Customers have objectives, and the projects that you work on help those customers meet those objectives, so being able to keep track of the projects that will help customers meet those objectives is super critical.
Project management is extremely important in the context of managing your customers objectives, and choosing the right project management software will ensure that you're optimising every part of your business.
In this article, I'm going to tell you the best free project management software tools that you should be using in your business today, or, even, in your side hustle that you're working on.
Ready? Let's take a look...
When we're looking at defining project management, we must first define what a project actually is...
Let's take the example of building a house...
Building a house has a start, a finish and produces a deliverable, with these three key components in mind, this is what defines a project.
You could be working on building a website for a client, or adding a new feature to a piece of software, and thus, project management software can go a long way in helping you plan, and work through those deliverables.
When it comes to choosing the best project management software, like everything else in life, you'll typically get out of it what you put into it...
If you're a business that has just started, then you're going to absolutely want some top tips for choosing the best piece of software right?
And you probably don't have a lot of money to spend at first, since you're just starting out, and also, don't have a lot of projects even?
That's why, opting for free software is going to be your best choice to begin with, so that you can take hold of the ropes and learn what there is to learn.
Let's deep dive into each piece of knowledge that's worth knowing...
Most project management tools are extremely simple to get to grips with, even if you're a complete beginner and aren't that familiar with computers.
Typically, these tools will have what's called a Kanban structure to them, you can think of this as a type of board, with columns, or lanes, and you'll add your tasks to each column and progressively move tasks from one column to another.
There are other structures as well, such as a list based approach, where all of your tasks to complete the project you're working on are listed out, with a priority order, and you work through them that way.
Team collaboration is important to getting a project complete on time, especially if it's a large project that you're working on.
Usually, even if you're on your own, you might want to collaborate with other people, whether that's outside contractors, your friends, or simply team members, project management software typically offers the ability to invite others to the tool.
But since we're looking at keeping costs as low as possible, with free software you might be limited to the number of people that you can collaborate with at any one time, for instance, you might only be able to have 3 people rather than 6 people with a paid tool.
Do you like statistics?
Graphs and charts?
I sure do, and being able to visually identify what I'm working on, and what I've been working on recently is important for both analysing my productivity over a period of time, and also for seeing how much of a project I've completed.
The same is going to apply to you, at some point, you're going to want to know just how long you spent on that project, and you're going to want that data to be collected automatically right?
This is where automation comes in, and I'm not talking about adding robots to your business (although that could be an option if you're a car manufacture)
Instead, I'm talking about automating the workflow within your project's Kanban board of the software you're using.
Typically, project management software will allow you to automate certain things, such as attaching a completion date to a task, or archiving a task once it's done so that you don't need to!
It'll save you so much time, and being able to save time as a small business or startup is exactly what you want to do!
You should be focusing your energy and time on delivering what your customers want, so this is a big one.
In case you don't want to scroll through the list, I've curated all of the software tools into a quick and easy bulleted list, right here for you:
I personally use Trello, and have done for a long time, it's extremely easy and user-friendly, and we all know that a great user experience goes a long way right?
If you're looking for a free project management software, this could be the one for you since boards are made up of lists and cards, and the layout makes it easy to understand
When I first started using Trello, I was instantly drawn to the friendliness of their design and UI, and thought that the user experience would be brilliant, and I wasn't wrong.
The problem with project management software is that it can sometimes get quite complicated to get to grips with, and that's not necessarily a negative...
It's just how tools grow, and with the amount of features and settings packaged into them just makes things a little complicated sometimes, especially when you're first starting out with project management tools.
Trello takes all of this into account and by far delivers an experience unlike no other, and it's completely free to sign up and get started.
Trello does offer subscription plans which will allow you to customise Trello even more, add additional automation settings, but chances are, you won't need these when you're just starting!
Unfortunately, it would've been nice to see the custom backgrounds feature that you can change on the free plan, but this doesn't seem to be an option right now.
I've used Jira a lot, in fact, I use it daily, and have done for the past year, it's a vast project management software and unlike Trello, is probably more geared towards medium to large businesses rather than just startups.
Trello is actually a product of Jira, so it's no surprise when I tell you that both are quite refined, but Jira is going to suit the larger business.
You're probably wondering why Jira made it into this list if Trello is already here and they're owned by the same company right?
Great question, I thought I'd share Jira with you since it's packed full of features and has more details reports that Trello (in my opinion)
Reports are vital for your business and managing your project, being able to report back to your customers and give them a full breakdown of what you worked on, on your project is useful.
Jira isn't likely going to be well suited for the complete novice who hasn't at least tried any project management since it's reasonably vast, and can take some time getting used to.
Is it Monday today?
Did you see what I did there?
Seriously though, Monday is actually a tool, and another tool that I've previously used in the past, unlike the other project management tools, Monday is an extremely beautiful tool, and looks shouldn't really matter there.
But they do to some level.
Because you're going to be using the tool a lot to manage everything in your project, from marketing to sales, task management and more, and no tool does it better than Monday
Have you ever felt the need to get more motivation to actually work on a project but don't know how?
I've been there, it can be exhausting, and sometimes you feel like you've got no energy to actually work on a project.
With Monday, you'll be able to get a visual timeline of your project with all of your project's deliverables broken out into phases, which will make it easy to see what phase of work your team is working on, and whether they're stuck on anything.
On the move?
You can also download their iOS and Android apps, which work beautifully on a phone, which is what you're going to want if you're working on projects on the go.
Can't decide what the best tool is for you?
That's okay, there's a lot of choice, and I'm going to be coming back to this article to add even more project management tools to this article.
But what tool is right for you?
Why not try them all? They're all free to sign up to, if I could recommend just one, I'd say go with Trello!
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