As nice as it would be for every small business to be equipped with dozens of project management experts, that is not typically the case. Most professionals with any type of business role have some sort of project management incorporated into their daily duties, and when you run a company with a lot of moving parts, keeping things organized is imperative for your success. Even if you are not an expert in project management, you can achieve a well-organized system as long as you have the right tools on your side.  

But how do you know which tool to choose? There are dozens of project management programs on the market that can require hours of special training to navigate. We know how challenging it can be to pick a program that fits your company’s specific needs, so we’ve put together a list of the top project management tools that can help any business become more organized.

Asana

Asana is a great tool for communicating with team members, building quick workflows, and seeing everyone’s progress at a glance. The user-friendly interface allows you to break tasks into subtasks and leave comments on each task to help with communication. Additionally, all comments are sent to your email, so you never miss an important detail. This is a great program with tasks that build upon each other, and managers can easily see how their team members are progressing without digging through their inbox or contacting individuals in the group and waiting for a response. Asana’s visual layout is also extremely simple to navigate and can be viewed in a categorical task list or as a calendar.

Asana works in harmony with third-party tools including Google Drive and Dropbox. This will give your team a seamless transition from one tool to another. Think about how much time you spend pulling up all of your different work apps in the morning. All of the spreadsheets and documents you need open to even start your work. Now imagine not having to do that. This is the reality Asana can provide.

From its website to the mobile app, Asana is completely free to use for up to 15 team members. However, if you have a larger team, Asana will cost a flat rate of $6.25 per month.

Trello

Trello is a project management app designed for people who know very little about project management. Sounds great, right? If you don’t know a thing about Gantt charts, Hammock activity, or costs (okay, maybe you know about costs), you’ll love Trello.

Trello is a highly visual tool with a card-based design that makes it instantly familiar and accessible. Members of your team will keep track of their progress by dragging their assigned cards into the corresponding stack to show what stage in the process their task is in. It is “assigned,” “in progress,” “complete,” “published?” There’s a stack for that.

Trello is also a great app for organizing other types of data in your company. You can use it keep track of the where clients are in the sales funnel, where potential employees are in the hiring process, or what emails are being drafted / need to be sent. Trello is free to get started, but it is $9.99 to upgrade to Business Class.

Slack

What do you do when you need to reach someone on your team quickly? Email can be too slow and formal for some fast questions or requests, and texting in the office from your personal phone is not allowed in many offices. If only there was a quick and easy app that allowed you to communicate with your team in a work-only environment. Enter Slack: The messaging platform that allows you to chat with your team members from your computer and phone.

You can use it to host group chats full of important information or message individuals on your team one-on-one. Slack also works in tandem with project management tools like Asana to add to the seamless experience it already provides.

Then there is Slackbot; the special AI bot you can get to help you with all kinds of correspondence on the app. Slackbot can remind you of important dates coming up, answer questions like, “What’s the WIFI password?”, or even send out an important survey to your team members every Friday. Slack is free to most users, but you can unlock more space and other special features for $8-15 per month based on your plan.

Casual

If you have a team full of visual thinkers, Casual is a great online project management tool to consider. Casual turns your project into a visual workflow that allows each team member to not only see what tasks they need to complete, but also how their work is woven into the project as a whole. This app is also very user friendly. No background in project management is needed to start building out the branches of your project, so your team can get their work done more effectively and feel more like a team, even if everyone works remotely.

Casual also allows managers to track their team’s progress as a group and as individuals. You can even integrate your Google Calendar, Google Drive, and Dropbox into the app to keep everything safe in one place, whether you are accessing it via your computer or phone. Casual begins with a free trial, and then monthly rates range of $7-188 depending on the size of your business and the features you need.

Basecamp

If there was ever an entry-level project management app, it’s Basecamp. It’s easy to use and does just about everything. With Basecamp, you can keep all of your important information for your team in one place. From to-do lists, memos, email, and calendars, Basecamp can be your team’s one-stop shop for all of the information pertaining to different projects. Basecamp has its own drive that can replace your need your Google Drive or Dropbox. Basecamp offers a free 30-day trial and then a flat rate of $99 per month to all business, no matter their size.

Choosing the Right Tool for Your Business

When it comes to selecting project management software, the key is to find one that your team will actually use and benefit from. Because no matter how many bells and whistles it has, it is irrelevant if your team is not utilizing it. Consider the workplace culture of your business before deciding which tool is right for you. If they are visual thinkers, maybe Trello or Casual is the way to go. If they love checking off boxes when a task is complete, then they may work best with Asana. Find the project management program that works best for your team, USE IT and watch the results roll in.

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