Size notwithstanding, most modern businesses looking to outcompete their competitors heavily rely on project management tools to accomplish almost every task. This is because project management tools not only makes collaboration easier but also help consolidate team productivity.
Let’s be real for once, working in a business environment can be intimidating. Without the right working tools, most of the days you will feel drained with the work pounding you into pulp.
So, as a business owner, how do you improve your team’s efficiency by giving them seemingly superhuman ability?? The answer is simple…deploying project management tools.
They allow your team members to see all the minute details of the project, giving them the aptness to make the right calls at the right time. They also help in planning sprints and even measuring employee productivity allowing your business to keep head above water no matter the size of the wave coming its way.
How Do You Define the Tasks To Automate?
The first indicators that should compel you into automating, is the availability of resources and how often you repeat the tasks. This is because they help you accomplish these repetitive tasks which would otherwise require human intervention.
Secondly, potentially prone to mistakes tasks should also help you gravitate towards automating. Unless the mistakes are made at the primary entry level, the whole process is almost mistake proof.
Main Types of Automation Tools
There is a wide catalog of automation tools. But we have categorized them into 4 main ones:
- Workflow automation tools.
- Communication tools.
- Time management tools.
- Marketing automation tools; works great when dealing with marketing jobs.
Now, let’s analyze them into greater details.
Workflow Automation Tools
Founded by Dustin Moskovitz who also co-founded Facebook, Asana is a web-based project management tool that allows you to complete basic project management tasks in a clean and clear way.
The tool comes with pre-existing templates that allow you to quickly add multiple workflows, delegate tasks to your teams, condense larger tasks down into small manageable sub-tasks and even convert tasks into projects should you decide to scale up. Moreover, team members can leave their comments in specific tasks making follow-up easier.
You will also appreciate the fact that your team can get email updates on the progress of each task which comes in handy when the commencement of a specific task depends on the completion of another. This gives team efficiency a whole new meaning since you are updated on the progress of your tasks without having to venture into endless calls trying to request updates.
If you have ever dealt with Gantt charts, you may as well know that lack of familiarity can “run your day”. Fortunately, Trello is one of the best workflow analysis tools that’s specifically designed to help make sense of your Gantt charts.
The tool features highly intuitive visuals making it easier and appealing to work with intertwined workflow diagrams even for non-project managers. The card-based design allows you or your team members to list tasks inside the cards and alternate them to meet the project’s demand to satisfy the respective stage. As an added advantage, the listed tasks can be assigned and updated via an email.
If you are a marketer torn between multiple workflow analysis tools that help you consolidate project management, customer relationship management, and human resources under one platform, look no further. This platform features a wide range of free capabilities like 5 GB cloud storage, contact management, employee directory, email marketing, and can be used by up to 12 users.
In terms of project management, you can record unlimited tasks, conduct time tracking, and easily create Gantt charts. For communication purposes, there is a chat and video conferencing, not forgetting you can interface your social networks within the software.
Time Management Tools
Over the years, Hubstaff has earned a top spot on the podium to emerge as a timeless management tool. Thanks to its random screenshotting feature, you can take pleasure in knowing that your work is underway as communicated by your team and that you are only billed for the work done.
There is nothing to worry about limited functionality when your team scales up. Otherwise, Hubstaff allows up to 30+ free integrations making it a pioneer in the industry. On top of the unmetered use and free integration, Hubstaff’s also boasts of task-specific features and timesheet templates so you can assign your tasks depending on the specific member’s job responsibilities.
Other interesting features include the reporting feature and time clock system promoting transparency and efficiency.
Are you a marketer worried about planning, prioritizing, and keeping track of multiple projects and clients? Paymo helps you just do that. It’s a project management and time tracking tool that gives you the freedom to organize projects, add clients, assign due dates, and add descriptions all under one roof.
For easy use, you can view all your projects as either a kanban board or in list form plus the filter option allows you to sort client specific tasks by status, due dates, and more.
Once done tracking, Paymo’s time reports help you pull data extracts which can be exported, printed, or even shared with the respective clients. And how about this? You can use the extracted data to create branded invoices and even allow you to receive online payments through different payment methods.
Team Communication Tools
If you occasionally use emails and meeting to manage projects but your business needs are outgrowing them, this is the best tool for you. Basecamp is a diverse PM tool that allows you to centralize your communications both at the team and organizational level. For instance, if you want to send email chains to your team, you can simply post them in a centralized message board whereby everyone can see them.
Unlike many other communication tools, Basecamp comes with a to-do section where you can post, assign, and track all your tasks. Lastly, you will also appreciate the attach file capability that allows you to send task related attachments.
Zoom is a web conferencing tool you can use to communicate with your team and has some great features for easy communication. For starters, the free package allows you untethered one-on-one conferences, audio and conferencing, and group collaborations for up to 100 participants. That’s not all, you can whiteboard and even share screens–a great experience in terms of team collaboration.
Slack’s the “Madonna” of communication tools. Launched in 2013, it has rapidly grown to become one of the best ways to chat in groups. This highly customizable productivity tool is more than a chat tool that delivers exactly what it promises– streamlining employee engagement and productivity.
It has no upper limit as to how many members you can add into your account for audio and video calls. Although these calls are limited to two people at a go, you will appreciate that you can store up to 5GB of data uploads for all your team members thanks to the cloud storage capability.
Moreover, you have the freedom to search and filter through 10,000 recent messages making follow-ups easier. To juggle multiple tasks and projects at a time, you are allowed to invite multiple teams into the tool to work chat in the same app.
When starting a business, it’s highly likely you will need to keep tab with your customers and subscribers. It’s estimated that approximately 43.6% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing technology for their marketing campaign. It’s for this reason that you shouldn’t sit down and wait. Instead, you can leverage on MailChimp to implement your email marketing strategy from day one.
Boasting of more than 12 million users, this marketing tool is one of the best for a number of reasons:
It’s absolutely free if your business has less than 2,000 subscribers and doesn’t exceed the 12,000 sent emails threshold per month. This makes MailChimp an ideal tool for small businesses to wet their feet before ramping up operations.
With all your marketing paraphernalia consolidated on a single platform, you don’t have to spread yourself too thin trying to locate a hidden marketing workflow diagram. This helps you achieve greater success since you are able to define routine tasks and implement them no matter your marketing skills.
2. Agile CRM
If you have been wondering how to automate marketing, Agile CRM is one of the best MLM software for your business. Irrespective of the types of marketing you are engaged in, this all-inclusive sales and marketing suite is specifically designed to help you market your products and services like Fortune 500 companies.
It helps you consolidate and manage your projects effectively thanks to the drag-and-drop functionality. Additionally, the check and track capability make it easy to juggle and follow up on the progress between the sales and marketing teams.
Of course, on top of leveraging on these marketing tools, there are other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to help you stay consistent and augment your overall results.
With the ever-changing business environment, the business needs have also continued to evolve. As an entrepreneur, you need to figure out the best employee management software and other robust workflow automation tools. With the above list of top project management tools, you should be able to enhance team collaboration and improve employees productivity.
Anastasia Stefanuk is a passionate writer and a marketing manager at Mobilunity. The company provides professional staffing services, so she is always aware of technology news and wants to share her experience to help tech startups and companies to be up-to-date.