Covid-19 has very nearly brought the entire world on the backfoot.
Economies are stumbling, businesses are collapsing.
Organizations that, with strict “work-from-office” policies, would fret upon the idea of “working from home” are left with no other option than working from home.
It’s true that most of the work today requires just the internet and laptop - so there’s no reason why it can’t be efficiently tackled from one’s home.
But there is another ingredient in addition to the laptop and internet that is necessary for successful remote (or non-remote, for that matter) work - communication, and trust.
When in office, project managers can check up on their team members frequently and without any hassle.
They can ask for updates any time they want, know the status of tasks assigned to team members, and even escalate the matter if important.
Simply because it is easy to communicate in person. When working remotely, this becomes a bottleneck.
Frequently emailing or calling makes little sense, and without transparency in terms of the tasks assigned, there can’t be smooth project management. Managing remote employees is thus creating problems for most of the organizations and project managers.
And this is true in general - Covid 19 is just an exclusive incident. Even ideally, companies should have a structured methodology while dealing with remote workers.
Therefore, it becomes essential to seek help from technology.
Because if you still opt for repeatedly updating spreadsheets, drowning in post-its, and participating in weekly update meetings, you’re honestly wasting time and effort.
Project management and collaboration tools help you with a complete overview of your projects at a glance. It’s true that there are far too many project management tools, and it’s only fair that you’ll get confused - especially if you’re managing a remote team for the first time.
And we’re here to help you to curb your confusion.
But before we get in-depth into project management tools, let’s talk a bit about what exactly they are, and what features you should definitely look for in your tool. Knowing that will help you pick the right tool for your needs.
As the name suggests, project management tools are tools for efficient management of projects. These come in especially handy for remote project management, resource allocation, and scheduling.
These platforms support file sharing, chatting, calling, and even third-party integrations so as to make your work as seamless as possible.
Do you want to track down deliverables? Or manage resources? Or manage your company finances? There is a lot that these tools can help you do - at the end of the day, it comes down to your requirements.
That said, there are some things you should definitely look for while picking the tool for yourself:
All in all, once you migrate your entire team to the project management tool that you deem fit, you’ll notice the following clear advantages:
While there are several open-source tools out there, you should know that most of them are paid - though a few free tools are also available.
Despite this, keep in mind that chances are that no one particular tool can offer you a complete solution. Therefore, companies tend to mix-and-match a couple of tools, again, depending on their needs - you can do the same if needed!
Picking the right tool requires introspection. You should be clear of your goals and expectations from the tool. Since price is also a major motivator, if you’re just starting out, maybe you should explore some of the free tools mentioned in the list below.
If you know the exact purpose for which you’re using the tool, everything becomes easier. After all, different departments in your organization follow different work methodologies.
To keep everyone on the same page, it is important to take all of them in consideration before picking the tool.
In this post, we’ll be talking about the 5 most used project management tools, namely:
We’ll take an in-depth look into all of these tools, discuss their pros and cons, salient features, and pricing models. This will be a long, instructional post, so sit back!
If you’re looking for a tl;dr, here’s a comparison table that gives a brief overview of all the tools - broadly in terms of the key features that one should look for in a project management tool. (We’d still strongly recommend you go ahead and check the entire article. We’ve talked about the tools in depth, and you’ll find yourself much more informed by the end of the article(
|Free Plan||In-Built Time Tracking||Mobile Versions||Report Generation||Live Chat||Portfolio Management|
With that, let’s move ahead towards more information - to help you make an informed decision!
Formerly known as Dapulse, Monday is a well-known project management tool that looks like this when you first sign up:
By adding a new board, you get to assign tasks, add collaborators, and modify the status of tasks as needed.
While you need to purchase the tool to use it, it has pretty decent pricing - and it varies depending on your team size. Here are some of the features of Monday that’ll help you decide whether or not you want to take a subscription.
Monday uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and offers a high level of customization. It can seamlessly manage assignments, tasks, dates, durations, timeframes, and even provide a customizable Gantt Chart for tracking.
On the communication front, you can create alerts, notifications, and more.
It is clearly a much more intuitive way to notify employees than the traditional tools offer.
In fact, Monday tries to replicate the behavior of an actual manager — by starting with a work task and assigning different parts to different workers.
Like Trello, Monday provides a wide array of customization options for tasks and assignments, including colors and metrics.
These customizations make it easier for businesses that have complex or customized processes. It also helps project managers differentiate between the various arms of a project and keep everything in sync.
Without a doubt, Monday is feature-rich with a slick interface, but it isn’t really easy to set up. Like other highly-customizable and configurable tools, it can get a bit overwhelming - especially if you’re just starting out with remote project management.
You may want an expert to set it up and provide the required documentation for you to follow. Then, you’ll also need to train your team members on how to best use the tool.
In comparison to the remaining tools on the list, this one is slightly a tough nut to crack - in terms of learning to use the tool. Others are fairly simpler.
The prices of different subscriptions vary depending on your team size and requirements. For more details pricing, please visit - Monday Official Pricing.
Having said that, let’s sum up Monday with some pros and cons.
Asana is a work management solution that helps teams organize everything - from daily tasks to strategic initiatives. It offers task-view, custom fields, progression-view, and portfolios that update in real-time, thereby enabling teams to make more informed decisions at every stage.
It can be used to manage any type of project or workflow from marketing campaigns to product launches to work requests.
Asana enables managers to stay on top of their project and ensure that everyone in the team knows the plans, individual roles, and deadlines - so that no work falls through the cracks.
Before we get to the features, let’s make one thing utterly clear - Asana is not a full-on project management tool, despite the Timeline feature.
That is because it includes neither time tracking nor other tools we’d expect to see in a full-fledged project management tool.
But it is definitely a flexible and elegant tool for managing tasks and workflows; and you can bend it to your will. Let’s look at the features that make Asana one of the best collaboration and productivity apps:
This is quite an easy-to-use setup which is straightforward with plenty of options.
The Conversations and Progress tabs allow you to communicate and keep track of the progress - using a color-coded system. This way, you can proactively know of any hiccups that might occur.
Rich exporting functionality.
While Asana offers exporting options, they are limited to only JSON and CSV formats. PDFs and Excel would have been nice additions to the list of supported formats.
Asana is free to use for teams of up to 15 members. If you want extended features, you can choose from one of the three paid plans: Premium, Business, or Enterprise.
Here’s a quick summary of Asana in terms of pros and cons.
Trello lets you organize your projects into boards.
In one glance, you can find out what is being worked on, who is working, and what is the status of the tasks assigned.
All your projects, all your tasks, all of your team--organized, accounted for, and easily visible at a glance.
The platform is fairly intuitive, and therefore new users instantly understand the list and card metaphor and can be working on Trello within minutes.
Let’s look at some features of Trello:
Since the acquisition of Butler, automation is now built-in and available to all. It helps teams save time and effort. Moreover, they can avail of Power-Ups or third party integrations they are already using and rely on.
Email integration allows the use of emails to create cards and comments.
Users can also use @mentions and emojis to make communication more interactive. Trello also provides a free, public developer API.
Trello doesn’t allow you to check work in retrospect - thereby leaving little room for iterations. Without an iterative approach, it is difficult for performance of any kind of work to improve.
Unlike Monday but like Asana, Trello offers you a free model with limited features. For more extensive features, you can upgrade to either Business Class or Enterprise.
You can check out their website for official pricing, as well as the list of facilities against each subscription.
Now, let’s look at some pros and cons of the tool.
Basecamp is a project management tool to simplify collaboration, file sharing, and project organization.
The tool is so extensive that it can serve as a single source of truth for everything related to your company - from to-do lists to emails, files to discussions, Further, Basecamp is available on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS, ensuring that everyone knows their assignments, teams and deadlines, as well as have access to any required files.
The interface is fairly user-friendly. The first screen that you see is divided into three sections:
Below that is another section which is specific to the projects you’re in. Once you click to explore one of your projects, Basecamp will offer you a wide array of tools - like chat forums, to-dos, and a timeline of all the activity.
Let’s look at some features of the tool.
Campfire is another communication-related feature of Basecamp. It is essentially a casual chat room for people involved in a project.
It allows @mentions. Basecamp also allows Pings - wherein you can ping someone personally. These pings can also include attachment. Pings also have an effective search feature to find specific messages quickly.
Basecamp also offers you the feature to see any upcoming projects, events, or deadlines in the form of Schedules. Everyone related to the project can go through the schedule, set alerts, and sync the schedule with Google Calendar, iCal, or Outlook.
Basecamp is not the ideal tool for you if you wish to work on multiple projects and coordinate between them at one time. It lacks the ability to provide a larger, consolidated view of all the running projects.
Basecamp works fairly well in managing single projects with multiple tasks, but if you want a portfolio-like view, you might have to use integration. Or, you can use another tool in collaboration with Basecamp.
The tool has recently added a free version called Basecamp Personal. Aimed at freelancers, students, families, and personal project owners, this version allows users to create three projects, add twenty users, and use up to 1GB of storage space.
For additional features, you’ll have to go up the ladder of subscription. For that, check out the official pricing here.
Here’s what’s hot and what’s not about Basecamp.
A comparatively newer tool, ClickUp is a cloud-based collaboration and management tool that is truly feature-rich.
ClickUp offers all the required features for you to streamline different processes, including design, sales, marketing, development, and more.
Featuring an agile board, ClickUP allows you to monitor every task of your team members in one board.
Task progress, too, can be viewed in the form of percentage. Tasks can easily be marked as “resolved” or “in progress”. Alternatively, users can also customize the “in progress” status.
The software can be seamlessly integrated to Slack and similar apps using Zapier. ClickUp uses Machine Learning capabilities to assist managers and give realistic timeframes for completion of any tasks. It also helps the team stay well ahead of the deadline.
Let’s look at some features of ClickUp in depth.
ClickUp offers you four views, and also lets you toggle between views on the same project.
Let’s see the views:
For easily moving your tasks around. It’s a great option for Kanban enthusiasts!
For viewing your projects in a GTD-style (getting-things-done) list. It helps you check off tasks and subtasks with ease.
For viewing all the tasks each team member is working on. Best suited for project managers wishing to manage their projects smoothly.
For everybody! This view shows the tasks and projects assigned ONLY to you, thereby eliminating all the other fluff that clogs your dashboard.
ClickUp’s Gantt charts are powered by automation and are therefore super powerful. The Gantt Charts can:
Using this data, ClickUp offers reports of total time taken per member on a task, as well as total time taken in the project. This can come in handy during generating invoices.
To add to this, ClickUp also easily integrates with 3rd-party time tracking tools like Harvest and Toggle.
With ClickUp’s public API, you can also add as many custom integrations as you want! As new integrations are added every month, you’ll have no trouble switching to ClickUp.
Some of ClickUp’s current integrations include:
Simplicity. In one word, ClickUp misses simplicity. While having features and customization options is good, too much of it will definitely be overwhelming. And that is precisely what happens in the case of ClickUp.
If you can get the hang of all the features - good for you! Otherwise, it might take some time.
ClickUp offers a feature-rich and generous free version, so if you want to try the tool, you can go ahead with that. Other than that, there is just one pricing plan - to know more about which you can visit the official pricing page.
Let’s talk about some ups and downs of ClickUp.
When you finally move towards implementing an important tool like a project management software, you should be ready for some frustration from your team members.
While it may not be necessary in a work-from-office setup, today’s times demand the use of such a tool.
Having said that, it might take time for a few people to settle in and adopt - but they’ll slowly come to terms with the fact that software is making their life easier, too.
You should be able to explain the need for such a software to your team, and address any questions they have straight-up.
Clear communication is important, as we mentioned in the beginning - and it starts with telling the truth and discussing concerns.
In most cases, the problems your teammates are facing might be genuine. You should step up and address those issues. Doing that will instil a feeling of trust and oneness in your team - which will push them to trusting your decisions.
Listen to your team’s concerns calmly, and consider if their issues are tool-specific. In that case, you can look for alternatives and repeat the process till you arrive at the perfect fit.
In the end, choosing the right project management tool requires thorough introspection and due diligence from your part. A lot of factors (which are mostly variables) go into play, like your team size, expectations from the tool, purpose of using the tool, and so on.
We hope you’d accounted for each of these factors while going through the article. If not, please skim through it again - it’ll only help you make a more informed decision.
We hope this overview has helped you clear some air around project management tools - including the whats, the whys, and the hows. If you have some suggestions or comments, do let us know below!