At the best of times, project management is a busy, twist-a-minute job that often proves chaotic for the unskilled.
And then came COVID-19: first in China’s Wuhan and then to the rest of the world like a restless tourist. Its tragic impacts on all walks of human life are immeasurable and long-lasting.
Project management in times of corona
As for project management, the pre-corona days now appear calm and serene. Apart from juggling with impatient clients, inert product managers, far-off vendors, know-all consultants and pushy bosses, project managers now have to deal with an invisible microorganism that is turning the world on its head.
Many are ill; many more are in lockdown. Even for those going out, every cough invites fearful stares from all around. What should project managers do while remote working amidst this Corona-induced mayhem?
For a start, go back to the basics: Keep calm and think of ways to get the job done.
The good thing is that technology has made the act of venturing out your home practically a needless thing. You can get the project completed right from your home, provided you have the right tools.
It could prove even a blessing in disguise. Once you master these tools, life becomes much easier when things get back to normal.
Look ahead, always.
Here are the pros and cons of the top 10 project management tools for remote working.
Photography by dougthomsen.tv / Engineering by Anton Georgiev
Slack is a one-size-fits-all tool, comprising a social media work platform, instant messaging, file sharing and much more. It is more like an online office. It is famously user friendly and can be even addictive.
The main advantage is that it allows for creating separate groups and channels for different projects and teams. It is reliable and robust with hardly any major instances of downtime.
It is a freemium tool, meaning basic features are free, while advanced features are premium. You can invite any new team members to join for free through even email.
The main disadvantage is its paid plan, which can be expensive. If you have a large team that share large-sized files, the whole platform may go haywire.
GoToMeeting is an online conference tool that allows desktop sharing and video conferencing. It is a great tool for daily meetings.
A major plus is that it allows multiple desktop sharing. It can host up to 100 users for a single host. It can record all its activities too. It is cost effective, with a free trial option.
It takes some time to load first up, but works smoothly once loaded. It may not be seamless across platforms – for example, it offers different user experience on Chrome and Firefox.
Zoom is an excellent video conferencing and video call facility. It facilitates screen sharing too.
It offers best-in-class video and audio quality. It rarely buffers and allows multiple users. Its basic version is free. If you are handling a large team, it is better to get a suitable premium version.
The only problem is that for premium versions, its charge becomes higher as your team size gets bigger.
GitHub is perhaps the most essential tool for project management while remote working, if you are managing software development or your project, involves some form of software creation. It allows hosting for software development and supports collaborative access. It is also a repository of codes of various functionalities.
Its pros are endless. Its basic version, which is by and large good enough for small teams, is free. It offers great back up and excellent documentation.
You might face issues with its downtime. The tool becomes quickly an inevitable part of your work that downtimes can be frustrating.
Work smarter, not harder
Trello is a specifically developed tool for online project management. It allows collaborative working through a seamless and intuitive graphical interface.
It allows the project manager to organize the jobs, activities, budget and time. Above all, it is free.
Its main disadvantage is that it offers only limited storage. So it is not much suitable for projects involving large data and big teams.
Asana is another sophisticated project management software. It is developed by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and was once reputedly used in Facebook to enhance employee productivity.
It is a cloud-based solution with a number of cool functionalities for project managers working from home. Project managers can create tasks, assign them to various users, set deadlines and monitor the progress.
It takes some time to get used to the interface. Newby project managers too sometimes find it difficult to master it. Free trial is available. But the premium version is recommended.
Toggl is a neat little time-tracking software that some project managers find priceless. It is easy to learn and easier to use.
Its free version would more than suffice for most project managers. The best part is that it does not consume much of your time while tracking the project’s progress.
The only downside, if it can be called so, is that it does not work offline.
8. Google Docs
Google Docs is the MS Office slayer. Whatever you can do with MS Word, MS Excel, and MS PowerPoint, you can do with Google Docs – for absolutely free. It allows collaborative working as well. You can sign in to Google Docs with your Google account.
It is actually the hidden treasure on the internet. It has more features than one could possibly imagine. Can’t see any cons really.
Filestage is an asset management platform that allows for storing, organizing and monitoring all sorts of files with any kind of content. Each file and its content can be reviewed. It is very easy to handle – you do not need much technical know-how.
It is a premium product, but demo version is available. The only con is that it does not support some kind of file formats.
This is not a project management tool for remote working as such. However, intermittent use of this tool ensures that you get the best out of all the nine tools mentioned above. Basically, it sharpens the greatest project management tool that you possess: your brain.
For the record, Calm is a meditation app that provides guided meditation sessions ranging from 3 to 25 minutes.
That’s all the tools you need till the COVID-19 outbreak is under control; stay calm and work from home.