Project managers are a different breed of professional.
They use their talents to drive others toward results. They’re problem solvers. Organizers. Communicators. They’re comfortable under stress, and they thrive in dynamic environments.
Why are they so different?
Because the nature of projects is unique. A project has a defined beginning, a defined end and a defined set of steps required to bridge those two points. Other work isn’t always like that. A graphic designer can’t define her milestones when creating a new corporate logo. A salesperson can’t always point to the “beginning” of a sale.
That work is more intuitive. More variable.
Graphic design and sales acumen are not like projects because projects can be measured. They can be tracked. That makes project management tools – like apps – extremely useful for both upstart and senior project managers.
5 Apps for Project Managers
Below are five project management apps that can help keep your next project on track.
- Trello (free – $20/mo; Android, iOs). Has anyone ever asked you for the 50,000-foot view of a project? They want to see all the pieces and components from a high level so that they can get a better sense of progress and scope. Well, that’s exactly what Trello provides. It has a clean, easy-to-use interface to help project managers with issue tracking, budgeting, task management and more. It also has tracking functionality for things like budgets, expenses and resource allocation, along with automatic and secure data backup.
- Smartsheet ($14/mo – $25/mo; Android, iOS). If you feel more comfortable working in spreadsheets, then you will feel right at home in Smartsheet. It’s an online project management tool designed to organize and track budgets, bugs, files, Gantt charts, ideas, milestones, progress, resources, tasks, expenses and more. It’s also one of the most flexible PM tools on the market, as it integrates with more than 150 platforms, including Google Docs, Dropbox, OneDrive and Jira.
- Asana (free – $10/mo; Android, iOS). If you’re new to project management, Asana might be the top choice for your first project management tool. The app has training webinars built-in, and if your team has fewer than 15 people, the app is free. Project managers can use the app to organize day-by-day tasks, create goals and milestones, manage due dates, track billing and more.
- Clarizen ($30/mo – $60/mo; Android, iOS). Like Asana, Clarizen has deep and informative training options for new users; you can watch webinars and attend live (and even in-person) training sessions to improve your Clarizen-based project management skills. It’s one of the most robust project management apps on this list, but unfortunately, the starting price point can scare small businesses or new project managers away.
- Wrike (free – $35/mo; Android, iOS). What makes Wrike different from the other tools on this list? Superficially, nothing. It has a clean interface. It tracks bugs. Manages expenses. Logs time. Records tasks. But Wrike sets itself apart in one key way: the free version allows you to manage as many projects as you’d like. No matter how many plates you spin, you never have to pay for Wrike if you don’t want to. There is a catch, however. The free version allows you only 2GB of storage space and only five team members. But for garage-based startups, it’s a good tool to get projects off the ground without having to open the company wallet.