10 useful tools that every Project Manager should know about
By - Asya Karapetyan, tech writer and blogger
The product manager has a complex role. Not only does he have to formulate team objectives and
manage teamwork, he also has to study market needs, conceptualize the final product, and monitor
concept observance at all stages of its development. All this, in addition to other important tasks! This
makes it virtually impossible for him to insure high quality projects without the aid of special tools and
software. Fortunately, there is a wide array of applications for project managers that fit their specific
requirements whether they are team collaboration, time tracking, chart drawing, note-making or
In this article you will find the TOP 10 tools used by project managers.
Microsoft Project has been created to help project managers in planning development, distributing
resources, tracking progress and analyzing work volumes. Despite its apparent complexity, the MS
Project has an intuitive interface. It is a highly regarded software solution which can greatly contribute
to your project's success. It operates three blocks: Tasks, Resources and Calendar via connections
among them. The software is essentially a database with quite simple automation possibilities.
The main advantages of using Microsoft Project are:
- Efficient organization of work using MS Project scheduling
- Complete and convenient tracking of all changes and project developments
- Highly customizable schedules to comply with specific projects
- Various possibilities for representation of projects, adding ideas, filtering data
- Prediction and prevention of risks
- Summary reports and efficient management of records
Microsoft Project is a great choice for organizations, especially where projects require frequent
interaction among different departments.
Skype allows project managers to immediately connect with their team, colleagues and clients,
wherever they are. It supports four types of conference calls: web conferencing, video and voice
conferences, conference with telephone connections, and conferences with instant messaging. Skype
for Business can connect users from virtually any device, help them collaborate on documents, share
desktop screens and access particular desktop applications or files with other conference participants.
Skype for Business is designed specifically for the corporate sector in order to facilitate business
communication and save on long distance and international telephone calls. All sessions on Skype for
Business are protected by authentication and encryption algorithms, so it is a safe tool for PMs to
interact with their clients and colleagues.
The Trello system is built on the Japanese management "kanban" principle, which involves consistent
monitoring of all production phases. It is a great tool for standard projects and is convenient for both
command directives and individual assignments. The interface consists of different boards, which
represent projects or processes in the company. Each board consists of lists of tasks, cards with
descriptions, comments, files, color tags and deadlines. The menu can be displayed as a calendar.
The basic functionality of Trello is free and allows you to work with almost no restrictions.
Evernote is a tool that can help build a huge knowledge base for project managers. It can be used to
create to-do lists and store all kinds of information about your projects in files and notes. In addition,
Evernote can be supplemented by other tools needed by PMs. It is a cloud-based project management
tool, which you can access from any device - smartphone, tablet or PC. There are several tools in
Evernote, which in combination enable you to manage your tasks effectively. Evernote provides
assigned access for different users. For personal tasks, you can use an individual notebook. If you
work with a team and want to challenge your employees, then it is better to work on a pad with public
access, allowing you to determine the levels of access for different kinds of colleagues.
MS Visio is a vector graphics application created for Windows OS, and is widely used by project
managers. It is a powerful tool for presenting complex information in the form of diagrams, shapes and
Even if you are not gifted with design or technical skills, Visio will help you translate your
thought processes into the best visuals. Visio is often used to quickly sketch your concept by using a
set of diagrams to simplify and enhance the visualization of abstract processes. Whether you want to
create an organizational chart, network or process diagram, you have a variety of ready-made
Microsoft Visio templates and shapes from which to select your design. Furthermore, with Visio you
can interact with others users and succinctly illustrate certain points. For instance, from an
organization chart you may want to highlight a "hovering" problem and discuss its solution, which can
then be applied to a new project. With Visio you can also import data from MS Excel to produce clean
and clear graphics for your public presentations and reports.
VSDX Annotator is a Visio Viewer for those who work on Mac. It is widely used by project managers to
collaborate on Visio files in a multi-platform environment. It has 12 annotation tools that allow you to
make changes in a drawing right on a Mac as well as add your notes, questions and comments. You
can then save as a PDF or Visio extension (.vsdx) for further editing in Visio by colleagues. This app
renders all the drawing content and displays visually sharp images.
SmartDraw is one more tool for creating a variety of graphs, charts and presentations. With this app
you can quickly and easily construct flow charts, PowerPoint presentations, mind maps and other
images. The program offers more than 70 of these types of material. SmartDraw provides a set of
templates for a variety of goals such as project charts, decision trees, genograms and many other
types of visual data. It supports cloud service, so you can share graphs, charts and diagrams with the
team. SmartDraw is much easier to use than Visio and comes in both MS and macOS versions.
JIRA is a project management application developed by the Australian company Atlassian. This
web-based tool gives project managers the ability to manage multiple teams, projects and workflows
more efficiently. The key concepts in JIRA are projects and tasks. Projects are used for grouping
tasks. Tasks are created within the projects so that performers can be assigned to these tasks. Tasks
can also have sub-tasks and be linked with other issues. As projects are completed, task status is
automatically changed. This tool works well for sizeable teams and organizations, where employees
and managers cannot humanly visualize the project as a whole, and may sometimes overlook certain
Slack is a web-service, and application is available for desktop, iOS and Android. The aim of Slack is
to create opportunities for individuals or groups to interact with colleagues or customers on any issues
concerning projects. This is a simple application with a very simple and intuitive user interface. You
can create a profile, send files, and send and read messages. Private groups are called "channels"
and the messages sent within the channel are visible only to the participants of that particular channel.
Slack supports more than 100 web services, including the popular Dropbox, Twitter, Google Docs and
even Trello, mentioned above. You can use Slack to integrate any of these services and get
notifications when there are any changes and activities.
GanttPro is software solution based on Gantt charts. It allows you to plan and manage your projects
online, visualize processes, create and assign tasks to team members, set deadlines and view the
percentage of individual tasks completed against anticipated timelines. You can share the Gantt charts
you have created with the team and customers, assigning to dedicated users the right to view or to
edit. GanttPro has a set of key features, some of which are compatible with Agile methodology, for
- scheduling tasks based on priorities
- distributing tasks among project participants
- analyzing critical paths to speed up progress
- automatic scheduling
- tracking current progress to know the stage of project implementation
With such a wide selection of apps for project management you can find absolutely any software
suitable for your own and your team's needs. We hope this list will help you choose the right software
and increase your productivity!
Asya Karapetyan, tech writer and blogger
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