What’s Your #1, Must-Have, Can’t-Live-Without Project Management Tool?

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Josh Nankivel 9 years ago.

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  • #170566

    Josh Nankivel
    Participant

    I may be writing about project management tools and exploring them more in the future.

    What is your favorite tool?

    For that matter, what is your least favorite piece of junk tool?

  • #170622

    Josh Nankivel
    Participant

    I love leankitkanban – very slick and flexible for a kanban delivery and communication mechanism for my team.

  • #170620

    Josh Nankivel
    Participant

    And while sometimes I like MS Project, most of the time I hate it.

    With a passion. 🙂

  • #170618

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Trello

    I hate Twinkies 🙂

  • #170616

    I was using BaseCamp for awhile and liked it. Trello was even better.

    For team connecting, you can’t beat Google+ Hangout to get people in the same room “face-to-face” when not co-located.

  • #170614

    James Wilfong
    Participant

    Sharepoint is my go-to software. With fewer staff, I’ve found that I don’t have the time to follow-up in the next meeting but I do have the time to ask other folks to collaborate/monitor/contribute to a project using sharepoint.

  • #170612

    Patricia Long
    Participant

    I can’t believe I worked without Sharepoint at my last job. Now, that I use it at my current job, there is no doubt in my mind that it is the single most important software for enterprise-wide and project-based information management and document sharing.

  • #170610

    Dave Paolicelli
    Participant

    For the traditional project management tool category, it’s Smartsheet (http://www.smartsheet.com/) hands down.

    I also think Google Docs, in particular Google Spreadsheets, is critical for managing projects. As a current Office 365 user, I find it’s an excruciatingly painful replacement in terms of usability.

  • #170608

    Communication. The tools only support how well you manage the team. Start every project with a kick off meeting where you spell out the ground rules for the engagement, get buy-in on major milestones, frequency of formal communications, response turnarounds, etc. Keep talking. Be action-oriented in all your communications “this is what we need to do by this date”. Communication is the best single tool in effectively managing a project.

  • #170606

    Fernando Beltran
    Participant

    I use Asana (http://www.asana.com). It’s simple, it’s great, works on desktop PCs, tablets, iPhones. Love it!

  • #170604

    Bill Brantley
    Participant

    I find that I am relying on Evernote more and more as a way to keep my planning documents together, record on-the-scene audio notes, and store snapshots of everything from white board sessions to invoices. What is very helpful is that I have the phone app along with the website link.

    I know this is not the usual project management tool but it is like having a virtual assistant for the project manager. That would be perfect: A project management Siri.

  • #170602

    James Wilfong
    Participant

    The Siri idea is a good one. I’m also using mindjet (http://www.mindjet.com/) on my android table very good for organizing requirements and hierarchical info.

  • #170600

    Javier Porras
    Participant

    Excellent response, Wendi!
    We spend lots of money and time trying to implement various project management tools (as mentioned in the various postings), but we forget about the most inexpensive but very effective tool (if utilized wisely) – Communication! Great observation!

  • #170598

    William Blumberg
    Participant

    I tend to use The One-Page Project Manager for communicating where I am with a project to our Executive Team with SharePoint for in-house work and BaseCamp other projects. For personal project, I use Evernote.

    I am with Josh Nankivel about MS Project. I only use it when required or if the project needs a lot of planning and tracking.

  • #170596

    William Blumberg
    Participant

    I use Evernote all the time for personal and small projects that I do not need to share with a team.

  • #170594

    +1 on Google Docs, Dave!

  • #170592

    Me, too, Bill…more for personal than professional use though.

  • #170590

    James Wilfong
    Participant

    I’ve looked at google docs but I didn’t see anything i could find elsewhere. What am I missing?

  • #170588

    Dave Paolicelli
    Participant

    James – Hi. I’m guessing you mean “couldn’t” …as in it’s not differentiated enough (?). I think it’s really about changing the way we share content, collaborate on it, and making both of those things super simple.

    The old way to collaborate on a document is to send a file to people. This makes multiple copies of that content and causes versioning issues, consolidation challenges, not to mention bandwidth/storage problems, etc. Needless to say, if there’s confusion and folks are operating on or sharing incorrect information, that’s not good.

    With Google Docs, you send people to the content instead. This is similar to a fileshare or repository that you point to, roughly speaking. In practical terms, there are a couple problems there though. Most notably that people often tend to download and attach files anyway or, if they actually share a URL, there is a check-out/in process to allow collaborative authoring. That is an often cited annoyance in my experience and can kill productivity. A big media company I worked with had more than half of their people say that this severely inhibited their contributions (as in, “no thanks, I’m not reviewing and editing this” or a passive “yeah, looks great – whatever”). That kind of sentiment obviously hobbles your collaborative efforts.

    In a Google Doc, the authorized editors work on the document where it actually lives – simultaneously (or whenever they want). And you can visibly see this collaboration process as it is happening, character by character. Granted, I’ve heard some people say they get distracted by this feature. It may take getting used to and, if you often have 50 people jamming in a document together at the same time, it’s smart to have some common conventions for how you go about this kind of work. It’s very painful to go back to the old way though when you get it.

    Now, back more directly on the PM tool topic, if you need to coordinate collecting, modifying, or sharing tabular type information (lists of any sort) among a project team, Google Spreadsheets is really great. There are solutions for specific things I might use a spreadsheet for (issues, risks log, traceability matrices, etc.), but it’s a great Swiss Army knife solution in the same way people use Excel but I can share/collaborate better. But, yes, there are other suites that can do something similar. In my opinion, Google is just light years ahead in terms of simplicity and usability. Sorry for the dissertation-length response here!

  • #170586

    James Wilfong
    Participant

    Wow, Dave. Well put. The concurrent editing of documents seems to be the critical point of difference for google docs. This is a struggle for everyone, even the SharePoint users. I have not seen a good way to do concurrent document editing. Concurrency just isn’t a part of our human experience in the physical world. We are precluded from occupying the same space at the same time so we have no metaphors on which to set our minds to a common reference. This is the realm of physics and quantum mechanics all things happening at once.

  • #170584

    Elizabeth Zelman
    Participant

    The company I work for, Privia, is a project management tool specifically geared toward government bid & proposal management contracting. However, we actually use it here in the office for our own work and it’s awesome! It’s so much easier to share files in the cloud and have version controls on them rather than just be constantly emailing them back and forth and hoping you have the right one.

    For my own personal use; sticky notes! They’re all over my desk and I couldn’t live without them. I can’t avoid them when I look up and see a hot pink note with “call this person” written on it in black sharpie. Maybe not the most sophisticated system but it keeps me organized.

  • #170582

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I’ve never used Asana but heard great things – what do you like best about it?

  • #170580

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    So true!

  • #170578

    Sterling Whitehead
    Participant

    Remember The Milk. Hands down. Since I’ve used it, my procurements are far more likely to be under schedule.

  • #170576

    It may not be categorized as a “tool’, but without maintaining constructive relationships on the job, none of the projects would reach completion.

  • #170574

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    I too like Share Point (when our network doesn’t mess it up). My manager would love to see our govcc audits done via sharepoint, vs. packing up our paper and driving over to the audit office. IOW, we would scan and post a file on Sharepoint of all purchases (paperwork) and give the auditor access to the file and he/she could just audit right there, any questions, we could answer by phone or email. Skype would be nice, but hey…..we are still using 1999 technology.

  • #170572

    James Wilfong
    Participant

    we have an add-on tool Microsoft Lync which integerates with sharepoint and handles instant messaging, and phone. Any phone number in the sharepoint site can be dialed imeadiately by clicking on it.

  • #170570

    Julie Chase
    Participant

    wow James, that is awesome. I would love that! However, it’s not NMCI approved. :o( Instant messaging would streamline processes so much better and I love the dialing of phone numbers via share point. Heck, we can’t fax from our desktops…..(security reasons…oh and I’m on a non-classified machine, yeah, I know, silly). I have not explored all the Share Point can do….but I’m apt pupil!

  • #170568

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    MS Project, Share Point and Snag It. I am not endorsing anything I’m just saying that’s all!

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