3 Essential Tools for Making Your Life Easier as a Software Project Manager

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Quite a bit of work goes into developing a piece of software. Ensuring projects are completed on schedule requires using the right project management tools. They’ll help you monitor your progress, coordinate with team members, and boost your overall efficiency.

That said, not all project management tools are equally impressive. On top of that, some project management tools are better for certain types of projects than others.

The following are options that experienced digital product agencies recommend and that you should consider if you specifically need help managing a software development project. Try a few out to determine which is ideal for your needs.

Monday

PROS

Transparency is often essential when developing software products. This isn’t simply because teams tend to work better when everyone appreciates how each member is contributing to their overall success. When developing software, it’s often necessary for various team members to coordinate with each other, making sure they understand how much progress everyone has made. Knowing the status of all aspects of the development process helps every team member get a greater degree of context for their own duties.

That’s what makes Monday a strong project management tool. With a clear interface and layout, it easily allows team members to keep everyone up-to-date. Users can simply head to the relevant section of their Monday pages to see if certain tasks have been completed.

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Monday is also relatively affordable. A basic plan costs $8.00 per user per month. The popular standard plan goes for $10.00, with the pro plan available for $20.00. Enterprise plans are also available, although prices for enterprise plans vary depending on a customer’s specific needs.

CONS

Maintaining clear lines of communication among team members can be difficult with Monday if a team is fairly large. This is because the notifications inbox often becomes difficult to sort through when numerous team members take actions that would result in notifications.

Monday’s mobile app also has a UI that is often confusing to navigate on a small screen. This might be a problem for users who are frequently on-the-go.

KEY FEATURES

Monday offers a range of useful features. Time tracking features help teams more easily determine how much time was spent on given projects. Monday also offers such basic project management features as task creation and assignment, to-do lists, file sharing, and prioritization features. Additional features help users develop project templates and estimate costs.

Trello

PROS

Trello is another option to keep in mind if you’re attracted to the visual clarity and transparency Monday offers. Like Monday, it allows users to set up various tasks, including individual one-time tasks, as well as ongoing projects. 

Fortunately, Trello is another tool that’s fairly affordable. A basic plan, in fact, costs nothing per user; at no point does that change unless you upgrade to a $9.99 per month business plan or enterprise plan. Once again, numerous factors influence the cost of an enterprise plan, including the number of users associated with a particular Trello account.

CONS

All that said, no project management tool is completely perfect. Trello’s flexibility may be appealing, but it doesn’t offer extensive reporting options. That may not be an issue depending on the nature of your projects, but it’s worth remembering as you consider your options.

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It’s also sometimes necessary to write detailed documents or wikis about particular boards depending on the nature of a project. Trello, unfortunately, does not offer this feature. It also lacks a project bar chart that would otherwise make tracking progress much easier.

KEY FEATURES

Trello makes staying organized relatively simple with color-coded labels for tasks and projects. Despite the lack of a bar chart, Trello’s checklist features also help users track projects. Basic comments features allow for easy discussion and collaboration, and email reminders and deadline notifications ensure team members are less likely to overlook important tasks. Trello can also sync with various devices and offers mobile functionality. This is helpful for dispersed teams with members who frequently work in the field.

Workzone

PROS

Workzone is a particularly useful software project management tool if your teams are relatively large, your projects take a relatively long time to complete, or both. This is due to the fact that it can quickly provide users with a broad perspective on the overall status of projects. Thus, you can research trends and use what you learn to more effectively allocate your workforce and plan projects in the future.

Workzone also offers a range of plans depending on your needs. That said, Workzone offers no standardized pricing. Regardless of what type of plan you choose, you still need to request a custom quote.

CONS

Some users have complained that Workzone’s search function is unintuitive and doesn’t allow them to easily find key items as quickly as they would wish. Workzone also automatically updates entire project plans when individual team members update their own to-do lists. While this might initially seem like a benefit, some have found it actually causes problems.

When team members make mistakes updating their to-do lists (which is likely to happen every now and then over the course of long projects) the automatic update often results in confusion. It’s worth noting that some users have also found that Workzone offers so many features that learning how to use it for their particular needs is also a confusing process.

KEY FEATURES

Like many of the other tools on this list, Workzone boasts a range of typical project management features. These include timelines, responsibility assignments, Gantt charts, and approvals features. It also offers features that allow non-team members to create custom forms for specific requests. As with most strong project management tools, it offers file-sharing and files collaboration features as well. 

The Right Project Management Software for Your Needs

Experiment with these to get a better sense of their strengths. Remember, your development team is only as strong as your tools. One of these could be best for your goals.

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