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Best software for managing your projects

Success boils down to whether or not we actually do the things we said we would do. Whether in your professional or personal life, growth comes from attending to the promises or responsibilities we set for ourselves and others. Sure, you have to prioritize your time and execute, but all that comes secondary to having a way to manage all the tasks. Make sure it’s a tool that works for you.

After spending a decade managing multiple workstreams and projects simultaneously as a product manager, I’ve made too many mistakes to count. Each slipping task, upset stakeholder, or “tough pill to swallow” forced me to iterate and Improve how I managed my workstreams. You will be surprised how much of an impact the right tool can have for you and your team’s productivity and stress levels.

Some folks love managing their workstreams with something tactile. You might prefer using yellow lined paper strewn around your office, ordered according to project and topic. I know coworkers who create color-coordinated systems using post-it notes, and swear by it. Others simply prefer whiteboards by the desk.

For me, I look to digital tools, so I can access my tasks from anywhere. When assessing, my criteria are based on how successfully the tool allows me to A) visualize information, B) work with others, and C) integrate with more software.

Here are my top picks and favorite use cases for each.

Available online, or download as desktop or mobile app.

Asana is the most popular project management / task tool in the tech world. They do a wonderful job with gamification and making the project management feel like fun. Bringing new people into this application, especially within a developed organization can be fun and inviting. You can structure projects boards like internal websites, with exploratory wikis and summaries. It takes time to explore and take advantage of all its bells & whistles, but with enough resourcing and focus this can become a massively powerful team tool.

I’d recommend trying Asana out with your own personal tasks or projects. Explore the features and utility from the desktop and mobile version, see if its right for you long term or your team.

Favorite use case: Collaborate with a designer to embed creatives, prototypes, or wireframes within projects and assign across the team for proactive feedback.

Available online, or download as desktop or mobile app.

Flexible software to suit the needs of your projects, that’s notion. I’ve written about Notion before for different reasons, which speaks to how well it can customize just to your needs. Jumping into the software tool will show you packaged ways to use thousands of components and integration Notion supports. If that sounds like a a lot, it can be. For people that are new to the productivity tool, the options can seem intimidating, but fear not — you cannot go wrong. Tinker, experiment, break things, copy templates, and find what’s right for you.

Favorite use case: Kanban board to keep track of your home improvement tasks. I’ve personally added scheduled reminders, notifications, and calendar integrations to mine — helps keep me honest.

Available online, or download as desktop or mobile app.

10 year old Trello offers a super simple way to manage projects across teams. If you are seeking quick adoption and a tool with low barrier to entry, start here. Kanban boards are their staple product, but there are hundreds of creative templatesand tweaks you can make when you’re ready to mix it up.

Favorite use case: Share your public product roadmap on a friendly URL via 301 redirect.

Available as desktop app for Mac only.

OmniFocus is a task manager made for project managers. You could describe these other tools similarly, but this one leans into ‘tasks’ primarily. You start with a few basic items to get the software up & running. Create linear projects (tasks that can be done in parallel), sequential projects (tasks, one after the other), and even get into complex tagging hierarchies for teams or individuals for more organization. There’s plenty of unique powerful features, some customization, but no collaborative features.

Favorite use case: Personal task trackerfor projects with a lot of contributors and stakeholders to manage.

Implemented correctly, I believe these tools can empower any leader to put forth clear expectations and delegation of responsibilities. That equates to peace of mind for you and your organization.

Thanks for reading.

Follow me on Twitter @rywigs |



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Ryan Wigley

Ryan Wigley

Product manager, builder, and storyteller.