Over the past two years, I’ve used my fair share of project management systems. At my first job out of college I used Asana, which I found super user-friendly and easy to keep track of my projects. I loved how I could color coordinate tasks, make separate lists for myself, and label tasks based on my needs. I never realized the importance of a project management system until I became fully immersed in one. Fast forward to my current position, where we have dabbled with three project management systems to date.
The first project management system we used is called Basecamp, which is pretty basic. Each individual project has a message board, document section, to-do list, and more. There’s also a function to easily tag whatever relevant team members you choose. Some issues my team ran into with Basecamp, however, were the lack of time tracking options and the clunkiness of the application. There’s no way to archive chat threads, so if two out of ten people were going back and forth about a specific topic that didn’t pertain to the rest of the team, no one else could get rid of those notifications on the project page.
Another project management system we implemented (and still use for certain projects) is Trello. Trello is a cloud-based PM system that we use to manage all of our news center projects. I personally find Trello useful to see the progression of tasks from start to finish, as we currently label stories based on where we are in the writing process. From a UX standpoint, it’s useful to use different colored labels to see how far along we are with a certain assignment. A big downside to Trello is that you cannot migrate Microsoft documents into it, so we solely use it for Google docs.
Example of what the Workfront tasks list looks like for me.
A few months ago, we transitioned from Basecamp to Adobe Workfront, which is considered one of the strongest PM systems. Workfront has been great for many reasons. For starters, the proofing tool has been extremely useful to make edits to certain print projects or emails we’re working on. All of the necessary stakeholders can “edit” the proof and leave comments in a way that’s simple to read. Workfront has also implemented a time tracking tool, which the project managers find useful to manage our workloads. (Psst: I wrote a regular blog post this semester about time tracking, which can be found here.) While adjusting to a new project management system obviously takes time and patience, I have found Workfront useful to keep track of my various projects and communicate easily with members of my team. I still enjoy using Trello for more visual-based projects though, which goes to show there isn’t necessarily a “one size fits all” project management system for everyone.
- Have you used any of the following project management systems? Do you like/dislike any of them?
- Do you care whether or not a PM system uses time tracking?
- What do you look for overall in a PM system?