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Updated by Ade Avocet on Oct 10, 2017
Headline for Top 5 Project Management Tools
Ade Avocet Ade Avocet
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Top 5 Project Management Tools

This is a list of the top five tools that cover the 5 following key areas of effectively managing a project.
1) Task lists
2) Scheduling tasks (Calendar)
3) Collaboration
4) Realtime communication
5) Managing progress

ASANA (Task Lists)

Asana is one of the industry leaders as far as the size of their user base is concerned and this is for good reason.

One thing that Asana does really well is the Task List view of your project. The split screen approach where projects are viewed on the far left, the selected project task list in the middle and the selected task detail on the right means you always feel like you have a complete view of your projects. Sometimes with other tools it's easy to feel quite lost when you are drilling down into the detail of a task.

WORKSTACK (Task Schedule)

The strongest feature of Workstack is the team calendar that really allows a team or project manager to plan and organize their whole project team.

If, like me, you have struggled with planning lots of tasks with different team members on a traditional calendar (i.e. the kinds of calendar that Basecamp and Asana use) then Workstack's vertical calendar is going to help as it's a much more intuitive way to view tasks that span more than one day.

Another smart feature here is the level of fine tuning you can make to tasks - if you so desire you can even plan down to the nearest 5 minutes.

BASECAMP (Collaboration)

Basecamp is often the tool that appears on lists like these as it's one of the original players in this area that went on to set the standards that a lot of other tools now look to copy.

The reason why I have included it in this list is because I think the one thing that it still does really well is the discussion / collaboration aspect of managing projects online. It was the core concept of the original version of Basecamp and it remains it's best and most effective feature.

It's not the sexiest thing to look at but it feels robust, quick and responsive and out of all the tools out there it works the best. The way it handles and displays different files that are attached to the discussion threads allows for effective collaboration that other tools still can't quite match.

SLACK (Communication)

Slack has taken the world by storm over recent years and it's done so because it's brought together the best practices of all the messenger apps out there and combined them into one easy-to-use tool.

Desktop notifications coupled with 'Slack bots' that can automate tasks and query other tools makes Slack an indispensable part of your productivity suite. For example, in the attached screenshot I have linked to Workstack to receive task notifications directly within Slack.

Slack does however have a dark side that can begin to swallow up your team's time as it's tempting to "over communicate and share content" rather than remaining focused on the tasks at hand.

TRELLO (Managing Progress)

Trello is the undisputed king of the online Kanban Boards. It's success has seen numerous other incarnations appear, but it's continued ease of use and extensive free plan means it's unlikely to give up it's crown any time soon.

If you work in an environment with a small team and only a few projects running at any one time then Trello is most likely to be an effective addition to your toolset, particularly in light of Atlassian's recent purchase and the inevitable increasing integration with Jira.

It is by far the easiest tool to pick up and get going in a matter of minutes, however, if you're running a lot of projects and scheduling tasks across different teams you're likely to start to feel the limitations of Trello pretty quickly.