TECHNOLOGY TUESDAY - this is our day to share techy stuff...Today, we talk about project management tools and platforms:
There are many directions we can go with technology and today, we would like to talk project management. This means lots of things to lots of people. And, the organization of it can take different forms…or at least be displayed different ways no matter what the tool. Let’s talk about this first.
Kanban Boards: Picture a brainstorming session in which you move post-it notes into columns to organize flow and process. We can easily see this and get a feel for moving things around and being in the moment and “figuring it out”. THIS is similar to a kanban board and can be organization of tasks, roles, etc. and the columns can be projects. You really can make this whatever you need to in order to get some flow to your process. This is a great way to start.
Once you have a Kanban board, it is helpful to assign tasks and parts and give them dates and deadlines. This will ensure that you set your structure in motion. It is like you build the frame and shell of a machine and when you add the people and time as the engine, the machine begins to move. Movement is work and if paired with accountability, progress then starts taking shape. Many project management tools let you take a Kanban board and turn it into a list with assignments and time simply with a click and changing the view.
It is then helpful to use other visual displays like a calendar view or a Gantt chart to show where you may have bottlenecks in time or opportunities. Once the design, descriptions, dates, and people are in place, these just give different visuals. I happen to love Gantt charts. They are what we often see in construction and show each trade and when they start and stop on a project. This can be adapted to any kind of project, team, contract, or group.
Now for tools…I use one paid tool and two free versions (although I will likely be upgrading one of these). I use Asana as my master PM tool. I design processes in projects for my internal work in the process that I just shared. I can see it in all visual formats. Asana has a fast learning curve and has really good integrations with other standard platforms. It has great templates to start with and you can customize quickly. It’s “friendly” overall and if you use it daily and work your system, you will get a great rhythm to your workflow.
I use something similar called Click-up for the portions of the project that clients need and each project can be shared individually so that I can give the client access to their folder which allows them to see our plan, Kanban board, list view. Calendar, and gantt chart. It works just like sharing in Google Drive (if you are familiar) and you can give a link.
I use Trello as my own brainstorming and process development board as I work through how I want to design my own processes. Then I can make it a real workable process in Asana. I like Trello for the simple “vision” board style of engagement as a thinking tool. This is the one that I may upgrade as it can transfer a really good process into Asana for immediate use and work.
Integrations…Trello and Asana have integrations with each other and other programs. Clickup has a number of native integrations as well as some automatic import options. They are quickly growing and adapting and I just recently connected Clickup and Asana so that I can have two layers of project work…Internal and external. This plans for growth and utilizes efficiency from day one.
BUT….I had to research. I had to look at a ton of programs and decide how I wanted to use them. I am so visual, so I needed to take a look at what they “looked” like in addition to function and make sure that I can work with it quickly, efficiently, and just make it happen. If it was complicated, cumbersome, not connecting well, or simply ugly…it was out. And, I quickly found that there were a TON of options, which was fun, and A LOT to process.
ADVICE TO START: I would start with this article from 1/1/2020 byThe Digital Project Manager website. https://thedigitalprojectmanager.com/best-project-management-software/ It is filled with links in its list AND it also has links to the right in the article that are specific to the type of work needing to be accomplished. It will help you narrow your search. I found far more platforms than the ones I settled on as options. I also balanced cost in the mix and that is individual for everyone. I wanted platforms that will grow with me and my business and MANY do this well. The point is to find something you like and will use and design your process…then manage it.
We will share more on specific findings on future Tuesdays, but thought this article was the best first step if you are looking for something or if you are refining your work.