3 Project Management Tools For Small Businesses

Getting a team to collaborate and on a project is really hard. Especially if your team is remote or has more than a few members.

Here are our top three favourite tools that we’ve used to manage our projects and why we liked/disliked them.

1. Basecamp

Basecamp-LogoWe started using Basecamp but found that its lack of a Kanban board limited it somewhat. Great if you’re starting out though.

During its 15 year reign as one of the top Project Management Systems currently doing the rounds, Basecamp has built a reputation on its user friendly interface and simple management processes.

Pros

  • Shared Text Documents: With open discussion forums for project Q&A’s and text documents that allow contributing parties to edit simultaneously, information sharing has never been easier.
  • Daily Recap Emails: No only will these update you on any changes made to your project, but if you can think of anything else you might need to add, simply email it to Basecamp and it will be added to the system for all to see.
  • Restore Deleted Items: You or a colleague accidentally delete an important file? Not a problem! Just go to Basecamp’s trash can and restore it.

Cons

  • Time Management: With nothing in the way of time management tools, keeping on top of what needs to be done by when might be a bit tricky.
  • Reporting: Basecamp has no reporting tools, therefore making it impossible for you to analyse and collate your data in a similar way to other project management systems.
  • Customising Your Layout: Basecamp dashboards and project spaces cannot be customised. If you like to have your tasks laid out in a certain way, this probably isn’t the best option for you.

2. Teamwork

teamworkpm-logoPersuaded by a project manager on our team that this was ‘the way’ forwards we moved over to Teamwork.com. On the face of it, the tool can do everything. In that respect I’d liken it to Huddle.net.

However we recently made the move away from Teamwork. The main reason being that it duplicated a lot of things that we had elsewhere and some of the team found the UI a little intense.

That said it’s great for remote teams.

Pros

  • Covers all of your bases: in terms of documents, tasks, time tracking & reporting
  • Relatively low price: compared to some of the bigger corporate solutions
  • Great email integration: Allowing easy sharing between project contributors

Cons

  • Can over-replicate a little: Makes it difficult to create a clear chain of events
  • Lack of decent all project Kanban:Disrupting the logistical chain from a production point of view

3. Jira

jira logoJIRA is really aimed at software developers but we’ve decided to take the leap and use it in all areas of the business. The fact that you can heavily customize it and that time tracking is pretty much baked in were two big bonus factors.

What really nailed it was the fact that we could also add ticketing at a later date so that we could have tasks and tickets living in the same place.

Pros

  • Sprints: Documenting your tasks in order of importance and relevance via time specific ‘sprints’ provides contributing members with a detailed yet concise understanding of the tasks that need to be completed during a certain time scale.
  • Time Management: Every task that is inputted to the system can be measured on an accurate time scale by simply pressing ‘start’ when you begin the task, and ‘stop’ when it has been completed.
  • Data: Making sure the number of tasks you submit isn’t outweighing the number of tasks you are able complete can be analysed via a variety of useful, information tool.

Cons

  • Customisation: Works outside of the box for software developers but could do with some more basic customisation features for non-software development users.
  • Budget Management: Managing your budget alongside your task completion output is important when making sure the amount of time you are putting into a task does not exceed the amount of money you have available.
  • Add-ons: As with many of Jira’s additional features, they have their good parts and their bad parts. Having to pay every time you want to work with one of these ‘add-ons’ can be costly. However, having said Add-ons available in the first place can be hugely beneficial to the overall efficiency of your project management.