When you are looking for work management tools, you are looking for something that will help you manage both people and time efficiently.
Therefore, to understand what will help achieve this you first need to know what effective people and time management mean.
You then need to use these criteria when considering the five work management tools, defining which ones you need.
When managing people, you need to support the employees to complete the tasks that you ask of them.
You also need to make sure details of the task are precise, including the deadline date and the consequences of the completion of this work.
You need a place where employees can give their opinion and develop ideas in a free and open manner that doesn’t obscure what needs to be done and by when.
When managing time, you need something that helps you visualise the tasks that lay ahead quickly and easily.
You need to be able to allocate time, people and budget to the project that lies ahead in a clear and transparent way.
You need to spend less time in meetings and more time collaborating on the completion of tasks.
This suggests that you need a work management tool that:
- helps with task allocation
- helps make team members accountable for the work allocated them
- notify you when deadlines are approaching
- offer a shared space for chat and messages
- include a place where files can be shared and stored
- include functions that allow collaboration on documents or proofing tools
- a clear and easy-to-use screen that helps you visualise the work needing to be done
- access to these functions wherever you happen to be to avoid travelling to meet
There are a host of work management tools that help you to achieve these efficiencies in time and effectivity in people management.
Here are five tools that you should consider using.
The Best Tools For Team Collaboration
Basecamp is a project management software that is inspired by the exploits of mountain climbers.
The dashboard is designed like the HQ of the company, with all the teams organised on a single unit. Each team is given a camp of its own.
Already this work management tool is organising your view of the company and organising communication and file sharing too.
Within each camp, there are six core functions. These functions include a to-do list, which allows you to allocate tasks to specific team members and set a deadline.
It is also possible to attach files to the task and therefore give team members all the information they need to complete the work you ask of them effectively.
You can also store files within the team area, making these available for all to see.
There are two messaging functions. There is the message board, where vital information can be stored that all team members need to know.
Then there is Campfire, which can also be used as a standalone app, which is an instant messaging tool for keeping in touch and sharing opinions about the work being done.
Finally, there is a schedule, which integrates with all your other calendars and prompts you and your team when important deadlines are approaching.
Finally, there are automatic check-ins where you can daily, weekly or monthly ask team members to answer a question.
The answers to questions such as: what are you working on? Will then be summarised on a single page so you can get an immediate update on where people are in their work.
Proofhub helps you to visualise your work in a Gantt chart. This overview helps the whole team see what work needs to be done and how their part contributes to the whole.
It allows you to set custom roles for team members and project reports, so you can see a summary of how the work is going.
The key features of this platform include:
- The ability to allocate tasks
- The discussion function – allows you to explore topics, share ideas and collaborate with colleagues. You can also give a view to your clients and allow them access to a discussion channel.
- Group chat – for quick questions and more seamless conversation
- Track time – see how much time is being taken on specific activities and uncover what efficiencies could be made with different practices
- Centralised nub for the storage of files and documents
Proofhub gets its name from a key collaborative feature, which is the ability to proof and review files and documents through the platform.
You can invite clients to view the document and use the markup tools to offer feedback. There is also access to previous versions, helping to avoid problems of version control.
Once changes are made, then these can be approved with the click of a button. This certainly ticks the box for saving time and working efficiently.
Read our ProofHub review for more information.
The most significant benefit of Trello, apart from being essentially free, is that it allows you to simply visualise the workflow and therefore give your team a clear idea of where you are going.
Trello uses a Kanban board with cards, and each card is meant to represent a step in the process of completing the work. Within these cards, you can create lists, which can be dragged and dropped into different cards as the work moves forward.
Within each card it is possible to schedule the tasks, setting deadline dates. This then sends a notification to members of the board when the date is due. It is possible to set up a checklist in Trello and to attach documents for review.
Trello is not the complete work management package by any means.
However, it integrates with Slack, a communication tool and with Google Docs and Google Drive, which offers document collaboration and file storage.
This means that together these applications can work together to cover most work management needs.
The ultimate aim of Asana is team communication and collaboration.
It is best for the sharing of notes, uploading and organisation of files and documents.
Visualisation of the project is done through a calendar that allows for the scheduling of projects and the prioritising of daily tasks.
There is an instant messaging application within the software. All conversations are saved on the team pages, and these can be searched for past information or encourage the development of innovative ideas through shared discussion.
Most agree that Asana is best at task allocation, helping managers to streamline workflow.
When a task is allocated or information supplied about a task, the relevant party is sent a message.
The user is then invited to check in, follow, like or comment on this update. Users are made relevant to the task by merely mentioning them. Users have the option to customise what they receive updates on too.
A lot of what you need is captured in a single software, however, Asana also integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Slack, Zapier, Jotana, MailChimp, WordPress and many others.
Wrike is a project management tool, as are these other platforms. Wrike is clever in that it provides a template for requests from clients.
These Dynamic Request Forms collect all the necessary information up front. Then, your role is to break this task into chunks and allocating people to contribute to the completion of those tasks.
This allocation of employees can be set up to be automated, depending on what is inputted into the request form. This means the platform organises the workflow for you.
The project is visualised in a Gantt chart that can be used to set up dependencies and adjust the timing, helping to keep the team on track.
There is also a live editing option, working collaboratively on documents in real-time. There is also the option to manage your files via the application.
Any comment that starts with ‘@’ appears in that person’s workspace, as each employee has their dashboard called “My Work” which tells them exactly what they are meant to be doing.
Possibly the most useful tool in Wrike is the project and team reporting.
There are report wizards that help you to assess the progress of the work. This helps you to share progress in real-time with colleagues but also with clients – if invited to view.
Each of these five work management tools is worth looking into.
They have been designed to help you save time and manage people effectively with a variety of tools from chat, message boards, Gantt charts, Kanban charts, file storage and more.
The level of integration with third-party platforms and the level of collaboration on documents varies between the platforms and is likely to be the defining feature that impacts on your choice.
If this does not influence you, then you need to go with the platform that is most intuitive and organises work in a way that most suits you.
Each of these tools is different in appearance – but Asana and Basecamp are most respected for their ease of use.
And if the biggest struggle of your company is communication, check our guide to the best group chat tools for small companies.