Managing projects is a lot easier if you’ve got a tool that helps you get organized. But a lot of us out there are tasked (either by ourselves or our bosses) to manage projects without a budget for infrastructure, including software tools. Here are five free web-based tools that have the advantage that, being web based, can be accessed anywhere as long as you have connectivity. Many have mobile versions making them truly portable!
- If your style of project management is managing to-do list, then this what I think is the best of the bunch. Major organizations like Zappos.Com use this site and use it well.
- The biggest battle for the project manager and the best win that the project manager can achieve in the short term is to get organized. Asana can help you do that in spades.
- Does it do a Gantt chart? No, that’s not it’s style.
- There are tons of options that you can experiment with to get your system just right. Try it out!
Need To Do It – http://needtodo.it/
- It’s another to-do list manager, with some nice features. Like Asana, it integrates with your calendar and can send you update notifications if a to-do list item changes.
- It’s in early beta now, but shows some promise. You may want to jump in and suggest how they can improve based on your experiences and workflow.
Trello – https://trello.com/
- Trello looks like a card driven agile board. It’s well suited for Kanban or Scrum project management. You can set up controls on the cards to allow only those authorized to move the cards around.
- With a browser add-on, http://scrumfortrello.com/, you can even add complexity points to the cards.
- I said “looks like” above because Trello can be used for any card-based management system you like. If you want to make a to-do list of tasks with each card being a task, and each column being a person on your team, that works too!
- Gantt charts? No, this is very much an agile approach, so you won’t find much to support your waterfall project here.
- Like Asana, there are many ways to use Trello, and you can find a way to do your project with this.
- This Indian-born desktop and mobile app is a more robust version of Trello.
- It has some reporting, including time reporting, and backlog management features that are a nice set for more mature teams. I find it a little too integrated for my tastes, and so I use Trello, but a team that could use these features could well find that this tool fits.
- Everything is cloud based, like Trello, and that makes it great for collaboration across the globe, and for distributed teams.
TeamGantt – https://www.teamgantt.com/
- This is a slick online Gantt chart program that’s browser based.
- It’s designed for waterfall methodology projects, but it does a nice job if you’re managing this sort of project. It can handle activity list, dependencies, milestones, resource assignment, and showing overallocation or dependencies that don’t work.
- It’s free, to a point. You can only have up to three users in the free version, but that may be enough if you’re doing top-down planning.
- It does a nice job of creating Gantt charts in PDF for your team or stakeholders, so having only one user (you, the project manager), may not be so bad.
- You have the option of try-before-you-buy, and can upgrade to the paid version if you need more than three people sharing project plans, or if any of their premium features is of interest. For me, the free stuff includes enough for all my waterfall needs. I disseminate information to the team in a static format, so I don’t need them in the project management software.