Project managers (PMs) have it rough. Their work can teeter between smooth sailing to sudden chaos at the drop of a hat, especially for projects dealing with multiple variables and moving parts. It requires a delicate balance to achieve deliverables within the projected budget and timeline while managing expectations from their team, customers, and other stakeholders. These individuals, whether working for a brand-building agency or a construction company, are the frontliners, support agents, and commanders all wrapped in one package, depending on what the project needs to succeed.
To be effective in their work and handle whatever happens, PMs need an arsenal of processes, frameworks, skills, and tools at their disposal. Technology, in the form of mobile applications and software, has proved to be one of the essential weapons of a PM in ensuring a project runs smoothly. It can help PMs get a better picture of a project’s status, communicate and collaborate faster and more clearly with their team, and take better notes and ideas.
Here are two digital tools PMs can use to their advantage:
For Workflow: Trello
Ensuring a continuous and coherent workflow is vital in project management. Any delay caused by misunderstanding and redundancy can increase the duration of a project, resulting in wasted resources, angry clients, and frustrated colleagues. Tools like Trello can visualize the work that’s in progress, making it easier for everyone to know which deliverables are on track or lagging.
Trello uses design boards and cards inspired by the Japanese Kanban methodology — a simple visual organization system that shows the different project stages. The most basic one being “To Do,” “Doing,” and “Done.” Trello shines in its simplicity. The team can easily drag the cards denoting tasks to its appropriate column. The cards can also hold file attachments, team comments, relevant links, and other resources. There are also available templates anyone can grab according to their needs.
For Collaboration: Slack
Team collaboration is the linchpin of any successful project. The project can suffer or even fail if there are tension and miscommunication within the team. After all, tasks won’t be completed if there is no one to work on them. Email and chat applications by themselves are not reliable because things can get buried under a thousand messages. There needs to be an all-in-one workplace that everyone can use to connect, share information, and upload files for easy reference.
Slack is considered one of the best workplace communication tools available on the market, with more than 8 million daily active users. Its claim to fame is how the platform listened to the needs of its users, creating functionalities on top of the usual messaging system. One of the selling points was its integration of other applications like MailChimp and GitHub. Slack became a one-stop-shop for whatever a team needs without opening additional applications or windows.
Whether a PM is managing a small project with a clear beginning, middle, and end, or a comprehensive one with many deliverables and team members, life will be easier with the right tools at their disposal.