Project Management Tools for School and Work
In an effort to continue working smarter, not harder, our team has been trying out some new task and project management tools. Being organized and communicating well is essential for success with team members in four time zones.
Apps and tools should create efficiencies not add to an on-going to do list. Before implementing a new tool in your classroom, office or home be sure to understand how it’s best used, why it’s important and how it will save you time. If a team will all be using the tool, be sure to set some best practices, structure and standards for use that you frequently update. Below is a quick scan of tools our team is currently using.
Cloud based task manager that works across all devices and allows lists to be shared individually or through a business team. Tasks can include comments, links, notes and be delegated easily.
- Best Use: Task management, both team and individuals.
- Cost: Freemium. Pro and Premium features starting at $4.99 per month.
- Pro Tip: Use of #hashtags and folders keeps your task lists clean and easy to prioritize.
My husband + I are using @wunderlist for groceries, home lists and now using it at work. Recommend for project management #PMTools #Leaders
— Bonnie Lathram (@belathram) February 16, 2016
Slack allows teams to organize and prioritize messages in one central program. Through message channels, direct messages and the ability to search and save conversations, and documents you’ll probably see your inbox size reduce. Slack has been gaining international attention for it’s ability to simplify your workday and was recently recognized as the fastest rising startup. We’ve heard stories about teachers/professors setting up a Slack group for every class.
- Best Use: Organized group messaging.
- Cost: Freemium. Premium features starting at $6.97 per user per month.
- Pro Tip: Use the /remind function to set quick reminders for responding to an email, letting a teammate know about your upcoming meeting or when to walk your dog!
I’m all in on @SlackHQ. It had me at integrated emojis & I’ll never leave thanks to easy DND for writing blocks! #PMTools @Getting_Smart
— Carri Schneider (@CarriSchneider) February 16, 2016
Google Docs (@GoogleDocs)
Using Google Docs for project management allows for a rapid, iterative, adaptive process. The cloud based nature allows our team to work on docs from any device and collaborate in real time. Computer in the shop? No problem just log into your Google account for full access to all Google Docs. Sheets are used for budget and analytic reporting, docs for content curation and collaboration.
- Best Use: Document creation and curation.
- Cost: Free.
- Pro Tip: Use consistent titles that allow for easy accessibility through the searching function.
Our team loves @Googledocs + #PMTools, allowing for rapid, iterative, adaptive processes. All hallmarks of #AgilePM pic.twitter.com/R6vQdGCyAh
— Mary Ryerse (@maryryerse) February 16, 2016
We use Base as a contact database and business development tracker. The ability to sync Base with email has allowed for real time entering of updated and new contact information. Tag and source information helps categorize a contact and makes searching easier. The deal feature allows our team to easily project management business developing from initial conversation through contracting.
- Best Use: Contact database and business development.
- Cost: Starts at $25 per user per month.
- Pro Tip: Add comments including Google Doc links to any proposals, conversations or updates about a person so anyone on the team can easily see last contact.
Love that @getbase allows our @Getting_Smart team to manage contacts & business development efficiently and in one place! #PMTools
— Megan Mead (@MegMarMe) February 16, 2016
Here are a few other project management tools that our team has used and appreciated the features of:
- Basecamp.Provides a web based project, task and time management, team collaboration and reporting.
- Daylite. Full service project management and contact database – but not cloud based yet!
- Trello. Visual collaboration tool for project management.
- Evernote. Organizes lists, notes and calendars in cloud based app.
- iCloud shared reminders. Users can share reminders lists from Apple devices.
- Remember the Milk. To do app that works across all devices.
Lessons Learned. After a bit of trial and error here are a few tips our team has for picking and using a project management tool.
- Fail fast. Know when a tool isn’t working for your team and either try a new method or pick a new one. There is too much important work to do than spend your time dealing with a program that doesn’t fit or suit your needs.
- Be outcome focused. When selecting a tool be clear about the job you want it to do and not do. Sometimes agreeing that it doesn’t have to be a one stop shop can actually be more helpful.
- Remember free isn’t always better. Don’t overlook a product because of its paid features. While there are lots of free versions, sometimes paying a little extra for a paid feature or service can have big rewards on efficiencies and project management.
- Create a flexible structure. While developing best practices is important for team use of a tool, don’t over process or regulate its use. Allow team members to adapt the tool and its uses to best suit their projects and priorities.
Other tools you’d recommend or tips for ones we mentioned? Comment using the comment feature on the blog or tag @Getting_Smart in a Tweet using #PMTools.
For more blogs by Caroline, check out:
- 10 Ways Crowdsourcing Advances Learning
- Cause Marketing for Educators, Eduprenuers & Students
- 10 Coding & Computer Science Blogs to Bookmark
Stay in-the-know with all things EdTech and innovations in learning by signing up to receive the weekly Smart Update. This post includes mentions of a Getting Smart partner. For a full list of partners, affiliate organizations and all other disclosures please see our Partner page.
I've tried most of the tools in this list and they're all really good at what they do. However, most of them aren't built for education. Task and project management in the classroom brings with it several unique challenges. What teachers need is a task management tool that is built for the classroom. That tool is WhatsDue. It lets teachers easily send a task list to the students and parents in the class: http://whatsdueapp.com
Disclosure: I am the founder of WhatsDue
Caroline Vander Ark
Thanks Aaron! Glad to hear about your product.
Explore Trello. My favorite go to.
I use Semantic Sales to manage with email mess. It let me save up to 9 hours a week. Follow up reminder, missed e-mail reminder. Also it has an option — when I receive letter from new contact, they sending me his accounts in FB and Linkedin. https://semanticsales.com
My vote goes to Nutcache, it's a smart all-in-one project management app flexible enough to adapt to any business workflow. =)
Great post. I would like to recommend ProofHub for project management. With ProofHub you get plenty of options to plan everything in your projects and stay more productive at work.
Hi Caroline, Enjoyed the post. Would like to suggest you take a look at Barvas which is finding a major role in Education with 2 East Kilbride High schools utilising with 6th form supported by the business behind the tool - MindGenius. Worth a look and if affiliate schemes are for you check out www.barvas.com/affiliates.
Great list Caroline, there is some real gems in here. I think Google Drive is underestimated. Also I'd recommend taking a look at these guys: https://www.ripplecrm.com they are relatively new to the market and are close to launching a beta testing sample. From what my colleague has shown me it looks really cool! I'm excited to try it.
Hi Caroline! You have put Wanderlist at the right spot, helping me a lot with my team.
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