What is a project management tool and can it help you be more productive?

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Project management tools come in many forms and most services offer a combination of the usual tools, and some have even developed unique tools you might not find elsewhere.

Although you could certainly manage a small project with a calendar and a whiteboard, when projects start to get more complicated, more powerful tools are required. Here’s a short list of the typical tools you’ll find on a project management platform.

Kanban boards

Kanban boards give you a visual indication of the status of any task for a project. Each project board is broken into named columns (such as To Do, Doing, Done), where you can cards that represent each task for the project. For example, in your To Do column, you could add cards for the following tasks:

  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Shopping
  • Bills
  • Homework

You would start each of those cards in the To Do column. Say it’s time to do the dishes. Before you start you could move the Dishes card from the To Do column to the Doing column. Then, when you complete the task, you’d move the Dishes card from Doing to Done.

That’s how a Kanban board works.

Gantt chart

Many consider Gantt charts to be the heart and soul of project management. Simply put, Gantt charts are a kind of horizontal bar chart for keeping track of task progress. The chart displays tasks to be performed on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. One key aspect of the Gantt chart is a timeline of events. 

For example, you could use Kanban boards and not give a single card a deadline. However, a Gantt chart depends on timelines to be effective. So, if you don’t have an actual time frame for each task, the Gantt chart is probably not the right fit.

Calendar

You’ll need a calendar, specific to the project, that can be shared with anyone on the team.

Dashboards

Give you an at-a-glance of the progress for all projects in a workspace.

Collaboration tools

Your project will greatly benefit from collaboration tools such as document editing, communication, and file sharing.

Reporting

You’ll need the ability to generate different types of reports for a project.

And that’s the shortlist of tools that you’ll need for your project management efforts.



Original Article

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