5 Project Management Tools and Techniques for the Modern-Day Cat Herder
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In the modern era, apps and extensions for your browser or computer make project management faster and easier than ever before — with an incredible amount of project management tools (and techniques to make the most of them) available at the touch of a button, it’s never been easier to manage projects for businesses large and small.
Project Management is often referred to as “herding cats,” and I gotta tell ya, it feels like a massive understatement. You spin a lot of plates, your brain is a rolodex of information that needs to be constantly accessed, no matter how far you stretch yourself, items still fall through the cracks while your inbox steadily turns into a daily black hole behind your back.
Did that give you a little panic attack? Because it sure brought back some heinous memories for me — just breathe, and let’s talk about the project management tools and techniques that can help you get all those cats in a row.
These are 5 great Project Management Tools that are sure to bring some zen into your life, with greater efficiency in workflows, breathe life back into your organizational and time management skills, and have you feeling like you’ve wrangled all those pesky cats in no time!
Project Management Tools and Techniques — #1 — Trello
Trello is like an endless supply of sticky notes — actually, it’s even better, because you can reuse them to your heart’s desire.
Trello is a great tool for keeping your personal task list in check or staying organized within a larger project. It works especially well with projects that have multiple components that must move through multiple stages of review or revision before being marked complete.
Trello can be separated into 3 different sections:
Each individual project gets its own board. The list organizes each card into the phase of a project, and the cards function as different portions of a project.
For instance, in this example below, you can see that a single project with multiple phases and many different components can be easily organized, ensuring all the little moving pieces don’t get lost in the feline shuffle.
The comments allow for real-time interaction with other project members and give you the ability to visually track the project as it moves along the different phases.
Staying organized within Trello can get a little stressful, so it’s important to keep things simple and utilize the different features to keep communication clear.
The price tag? It’s free! Of course, if you switch to a paid version there are more bells and whistles, but the base model works great for small- to medium-sized projects — it also works well with Android and iPhones so that you can stay organized on the go.
Project Management Tools and Techniques — #2 — Asana
Asana is a clean, simple, flexible project management tool that offers two different methods of managing your workflow.
The first is the List Style, which you can see in this image here:
The list style has a hierarchy of tasks and sections that’s very similar to Trello:
You can also make a Board Style, similar to Trello, where the card moves its way from section to section until you drop it in that beautiful “done” column.
With unlimited Dashboards that can be separated into Teams, drilled down by Projects, and with several viewing options that include the progress of the project, attached files, a calendar, and a group conversation, Asana is simple enough to get started and powerful enough for even the biggest teams to stay organized. The ability to set up templates is super convenient and a huge benefit if you have recurring types of projects.
You even have a clear view of your own personal tasks with different views and filter options. With loads of integration options (including email & Slack), Android and iPhone capabilities, there are ways to stay organized within a large group or individual project and add a personal touch to your own interface.
Bonus! The app is free, with a Premium option available that includes templates you can share with your team.
Project Management Tools and Techniques — #3 — Evernote
The more you use Evernote, the more the benefits of the organization tool shine.
The application allows for integration across multiple platforms (with the free subscription, you can sync two of those together), and the nifty web clipper browser extension allows you to clip selected text, images, full-page articles, emails, or a full webpage:
Evernote allows you to share clipped content or notes with team members, and you are able to send clips and organize your notes in specific notebooks — your notebooks can also be organized into projects and shared across teams for collaboration.
And with an easy-to-use search feature, you don’t need to worry about ideas or notes getting lost, which means you spend less time digging around through your drive and more time keeping the herds of kitties moving across the digital tundra.
This tool smoothes out a Project Managers workflow by allowing for integration with multiple apps — it has a free base subscription, with several different paid options to take your Project Manager skills to a whole new level.
Project Management Tools and Techniques — #4 — Basecamp
While a lot of tools you will find complement each other, it can still be overwhelming to spread a single project across a multitude of apps — Basecamp concentrates everything in one place, making the organization of a complex project with multiple moving parts a breeze.
You can keep all the comments related to a project in a single place, and you can also follow the full storyline of the project to stay on top of everything that’s happening.
Your to-dos for yourself and other team members are kept nice and neat in their own list format, with the option to add due dates and comments to tasks — Basecamp will even follow up on past-due tasks for you.
Like Asana, Basecamp includes a calendar for each project that you can use to set deadlines and manage project progress.
Plus, if Slack isn’t your thing, you can use the Basecamp chats called Campfires to keep up with your team on a specific project.
Unfortunately, Basecamp doesn’t have a free option you can commit too, but they do offer a free 30-day trial. Depending on the number, size, and demeanor of the cats you are herding, this all-in-one option at a flat monthly rate with premium features may just be the solution you are looking for.
Project Management Tools and Techniques — #5 — Redbooth
Redbooth has a lot of the same features as Asana and Basecamp:
- Project Management Tools
- Collaborative workspaces
- File sharing
- Integration with iOS & Android
…and then they throw in a bunch of awesome stuff too!
Redbooth’s base subscription includes templates to make creating projects and maintaining consistency simple, and you can manage the timeline of a project using the built-in Gantt Charts. You can also assign multiple people to a task, which allows for a quicker transition of information when the project is moving between team members with different roles.
As far as project management tools go, Redbooth is a great resource for small- to medium-sized teams and businesses as it has a low learning curve that allows users to step into the interface without feeling overwhelmed.
Redbooth is free for up to 10 users and 2 workspaces, and as you grow your team and need to upgrade your subscription, the project management tool offers additional integrations and features, such as time tracking, unlimited workspaces, and the ability to create guest users.
Once you find the right project management tool to fit the needs of your team(s), herding all those cats will seem like a much less daunting task.
Each of these project management tools opens up a creative and productive environment that allows for optimal workflow and clear channels of communication for your team.
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