There are loads of online project management tools, and some are undeniably better than others and you could spend an age trying to figure out which ones to use and which to avoid, but luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here is our guide to some of the best online project management tools available.
In the world of freelancing, there is one certainty: you are likely to have multiple jobs on the go and from multiple clients too, and if you are running a team as well, then it just becomes increasingly complex. To be able to juggle all of those and ensure that you get the right thing out to the right client and on time takes management. Lots of management!
Because you and your team are likely to also be carrying out some research – freelance jobs rarely involve just doing a brain dump on the page, though you wouldn’t know it from some freelancer’s work – and you need to factor that in too. In between research, actually writing, and searching for the next piece of work to do, a freelancer has a lot on their hands, and to be able to juggle all of those things takes a bit of project management.
Just before you start thinking “what, I need to do project management on top of all those other things?” consider what would happen if you started failing to supply to clients? They may accept one or two delays, but to be consistently late is like being consistently a bad worker, or lazily copying and pasting from other sources; your client will only take so much before they start looking for another freelancer to fill their needs. If you risk losing work because of your poor time-keeping skills, that makes project management an essential. And if you happen to be running a team of your own, having an effective project management tool is essential, otherwise you’re just going to tie your life in knots, along with your deliverables. If you are running a team, project management software will help smooth your operation and help you keep on top of workload.
Sifting Through the Online Project Management Tools
Online Project Management Apps tend to come in a few different types: free to use limited versions, registration required, paid-for, and monthly subscription. Obviously the paid-for options tend to have the most features and the largest on-line storage options, but may actually have more features than you need. This guide tries to sift the wheat from the chaff, but what you actually need will depend upon your personal or business needs, so ultimately the decision is yours.
An award winning online project management tool that lets you simply register for access and claims to be able to make onboarding – which, in case you were unaware, is the process of getting new employees up to speed on company processes, procedures and software usage – very easy and pain free. The Mavenlink software is extensive and covers the reporting of times and expenses, and project costs alongside time management. In fact, it is so extensive that you may find you spend most of your time filling in all of the fields rather than doing something useful like actual work, but then that can be said for many of the online project management packages. You can try it for free, just to see if it suits you, but then the subscription kicks in and could cost you $19 a month for up to five users, and substantially more as you add people and features.
Basecamp allows you to register for 30 days of free trial and then jumps to a whopping $99 per month for unlimited users and projects, but it does come up with some eye-catching statistics to assert its position as a top online project management app. Claiming to reduce weekly meetings by 59% and with 84% of users reporting an increase in productivity, this is certainly a package that is worth a second look, but if you are running a much smaller team, soothing else – that means cheaper – might be worthwhile.
The smart, up and coming team and project management system has a free option which allows you to input 1,000 entries and have basic support of your cloud-based plan. If you are running a small team, or only have a need of a few entries, that is probably sufficient to get by with so you can keep things in order with effectively zero cost but beware, 1,000 entries per month will soon get used up and you may find that you have to upgrade as your business and projects grow.
A project management tool that has been around for a few years now and is regarded as the world premier business collaboration app and finds use in over 90,000 business in 180 different countries around the globe. Huddle allows business collaboration and file sharing via on-line storage which can be accessed on any device, including mobile, through the App. Huddle has also been made to integrate with many popular enterprise tools and applications such as the Microsoft Office suite, Google Apps for Work, SharePoint and even the Salesforce CRM solution. This makes Huddle incredibly flexible and useable in just about any business situation, and Huddle Starter allows at least 5 users and 100 Gb of storage for a price of just $10 per month. Huddle want to become entrenched in all of the relevant business functions and are always advancing the software to ensure that it can handle as much of your business as possible, and with a free 30-day trial too, it has to be worth looking at.
There are many different systems out there but many suffer from information overload as they try and pack too much stuff in an attempt to create a holistic experience for running your freelance business. It has to be said that many smaller enterprises may be put off by this, and quite rightly so as to get the most out of them, you usually need someone to run them almost full time. How about then, something a little more lightweight like ResourceGuru, the specialist online resource planning software. Resource Guru scores because it doesn’t try to do everything like many of its rivals but does resource planning really well. It also does a good job of resource scheduling and leave management too, so you can keep track of who in your team is available to work and what they are working on at any time. Resource Guru scores highly because it is so easy to use and doesn’t need a full-time person to keep it fresh and up to date. It is also fairly cheap at $2.50 per person per month so you only pay for what you actually use.
Online Project Management apps and software make a lot of sense if you are running a team but it can do so much more for you too if you need it to. That becomes one of the main issues with whatever you choose to sign up for as they can be a simple or as complex as you need them to be. Bear in mind though that the more powerful and all-encompassing they become, the more that you have to spend time with them, and that can actually take you away from your real job of directing your creative staff and keeping them filled with work. If you have the spare time though, there are plenty of powerful tools that will help keep many parts of your business aligned.