The world of work has changed more rapidly over the past decade than anyone could ever have imagined. New job titles emerge all the time (while others die), we can make extra cash from our cars and spare rooms, and companies are making increasing use of international teams. Engage Me is one of those companies, with employees in Dubai and two different South African cities.
We’re largely able to do that thanks to a plethora of technologies. And when it comes to making sure everyone’s up to speed with what they should be doing, collaborative project management software is especially important.
But these tools aren’t just important for companies with international teams, they can be beneficial if everyone’s in the same office.
Thing is, there are so many project management tools out there that choosing one can be a total nightmare.
In a bid to make the choice a little easier, we’ve outlined some of the top tools out there today as well the settings and scenarios they’re most useful for.
We’re actually pretty big fans of Trello at Engage Me. Its ease of use and accessibility meant that it was ideal as we set out to build the site. You can also control which members of your team have access to which projects, making them much simpler to manage.
Trello uses the Japanese Kanban paradigm for managing projects. Originally popularised by Toyota in the 1980s, the system uses a series of boards, cards, and lists to show how far along a project is.
One of the benefits of Trello is that it is designed to be used with the same level of ease by consumer and business users.
The other great thing about Trello is that it’s not just useful for business. It can be used for everything from real estate management to software project management, school bulletin boards, lesson planning, and law office case management.
Platforms: Web, iOS, Android
Cost: Free – US$20.83
Slack exploded onto the scene a couple of years ago, with many believing that it was the app that would finally save workers around the world from the internal mails that clog up their inboxes. Founded in August 2013, Slack began life as an internal tool in a game development company.
At the crux of the app are collaborative chat rooms, called channels. On that basis, it’s probably not 100% correct to call it a project management tool. But the fact that it allows integration with a number of other tools including Google Docs, Skype, GitHub, and Trello means that it has become an invaluable weapon in the project manager’s arsenal.
Platforms: Web, Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux (beta).
Cost: Free – US$12.50
A favourite of agencies and development houses, Jira is a project management tool which allows for team members to track projects and comment on the latest developments for those projects.
That focus on developers becomes especially evident when you dig deeper into Jira’s features and see that it allows for the reporting and tracking of bugs and other software-related issues. Jira is generally considered more flexible than its direct competitors.
Cost: Free (for open source projects meeting certain criteria) – US$4000
Built by Atlassian, the same development house behind Jira, Hipcchat is a web service for internal/private chat and instant messaging. That makes it more like Slack than a traditional project management tool. But as we noted with Slack, that Instant messaging capability can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to project management.
As well as one-on-one and group/topic chat, Hipchat features cloud-based file storage, video calling, searchable message history and inline image viewing. One feature that sets it apart from other office communication tools is that includes SMS messaging for one-on-one conversations.
Hipchat integrates with Atlassian’s other products and third-party services including GitHub, MailChimp and Heroku.
Platforms: Mac, Linux, Windows, Android, iOS + Web-based application
Cost: Free – US$2
Launched in 2004, Basecamp is one of the oldest project management tools currently available on the market and is used extensively in the agency space. While it’s not the prettiest tool out there, its longevity speaks to its usefulness. Basecamp offers to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. Numerous versions of Basecamp exist, with a free offering for teachers launched in 2014.
Platforms: Web, Android, iOS
Cost: Free – US$3000
Bitrix24 is one of those project management tools that aims to be everything to everyone. It combines collaborative features (workgroups, tasks, calendars, gantt charts) with (group) chats and video, client management tools (contacts, deals, invoicing), workflow management, HRIS (company structure, employees profiles, search, leave approvals), telephony (integrated module VoxImplant by Zingaya), and social intranet (likes, badges, activity stream). All in all, there more than 35 kinds of task you can manage with Bitrix24.
Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android
Cost: Free (for up to 12 users) as a communications tool. US$39 – US$199/month as a project management tool.
Asana has some serious clout behind it. Launched in 2008, the tool was created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and ex-engineer Justin Rosenstein and grew out of their efforts at improving the productivity of Facebook employees.
Since launch, it’s been on a mission to kill the internal email.
Within Asana, each team can create a workspace. Workspaces contain projects, and projects contain tasks. In each task, users can add notes, comments, attachments, and tags. Users can follow projects and tasks and, when the state of a project or task changes, followers get updates about the changes in their inboxes.
Cost: Free – +/-US$10 per user per month