8 Must-Have Tools for Better Project Management

By Jamie Chaffin, December 26, 2017

Keeping teams on task can be cumbersome, especially when you’re juggling multiple projects and managing remote employees. Effective project management is essential, but the days of sticky notes and hard copy memos to keep everyone in the loop no longer cut it.

For marketers, upgrading their project management tools to best meet the needs of employees (and clients) is a necessity. Here are eight digital interfaces that’ll help improve team communication, digital marketing efforts, and project efficiency.

1. Trello

Essentially a big whiteboard containing “digital sticky notes,” Trello is a solid digital tool for managing team projects. Stay on task by creating different project boards, workflows within those boards, and even an editorial calendar. 

Trello_Welcome_Board.png

Source: Trello

One of Trello’s most valuable features is their customizable checklist, which can be modified for any type of project. For instance, a potential checklist can consist of write, edit, revise, finished, schedule.

As each step is completed, the team member checks the task off. And Trello’s activity log will alert other team members (who are added to the card) any time a checklist item is completed or a comment is made.

Trello_Checklist.png

For companies on a budget (or just looking to save a buck), Trello is an affordable management solution, with pricing plans that range from free for basic package to $20.83 per user/month for the top tier.

2. Asana

By creating a platform where all work and statuses update in one place, Asana eliminates the need for email. In fact, you even have the option to only follow updates for the work you’re involved with. For those who hate being cc-ed on everything, rejoice!

Asana’s platform enables you to divide work up into manageable units. Units include projects, calendars, meeting agenda, etc. 

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Source: WP Curve

Like Trello, with Asana you can create checklists, assign projects, and attach files. There’s also the option to limit access to sensitive projects, too. A great feature for clients who are concerned about too many eyes on top secret info.

Related Post: 15 Keyword Research Tools to Save Time With Media Buying 

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Source: Asana

For those who use multiple platforms and apps, integration is no problem for Asana. It works well with a number of other programs including Dropbox, Slack, Google Chrome, Google Drive, OKTA, and Github. Plus for those on the go, you can easily stay up-to-date on deadline driven projects with the Asana app.

Get a feel for the program by starting out with the free version, or go all in with their premium plan for $9.99 per user/month.

3. Wrike

Wrike operates similarly to Trello and Asana, but has some additional bells and whistles, too.

Businesses who charge by the hour will appreciate the handy time and budget tracking feature. Easily keep tabs on the amount of time spent working on a task/project for accurate billing.

Wrike also features a visual timeline (Gantt-Chart), where team members can see how their progress is matching up with the project schedule. 

Wrike.png

Source: Wrike

For businesses who do collaborative editing and writing, Wrike’s live editing and file management feature is an added bonus. Instead of saving attachments to your desktop, simply upload your docs and edit within the dashboard. Easy peasy.

For pricing, there are five tiers: basic is free, professional $9.80, business $24.80, marketers $34.60, and enterprise price upon request. And the great thing is each level offers a free trial, so feel free to explore before committing.

4. Basecamp 3

Basecamp has been around for more than a decade, and over 100,000 companies use it. So, if you’re looking for a platform that has years in the project management game with solid reviews, consider using Basecamp 3.

The product is pretty straightforward, in fact, it boasts it’s “world-famously-easy-to-use,” consisting of six simple tools for users:

  1. Campfires. Team members can participate in real-time “campfire” chats -- good for quickly bouncing off ideas, quick questions, etc.

  2. Message Boards. For those more detailed and important conversations that need to stay focused on one topic/project, but don’t need to necessarily be in real-time, message boards are a great way to communicate.

  3. To-do lists. Basecamp’s version of the checklist, here you can break down and track what needs to be completed.

  4. Automatic Check-ins. Depending on your needs, check-ins can be set up to occur daily or weekly. There is also the option to create specific recurring questions (e.g. has content been edited), eliminating the need to individually ask for progress reports.

  5. Docs and Files. No need to look for that graph, simply house all pertinent files and documents within one place. For organizational buffs, you can also prioritize them by manually placing them in a specific order or color coding them.

  6. Schedule. Keep everyone up to date on deadlines by setting an accessible schedule. The schedule can also be added to Google, iCal, or Outlook calendar as well.

Source: Basecamp 3 

Basecamp 3’s pricing is an all-inclusive, flat fee of $99. They don’t pay per user, so once you sign-up it’s a flat rate, regardless if you add new employees or additional clients.  

5. Producteev

Keep all projects and collaborators under one “digital roof” with Producteev’s interface. Like Trello, Asana, and others, Producteev’s organizational management features include networks, projects, tasks, labels, priorities, subtasks, deadlines, and filters.

With Producteev, collaboration is easy. Managers and team members can assign, mention, follow, email (in app), and attach files. They can also receive notifications, add reminders, track progress with a real-time activity feed, and export any task list. 

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Source: Producteev

Two pricing options are available: a free basic plan, or for $99/month a premium plan. The difference between the two: the professional version offers personalized support and a guaranteed response within 24 hours, plus customization of network colors and logo.

6. Teamwork

Keep team members and clients both in the loop with Teamwork Projects. The user-friendly software is accessible via desktop and mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Google Chrome, etc.), so clients can check in on progress without bugging you, and team members can work from anywhere, at any time.

Big brands who use Teamwork include Disney, PayPal, Forbes, and Pepsi. And if you’re curious how Teamwork measures up to other interfaces, they even have a handy comparison dropdown menu, right on their site. 

Teamwork.png

Source: Teamwork Projects

Teamwork offers project management and collaboration, file organization, email within the interface, and integration with other applications like Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. One of their most useful features is the Links tab where users can embed third-party applications, links, and pages in a pop-up window. Links can then be grouped into folders by category and date. 

Teamwork_2.pngSource: Teamwork Projects

Similar to Wrike, Teamwork also offers an in app timer to track time spent completing specific tasks. And there’s a message tab where you converse with other members of the team, too.

After the 30-day free trial, you have the option to choose from three different pricing plans, which include "Free Forever," Pro $9 a month per user, or Enterprise price upon request. And if you pick a plan and end up not liking it, there’s a 90-day money back guarantee. Win-win.

7. Boxmeup

For those who still need to print physical hard copies of documents, Boxmeup has got your back.

The app acts as a digital version of a container. Simply create QR codes to place on physical boxes. Later, when you need to retrieve an item, search for it within the app (via desktop or smartphone) and you’ll see which box it was placed in. Modern day filing has never been easier. 

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Source: Boxmeup

8. Slack

Complement your project management interfaces with the ultimate messaging app: Slack. Their tagline “team communication for the 21st century’ is no joke. Teams can connect all of the tools they use to Slack, skipping the headache of switching between applications.

By keeping all of your messages within one spot, there’s no need to check email (unless you really want to). The program will notify you if there’s activity on your Trello card. And if you’re worried about integration, don’t be.

The list of applications Slack integrates with is lengthy. Trello, Mention, even AI integrates with Slack. Imagine having your own ‘officebot’ to handle restocking “important” supplies like coffee and ice cream as this team does here:

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Source: Slack

Pretty sweet, huh?

Organizational buffs (and hoarders) will also appreciate Slack’s archiving system which automatically indexes and archives every message, notification, and file. No longer will you have to dig through a messy Outlook folder, or debate whether you need to delete an old report to free up email storage.

We could go on and on about the perks of Slack, so definitely give it a try (if you haven’t already). Pricing ranges from free to $12.50 for Plus (per active user, per month). Also in the works is an Enterprise version (price TBA), slated for release sometime in 2016.

Conclusion

These are just a sampling of the many tools out there. Not surprisingly, there are many similar versions of the aforementioned tools (ahem Slack), too. As technology continues to evolve, expect to see even more ways to streamline project management across all devices and platforms.

This article was originally posted in September 2016 and has been republished with new information.

Jamie Chaffin

Jamie Chaffin

Jamie Chaffin is a former eZanga Content Marketing intern. In her spare time, you can find her scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, transfixed in new movies (trying to pick the next Oscar winners), playing with her new puppy, reading a good book, or taking acting classes when she can. More Articles by Jamie Chaffin