High-performing teams use tools that help them plan, budget, execute, and monitor every project they are working on. A project manager’s role is crucial in juggling multiple aspects of a project — people, resources, time, and quality. It is a good thing there is now a wide array of software tools and applications that fit whatever requirement a project manager has, such as troubleshooting, note-taking, time tracking, or team collaboration.
The market is saturated with different tools and applications, all with their own offerings and specializations. Below is a list of the best and the most useful tools a project manager needs in their toolkit.
Best Tools To Use as a Project Manager
A simple and intuitive web-service and application, Slack is a secure communication tool that helps teams collaborate with ease. Users can create profiles and upload a display photo, and interact with teammates through privately secured channels. Only members of these private groups can read, send, and share messages within the channel. Slack also supports 100 web services, such as Trello, Google Docs, Dropbox, and Twitter, making it easily integrated into applications that you frequently use.
Founded in 2011, Trello is a kanban-based tool for project management. “Kanban” is a Japanese concept that entails consistent monitoring of every phase of production. Teams love Trello for its simplicity and user-friendly interface, making it perfect for teams of all skill levels. It makes use of boards that represent projects or processes. Each board has lists, descriptions, comments, files, deadlines, and color tags.
If you are already utilizing Microsoft Suite for your activities and tasks, then Microsoft Teams might be a good addition to your toolkit. It allows you to communicate, collaborate, chat, and meet with your teams seamlessly, whether you’re meeting with 2 people or 10,000. Chats are made more fun and light with stickers and GIFs, and also very practical with real-time collaboration on files using apps like PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. Microsoft Teams can also be easily integrated with a hundred applications.
If you use Excel or Google Sheets as a dashboard for tracking your projects, then Smartsheet might be a good option for streamlining your workflows and processes. Smartsheet’s interface looks like that of Excel, and is a widely used tool all over the world. Project managers get insight into the progress of projects through Smartsheet’s dashboard and activity log, which work as an audit trail for completed work. It is also easy to plan, manage, and review content within the platform.
Email management is crucial in efficient project management. Organizing your emails can save you time, and lets you allocate it to more prioritized tasks. Folio is a great email management tool that makes use of AI-powered algorithms to declutter your inbox. It also allows you to easily turn emails into tasks and set due dates and reminders for them. It also features Smart Folders that let you organize attachments and project messages in one place.
If you are working with a team of freelancers or looking to hire them soon, efficient time tracking and billing is a must-have in your toolkit. Scoro is a tool that tracks actual and billable time, and allows you to transfer the hours to an invoice easily. It also features a functionality that automatically sends reminders on late invoices, as well as for scheduled and recurring ones. Aside from this, you can also create reports on sales, performance, and budgets on the platform.
This tool uses automated drawing to create mind maps easily. SmartDraw helps project managers create flow charts, graphs, and presentations without having to worry about the format, margin, positioning, and all those other tedious tasks. Your mind map can also be easily converted to a Gantt Chart using the tool’s “View as Gantt Chart” option. It can also be connected with Trello, so it’s easy to assign tasks to team members and monitor progress. Once a team member marks a task complete, it will then be reflected in the project chart.
Teams at NASA, Salesforce, and Vodafone use GanttPRO in planning and controlling multiple projects at a time. This tool lets you organize projects into milestones, tasks, and subtasks, and also gives you different view options — board, list, Gantt chart, portfolio, and calendar. Your team can easily collaborate through attachments, notifications, mentions, and comments. It also allows you to track time and view reports.
This is another tool to help project managers create graphs, charts, and presentations. Not everyone has the technical skills to make elaborate and intricate charts. With Microsoft Visio, you can translate your thought processes into easily understandable presentations and visualize your processes, however abstract. The tool has ready-made templates that will cater to every requirement you may have. You can also import data from Excel to create clean and clear presentations.
No matter how organized your meetings are, disorganized note-taking can dampen your productivity and the success of your projects. Evernote lets you create to-do lists and take notes more efficiently. It is cloud-based, making it accessible on whatever device you are using — smartphone, desktop, tablet, or a laptop. If you’re using it for personal tasks, there’s the individual notebook option. For team collaboration, you can use the pad with public access.
There’s a plethora of useful tools and platforms for efficient project management today. It is a very exciting time to streamline your processes and tasks. It can get overwhelming, though, so take due diligence in looking into every feature and testing out their free versions first before investing in more advanced versions.