Developer updates kanban board

Managing a multi-discipline team: What are the best project management solutions out there?

When a business scales up, its opportunities for success – along with the associated challenges – increase accordingly. With more tasks to complete, keeping everything on the right track is essential, especially when resources are stretched thin.

A project management solution is one way of making sure you stay on top of mounting workloads, projects and deadlines, but with so many available, how do you know which one is right for you and your company? To make things a little simpler, we’ve devised a handy guide to the tools that will put you on the path to project success.

Trello

Remarkably user-friendly, Trello’s intuitive design is apparent from your first use. It uses an interface comprised of a system of boards that contain lists and cards that can be dragged, dropped and customised similar to social media platforms like Pinterest. From here, you can invite other people to use your boards and customise the privacy settings, so only the necessary employees can view things.

Free to use (though there are also paid versions), you can organise your tasks across devices, and attach up to 10mb of files from your computer, as well as link files from Dropbox and Google Drive. With incredibly speedy, real-time updates, and accessibility from any browser, it’s also very convenient.

Project manager meeting with team for decision on planning milestones

Though you can still look up boards offline, it’s not possible to edit them; no internet means no Trello. Security and privacy is also a little shaky with the free version, though paying for it can strengthen things considerably; not much of a problem for some tasks, but for important files and tasks, it can be a worry for some. The paid version is good value for money, but since you pay per user, the cost can add up if used by large teams. There’s also no time-tracking capability, which might put some people off if this element is an important factor in projects.

Basecamp

One of the most popular project management apps on the market, Basecamp is always a good go-to whatever industry you work in, though the monthly fee can sting a little if you’re an SME. But with free options, as well as 10 % off for non-profits and charities, it might be worth looking into.

Andrew Dipper, Head of Content 7& Search Marketing at Pearson Frank, is an advocate of the project management app, saying “For us, Basecamp is a great all-rounder. It has most of the features we need to ensure everyone has full visibility and accountability of the tasks we’re working on, from C-Suite to front-line staff. It’s incredibly easy to use, and because it’s cloud-based, it means our department has full access to it whenever we need it.

Asana

For those who value clear communication, Asana is designed to provide transparent, streamlined project management from start to finish. Asana works by giving each person a workspace, and then providing specific tasks within their workspaces. These tasks can then be assigned to individual team members, each with their own specific deadlines, so that everyone knows what they should be working on at that point in time. This means large objectives can be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces that can be easier to complete.

With its clean interface, Asana is also easily customisable, allowing for tweaks and personalisation to best fit the task in question. Unfortunately, it doesn’t allow multiple people to be assigned to the same task, which could be a problem in larger projects.

Casual

For those who prefer to think and process things visually, Casual is a must-have. Tasks are drawn as a flowchart, and organised in a way that allows for smoother, more streamlined progress. Rather than clicking back and forth between different projects and boards, everything’s gathered together on one screen. The result is an approach that works the same way your brain functions; as a constant flow of information as opposed to discrete blocks.

Man with glasses Checking the kanban board

However, it doesn’t work so well for large teams and it lacks many of the advanced features that other solutions offer for the same price point.

Quire

Another solution tailored to smaller teams, Quire provides a simple, user-friendly interface that allows employees to focus on critical tasks, blocking out other tasks. It also allows you to track progress, showing what is due, when it’s due and which tasks are delayed, along with upcoming projects for later. What’s more, it’s entirely free, so it’s a great choice for smaller business who lack the resources for expensive applications.

Though it’s missing some features of other project management tools, it’s hard to argue with something so intuitive and free.

Male and female colleagues working together on laptop

Which is the solution for you? 

  • Ease of use

How easily is the software going to integrate into your business and will it take a long time to learn the basics? Remember: this software is supposed to make things easier, consider whether it’s going to disrupt the business.

  • Scalability

We mentioned scalability at the beginning of this article and it’s important to take into account that things are going to change. To navigate the ebbs and flows, your solutions will have to be scalable as you grow over time.

  • User support

Research the extent of the software’s support and customer service; if you encounter bugs and issues, it will be a true test of your chosen solution’s performance.


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