In the past, project management primarily involved whiteboards, sticky notes, folded folders, and generally a huge mess of documents in the office. Like many areas of working life, the Internet has also been installed in the organization and management of projects in companies. Today you can choose from a wide variety of programs that facilitate project planning and communication in the workplace. Most SaaS / PaaS-based Internet platforms can be used from almost any device, greatly facilitating joint work both in the office and at a distance.

Many project management applications combine social network functions with planning tools to cover as many tasks as possible. Frequently planning, communication, personal chats, calendars, appointments, news, surveys, emails, etc. run on a single platform. Most of the applications are suitable for large companies as well as for small or even autonomous teams that want to organize themselves better. While some vendors prefer to keep their platforms simpler and more classic, other developers find innovative solutions to organize daily work.

It is precisely the variety of project management tools that often makes it difficult to choose the right platform for work teams. There are also price differences: Most of these programs offer free versions, but these are limited to a certain period of time or their functionality is limited. Therefore, anyone who wants to set up a project management platform, especially if it is a large company, should be aware of these limitations. MicrosoftTop present 5 of the best applications for project management.

1. Slack

Slack can be described as the industry leader in collaboration tools. Project management in Slack is done primarily through communication channels such as chat and project conversations. Individual chat sessions between team members occur on separate channels. In addition, Slack keeps a history of the conversations and offers individual video calls (free version) and group video calls (“Standard” and “Plus” versions, for a fee).

Communication is also possible with the other tools, but not as easily as in Slack. Furthermore, this tool is basically free for large teams (up to 10 applications and backups of up to 10,000 messages), while the other solutions sometimes require a payment plan to guarantee a quality communication system. Therefore, if you are looking for a free communication platform for your team, Slack may be the right solution for you.

Thanks to its mobile application (iOS and Android) you can also access Slack “on the go”. As with other project management tools, mobile apps should be used as add-on support, but never as core software. Most of the project management applications are clearly optimized for desktop web browsers.

Several Slack plans are available: the “standard” version, available for about 6 euros per user and per month, with which in addition to unlimited applications, you can also activate the video conferencing function. The “Plus” version costs approximately double and offers greater comfort, better data protection and a good support service.

2. Asana

Asana is one of the best known and used platforms in the world. Its design is attractive, its interface and functionalities are very intuitive. Asana’s user interface can be described as minimalist, and unlike competing applications, Asana is a good choice for those taking their first steps in the world of project management software.

With Asana you can create projects on your board as threads, as well as edit and share the content on the same interface. The team members assigned to each project have certain rights that are defined by the administrator.

The project tasks are integrated into the calendar and into the workspace, facilitating the overview of the projects. In general, the workflow in this tool can be followed very well: Asana works through accounts, so managers and other team members need to register to use the web tool or the mobile application. When their account has been created, each member can join or be assigned to specific teams and projects. In addition, partial tasks can be linked with certain employees.

The integration of external tools is also commendable. In Asana you can activate many different micro-tools, among them, the best-known cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox, development tools like GitHub, content managers like WordPress and many more.

3. Trello

At Trello, innovation meets playful elements. Here, organization means designing a kind of Kanban board together. Projects, posts, discussions, chats, etc., run on cards that can be dragged and dropped from one list to another on the board. In this way, cards can pass between categories and the workflow can be clearly visualized.

The cards are interactive: you can link team members to a card so they can participate. They can also contain information in different formats: texts, images, chats and links to the most important functions.

Trello does not change tabs in the browser when a card is opened, making this project management software an intuitive and easy to use tool. So-called power-ups can be added to the cards, that is, integrated applications.

4. Basecamp 3

Basecamp is presented as a comprehensive solution for companies. The user interface is as neat and intuitive as Trello, but the individual functions are much more complete, to the detriment of the ease of getting used to the tool. Basecamp is suitable for all types of equipment, small and large. Due to the wide range of functions, some training is required to use the platform efficiently. However, this learning may be worth it: Basecamp is powerful project management software. In return, Basecamp only works with payment plans, with a 30-day free trial period.

From the team page you access all the essential functions and a personalized and drop-down daily feed that summarizes the most important news and tasks of the day for the team. Features you’ll find include chat rooms designed for fast communication, more extensive content-sharing forums, to-do lists and a structured work calendar, media center, and automatic billing. The project pages are almost identical to the team pages.

You can use the top navigation bar to send short messages to members (“pings”). Just like on social media, there is also a notification button, which can be customized.

5. Wrike

In the case of Wrike, the resemblance to Slack is striking. Both project management applications have a similar design and are committed to subdivision of chat channels. However, while Slack is optimized for communication between workers, Wrike wants to offer a wide range of services for teams and companies. In fact, Wrike is much more comprehensive, and therefore not as suitable for beginners as Slack. The free version is only available for 14 days.

In view mode, Wrike has features that are very similar to Trello. Here you can also create lists with cards that can be adjusted in the detail view in various ways, so that employees with administrator permissions can assign and define subtasks. These cards can be dragged and dropped to easily generate an easy to understand workflow. Wrike appears to have copied many of its competing design features, which has a positive effect on tool performance and clarity, sometimes at the expense of usability. Compared to its competitors, Wrike is a fairly expensive platform for both small teams and midsize companies. Smaller teams of up to 10 people tend to find cheaper apps among competing solutions. After all, many of Wrike’s features, such as analytics tools and workflow management, only become important to midsize or large businesses.

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