Project management can get overwhelming quickly, especially if you’re juggling multiple initiatives and deadlines at once. From keeping your team on track to ensuring there is good communication and planning between you and your client, there are tons of project management apps available in the App Store to help you tackle even the most challenging of tasks.
I’ve been using my iPhone and iPad to help me manage teams and keep projects moving for the better part of five years now. While my workflow constantly changes as tools and apps become better and better, here are my favorite project management apps that I just couldn’t do without.
Trello has been an indispensable tool in my workflow for going on three years now. I use it for everything from brainstorming ideas with colleagues to planning editorial and publishing schedules. I also use it as a way for writers to pitch article ideas for App Factor; that way, none of our inboxes get cluttered with unnecessary strings of emails.
In other organizations, I’ve helped implement Trello in many different creative ways. In one scenario, we even used it as a help desk of sorts so IT had a more effective way to communicate with other departments regarding their needs. If someone noticed a site issue, they could easily add a Trello card to the IT board and assign it to the webmaster. They could then communicate via comments and even attach images, due dates and other team members. Again, minimizing the amount of email for everyone.
The only complaint I have about Trello is its lack of a calendar view on the mobile versions. I’d also like to see more granular control over notifications. Regardless, it’s a tool that has been a vital part of my planning process and I can’t imagine my work life without it.
While I use Trello for planning and plotting out the “big picture,” I rely on Todoist to feed me a steady stream of daily tasks I need to get done. I also have several shared tasks lists with colleagues and clients. I even made one and shared it with my partner for our home remodel. That way we stayed on track with purchasing materials our contractor needed, or special-ordering things so our completion dates didn’t get pushed back.
For consulting projects, I’ve had clients create shared Todoist task lists. I love this because I can comment on tasks and they can reply back with the information I need. This way I don’t have to keep track of information in 10 different places. It also allows them to see me completing tasks in real time, which holds me accountable and gives them the peace of mind that things are getting done on time.
Todoist is a universal download for both iPhone and iPad. There’s also a Mac app available in the Mac App Store. While all versions of Todoist are free to download, you can opt for the premium version for $29 per year. You’ll get refined push notifications, notes, better labeling options, filters, file uploads and more.
As a side note, if you’re looking for a task-management service that’s geared more toward organizations, or Todoist doesn’t check all your boxes, my second choice would be Asana.
Over the past year, I’ve given in to the pressure of using Google Drive as my main method for sharing and collaborating on files. In terms of shared editing, Google’s implementation is phenomenal and can’t really be rivaled by any other service. You can see changes happening live, view revisions, restore to previous versions, restrict access, share links and so much more.
We have paid Google Apps accounts for App Factor and rely on Google Drive for everything from sharing pay schedules with contributors and documenting site development progress to tracking monthly expenses and revenues for owner contributions.
Aside from installing the Google Drive app, you’ll also want to install Sheets, Docs and Slides. From there, Google Drive will act as a hub for all three. I have them hidden in folders off my main screen and rely on Google Drive to send me notifications on document changes, invitations and to jump to different documents in the respective app. I also have Launch Center Pro actions set up to allow me 3D Touch access to my most-used files.
Google Drive for Mac – Free – Download or on the web via drive.google.com
Slack is a complete powerhouse when it comes to effective team communication. I’ve used it across several organizations over the past few years and I couldn’t ever go back to anything else. Slack is completely free for teams to get started with and only costs money if you need more file storage, unlimited message history, or other premium integrations.
When it comes to managing teams, you can set up separate rooms and private channels for different groups to communicate. Slack supports file uploads and sharing and integrations with other apps and services such as Trello, Twitter and dozens more. For instance, I have a social Slack channel set up in our App Factor Slack so I don’t have to check anywhere else for Twitter replies. It also allows me to quickly see if there’s a problem with automatic social posting when nothing goes up for a long period of time.
Slack has many invaluable uses for teams and I can’t even scratch the surface in a simple roundup. Seriously, try it. You’ll be glad you did.
OmniPlan and most of the OmniFocus family of products are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to productivity. While I don’t always have a need for apps as intricate as OmniPlan, there have been several occasions where this app in particular has helped me maintain my sanity.
For example, anytime I’m working on a project that is time-sensitive and contains a ton of moving parts that depend upon each other, OmniPlan gives me an incredibly detailed way to map out tasks to completion. This has helped me foresee roadblocks and potential disasters before they happen.
OmniPlan allows me to organize resources and set client expectations accordingly. There’s nothing worse than admitting to a client you’ve made a mistake or severely underestimated a bid or time allocation for a project. I’ve caught oversights during planning phases more than once thanks to OmniPlan.
Editor’s note: Be prepared for a steep learning curve if you’ve never used Omni products or task software like OmniPlan before. However, The Omni Group offers incredible documentation for every single one of its products.
As a freelance consultant, I spend my time juggling several different projects for multiple clients. I also spend quite a bit of time on App Factor. I quickly realized that I needed to allocate my time better based on bid and client expectations, as well as how much money I was making off different projects.
That’s when I started using Hours to gain a better understanding of where I was spending my time compared to where I should be spending it. In a few cases, I was spending far more time on a client project than I ever anticipated, which meant I probably under-quoted them. Not good. It’s not easy to go back to a client and ask for more money.
Hours helped me figure out how much time I was averaging for different kinds of projects and tasks. This led to more accurate quotes and less time on projects that weren’t making me any money.
When managing any project, your time should be treated as your most valuable resource. Hours can help ensure you’re spending it where you should.