How to Find the Best Project Management Tools (The Value of Project Management Tools)
In today’s workplace, projects can get complicated in a hurry. Since many people are often assigned to a single project, it is imperative that everyone knows exactly what to do at a given time. Hence, the value of project management tools.
Project management tools are a way for teams to work together without relying on memory or emails to complete a task. Additionally, the best project management tools will keep you within budget while also getting the work completed on time. Since teams have to be constantly communicating, it is critical that everyone gets on the same page.
Luckily, there are many free project management tools available online. These project management tools will allow everyone to keep track of each and every task. At the same time, they will prevent certain details from being overlooked. By relying solely on emails, a lot of vital communication could be lost.
One thing to note about project management tools is that they are specifically meant for projects. While this sounds obvious, we should first define a project. In essence, a project is a task that has a start date, an end date, and yields a final product.
Therefore, project management tools are best used on tasks that must be completed in a certain amount of time. For instance, creating and completing a website is a project, while simply maintaining a website is not. The difference here is that one requires an end date while the other is ongoing.
Image Source: Best Project Management Tools
Keep in mind that these free project management tools were built with the end date in mind. If you have a project that will take multiple weeks or months, you should look for one that is right for you.
Throughout this article, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about project management tools, including the following:
- How does online project management software work?
- What are the best project management tools available today?
- How can I be sure a project management system is right for me?
As you will notice, there are countless online project management tools available. The reason for this is that every project is different. With that being said, it will be critical that you look past the free project management tools that seem geared toward someone else. Throughout this article, we hope to touch on some of the best project management tools for you.
How Do Online Project Management Tools Work?
Before we discuss specific online project management software, we would like to briefly explain how many of these tools work. By better understanding what online project management tools can offer you, the better equipped you will be to choose the one that is perfect for the job.
Within these free project management tools, you and your team can divide the work however you see fit. Every team member will be assigned different tasks or milestones, with a due date for each one. This will allow you to divvy up the work in a way that lets you and your team keep track of each step.
The best project management tools often show every team member what the others are working on and how much progress they have made. By granting this information to everyone, team members will be held accountable for their work. The hope here is that the transparency of free project management tools will ensure that everyone completes their work on time.
At the same time, this visibility allows team members to step up if someone is falling behind. For instance, if the project management system shows that one of the team members still has four milestones to complete by the following morning, others can step in and claim some of the necessary tasks.
Finally, the best project management tools allow you and your team to upload files directly to the software. Therefore, everything will be completed within the particular project management system you choose. You will keep track of tasks, deadlines, and ultimately, the final product.
If online project management software sounds like the solution for you, read on for our recommendations. The majority of the article will now focus on which project management tools we have deemed best. Our goal is to compare their pros and cons, but it will be up to you to determine which one fits your project.
Open Source Project Management Option 1: Freedcamp
One of the best project management tools that you can access for free is Freedcamp. We have decided that this is one of the best free project management tools available because of the way it notifies everyone when an update has been made. Similar to a Facebook notification, Freedcamp will make sure you have looked at the update before it goes away.
Additionally, this online project management tool allows you to keep track of deadlines, templates, and invoicing. If certain team members need to reach particular milestones before they are paid, the invoicing feature will be highly effective. At the same time, an administrator has the ability to limit what certain users can see.
Keep that last feature in mind when picking a project management system. The best free project management tools will allow an administrator to decide who can see what information, but some do not have these capabilities. This will be especially important if some team members should not know what others are working on. Thankfully, Freedcamp can keep this information hidden.
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For those of you who want more from this online project management tool, Freedcamp makes it easy to upgrade. If a project is beginning to take up more space than anticipated, an extra 1GB of storage is available for just $2.49. For those who want add-on components such as GoogleDrive integrations, Freedcamp only charges $2.99.
Like all free project management tools, however, Freedcamp comes with a couple of minor downsides. If you are looking for project management solutions that come with a mobile app, you will have to look elsewhere. Freedcamp does not come with a mobile app, but it has created a website that is good for mobile use. In many ways, this may work just as well.
Additionally, there is a slight learning curve when operating this online project management software. Since it comes with many features, new users may have a difficult time understanding exactly how to get started. With enough time, however, these features will begin to make more sense, and users should appreciate how much control they have over a given project.
Open Source Project Management Option 2: Orange Scrum
Another one of the best project management tools is Orange Scrum. Like FreedCamp, Orange Scrum is one of the best free project management tools available online. To use it for free, you will have to open the app on-premise. In other words, you will not be able to access the app anywhere. To use the cloud version, however, will cost you just $9 per month.
Perhaps the number one reason we consider Orange Scrum to be one of the best project management tools is that it is completely customizable. If someone in the office is tech savvy, he or she can use this platform to perform any task you could possibly need for a project. Whether you want to upload files, assign milestones, add new users, change the level of visibility, or more, this online project management allows you to do it all.
Image Source: Project Management Tools
Similar to FreedCamp, using free project management tools like this one comes with a bit of a learning curve. Since it is so customizable, you will need a tech expert to work with the team throughout the project. If the project you are pursuing is tech-related, this should be a no-brainer, and Orange Scrum could be perfect for you.
If you are a novice, however, and have not used a project management tool before, it might be best to look for something else. Without an expert understanding of the technology involved, you will only be able to use the tool’s most basic features. This may be fine in the short term, but Orange Scrum is intended for those who can customize it to fit their purpose.
Open Source Project Management Option 3: GanttProject
In many ways, GanttProject may be more capable of serving its users than the first two project management solutions. But again, these users vary depending on the type of project they want to pursue. All of these online project management tools come with various pros and cons, but some potential disadvantages can be ignored depending on your technological understanding.
One reason GanttProject is one of the best project management tools is that it is incredibly transparent. Administrators can create deadlines, milestones, and other schedules for a project. All of this information is then used to illustrate the effectiveness of your company’s workflow.
Why will this be important to you? By using project management tools that examine the workflow, you will be able to identify problem areas. As mentioned before, the best project management tools allow users to see who is struggling with milestones in order to force a team to come together. If someone sees a deadline approaching that may not be met, team members can jump in to help.
Essentially, this is the most important reason to use one of these project management tools instead of simply corresponding via email. Email does not keep every up to date on current accomplishments. Someone may say that they have completed a task, but these project management solutions require them to upload it for proof.
As always, GanttProject comes with a couple of disadvantages depending on the user. If you have never used any of the available online project management tools before, you may find this one overwhelming. While this will be fine in some situations, the support is left to online forums, meaning you may have to wait awhile to get a response.
If you have used project management tools before, then you may want to give this one a chance. Since it is completely free, there is no harm in trying it. Consider setting up a project and seeing how quickly you can tackle it.
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Open Source Project Management Option 4: MeisterTask
The final project management system we will discuss in this article is MeisterTask. Unlike some of the previous free project management tools we examined, this platform comes with apps for the iPhone and iPad. In addition, it gives users a chance to integrate it with up to two free platforms, including Dropbox, Google Drive, Zendesk, and GitHub.
Another reason MeisterTask is one of the best project management tools around is that it allows unlimited projects and users. Essentially, you can use this tool as often as you want. If you were successful with a previous project, simply reopen the app and get started on a new one. It even has no storage limit.
But the perks of this project management system do not stop there. MeisterTask comes with all the essentials, including time tracking, an easy-to-read layout, and the ability to collaborate with internal and external users. You will never wonder which milestones have been completed and which have not.
In many ways, MeisterTask is a better option for those who are not overly familiar with project management tools. It does not come with many learning curves, and you will not need a tech genius to get it started. As long as you have a project to work on and team members to help, MeisterTask will keep track of the rest.
The only real downside here is that it is a fairly new project. As a result, some of the features that are offered in the aforementioned tools have not been developed yet. This includes Gantt charts, CCPM, Integration with Toggly, and an Android app.
Overall, those are the only downsides. Out of all the project management tools we mentioned, MeisterTask is the newest, but it also comes with the most potential.
Conclusion: Decide What Matters Most to You
While we have only mentioned four of the best project management tools available, there are countless others for you to consider. The most important thing to keep in mind is the scope of your project and how willing you are to learn a new technological platform.
In general, we would recommend using one of the project management tools available for a project with a start and end date. Technology is quickly changing, and we all need to adapt. Using emails to set milestones will soon be a thing of the past. By employing online project management, you will rarely have to wonder if the tasks are being completed on time.
Many of these project management tools create a sense of camaraderie among team members. Since many users will be able to see who is completing milestones on time and who is falling behind, everyone will be able to lend a helping hand when necessary. This will also keep employees accountable for their work.
The only thing left for you is to determine which of the free project management tools is right for you. Since many of them come with the option of upgrading, give one a chance to see how it works. If you do not think it will do the job, try another, but always keep the team members in mind. How much will they benefit from this technology? Will it ultimately motivate them to get working? If yes, then you have found your solution.
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