There are many online services to organize the work of the team and track the status of tasks. Some are more suitable for IT development, others – for marketing or sales. We have compiled the shortlist of the most popular systems and described how they work. But first things first: how to choose solutions for teamwork that exactly fit your needs? To find a suitable toolkit you should first set up a framework for teamwork:
- Describe the communication use-cases that the team is currently using
- Analyze the current processes and needs of the company
- Think over the needs that may arise soon (if the company begins to grow or plans to expand production)
- Choose the best task manager that will maximally cover existing and possible future use-cases
- Develop your architecture based on the selected system
- Describe user roles, rules of interaction in the system
- Create guides for the team – as detailed as possible, up to a unified approach in task names
- To develop and implement a training system and integrate the team into the system
- Leave time for ongoing changes, since at the start of teamwork there is always a need to change something in architecture or rules
Simple and fast chat application for work. It appeared in the market as a replacement for Skype for corporate correspondence. Employees communicate in person or groups, share files and links. There are separate channels for different topics when sending links (and you can see a preview straight away). There are applications for Android and iOS. The basic version (integration with ten services, history of 10 thousand messages) is free. The minimum cost is $ 6.67 per month per user. Companies that use Slack: Airbnb, LinkedIn, Samsung.
Benefits of Slack
- You can create multiple chats and turn off notifications for all or some of them. You can make voice and video calls, share the working screen during them.
- When you receive file attachments, including images and PDFs, you can configure the preview. And you can save Google documents on your Google drive.
- You can configure notifications from other programs and not switch between windows: Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Asana, and other applications will be connected to the program and displayed in Slack. You can also respond to comments in Google Docs documents directly from Slack.
- Chat participants can add statuses like “online” for a given time. For example, you can put the status “I’m at a meeting,” select the timeframe, and as soon as it expires, the status will change automatically.
- Slack is a strong medium for communication, storing knowledge and information about changes.
- You can systematize the exchange of views on projects, connect Google Docs and our other project management systems.
- Slack is perfect for startups and agile projects when you need to see all the processes in real-time all the time, but there are not very many documents and data.
Atlassian project monitoring tool. Suitable for managing both small teams up to 20 people, and large enterprises with 200+ employees. Jira allows you to designate project managers and track task availability in real-time. Jira has an intuitive interface. A feature of the platform is in the special names of the key elements of the processes. Epic here is a large amount of work that is divided into tasks, and stories are small tasks. Available for iOS and Android. There is no free version, but there is free trial (7 days). Access for a team up to 10 users costs $10 per month, for 11–100 people – $7 per month. Companies that use: Square, eBay, Spotify, Sisco.
Benefits of Jira
- Choosing a board template – Scrum or Kanban – depending on the tasks, experience in flexible work and the rigidity of the project personnel management.
- You can conduct agile planning and make transparent reporting; Track release status and prioritize
- You can import data from Asana, Trello, MS Project, and connect other services from the application collection.
- You can work in the cloud, or you can use it on your server – this is convenient if the project is large and important, but you cannot rely on the power of other servers.
- Jira is a powerful project management tool with a lot of additional functionality (not free though).
- You can configure the appropriate access rights.
- You can customize Jira according to your processes and your project specifics.
- You can keep track of many rather labor-intensive tasks.
- When used with Confluence (also an Atlassian product), it turns out that you can close absolutely all the tasks associated with the automation of the project management.
The app was recently purchased by Atlassian (Jira’s creators). This is a project management system of various sizes; you can see several running tasks and their status at the same time. The project structure is a board on which there are vertical lists, that consist of cards. Cards can be moved from one list to another. Application users assign deadlines, hold discussions, upload files to each card. Members of the working group see the changes in real-time, can archive cards. There are applications for iOS and Android. The basic version (one improvement, files up to 10 MB) is free, the minimum cost for paid account is $ 9.99 per month per user annually. Companies that use Trello: Adobe, Pixar, Google.
Benefits of Trello
- Traditionally, lists are divided into stages “what is in the works,” “what is done,” “what needs to be done,” but you can call them the way you like and create additional sections.
- Changes in projects are visible in real-time; it is possible to control which user is viewing tasks.
- Cards and comments can be created via email. Trello downloads attachments from mail to the application, you can work without opening the app.
- Additional features (powerups) allow you to vote for cards, connect other services (Evernote, Google, Dropbox, etc.), see cards that you haven’t worked with for a long time and set a countdown for deadlines.
- It is extremely simple but at the same time, effective tool.
- Available both online and offline, on the phone and tablet, therefore, even if there is no Internet, you can work with it, and it synchronizes everything as soon as the connection to the Internet is back.
- It can be used both individually and for teams.
- Perfect for small teams.
- With paid “Improvements,” you can gain additional functionality, like an ability to draw Gantt charts in MS Project.
Application for project management, which allows you to distribute tasks, prioritize, and assign deadlines. You can track the status of the project at the level of “completed / not completed.” Employees can create a separate workspace for several tasks. Users supplement and comment on the task, attach files. Goals can be visualized as a calendar. Asana works in the browser and applications. There are applications for Android and iOS. The basic version (up to 15 users) is free; the minimum cost is $ 9.99 a month per user annually. Companies that use Asana: Dropbox, Uber, Pinterest.
Benefits of Asana
- Projects can be displayed in the usual format, and on Kanban-boards.
- Tasks can be discussed. Asana integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, and other applications, including calendars and schedules.
- In discussions, visual files are displayed completely.
- You can connect to different teams and see only the necessary information – Asana does not have these endless “user A closed the project,” “user B logged in, thought and left the project,” “user B went into the project and sneezed in it.”
- Only key alerts go to the mailbox: burning and expired tasks, and weekly summaries.
- You can save your project templates in a paid account so that you can use them in the future, visualize the relationship between tasks and their implementation on a timeline board.
- External clients are given access to specific tasks without registering.
- It has both: a lot of thoughtful and necessary functionality, and a modern, visually pleasant, and convenient interface.
- The paid version has many options for customization.
- Perfect for teams from 20 people.
- Suitable for managers (staging, control).
Microsoft Teams is an Office 365 app created for communication and team control. Like everything by Microsoft, it scales from 10 to 1000 users at a time. The app connects to OneNote, Planner, Power BI, Dynamics 365, Wrike, Cloud bot for Azure, Smartsheets, Salesforce, Zoom, GitHub Enterprise, and even Wikipedia search. It is possible to schedule meetings and videoconferences. Users can create group and personal chats, conversations for individual projects, and share files. Skype for Business is used for calls. Available for iOS and Android. The basic version with minimal functionality is free; the minimum paid account costs $5 per month per user annually. Companies that use Teams: Microsoft, Deloitte, ConocoPhillips, Air France, Beiersdorf (Nivea, Eucerin, LA Prairie).
Benefits of Microsoft Teams
- The service does what it should – allows you to communicate with team members.
- The ability to create different teams to form group chats adds a new level to the structure of communication. There are three levels in all: teams, channels, and discussions (within channels).
- Reliable notification system – the status of changes in the channels you are subscribed to is collected in a feed.
- It’s very convenient that you can add other functions to Teams, like Planner, that allows you to see tasks in the format of Kanban-boards.
- Convenient for Office 365 users – connects to all programs of this service. But everyone can use Teams for free.
- Tasks are distributed through the integrated Planner; You can schedule and change shifts in real-time; You can work with documents in the application.
- You can connect Asana, Trello, another task scheduler or application.
Interconnecting All Your Communication Channels: Avoid the Mess and Get a Bigger Picture
All the tools mentioned above are very popular and extremely useful when working on a project. However, when the time comes to graduate to the next level of enterprise maturity (like more than ten people a team, more than five individual projects, that do not intersect, etc.) you might need something “stronger.” Even if you’re not yet the intergalactic space battleship with more than a thousand employees, you might consider a tool, that allows your teams to work on their projects, and your executives to have an “all-seeing-eye” of sorts to make informed decisions swiftly and timely. That’s when PPM Express becomes your “go-to.”
It is created to oversee, control, and manage projects and portfolios without the need for any manual data input. Imagine you’ve chosen the listed above Planner, Project Online, and Azure DevOps to manage individual projects. PPM Express will extract the data from these (and many others coming soon, namely: Asana, Trello, Smartsheet, etc.), apps, and systems to create an overall picture on everything at once – terms, budgets, performance indicators into one wholesome picture.
PPM Express is a SaaS platform that enables an organization with full portfolio and project visibility by integrating project-related information across groups, portfolios, and systems. It is lightweight toolkit, that suits the needs of teams and business entities starting with 20 people, to the extent of large companies of hundreds to thousands of employees. The intuitive interface is easy to use, and it connects all projects data. It makes long-term and short-term reporting easier. It is designed specifically to accommodate the need of PMOs and executives in portfolio transparency and flexible.
It is totally maintenance-free. Not just much more affordable, but also includes technical support and data backups, so you don’t have to spend any time managing environments.
The newest addition is Microsoft Teams integration. It allows delivering statuses on projects delivery without leaving Microsoft Teams. The PPM Express application for Microsoft Teams to make it even easier for executives to control the delivery of every project. So, now, as you can imagine, you’ll get notifications of any of the critical changes to your business processes and projects straight from Microsoft Teams, no matter where your teams manage projects (Jira, Trello, Planner, Asana or Azure DevOps). You just get a new Teams channel to navigate projects and portfolios statuses and milestones, know straight away which projects are on track or a bit late, and edit or even create projects and resources, not even leaving the Teams.