Project management tools – which one to use?

5th January, 2017 - 10 minutes read

Workplace efficiency is all about the way people manage their time, responsibilities and tasks. This can be achieved in numerous ways, such as creating to-do lists on post-it notes, holding regular internal meetings, keeping an activity diary and logging all details on a platform. However, considering that we mostly live digitally nowadays, it comes as no surprise that the best ally in achieving workplace efficiency is a project management tool.

But with so many project management tools out there to help you, you may be wondering which project management software would suit your needs the best. Will it be the one that’s super popular and everyone uses? Or are you better off with a bespoke one, created in-house?

We know that making a decision on the best project management tool is not the easiest process to go through. Throughout the years, our team members have worked with varying tools, both at Miromedia and in other places of work. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide of what we liked and didn’t like about each one, to help you get a feel for each system.

Trello

Trello is the visual collaboration tool that creates a shared perspective on any project, using boards, lists and cards to organise and prioritise your projects.

What we liked:
– you can have a separate board for each project, so nothing gets mixed-up;
– you can see what everyone is doing and the progress of the project, all at a glance;
– multiple members can work on a card (task) at the same time;
– straightforward drag and drop design, cards can be easily moved from one column to another;
– you can attach documents from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.

What we didn’t like:
– the activity alerts can look messy;
– you have to go on each board to see the progress of a task; the alerts are individually sent per project;
– the cards are not automatically arranged per deadline, and you don’t get an alert when a deadline is approaching – the card changes colour;
– the calendar view is for the whole board, not for each individual person, so you don’t really know when to allocate something to someone.

Jira

JIRA is a tool developed by Australian Company Atlassian, used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management. The basic use of this tool is to track issues, and bugs related to your software and mobile apps.

What we liked:
– it works perfectly with the Agile project management methodology;
– tasks can be created for each individual team, so everything can be kept separately;
– you can open a ticket for each technical problem;
– you can create a follow-up task for each activity.

What we didn’t like:
– the design as a whole looks heavy, with many columns and sections;
– you can’t allocate a task to two or more people;
– it takes a lot of time to keep it updated;
– too many fields to fill in when creating a task;
– it is mostly a platform for technical issues, not for project management.

In-house built platform

Depending on the needs of the team, an in-house project management platform can be built in numerous ways, with various features. In our case, the platform was built to better manage the team.

What we liked:
– you can pull reports from the system, so you can easily see how many hours were in each department, how many had been completed and by who, etc.
– you can easily organise your tasks by order of when they need to be completed by.
– the team can choose the design;
– it can have a ‘progress tag’ that tells you if a task has been allocated, in progress, completed, etc.

What we didn’t like:
– you can’t transfer tasks to different departments, an entirely new task has to be created. It would be so much easier to pass the original task on once it had been done so no information would be missed.
– access is limited to certain people who are given different permissions. Sometimes the person with full accessibility has to track down tasks for others, which is time-consuming.
– it can also be fairly limited in the information it can hold, so sometimes you have to have another system to hold all clients’ details. It can be a bit annoying to have to be logged into two systems to keep track of what was going on with a client.
– the progress tags rely on manual updates, so they may not be accurate.

Oracle

Oracle primarily specialises in developing and marketing database software and technology, cloud engineered systems and enterprise software products—particularly its own brands of database management systems.

What we liked:
– you can use it for entering time sheets, Iprocurement, raising PO’s, booking annual leave, you are able to view your team absences, sickness or maternity.
– it also gives you a breakdown of annual leave taken throughout the year, how many days left, etc.
– within the commercial side, you are able to move budget across to different projects.
– you can enrol for courses and do e-learning or home learning.
– you can claim expenses through the platform.

What we didn’t like:
– it is not set up for processing overtime payments if you have a large group of planners doing overtime.
– in general, it is not used for task management.

Podio

Podio supplies a web-based platform for organising team communication, business processes, data and content in project management workspaces.

What we liked:
– it is great for building your own projects/workspaces;
– the plugin app seems to work very well;
– it is a great tool to communicate with your team.

What we didn’t like:
– it doesn’t have time recording software;
– you can’t assign the right hours to the project and be accountable when assigning staff hours.

ProWorkflow

ProWorkflow is an online project management software that enables you to keep accurate time-keeping records, organise, plan, and delegate jobs and tasks while using the timeline to have an overview of company activity.

What we liked:
– you can work with Gantt charts;
– you can organise tasks using tags;
– you can create a dashboard so you can have an overview of your workload and priorities;
– the mobile version works well.

What we didn’t like:
– the interface looks crowded and difficult to use;
– timesheets are not efficient, you need to insert each task at the exact time you worked on it;
– tasks and comments can get lost easily;
– tasks are not arranged in a clear way.

Asana

Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams track their work. With tasks, projects, conversations and dashboards, Asana enables teams to move work from start to finish. It’s the platform we are currently using, and we think it is here to stay.

What we like:
– the clear structure of the projects and tasks;
– you can easily track the time using the timer;
– you can easily see all of your tasks at a glance, using the list view or calendar view;
– you can tag someone or something in a conversation;
– you can start a conversation with the whole team, without doing it for a specific project.

What we don’t like:
– you can’t add the time it takes to complete the task;
– you can’t allocate a task to two or more people;
– you can’t see the progress of a task, unless people leave comments on it;
– the inbox can get really cluttered.