Look around the conference table at your next meeting and you’ll see a lot of tech gear. With everyone lugging around as much as three devices, one of the goals of any personal project management strategy is just to keep everything in sync.
With so many software and hardware alternatives, it’s not always easy. And you’re not immune from stuff getting lost. It’s quite easy, in fact, to feel like your content is spread across 10 different pieces of software, given how most companies and/or people work.
It’s a problem that needs to be solved, because working seamlessly across devices is imperative when it comes to any major project. You can do it with a solution that relies on the right software and services.
Project Management Software to the Rescue
The first place to start is some of the solutions that are specifically designed to fix this problem. One app that I’ve had some success with and gets a lot of attention, for good reason, is Trello. It’s a living, breathing (maybe not, because that would be creepy) whiteboard and team collaboration space that can be shared by all the members of a same project.
Trello can track the steps that a team needs to get the job done.
Trello serves as a far more attractive workspace than your standard pert chart. It lets you build a genuine workflow that teams can use to keep track of every stage of the project. Additionally, the mobile apps for Android and iOS keep the interface consistent and tied to all of the work. Trello also integrates with Slack and Microsoft Teams, which is increasingly an essential feature for any type of shared work.
If Trello isn’t the one for you, there are some other options in this space. Asana remains popular, and has a Slack-like interface that uses color well to make navigating the interface a breeze. Atlassian’s Jira is also well liked, and is a good choice if your organization uses the company’s HipChat.
The real key for staying in sync is the mobile apps that each of the services also have. Cross-platform performance ought to be a specific point of employee feedback when testing, as that’ll make a difference down the road as people submit work from off-site, on the road, or while stuck in traffic.
Keep All Those To-Dos in Sync
As much fun as it may be to litter sticky notes all over the side of your monitor, nothing beats a proper to-do app. I’ve found even though the tools for keeping track of your to-dos exist in services like OneNote, Evernote, and Google Keep, you’re better off with a dedicated app. Most of them offer advanced features like reminders, categorization, and a focused interface that will help you identify exactly what you need to get done.
For teams, a very good solution is Todoist. You’ll need the business/premium subscription at $30 per year to use it for group work, but it has many things going for it that make the investment worthwhile.
Todoist enables a team to break down projects into manageable pieces for tracking.
All the previous project management solutions could be used for tracking the major pieces of the project. But I still find for smaller, day-to-day items there’s immense value in a dedicated task management application like Todoist. The company also has embraced all platforms: there’s a dedicated app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and wearables. Nothing says seamless, cross-platform work like having an app for all the platforms.
Finally, Wunderlist is a dead app walking, so you may want to keep an eye on Microsoft To-do. The company has promised deeper integration with Office, which could help teams that are working in an Office 365 environment stay more productive. However, it’s probably at the “wait and see” stage now.
Stay in Touch
You can’t swing a cat through a tech conference without hitting a computer with people using Slack. In fact, the company has such a lead and ubiquity to the service, that for the time being threats from Google Hangouts Chat and Microsoft Teams are unlikely to supplant it.
For daily use, I still find Slack to be the superior option, especially for organizations that want to grant limited access to freelancers (something not yet possible with Microsoft Teams). If that’s not an issue, however, Teams certainly is a solid alternative. We found it to be the chat option for grown-ups, even with the option for some silly cartoons.
Not only is Teams a solid choice, but it was built to work well across platforms from day one.
Google’s new Hangouts Chat also shows promise, if again for no other reason than its integration with the G Suite. The video chat quality is vastly improved over the older version of Hangouts when I tried it out during Google Cloud Next. But just like Teams, it’s in quite the early stages, and third-party integrations are still minimal.
But if there’s a market that can be conquered, expect Microsoft and Google to go after it. While this may not be great for a lot of those trying to raise the cash for a new idea, all the companies have a good handle on the importance of cross-platform work.
More and more Skype and Slack conversations I have seem to have at least one member of the team coming to the group from some fabulous locale that’s just barely on the grid. If the future of work is this mobile, it better work on any screen you have.