Effective project management isn’t about sitting behind a desk; it’s about careful planning, negotiating, analysing and, if needs be, getting your hands dirty; getting involved. Management isn’t above getting the work done correctly when the time calls for it.
Because project manager responsibilities are so vast, they’re are always on their feet, either at meetings, overseeing or contributing to workflow, it is necessary for them to have access to all of their files, schedules and stats at a moment’s notice. Enter the project management app.
Project management applications for phones, tablets and computers are a dime a dozen. Finding an efficient and professional project management application that actually does everything it needs to do is hard. Realising that you’ve found a project management app that does all that is even harder.
Every app developer these days has built a simple project management tool and unfortunately this means that rooting out the decent applications requires a lot of time and effort. Time and effort that you don’t have if you’re a project manager that has to run back to their computer every time an important call comes through.
Another problem that you may have experienced with project management apps is their apparent propensity for non-specificity.
Project management is an extremely broad subject and can be relevant to everyone from an author or movie director right through to a stockbroker or product designer, so how can one app have the functionality to serve everyone? The simple answer is that it can’t; we all have different needs, and whilst Scrivener might be effective and popular tool among authors, it has no relevance to a product designer whereas Mavenlink, a service based project management app, probably has very limited use to an author.
On top of these concerns comes the topic of cost. How much is an effective application going to set you back and is it worth it?
Really this is down to you and the kind of organisation that works for you. Keeping things on paper in multiple draws is bound to end in disaster, so does £35 a year sound worth avoiding organisational chaos? That’s what Evernote charges for its premium experience.
Evernote is one of your classic project management applications that doesn’t really offer a specific tool set for a specific industry, but rather for anyone from businesses to organised individuals. The project management application has garnered wide critical acclaim and with good reason. It is clean, has a smooth interface (on all devices) and it is targeted fairly well at collaborative project management where the entire team are privy to the information shared by everyone else. To top it off, the basic edition is free.
Whilst Google’s set of services aren’t technically a project management application (they aren’t all amalgamated in one app), they do offer some equivalent services; with Google drive, Gmail, G+ hangouts and their calendar function, they are worth keeping an eye on because all Google services are merging and hold a lot of information. It’s only a matter of time before a well crafted project management app makes an appearance from Google.
Finding an effective project management app also requires research, and I’m afraid that project management applications are a very particular sort of app. What works for one person may not work for another. For a project management application that suits your needs, you’re going to need to do a fair bit of research; there are a lot of apps, but not a lot of great ones. Think about what is most important to you when you search for an app, and try and target apps that have functions that will support your values.
It’s also important to remember that it isn’t necessarily what you use, but how you choose to use it that makes a difference. Having the app and not using it, is not the apps fault!
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