Finding The Best Project Management Tool

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Being active members of project management community we often encounter questions on what is the best project management software, how to find the perfect solution and what would best fit in one situation or another. And while sometimes a recommendation can lead to a gem in a sea of tools, more often it provides an option that is just okay, but not great. Therefore, it is important to realize that finding the perfect tool is a job you and your team will have to do on your own.

The good news is we are here to help guide you towards that perfect option and have some simple tips on how to get there.

1.       It is not a popularity contest

When looking for your next company tool, you will inevitably want to do research online, ask for opinions and statements from other teams that have tried it. And while this is all great, you should always take the opinion of others with a grain of salt. A tool may fit one company perfectly and be completely wrong for another. So before looking into the vast array of options online and trusting the most popular tool is the best, you should lay some groundwork first.

2.       Analyze your processes

Instead of jumping online and reading hundreds of reviews, the first thing you should do is analyze your team and company processes. If you already know them by heart – great, if you need some time to get the hang of it – do it. By making yourself familiar with what happens on a daily basis you will be able to see how a tool can help your team and better understand what it needs to be instead of making presumptions based on the opinions of others.

3.       Create the Must-have list

After cracking the processes, turn your focus to the list of functionalities your tool must have. It can be anything ranging from the technical side of the operating system up the actual features like time tracking or the project management methodology used. Make sure to only add the features that are absolute must-haves to the list and create a nice-to-have list for other features you want to take note of. These two lists will be your best guide in weeding out the large array of possibilities and the true start of finding the tool for you.

4.       Take note of the tools you currently use

Before taking a look at the possible solutions, take some time do one more thing – analyze the tools your team currently uses. Observe, which tools are popular and which are forgotten and take note of their characteristics – is it a community or an individual tool, how is it accessed, what graphic design it has, etc. Try to get all of the details that are important to your team or better yet – ask them to paint you the full picture. After all, no tool will be successful if your team does not accept it and use it.

5.       Find the potential candidates

Once you get all of that, it is time to move on to the search. Go online, ask colleagues, read forums and find the potential candidates for your needs. Make sure to keep in mind the must have list for the initial search and then narrow it down to around 10 options based on the team preferences. Once you have this list, share it with your team, decide which you all like and try it out. It is best to try only one tool at a time and give it at least a week, but if you are in a rush, make adjustments that best fit your timeframe.

6.       Make the final decision

Once you’ve tried all of the candidates and chose your favorites, look at the nice-to-have list and other final factors such as the price to make the final decision. No matter which tool you end up using, this process will ensure that it fits your essential needs, goes well with your style of working and will be accepted by your team.

Happy hunting!


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5 Ways Of Getting There With Your Team

070516-N-1745W-001Last week I talked about the importance of getting to know your customers and collecting their feedback. This week, I want to bring the focus a little closer to home, to the employees. No matter how you slice it, your employees are the key in making everything happen. Without them there would simply be no company. However, we often forget that and observe a diminishing engagement and lack of morale. So what should you do to make sure your team stays as enthusiastic about the future as they were on day one? I am sure these tips will help put you on the right track.

  • Define the rules of the game

Before even talking about empowering and engaging employees, you should make sure that there are clear rules to define the processes. Not only that, but that you also take some time and talk these rules out with your team. Have an open discussion about the management practices and you will be surprised about the valuable feedback and insights that will be offered. This way, you will not only make sure they know the rules, but also have the team be part of their creation.
Genuine interest and open doors will put you ahead of the game.

  • Treat your team like adults

One of the biggest issues when keeping employees engaged and happy is micromanagement. It is understandable that you want to make sure everything goes smoothly and according to plan, but at some point it is imperative you let go. Your employees are professionals that you have hand-picked to represent you so make sure to treat them accordingly. Empower the team to make their own decisions, let go of the reigns and observe. Let them prove to you that they can perform and only intervene when it is absolutely necessary. You will have a more engaged and self-sufficient team than you would ever have micromanaging their every move.

Act the way you would like to be treated when asked to do a job – trust is your best friend.

  • Ask to explain the issues

Another big boost to morale and productivity is the ability to talk out the issues. Schedule a monthly meeting with each team where the sole purpose is to talk about the issues they are facing and to look for their solutions. Make sure this meeting is about the team dynamics and the processes and not about the current project or deadline. This way you will create a platform for the team to share their concerns in a safe space, a place to look for solutions and a feeling that everyone is heard and valued. It will be difficult to get the ball rolling the first few times, but asking the right questions and taking up a role of a colleague instead of a leader, will go a long way.

Treat these meetings as a safe space, so that everyone can voice their opinions.

  • Give credit when credit’s due

Besides making sure the team is heard and treated correctly, you should always make an effort to give credit to those that deserve it. Too often we forget to thank or praise the team members that are crucial to the operation. And while you might think they will still know they are valued, their feeling might be different. Celebrate wins often and publicly, thus shoving the rest of the team what to strive for and how their efforts will be rewarded in the future.

Celebrate your company and your people with pride.

  • Measure the satisfaction

Few business decisions are made without insight and data, so employee engagement should not be any different. Do not limit yourself to team meetings – set up a system to measure satisfaction on a daily basis. The way you approach this will be crucial and could determine if the employees see it as a positive thing that it is. Make the survey anonymous, and rotate employees so that they don’t get fed up. The results will provide you with valuable insight and help you better prepare on introducing big news to the team in the future.

Measure satisfaction to know when your team needs a pick me up.

How do you keep the team motivated and engaged? Share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments!

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The Many Hats of a Project Manager: Daily Struggles and Solutions


It is no secret, that project management is more than just following deadlines and overseeing work. No matter the size of the company, managers have to take on various roles to make sure their team reaches the desired result. This role juggling may be well known to the experienced project managers, but for those still ranking up their expertise, multiple hurdles await.

Check out our list of the most common project management daily struggles and their solutions.

  • The lack of motivation within the team

When managing a group of people all in pursuit of the same results, you will inevitably find yourself dealing with team members that seem to have lost their drive. It will put your project behind and influence the rest of the team in a negative way. When faced with such a situation, it is important to remember that it is your job, not to only create the plans for the future, but to also make sure the team is motivated to complete them.

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Form The Right Agile Team


As any project manager would tell you, having a great team is one of the key factors in project success. They will help you face the challenges, look for solutions and deliver a result that you are looking for. Agile teams are no exception and can either help you to achieve goals or be a destructive force for the whole project. So how do you form an Agile team that will bring the success you are looking for?

The most important thing you have to understand is that the traditional teams and Agile teams are two quite different things. Simply slapping new titles on the old team does not an Agile team make. The key difference between a traditional and an Agile team is that the latter has to be completely self-sufficient. In other words, it has to be diverse and independent enough to produce a working, tested increment of a product. To make sure your new Agile team can do that, there are a few things you should be aware of.

1. Diversity

While for the traditional teams it might be perfectly fine to have five designers and no developers, this will be nowhere near okay for Agile. By definition itself, Agile teams have to be diverse enough to produce a working part of the product. This means that an Agile team has to be made of just the people that are needed to do that.

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Eylean vs Jira – Will You Choose The Little Guy?

Eylean vs Jira

Within the large market of project management software, Jira is no doubt one of the bigger players – it offers a variety of features and supports large enterprises all over the world. At first look, most would not think a small startup from Lithuania could offer any competition to the giant. However, we believe, a few key aspects make Eylean Board a true competitor in this race.

In their essence the two tools are quite different – one is created for large enterprises, while the other focuses on the life of a team. However, at the end of the day, both are designed to do exactly the same – aid the company in the overall project management process. Looking at the tools this way reveals a couple of pivotal points that just might make you reconsider the superiority scale.

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Leadership – a thin line between a friend and an enemy

leader silouet

No matter how many books and theories about project management are out there, to most of us being a great leader is still a mystery. You need to be tough, yet sensitive, strict, yet forgiving, everything, yet nothing at the same time. Being a great leader is truly an art and requires years to be developed. However if you are just starting out or simply want to refresh your memory, here are a few things you should always remember.

What Not To Do

As with anything in life, it is important to know not only what you should do, but also and often more importantly what not to do. This will help you avoid common mistakes made out of lack of experience or simply no better knowledge.

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Still using Excel? This might be a good time to finally move on

pi_excel_410x256Microsoft Excel is well known for its capabilities far beyond a simple spreadsheet. It is used for calculations, data storage and due to the embedded formulas and programing can become almost any tool you would like. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that besides the uses for statistical analysis and annual reports it has also been widely used for project management. However, here we should focus on the past tense simply because in my opinion the time of Excel in project management is over and if you are still using it, most likely you are not reaching your full potential. Let me explain why.

Excel is a great tool and its applications in various fields prove that without a doubt. However, the time when Excel provided great advantages in project management is over and we are all better off because of that. To replace the king, we have a wide array of prominent candidates – for the last couple of years project management tools have been sprouting like weeds after a good rain and the selection nowadays is wide and great. It is not only that there is a variety of tools to choose from, but also that the tools are being improved and evolved at a very fast pace. By now, they are as intricate, feature filled and diverse as ever and there is really no reason why you should not use one. However, I know you might still be doubting me so I will go ahead and give you 5 simple reasons why you should switch.

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Learn efficient time tracking in 1 day

Time tracking has proven time and time again to be an asset in business management. However, to achieve the great results, it takes every single employee to practice personal time tracking. Here is where businesses are facing troubles and the team of Eylean was no exception.

From the very beginning of deciding to track time, the company is faced with two choices – passive or active. Passive time tracking means tracking time as you are working and stopping the clock every time you take a break, go for lunch or end your work day. On the other hand, active time tracking is in some ways the opposite – you do the work and only after finishing, enter the time spent on each task. Therefore, the first choice means extensive time consumption on the tracking efforts themselves, while the second does not provide accurate time reports the management is looking for. Either way, the tracked data is vulnerable to human error – from forgetting to stop the clock to forgetting how much time it took.

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Team communication problems lie within the tools?

effective-online-communicationWe have all been in a situation where poor team communication lead us to working more or doing things twice. In fact, most of the teams’ problems do rise from miscommunication amongst the team members.

The importance of good communication follows us in our personal as well as our professional lives. Without good communication, we would be spending our lives in a never ending misunderstanding leading to constant annoyance with everyone around us. And let’s face it, no one wants to be wasting time at work, doing something twice, because of a communication error.

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Extend Visual Studio Online experience with Eylean

As you know, besides being a standalone software, Eylean Board offers integrations with other popular project management tools, such as TFS, MS Project and others. By this we seek to enhance the experience and to extend the features available for our customers. Today we want to talk about one more Eylean integration aimed to bring additional value – Visual Studio Online.


Visual Studio Online is a tool mostly used for software development projects. It is based on the capabilities of TFS and extended with cloud services to be made more accessible. While it is a great tool for code sharing, it can still be improved in other areas. Eylean offers a two way integration with Visual Studio Online seeking to enhance the capabilities of the tool in the following ways.

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