As a librarian, I had managed numerous projects in my line of work. One of the most challenging aspects of project management is juggling project tasks. I had to ensure that these tasks are completed on time within the allocated budget and manpower; especially the critical ones.
I tried out a few project management tools to help me better manage, monitor and track the project tasks. Among them are:
Some are offered for free while you may need to get a few days/weeks of trial period for others. There are a few things to consider when you are choosing the “right” tool. Some of them include:
- Number of users in the project team
- Collaborative features
- Reporting features
- Export/Archival features
- Integration with other cloud tools
- Mobile devices integration
- User Friendliness
- Easy to learn
I am using Trello for my stuff that is to track life/family events and To-Dos and use Basecamp for my office work. Both work well, and there are pros and cons. An important thing to note is that you need to be comfortable in using them and it suits your needs. This criterion may vary from person to person. There’s not a one size fits all solution. Check out these tools, and I’m sure you’ll find one that fulfills your needs.
In my line of work, there are just too many things to keep track. Among them are meetings, project datelines, notes, troubleshooting issues, expiration dates of e-resources, renewal dates, license agreements, metadata issues, access questions, ebook/e-journal requests, … the list keeps going on.
How do I keep track of all these? One of the first methods that I used was noting down in a little notebook followed by pasting 3M post-its on my table, computer screens, coffee mugs … and anything else that I can use to stick those post-its. I would not say that writing down and post-its are not productive/efficient. They do. But as the list keeps growing at an alarming rate, I realized that I needed something more dynamic and robust to keep track the various projects, tasks routines as well as other miscellaneous stuff.
I tried to use different notebooks for various projects, daily routines and the like but it would be too troublesome and I could build a big library keeping all those notebooks. (I’d rather keep one journal to note down the daily happenings in my life). I needed something that could allow me to see everything on one page at a single glance. That’s when I discovered the following 3 cloud services while trawling the internet for answers.
How this tool has helped me:
- Keep all my critical notes by different category. I can easily organize all my notes under different headers. For example, I could slot several notes on electronic resources such as important IP ranges, Proxy information, useful tips and so forth under Electronic Resources.
- Organize all my ideas, thoughts and suggestions in a single place. These items could be stuff to write about any potential conference(s), training topics, improving workflows/procedures or even paper for submission to journal(s).
- Import any significant Outlook emails into Evernote for future references. So instead of searching/browsing those emails in Outlook, I can extract them into Evernote and save them under different headings.
- Keep interesting presentation slides and make side notes on them.
- Clip interesting articles on the Internet and convert them into Evernote notes. I can then read these articles at a later time.
- More info can be found here.
(I got to know this while on a study visit to Duke University. I met the Head of the Acquisitions team who showed me how easy it was to track their purchases using Trello). How this tool has helped me:
- Organize different tasks for separate projects under one roof. I can create multiple ‘boards’ to store various functions. I can then monitor the progress of each of these tasks.
- Control tasks that I have delegated to other team members. I can track and check if there is a backlog.
- Attaching file from DropBox or other places to the task(s) that I have created. In this way, I do not have to toggle the different apps while looking for some information.
- Create checklists and due dates for various tasks.
- Import Outlook emails and embed them into a task.
- Check this site for a tour of Trello.
- Save my documents (pdf, ppt, doc, Xls and much more) in the cloud. I can retrieve them later wherever I am (need Internet connection).
- Save the space on my laptop/desktop
- Access on different mobile devices.
- Info on Dropbox.
What about you? What tool(s) work for you and what doesn’t?