Do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized most days?
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Are you searching for a way to better organize larger projects?
Would you prefer project management software that is free?
Well, this article will explore three project management software packages.
For years I used Google Calendar to organize and manage my work.
While I still do like Google Calendar, I found that as my business grew, and I had more and more clients, it just wasn’t enough anymore. I needed something to manage larger projects with clients and sometimes up to 12 people working on one project—each doing something different with different deadlines.
Let me also say that while I am a fan of Evernote,
that was also not enough for the level of projects that I was managing. So, I set out on a mission to find the “perfect” project management software. While there are many, many project management software packages out there, I wanted to choose wisely. I did not want to have too many “bells and whistles” to have to contend with as well as I did NOT want to spend a fortune.
Listed below are the three software packages in which I experimented.
BaseCamp – I had used BaseCamp before when I was taking online courses. This was many years ago though. At the time, it was a great way to organize homework, work with other students interested in study groups, and doing follow-up with the instructor. So, naturally I wanted to return to this software. I was looking forward to trying the new Basecamp 3.
BaseCamp is still free for the first month and a great central location for everyone working on a project. It is good to quickly organize a project from start to finish with everyone able to see what is going on within the project. With the 30-day free trial and you only pay $29 a month if you decide to keep it. Basecamp works for the web as well as iOS and Android. Just organize your project and stay organized on the go. It will easily synch with your other devices.
One thing that I didn’t like about Basecamp was that if a person is added to a project mid-way through, it is difficult for them to backtrack and catch up on all previous emails and accomplished work (milestones). You almost have to brief the person on your own or someone does.
While BaseCamp is still a great tool, I also didn’t like how the projects can be pulled up with the names of the people or companies on that project in no particular order. It would be nice to see my part of the project at the very top. It is—however—easy to learn in one afternoon.
Teamwork – This project management software was actually recommended to me by another virtual assistant. While you can’t learn it in an afternoon, there is plenty of training available. The monthly packages run from $12 a month on up to $249 a month with overall very good customer service. All packages are for unlimited users on a project, and you can manage up to 5 projects with the $12 package.
Overall, Teamwork has a lot of good features even though some of them can be slow to load. The good news you can access all of your files from a central location and projects can even be organized in email if you want. The main thing that I didn’t like about Teamwork is that it is hard to organize large lists of tasks quickly. It almost has to be done line by line. It does—however—also synch well with iOS and Android allowing for more flexibility.
Trello – Trello was great for managing larger, more complicated projects. All projects can be pulled up with a card-like design and the “card” can even be turned into a checklist or a smaller to-do list. It is free to use unless you decide to upgrade to the Gold package, which you never have to do. There really weren’t too many things you couldn’t accomplish with just the free package unless you were considering extending contracts for a 5-year or 10-year duration.
Trello was probably the most visual of the three. A project could be viewed at any time and allows users to quickly see who is working on what and how much work has been done up to that point.
The only drawbacks that I saw were because Trello is completely web dependent—without the Internet—it would be impossible to use. For this reason, I would recommend finding something else to possibly manage day-to-day tasks or tasks on the run. Trello is also something you cannot learn in under a week (at least I couldn’t). If you do decide to use Trello, you might want to sign up for the free newsletter and email alerts.
My colleague Ritika Tiwari from Cloudwards recently put together a nice guide about best Virtual team software tools. There is a ton of information out there; the guide was designed to cut through the noise a bit.