As more organizations take their business online, project management software is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.
Project management software is largely similar to content management systems (besides having the same middle word). It’s a way for multiple people to collaborate on a project, keep track of updates and revisions, and hold everyone accountable for their respective work. CMSs focus primarily on actual content, i.e., writing and editing documents and uploading them to a central space. PMS (not to be confused with…something else) can have an integrated CMS, but it’s largely for scheduling, payment plans, resource allocation, communication, and quality assurance. It makes it easier for businesses with employees all over the world to work together, and keeps everything organized. It’s a little difficult to describe PMS because each is a little different – most are web-based, but some are desktop, for example – so you’ll probably learn more just by exploring one yourself. If you get hired for a job and have to use one, your client will likely provide you a guide of sorts for how you’re supposed to use the system for your particular work.
I’ve worked with multiple types of PMS, and the following three are the most common:
#1 – Basecamp
Basecamp is primarily web-based, but there are official apps available for iOS and Android. There are two different versions, Basecamp Classic and regular Basecamp. Many people didn’t favor the new look of the latter, so the site has the option to retain the old formatting, which multiple companies still use instead of the updated one. This PMS allows you to accommodate many different people on one project, so you can divide the work up quickly and easily. Personally, I prefer the new look as it makes it easier to organize all the different message threads that make up a project, but the Classic model works quite well, especially with the email notifications.
#2 – Teamwork
Teamwork works great if you have many different clients, as each one has its own project page, which in turn has a Time Tracker (for payment), tasks (to-do lists), message thread, file upload area, reports, etc. It’s best for larger companies to keep everything organized and verify that each employee not only does their work, but is rightfully compensated for it. Teamwork also integrates apps like Google Drive and Dropbox, as well as having its own apps for iOS and Android. I found it a bit intimidating at first, but once I got started, using it became fairly intuitive, and it’s now one of my favorite PMSs simply because of how organized everything is and all the different features it has.
#3 – Trello
Trello occupies a space between PMS and glorified to-do list. You can use it for personal projects, ranging anywhere from housecleaning to freelancing, or as part of a larger company management tool with Trello Business. It uses a card system for categorization, and the comment and notification system is very similar to Facebook’s. Trello has many features, with some more confusing than others, but you can select which ones you want and turn off the ones you don’t. I didn’t personally care for this PMS that much when I used it, but in fairness, it was a very small project, and the client themselves weren’t too keen on it and didn’t utilize all its features.
Have questions about project management software? Want to make your own PMS suggestions? Share in the comments below!
Header image courtesy of Basecamp.com, Trello.com, and Teamwork.com