Productivity is a core concept of every project, which is why a digital toolkit is so important. The secret is to have a process that uses technology effectively. However, the number of available project management tools can be overwhelming and knowing which one is right for your project or team can be complicated.
Some core features every project should consider when looking at what tools to use, includes:
- Data Management
- Data Collection
- Content/Digital Asset Management
- Task & Collaboration
The 5 tools on this list are very well-known and used often by professionals. They are not expensive, just highly effective. They allow improved communication, file sharing, analysis, task management, and time management for teams. You could almost call them “Core” project management tools.
1. Google Sheets
Google Sheets is one of the most widely used digital tools for project management. It helps users manage the data collected and present it has required. Its popularity and use can be attributed to its user-friendly interface (better than excel). However, it has many other useful features, such as:
- Allows real-time collaboration - Files can be easily shared among teams to leave comments or edit as required.
- Easy accessibility - Team members can utilize it on their PCs, laptops, tablets, and even smartphones.
- Familiarity and ease of use - Since Google Sheets are widely used, most professionals have experience working with it, saving them time in figuring things out.
- Free templates allow for easy planning - Google sheets provide different templates for files created for different purposes. Moreover, a quick google search is all it takes to access hundreds of user-made templates or tutorials to create customized templates.
2. Survey Monkey
Many projects require gathering consumer data before brainstorming the best idea. Survey Monkey allows project managers to gather consumer data most efficiently. The advantages of using Survey Monkey include:
- Easy creation and sharing of polls, quizzes, and surveys - Survey Monkey has an easy-to-use interface and takes only a few minutes to set up. Once a poll/quiz/survey is created, it can be shared via multiple options.
- Automatic data analysis - Besides gathering data, it also allows data analysis. The results of data analysis are shareable and can even be incorporated with other apps and software.
- Variety of Plans - Survey Monkey offers three different user plans for projects with different needs.
- Free templates- Survey Monkey provides over 150 free templates. Managers from different industries can utilize these templates as per their project requirements.
Contrary to popular belief, WordPress CMS is not just for publishing websites. WordPress is a great tool for project managers to work with stakeholders as a content management and collection tool. As the name suggests, content management systems, or CMS, allow users to collaborate, create, edit, publish and store digital content.
Benefits of WordPress for building CMS include:
- An ever-increasing variety of themes - WordPress and WordPress developers keep on using new templates and themes for users to choose from. However, building a new theme is also easy.
- User-friendly - WordPress is designed for beginners. Therefore, it is very easy to understand and use.
- Adaptable - WordPress is a great tool to build CMS as it is very easy to add new users or creators. CMS built on WordPress is easier to revise, republish, or update. Moreover, there are over 50,000 plugins on WordPress that significantly increase its functionality.
4. Microsoft Project
Microsoft Project is a classic. It’s often seen as an essential project management tool for managers who want to make things easier for themselves and their team members. It’s not as lightweight as some of the more modern tools, but it’s a feature-rich environment that can be customized to suit the needs of any industry. Its features include:
- Easy setup and organization - Microsoft Project has a clean, minimal design that keeps managers focused.
- Time management - It allows project managers to create individual schedules for their team members and set deadlines for tasks, making it easy for everyone on the team to stay on top of things.
- Business Intelligence contributes valuable insights - Microsoft Project has integrated Business Intelligence technology for its users that analyzes project strategies and data to offer descriptive analysis and insights on how it can be improved.
- Customizable - It can be used for projects of different sizes and scopes. It can also be integrated with other software and apps.
- Communication - Microsoft Project allows team members to chat or hold meetings, making it even easier for them to stay updated on each other’s contributions to the project.
Today’s modern project management team often finds themselves online and dependent on software. Tools like Wrike help improve communication across teams, streamline approvals, and even help teams visualize the data that they use every day to make decisions.
What sets Wrike apart from project managers is they’re primarily focused on making task management. They do not attempt to wear every hat in the business (billing, sales CRM, customer service etc.). Some key features of Wrike include:
- Task & Project Manager - The more modern approach to project management includes AI assistance for tasks such as signaling important dates and conflicts. All most all task managers use a similar agile approach to managing tasks, it’s the UI/UX that sets them all apart.
- Hierarchy - Allowing your team to view a project from the perspective of folders is an amazing way to cut down on the noise and see the big picture. Using similar status/tags will allow you to filter data to extremely specific views which can be locked.
- Integrated Calendar - Setting due dates and seeing how a single milestone, project or all of your projects interact from a calendar view can be very powerful, especially for projects with hard deadlines and multiple dependencies.
- Dashboard & Reports - Wrike has some powerful reporting features that come “stock” but where it shines is when you begin filtering the data you use down to exactly what it is you need to view. Saving that view in a dashboard allows you to go back to it at any point in time and not worry about re-filtering.
- Communication - Wrike allows you to communicate with your team as often as required and from anywhere in the world. That helps bring remote teams together and keep everyone on the same page.
Some other popular and recommended software for project management include Keynote, Trello (agile & lite), Adobe Campaign, ClickUp, WebEngage, Firebase, and Google Forms All these options offer similar services as the tools described in detail in the list.
Finding the right project management tool is about recognizing a project’s requirements. Do not overcomplicate it! There will always be new tech and new features available at every turn- the grass is not always greener. What matters is that you and your team adopt whatever tools you choose to use and that your projects are more productive with a tool than without it.