Five Free Project Management Softwares To Better Handle The Job
If you’ve ever wondered if you have the time, budget, and people to get a job done, you have managed a project. The same applies if you’ve ever started a job only to see it grow and change until it was nearly unrecognizable.
It’s difficult to manage a project in the best of situations. Add to that the usual challenges of finances, staffing, scope and disruption of workflow by unexpected disasters, and things get even stickier. Fortunately, there are tools to help you handle this job. Even better, many of them are free. No matter what business you’re in or your job title, testing either of the next tools should help you get a better grip of your chores.
If you don’t know what a GANTT chart is and are confused by other project management terminology, Trello may be a great tool for you. It was created with non-project managers in mind. The interface is intuitive and very visual. This means most can jump right in without much teaching or training.
Thanks to the popularity of card-based interfaces, there’s a great chance that Trello will feel very familiar right away. The project interface works like this. Every card contains a list of tasks. Cards are ordered according to priority. They can be moved around simply by dragging and dropping. Open a card to access the lists, edit them, even upload files. If you would like cards can be updated via email as well.
Quire is a light-weight project management tool for teams with projects and goals. Its simple, user-friendly interface and yet robust features make it ideal for teams that don’t have a lot of technical know how.
Its unique tree structure -a.k.a. unlimited levels of tasks and subtasks- lets teams jot down their ideas even via iPhone’s Siri, and break them down into smaller and smaller tasks so an easy, step-by-step to-do list is ready for action. Such a structure allows teams to see the big picture of their project as a whole, and to focus simply on the most crucial tasks that are on their to-do list at any given time.
Quire is designed with teams in mind. What matters the most to them is collaboration. Real-time collaboration. For example, you can assign a task to one or more colleagues, work with partners and clients while keeping them in a separate world with limited access, and interact with one another instantly — all in a centralized place.
Taiga is free with restrictions. You get all of the features of the paid version. However, you are limited to a total of four project collaborators and one project if you want to work on a private project. However, if you have public projects, you can work on as many as you please. If you use or are considering Agile this is definitely one that you should consider.
One thing to consider is that Taiga is an open source tool. As such, it is also quite young. However, that doesn’t mean it is not robust. It has been developed into a complete app with all needed functions for virtually any project management task. It has multiple modes including both scrum and Kanban. Everything needed for agile development is also available. User stories, backlogs, etc., it’s all there!
If developing a knowledge base is important, check out the Wiki. It comes built in, and can be a great resource if you take the time to use it and keep it up to date. There are also video conferencing tools to facilitate project related communication.
In spite of its development, it is important to remember that this is a Beta project. This means that users may encounter bugs and performance slow downs. The interface also gets mixed reviews.
If you are an independent worker, consider Paymo. The free version is only intended for a single user. However, it nicely melds both project management and time tracking functions. This is perfect for freelancers and sole proprietors.
The free version of this includes both desktop and mobile availability, to do lists, time tracking, Kanban boards, reporting features, community support, file sharing, and the ability to create and send up to three invoices.
While many will find this to be all of the functionality that they need, others may be frustrated at the limitations. Fortunately, upgrades are available at a cost of around US$10 and $15 monthly.
5. Zoho Projects
The first thing that stands out about Zoho Projects is that you have an unlimited number of users right out of a gate. The free version also does not hold back anything in terms of functionality. The only drawback is that there is a 10 MB storage limit.
Anyone who is not well-versed in project management software might find that Zoho is an excellent choice for them. It’s a bit similar to Facebook in terms of interface. So, many will find navigating it quite intuitive. In addition to ease of use, it has very robust reporting functionality. This includes template based reports as well as those you can customize. If you’re read you are ready to move into more advanced project management check out the Gantt chart feature. This is ideal for projects that are a bit more complex, although there is a bit of a learning curve.
On the negative side, you can only complete one project before you are forced into the $25 dollar monthly subscription plan. However, the upgrade may be worth it to increase the storage limit and make use of the document management system.
If projects and other tasks are becoming overwhelming, check out these project tools. They can make life much easier at no cost to you.
Related: The How-To: Five Tips For Smart Project Management