Exploring what Project Management software can do for your business, as well as diving in to a list of free or cheap solutions. What is project management software? It’s a solution to help you consistently be organized with details, keeping track of what your team is working on, and when.
Each software solution offers different features but they share the same common benefits
1. Stay on schedule- assign completion dates to multiple projects. This allows the team to see the bigger picture of the work load, giving them the push to stay on task and complete their piece of the pie.
2. Delegate- assign roles to each employee making it easier to know who to task with what.
3. track tasks- Track progress through out each progress so you know who is doing what and who is not completing their assigned tasks.
4. Collaborate on projects- split up big projects into individual tasks that can be worked on separately. Allow different employees to be in charge of their own task. PM software allows each team member to coordinate with the rest of the team to maintain even progress.
5. Communicate with clients and Vendors- connect to clients and vendors by sharing with them the progress or details of a project. Cut down on a lot of back and forth.
- What is a project management software
- What are the benefits and advantages of using a project management software for your business
- Some of the recommended project management software: Slack, Bitrix24, Trello, Asana, Producteev, Basecamp
Links Mentioned and Contact info:
Welcome to Smart Tradesmen, the show dedicated to bringing entrepreneurship into small business. Whether you are a seasoned business owner or just starting out, it is our mission to help you design a business that works for you—and not the other way around. Now, here’s your host: Daniel Eric Bowling.
[Daniel Eric Bowling]
Yes, thank you Mr. Announcer Guy. Welcome back to Smart Tradesmen the Podcast. I am your host Daniel Eric Bowling and today it’s just me. I am all alone with you and your earbuds – no guests today.
In this episode I will be talking about project management software. I’ve been doing a little bit of research and I will tell you what I have found out so far. But first, I mentioned in the beginning of the last episode that I am looking for 10 business owners who are looking to scale their businesses, make more money, and work less. We’re putting together the Smart Tradesmen Elite Mastermind Group so if you know anybody or if you yourself fits this description then please email me at email@example.com or even text me or call if you had to leave a message at 5136334727.
Now onto today’s featured segment…
Since I moved to Columbia, South Carolina, I’ve been helping out another upholstery shop, train his employees and kinda just get things in order. And it just reminded me how much of a hassle it is to run a business with multiple employees and so many different projects going on at once. Since my days of owning my own business under the same business model, I’ve been looking more into the software that’s out there and finding more about the online business practices. And what I know now that I didn’t know then is that there is free or even inexpensive software solutions to managing projects, communicating with employees, tracking tasks and just basically anything you can possibly need. There’s already a solution out there. So this isn’t really going to be a long episode because I think you can research for days all the different solutions that are out there. But I just wanted to give you just a few that you could start looking into today. And then you can continue your research beyond that. If you find that any that I mentioned here today are not a good fit for you but this is at least a good list of few of them to get you started and to show you that there are inexpensive ways to get started with a project management software.
So first before I begin, I had to think about how do I even describe what a project management software is. I search that in google obviously and the best that I come up with is, it is a software solution to help you to consistently be organized. Details of projects, keeping track of what your team is working on and when they’re working on it. Each software solution really just offers different solutions but in the end they all share the same common benefit. So when looking into project management software, the basic benefits are to help you stay on schedule. You can assign completion dates to multiple projects at once and keep track of when things are due and allows you to see a bigger picture of the workload and lets the employees and the team itself be able to take like a snapshot, bigger picture view of all the tasks that need to be done so that they know like when they need to complete their piece of the pie, so that everybody is staying on task and holding up their end of the workload.
The second thing that it helps you do is it helps you delegate and assign roles so that each person knows exactly what their tasks are as the projects come in. You don’t really have to every time re-assign different parts of each project to somebody. People eventually kinda be known for certain job roles and they’re held accountable for that portion of the project. And really by delegating, it helps you take some load off yourself. If one employee or team member has a problem in some made up area called X, if they have a problem with the task X, and there’s another employee who’s in charge of that task, generally, they’re the go-to person on that problem. They don’t need to pull you into it. They have somebody there that knows how to solve the problem. There’s no reason to interrupt your day or call you into the office. Whatever you’re doing has got to be more important as a business owner than answering questions that somebody else can answer. So delegating is very important.
And the third thing that it will help you do by a project management software is it helps you track tasks. By tracking the tasks, you can track the progress throughout each project that’s going on. You know who is doing what and you know who is not completing their assigned tasks. This kinda goes back to delegating a little bit but basically by tracking tasks, you can measure progress and you can help even in the future better quote projects by knowing exactly how long things take and how long you expect them to take and if you are way off, you can charge accordingly next time.
And another very important feature that I found when I was looking at the project management software is that, at least for some of them, if not all of them, you are able to communicate with clients and in the ones that you can do this. I could see that this would be very important to cut down the email back and forth the clients to let know progress updates or were not. Or even if you need client approval on something if you’re working with their contractor designer. Then you can have them have their own profile, limited profile, that they can log into and kinda see the progress on their own project. Or maybe even approve design details or what not. So, communicating with your client vendor could be, I think, an added benefit when researching them if that sounds something is important to what you needed to do then, make sure that they want to go with has this feature.
And the last benefit they I wanted to talk about was collaborating on the projects within your own team. You’ll be able to split up big projects into smaller individual tasks that can be work on separately. But when you’re doing the project not as a whole everybody has their own one little thing to do. You need to be able to communicate amongst the team to make sure that everybody’s on tasks or if there’s things that affect other tasks then one team needs to be able talk to the other team. So, project management software that allows you to collaborate with your team, I think, is probably one of the most important features that you could find.
That being said, I know it’s a lot to take in to try out new softwares and just try out new anything new period in your everyday business. So, I’d hate for you to start using something and then, find out that it’s not exactly what you need. So, since communication can be one of the most important things, I think that the number one most helpful thing that I’ve found so far is a software called Slack. Slack is like a team communication software. I know that some of the project management softwares they have a built in communication program, but like I said I’d hate for you to integrate it into your team and then after switch project management softwares because it’s not working for you in your business. My advice is before you trial the 5, or 6, or so, project management softwares that I’m gonna list here in a minute, start with cutting down back and forth and the emailing back and forth and the communication issues that you have within your business by giving Slack a try. I can think of so many times that this would help out a lot in the last 10 years of working for myself and working for small businesses. So, I’m really curious to see how it works on your business. So, give it a try and shoot me an email and let me know exactly if it’s helping out or if it’s falling short because I won’t get my feelings here, I don’t work for Slack, but I think that it’s cool that it’s free, at least there’s a free version of it, and I think that the free version is probably more than you would need unless you grow into a bigger company and then it’s fairly inexpensive and the grand scheme of things. Anything I’m talking today even if they’re paid versions or fairly cheap if it does what you needed to do cause it’s gonna save you time and money. So, start with the free versions upgrade as needed. Both Slack you get real time communication with direct messaging, you could do general company wide conversation on specific topics. Or you could even do just specific group chats with only certain team members. You can tag people, you can tag topics, keywords for easily search items, you can start main conversation that you wanna remember if there’s design details or something to talking about. There’s a lot that you could do with it that I’ve not even done yet, so I really, really hope that it helps you and your business. Because right now it’s just me and my VA kinda using it to cut down the emailing back and forth. So, I’m not even currently using it in my service based business but I could see where could really help you out.
So, as I said I recommend starting with Slack and then give some of these other project management tools a try. Try them off you want or look for them, see which ones had the best looking user interface that you can wrap your head around and just give it a shot.
So, without further a do, here’s just the list of a few that I have. I wanna give you one at a time and break them down as I go.
The first one that I’ve found I’d never heard of before, but I actually seems like a pretty good solution. It offers gantt charts, layered task options, time tracking and management. And even employee work load planning. This one does have its own real time communication platform with group chat, video conferencing and instant messenger. It also access the dropbox alternative, and if you don’t know what dropbox is I guess that’s gonna be a whole another episode, but basically it’s an online storage. So, you don’t gotta clutter up your computer and fill your computer up of files that you worry about keeping, you can get storage online not on your location, so it’s safe forever and that’s what dropbox is and I think you should definitely have dropbox, too. Bulls eye that for another episode.
Bitrix24 says that it has a dropbox alternative. Personally, even if you give Bitrix a try I’d still go with dropbox for certain things but they give you a free version, they give you 5 GB of cloud storage so you could do easy document sharing and if 5 GB is not enough but maybe 6 would be for 25¢ a month you can get an additional extra gigabyte. I don’t know what happens beyond that, I’m assuming that you gotta go to the paid version. And the cons of Bitrix24 is that you may struggle with the free version of Bitrix just because of the limitation on the user profiles. Like I said I’ve never been in hurdles in before so I’m not yet sure exactly what the limitations are. Iím assuming that the number of profiles you get maybe in the free version is just not enough if you grow just a little bit pass what you need for the new version, and maybe one of those cases where you get started and quickly outgrow it and have to go with the paid version. But the other drawback with this one is the next step, the paid version, is 99$ a month. So, you may wanna research it just a little bit to make sure that there is a good fit for you before you fall in love with it and then outgrow it. But, that’s beyond this changing our mindset a little bit when we’re not really used to investing in ourselves. 99$ a month for something that does exactly what you needed to do is worth it. There are cheaper and free versions of other software, so I’m not exactly trying to sell you on this one, Iím just saying if you like the using interface of this one, if this is the one that you gonna get you organized, save you time and help you make more money, 99$ isn’t that much but onto some more of the freelance.
The next one is called Trello. Trello is a very simplistic. You can create cards within a project, each card represents a task and you can manually move each card to visually show you how the project is developing. And then, within the cards you can fill out the info with things like who is working on the task, when is the task or when is the project do rather, and what parts of the task have already been completed by using just a simple tasks checklist. The real cons of this is you noticed free the simplicity of it, it just maybe too simple for high detailed type projects. So, if you needing to track details rather than just progress at a glance, then this one may fall a little short for you.
The next project management software solution is a Asana. Asana is free up to 15 users, has a very simple interface and works great for real time interactions between your team. So, it sounds like this one has also way to communicate but if you’re already using Slack then you may not need to use that feature as much. But Asana allows its users to visualize the goals, track their time, assign priority to tasks and get updates on the project right in the program. It also has a built-in calendar function that I could see being very useful. The main drawback that I see to using Asana is there’s no offline use. I’m not sure if all of these or other one have online use and offline use but I did see that that’s one of the main complaints that people have about Asana was that you have to have the internet up and running. So, if you own a shop that has internet access at all times or if you’re on the go you’re gonna be using up your data on your phone or whatever, if you find that you need offline usage for your project management, then this one may not be for you.
The next one is the one that I’ve heard of a couple of people mentioned recently and I’ve just not got looking up is called Producteev. Spell little funny but its PRODUCTEEV, so it’s Product EEV. With Producteev, you can create tasks that belong in multiple task lists, it offers real time communication as well. It also allows you to track measure results and progress. And from inside Producteev, the users can turn emails directly into tasks with just a couple of simple clicks. So, from what I hear it’s very easy to use with the simple user interface you can filter through projects with the search feature. You can share files using dropbox, dropbox as I mentioned earlier that something that you should priority to have. And some of the cons that I found the Producteev is that it’s lacking in time tracking capabilities and also with being able to integrate it with building software. To be honest, I don’t know if the rest of them can be integrate in with building software because none of them mention it. So, if you needed to be able to integrate with building software then we’re gonna dive a little deeper and that’s not gonna happen today. I did see a simple price structure for Producteev, there’s a free version, there’s a plus version for 5$ a month, and then premium, platinum versions are 20 and 30$ a month. I’m sure that each one gives you more and more options, so if free is getting you there but you need just a little bit more 5$ a month I’m sure of use plenty more, and that’s a very cheap solution.
And the last one I’m gonna leave you with today is called Basecamp. I’ve heard a lot of people talked about Basecamp, I just don’t know much about Basecamp. I don’t know if there’s a free version. But I know it’s a web based project management software. Pricing for this is 49$ a month, 99 and a 149$ a month.
Not exactly sure what to get with each one of these, but if you’d like I could research for some more and do a spreadsheet that breaks all these down just a little more in dept. And even as I was researching this, I was constantly coming up for more and more project management software. I just chose a few that I’ve actually heard of or least seemed popular. I’m sure that the new and the best thing is just coming right around the corner as always with technology. So, this is probably something that needs to be constantly updated but I will start putting things together a list as a resource. So, if you’re interested just reach out to me and I’ll give all my research that I’ve done so far. You can also go to smarttradesmen.com and search for Project Management in the search part.
Well that’s all I really have the Project Management Software topic for today. So, I wanna thank you so much for joining me. And, before I let you go I wanna thank everyone who has left me rating and review so far. We have reached new and no worthy in the top 3 categories that I’m in business, arts and education, as well as the sub categories within them. And, I couldn’t done it without you, so I wanna thank you so much. But if you haven’t done so yet, please go to iTunes leave me a rating or review and that are really help get into the earbuds of those who really need to hear this message and those who are looking to grow their business, make more money to be able to spend time with their family. This episode may be over but your journey has just began. So if you’d like to continue the conversation go to smarttradesmen.com/mastermind to watch a 3 minute video telling you all about the private facebook community known as Smart Tradesmen, I hope to see you there.
But, until next time. Good luck in everything that you do. Im out of here. See ya.