on for some of the best project management apps on the market that can save you time and money today.
Basecamp, a system first developed in 2004 but relaunched in 2012, is one of the most well-known and popular of the project management apps around. It has more than three million active users, and was developed by 37 Signals. With a free trial so you can test it out, this tech is perfect for both small and large businesses.
Basecamp likely retains its position in the market due to its good balance of features and simplicity. Unlike some other online services which are chock full of features but also quite complex as a result, Basecamp is simple, intuitive, and fast to use, as well as scalable to your needs.
The system allows you to organize projects via a central location. Within the app, you and your team can upload, edit, and discuss things such as to-do lists, multiple files, notes, events, conversations, and the like. You can also display ongoing projects in different ways, whether you want to look at remaining tasks first, a calendar, lists, project cards, discussions, progress, or your personal activity log.
This user-friendly and flexible technology comes in different brackets for varying needs. There is a free 60-day trial period, and after that you can choose to upgrade to a $20 per month plan for 10 projects and with up to 3GB of file storage included, or opt for a higher level of service if required. The top plan, an unlimited annual package, costs $3,000 per year, and has scope for unlimited projects, plus provides a significant 500GB of storage.
Founded four years ago by Dustin Moscovitz, the former Facebook co-founder, and engineer Justin Rosenstein, Asana is a handy task-management app that also works well for managing projects. The system has a simple interface and is easy to pick up, with how-to videos available if you need them. However, while it’s fairly bare bones, Asana still allows you to do plenty of things, such as create and share task lists, as well as sub-tasks for projects; set goals; create meeting agendas; and brainstorm. Team members can even vote on ideas they like.
One of the best features of the system is that it is designed to integrate with other online programs such as the always popular Evernote, WordPress, Google Drive, and Dropbox, as well as Harvest and HipChat, amongst others.
With Asana, you can customize views, choosing to scroll via due date or project. You can also make tasks and/or sub-tasks visible only to certain assignees or team members; and enjoy using a variety of keyboard shortcuts to save time. Like Basecamp, Asana is another affordable service. If you have a team of up to 14 members, it is free. Over that, and pricing varies, starting from around $84 per month.
If you’re a fan of the Kanban system developed at Toyota, check out Trello. The system, like the two above, is also very user friendly, and can easily organize your ideas, to-do lists, and more. Free for small teams or solo users, the pricing then goes up to $8.33 per month for the Business Class plan, or $20.83 for the Enterprise level that large companies with multiple teams usually require.
The technology works like a virtual whiteboard with drag-and-drop post-it notes, except that you can create multiple boards, each containing a list of various cards (with their set due dates) that feature attachments, checklists, labels and conversations.
Each board can have multiple members accessing and working on it, and you can have fun attaching color-coded “labels” to each task. Members of the project can also vote on cards to bump them up in priority as required, as well as take advantage of the various keyboard shortcuts provided by the system.