Do you struggle to coordinate deadlines, schedules, data and documents among yourself, your employees and your freelancers, contractors and clients? If so, you’re not alone. Keeping everything straight when your team doesn’t all work in the same place can be confusing. Fortunately, there are tons of project management tools out there to help.
Before choosing a project management tool, here are some things to consider:
What’s your budget?
There are plenty of free options out there, as well as paid products that offer free trials or free versions. However, if you need certain sophisticated features that are only available for a fee, you may need to budget for this.
Who are you dealing with?
Some project management tools set limits as to the number of users or restrict free versions to a small number of users, so consider how many people will be using the tool, not just now but in the future. If you are working with a lot of clients or freelancers who use their own project management tools, the easiest solution may be to pick the one that most of your customers or contractors already use. This can lessen your learning curve.
What controls do you want?
While you and your employees may need access to every piece of data regarding a project, you probably don’t want your clients or independent contractors to access some sensitive data or internal documents. Make sure the project management tool you choose makes it easy to set controls, whether that’s giving users different permission levels or sharing documents and data with some people and not others.
How do you and your team like to work?
Look for a project management tool that integrates easily with your work style. For instance, if you are on the road a lot and use tablets or smartphones to get work done, you will want project management tools with robust mobile features.
What’s your learning curve?
Some project management tools are simple and intuitive, while others require more time to get used to. Know yourself and your employees, and don’t pick something that’s so complicated you’ll never use it.
Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, popular project management tools to consider include Basecamp, Milestone Planner, Wrike and Zoho Projects. Finally, after you’ve chosen your project management tool, make sure everyone on your team learns how to use it. The right project management tool can change your life—and your business.
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