Quest for the best mix of project management tools is known to new and veteran managers both. While the supply of such solutions has grown immensely over the years, instead of making the decision easier it actually made it much more difficult. Choosing the right tool for the job, not getting influenced and derailed from your actual needs is what we seek to do, but often fail simply because of the overwhelming information available. To make this decision a little easier, we decided to narrow things down to five categories of tools you will need for your next project.
Few projects can happen with no project management, we need to have order and known when the things are supposed to be done. To make this goal as easy as possible, you will need some sort of project management tool or software. Choose what fits your style and the team you are working with – some will do just fine with a whiteboard and markers, while others will feel more comfortable with a specified software like Eylean Board designed to handle large projects. In any case, this will be crucial to your progress as you will plan, monitor and execute the work ahead according to this tool.
Conferencing and Communication
With the ever growing and expanding business connections nowadays, we got used to the idea of collaborating with people and team members all around the world. Due to this development conferencing and communication tools have become another important aspect of the toolbox. While some coordinating can be done over e-mails and online chats, you will need to develop a system for effective meetings, communication and information sharing between all the parties. Such tools as GoToMeeting will be your greatest asset in making sure you stay on top of your team and your project.
While time tracking has a negative connotation in most of our minds, its importance should not be overlooked. You could go the old route and use it to scare your team into performing better, however if you use it wisely, it can help you bill clients, determine strengths and weaknesses in your process and allocate resources in a way that is fair and will yield the best results. Many project management solutions offer a built-in time tracking option, which is great since it allows to associate work with time reports easily, but if you prefer a standalone option, great ones like Toggl are waiting for you.
Bug and ticket tracking
For those of us working in the software development related fields, bug and ticket tracking is another important thing. Unfortunately, one way or another, there will be issues with the product you are working on and you will want a system in place to note and take care of them. There is a variety of options like Bugzilla out there, depending on your expectations, however make sure that your choice is convenient not only for the development team, but for the end users and other parties involved as well.
Last, but definitely not least important part of any project is invoicing – no one wants to do the job for free. To make sure both you and the client are happy with the numbers in the end you will need to have not only an agreement over the price of the project, but also a clear invoicing system to take you through. You might need to report time spent, tasks concluded and other things, so make sure the tool you have can do just that. Choose your tool amongst a variety of standalone options like QuickBooks or look for a project management solution that offers included invoicing within their package.
At the end of the day, it does not matter how many and which tools you use, simply make sure that they help you achieve your project goals.