Keeping track of office projects is a complex task – and managing them to completion even more so. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between hands-on management and ensuring that the project is progressing at a good pace, and micromanaging, which can be time-consuming and cause friction with project team members. The key to project productivity, along with decreased administrative headaches, could lie in technology. Tools such as apps that allow for a centralised view of tasks, assignments, project updates and project content make it easier to view progress, as well as where issues or challenges lie. Web-based apps also mean that all team members can collaborate from any location. Different teams and organisations will get better use out of different tools: here are a few top picks.
Liquid Planner is a highly-specialised tool that uses predictive technology to give you updates on how long a project will take, based on your estimates of the priority level and time it will take to complete individual tasks. It can also track actual time taken either by using the in-app timer or manually recording the time taken on tasks. It also provides analytics and reports for real-time assessments of what people are working on. All file types can be uploaded and linked to tasks or projects, which is useful as it can act as a virtual workspace where employees can discuss project issues. It is recommended for small to mid-sized organisations and may require some training to use to its full potential.
Trello is deceptively simple. It’s a highly visual system that organises projects and allows you to add members, labels, checklists, labels, due dates, comments requesting feedback and file attachments. This means that the board has all the information on project activities and progress laid out at a glance. The basic version also offers paid “power ups” that add features as needed such as a calendar, card aging, and voting.
Pyrus is intuitive and easy to use. It sends out tasks to people based only on what they need to do – so they always see only their portion of the task, which removes complexity and promotes productivity. It can handle workflows linked to thousands of people, making it great for large organisations. The keep-it-simple design means that you can organise multiple projects, link with others on the team, set deadlines, share files and have discussions, all from one window.
Host a Co-Meeting by creating real-time online meetings. Live-typing discussions give the sense of face-to-face meetings, the sessions are interactive and can provide rapid updates, as well as allow team members to sign in from any geographical location. The note pane is available to take minutes during the meeting and the thread from the entire meeting can be saved and given to those who didn’t attend to get them up to speed rapidly.
Finally, for shared and personal work spaces Evernote is the biggest virtual bulletin board you have ever seen. It is a great way for storing and sharing information such as notes, information found online, task lists, documents (Premium version) and even turning this information into presentations. Used extensively, it means that all your project information is available and searchable in one place.