Running a small business is no cakewalk. You, as the owner have to work on your business strategy, communicate with your clients, organize your employees, delegate work and juggle lots of other things while simultaneously responding to hundreds of important emails. Besides you must have noticed by now that sticking Post-Its all over your system doesn’t really serve the purpose.
As you start growing, these organizational problems only become more painful. So, if you have trouble staying in control now, it's only about to get worse.
Successfully managing your project and clients relies heavily on having the right systems in place to keep track of your progress and activities. Especially in software development projects and outsourcing arrangements, it becomes extremely crucial to choose a project management tool that is comfortable for both – internal & external stakeholders. Moreover, it is also important to consider the software development methodology that you imbibe in your organization as some project management tools have methodologies such as Agile ingrained in them.
A handy online project management tool will help you overcome these challenges. But sorting through all the options out there can be quite overwhelming.
So here we are to help you overcome this challenge Let’s take a look at 8 project management tools we think are well-configured for small business.
Basecamp is one of the most popular, widely-used and comprehensive project management tool that enables you to unite all your stuff. It makes this possible by providing a broad overview of everything that’s happening across your company on your home screen itself, and from here you can dig down to get more details into projects, teams, and communication.
Basecamp allows you to upload files that you want to share, keep track of tasks in progress, and more. It gives teams a more effective way to work together than over email via several ways such as a message board, task list, schedule for events as well as a chat room.
All in all, a decent app if your team wants a freeform environment to foster collaboration.
Thanks to its simplicity yet powerfulness, ACTIVE Collab is especially a great option for small businesses. It combines task management, time tracking and billing into one easy-to-use and well-designed app.
With this tool, you can keep all your data in one place, where your team can communicate, get informed and see what they need to work on next.
It also allows sharing files, brainstorming, discussion on important topics and much more. In addition, clients can also be included, while ensuring full protection of your sensitive data. By controlling permissions, you can determine exactly what every user can see and access, making it easier for you to include them, keeping them informed, and sharing what’s important.
This tool runs on the cloud platform which frees up your bandwidth off any clerical, hosting and maintenance work.
Active Collab empowers your team to be more efficient, join forces and never miss an important update.
Price: $25/month upto 5 users; $49/month upto 15 users; $99/month upto 30 users; $199/month up to 60 users; $299/month for unlimited users.
Popular Integrations: Slack, QuickBooks, Xero, PayPal, Hubstaff, Zapier
Asana is a favorite of most productivity enthusiasts. This online team collaboration tool not only specializes in workflow management, but it also handles the nitty-gritty of task management with ease. Although Asana doesn't include Gantt charts, time-tracking, and some other advanced tools for managing projects specifically, like in project management software, it is an ideal tool for managing tasks.
It has a well-organized layout, with sufficient color and design without looking too cluttered. It also has some surprises such as celebratory unicorns that appear on screen from time to time.
Asana enables you to create a task, allocate it to the relevant team member, schedule a due date, upload allied documents, comment, add tags to make old and new tasks more searchable, add priority level of the task and even subscribe or unsubscribe yourself and others to receive notifications whenever changes occur on the task.
Premium version of Asana also allows you to add task dependencies. (For example: You cannot complete task C before completing task A & B)
Asana’s thoughtful design, interactive elements, and generous member allotment in its free version make it a powerful project management app for small businesses.
Trello is an Agile project management tool that takes a highly visual, Kanban-style approach to work methodology. Trello is an online, collaborative workspace that is used to manage tasks of all kinds, whether they're business projects or personal chores. It’s fairly simple drag & drop functionality and intuitive interface make it a pleasure to use.
However, using it for true to the sense project management may not be useful due to the lack of project management basics such as Gantt charts, time-tracking components, and reporting tools. Nevertheless, it has a provision to add-in those functions through app integrations and plug-ins, but they aren't included by default in either the free or the premium account.
In addition to being an excellent tool for collaboration for certain type of teams and tasks, Trello is eye-catching and fun to use. However, figuring out if it's right for your team may take some trial and error.
Teamwork Projects is one of the best project management apps around, especially for small businesses. This online platform simplifies several pain points of project management by giving the team members an intuitive interface that comes equipped with all the tools needed to manage projects. Plus, it also enables you to keep an eye on people's time, bill clients, and much more – all in a simple interface.
It has a fresh and smart design, while still being serious. Features such as color coding to distinguish tasks (pink), file attachments (blue), comments (green), and milestones (brown) in the Activity stream, makes it simpler for visually-oriented people.
Teamwork Projects makes it easy to create a project, generate tasks and milestones related to it, and assign some of those tasks to other team members.
Zoho projects, a free online project management tool, enables you to plan, track, and collaborate on your projects easily. Features such as Milestones and Task lists help you break down complex projects into easily manageable units. With this platform, you get more refined control with subtasks, recurring tasks, and dependencies as well.
The platform has a clean and up-to-date appearance. Moreover, the intuitive nature of the app allows you to figure out the basics of how to use it within a few minutes of creating an account.
Setting up projects is simple and the app has plenty of room to create and manage even the most complex projects. Once you invite team members to join your project workspace and start adding milestones to your calendar, you'll find the tools you need without even having to search for them.
The seamless layout and puts relevant options at your fingertips at the right time. Plus, you can customize your dashboard to show whatever charts or updates you need to see first.
Price: $50 per month (Flat Fee)
Popular integrations: Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Github, Microsoft OneDrive, and Bitbucket
Liquid Planner is one of the most striking and complex work-management systems on the market today. This incomparable project management tool can manage any kind of work and not just basic tasks. While Liquid Planner is highly specialized and may take some time and learning to master, it has a substantial payoff for those who fully commit to its complexities.
For small businesses and all teams serious about working smarter, Liquid Planner is a wonderful piece of software. Liquid Planner offers all the tools you might want or need for managing projects efficiently.
You can create and name a project, add a description, assign various team members to work on it, set deadlines, add milestones and much more. You can also create subtasks for tasks and projects can also have subprojects. Since it is easy to get lost in the abundance of options, Liquid Planner also allows you the option of customizing your dashboard so that you see the important things first.
Liquid Planner also capably handles ad-hoc work and ticket queues, making it a top choice for SMB project management.
Price: $45 per user per month (min. 5 people)
Popular Integrations: Box, Drobox, Google Drive, Zapier (premium version)
Jira is a project management software is a popular app used by Agile teams. The tool is designed such that it helps users capture, allocate, and prioritize their work. In addition, it empowers the user to manage the entire process of application development making sure that all aspects are covered, from concept to launch.
Plus, it’s intuitive interface aids collaboration within the team and empowers you to get the job done effectively. The team can use Jira in all stages including planning, tracking till the release of an effective software. With Jira, you can plan sprints, create user stories and assign tasks to the relevant team members. Jira also allows prioritization and discussion of your team’s tasks in full context with visibility.
In addition to all this, Jira also offers real-time, visual data reports that are known to boost team performance. The best part about this platform is that it can simultaneously be used for both internal and external project management, software development, and Agile tracking.
Cloud (free trial for 7 days): Up to 10 users – $10 monthly flat fee; 11 – 100 users – $7 per user/month
Self-hosted (free trial for 30 days): Server – $10 one-time payment for 10 users; Data Center – $12,000 per year for 500 users
Popular Integrations: Zapier, Trello, Google Forms, Slack
Although there are several options apart from the ones mentioned on this list, it is best to make a choice based on critical factors that are unique to your business, team and projects. This is because every business has a different need and may require specialized platforms to handle their projects. Also, choosing the best fit project management tool depends on whether you are going to use the tool within the organization or share it with your outsourcing partner. An ideal outsourcing partner should be flexible to work with the project management tool of your choice.
So remember to make the right choice, not just about the project management tool but also in selecting the right outsourcing partner.