As a small business owner, you are probably used to juggling projects and tasks. Everyone has their own methods, but if your memory, email or to-do list has ever failed you, you probably wondered if there is a better way.
Why is the Project Plan so important before project management ?
The Project Plan is one of the most important and useful documents in your toolkit, and should be referred to and updated throughout the project lifecycle. Its initial purpose is to kick-start the project by convincing the decision makers (usually the people who control the funds e.g. the Project Board or Steering Committee) that the project is viable and and will meet their needs and timeframes / budgets / expectations. If the Project Plan is poorly written or contains insufficient detail, the project may not even get past this first decision gate and may never actually get off the ground. Many viable projects have floundered at this stage due to poor planning and communication. On the flip side, if you can deliver a great Project Planning, it establishes your credibility as a Project Manager, starts the project on a sound footing, and provides the team with a mandate for action and a clear direction to follow.
The good news: there is! The technology is called project management software, and it helps you organize projects and tasks so everything is completed on time and you no longer have to worry if something has fallen through the cracks. Two of the most popular project management systems are Asana and Trello. This quick comparison is designed to help you figure out which is right for your small business.
Asana is a web-based “collaboration information manager” that was founded in 2008 and helps you “move work forward.”
- Teams of 15 or less can use the free version, while larger teams can purchase the premium version at $9.99 per month.
- The software is user-friendly, with an intuitive navigation system that includes a task view and calendar view.
- Within Asana, you can set up projects, tasks, and subtasks, assign items to team members, add due dates, share files and post comments. All activities take place in real-time.
- Several integrations are available, for example, Google Drive, Slack, and Github.
- Support is available via email, and the Product Guide will get you up to speed fast. Organizations with over 50 team members get additional support through a ‘success’
Trello is a web-based service founded in 2011, aimed at helping you “work more collaboratively and get more done.”
- Trello has a free version that comes with some limitations (example: file attachments are limited to 10MB), and two paid options: Business Class ($9.99 per month) or Enterprise ($20.83 per month).
- Projects are set up as “boards,” and within the board, users can set up task lists and cards (individual tasks), which can be assigned to specific team members.
- Integrations are known as Power-Ups. They offer the ability to connect with programs like Evernote, Salesforce, and SupportBee (although free users are limited to one Power-Up per board).
- Trello offers support via its contact page and also a searchable knowledge base. Paid users get priority support with a guaranteed 1-day response time.
If you are still undecided as to whether Asana or Trello is right for you, the free versions will give you a chance to explore. There are other project management options too, including Basecamp, Teamwork and Microsoft Project.
Finding the right project management software is important, but it’s only beneficial if you know how to use it to your advantage. For this reason, small business owners and their employees may be interested in furthering their education. Schools like Campbellsville University offer fully online programs like the MBA and the Master of Science in IT Management to help boost your skills.
Project management software can help your small business get ahead. Imagine being able to visually see all your projects and tasks laid out, knowing who is working on what, and having one dedicated space to go to for access to all project files and updates. Not only would your small business be a smooth running operation, but you would also gain valuable peace of mind.
This post is written in partnership with Campbellsville University, which offers dynamic online degrees for students and professionals seeking to boost their business knowledge and skills.