6 Popular Project Management Tools for Small Business (Pros and Cons)Jul 26, 2017 by Jesse Ness,
Have you ever felt overwhelmed while running your
If yes, you’re not alone.
A point comes when email and spreadsheets just don’t cut it. You need something more comprehensive and cohesive. A single place to keep track of everything and map out your progress.
This is where project management software comes in.
In fact, we spoke to a number of merchants about their biggest challenges. Managing projects was almost unanimously one of the top concerns.
Keeping all this in mind, we decided to take some of the most popular project management tools on the market for a test drive.
Here’s what we discovered:
How Project Management Software Helps
Managing efficiencies is one of the hallmarks of the
Project management (PM) software promises to help you keep track of everything related to your business — key files, communication, project progress, etc.
While there are a number of uses of project software, here are three use cases where it’s particularly helpful for
- Collaboration on marketing creatives (banners, social media ads, etc.)
- Regular communication with multiple stakeholders, both within and outside the business (i.e. freelancers)
Project management software give you a centralized place to share files and communicate with team members. This makes marketing operations much smoother to run.
With PM software you can automatically create
Managing and fulfilling orders often involves recurring tasks. PM software gives you the ability to not just track the progress of each order (“In Process”, Shipped, Delivered), but also create recurring
Of course, once you start using project management software, you’ll find plenty of other uses as well, from managing product launches to delegating tasks.
What to Look for in
E-Commerce Project Management Software?
The business software directory G2Crowd shows 222 different tools when you search for project management software.
With such a wide range to choose from, how do you select the right software for your
Given the specific needs of
- Complexity: A number of PM tools such as JIRA and Clarizen are designed for enterprise customers. This makes them powerful, but also exceptionally complex and costly (Clarizen, for instance, costs $45/user). Look for something small, yet capable enough for small
- Cost: As a small
e-commercebusiness, you shouldn’t have to spend anything beyond $100/month for all your team. Most tools in this category cost under $10/user. Cloud-based:Unless you have your own servers and IT team, you should only pick cloud-basedsolutions that you can access from a browser.
E-commercebusinesses move fast; your project management software should do as well. Look quick loading times and rapid task switching.
- Store integration: Although not necessary, a PM tool that integrates with your
e-commercestore is always preferable to one that doesn’t.
Beyond these, also look for feature availability, support and design.
Based on these factors, we’ve compiled a list of the best project management software for
E-Commerce Project Management Software
Here are some of the top tools you can choose from for your project management needs:
Trello uses the Kanban methodology of project management. This methodology involves moves a task along a series of cards as it nears completion. Since it is highly visual, the Kanban methodology is ideal for a range of tasks.
With Trello, you can create separate boards for each aspect of your business (such as Marketing or Inventory Management). Within each board, you can create different cards signifying a task’s current stage (such as To Do, In Process, Finished).
After adding a task, you can
Trello’s biggest advantage is its flexibility and ease of use. You can get started in seconds and use the software for virtually anything — managing your inventory, gathering ideas for your blog, and maintaining a
The ease of use is also Trello’s biggest disadvantage. The Kanban methodology is hard to scale for complex,
- Extremely easy to use; highly visual
- Good for collaboration and task delegation, especially for repeating tasks
- Can create any number of boards, cards and tasks
- Limited support
- No way to sort tasks by due date or stage of completion
- Not ideal for complex
e-commercerelated operations such as managing recurring tasks, keeping track of time for support requests, etc.
Trello is free to use. You can buy a Business plan that includes additional features and integrations for $9.99/user/month.
Summary: Trello’s ease of use and price (free) makes it a great tool for those new to project management. The Kanban methodology is flexible for a wide variety of projects. However, for complex projects, you’ll want to use something more
Asana is a project management software from Dustin Moskovitz, one of the
Asana’s project management centers around individual projects, each of which can have different team members. You can add any number of tasks to a project. The due date and priority for each task will show up in the Team Calendar.
You can also leave comments and chat with team members inside Asana. The Inbox helps you keep track of all of your followed tasks.
Asana’s flexibility makes it ideal for any business regardless of its size. The segregation of workspaces and calendars means you can accommodate anywhere from 1 to 100+ people on it. The visually stunning design is also a pleasure to use.
- Highly flexible; can be used for any number of activities.
- Free to use
- Colorful, easy to use visual design
- Team calendar and Inbox features make task management a breeze
- Fast; individual features load up in seconds
- Limited customer service, even for paid users
- Differentiating between some features can be difficult
- Requires an internet connection to use
Asana offers a
Summary: Asana is free and easy to use with a long list of features for collaboration and project management. It is also extremely flexible, suitable for solopreneurs as well as businesses with 100+ employees.
As one of the pioneers in the online collaboration space, Basecamp has a long list of loyal users. Built from the ground up for small businesses, Basecamp is exceptionally friendly with a philosophy of less is more design.
Basecamp aims to be the only communication and collaboration tool you need to use. It has a number of features to facilitate this, such as:
- Campfire, for team communication
- Message Board, to replace email
- Schedule, to replace personal calendars.
While not strictly a project management tool, these collaboration features work well for small
On the downside, there is no visual way to track project progress. The
Well-designedand easy to use
- Strong communication features. Email and chat replacement tools are particularly useful
- Flat fee makes it very affordable for large teams
- No visual way to track project progress
- Not enough features for managing complex projects
Basecamp has a free trial. Once the trial ends, you can purchase a paid plan starting at $99/month. And it’s free for teachers and students.
Summary: Basecamp’s collaboration features are second to none. The email and chat replacement tools make communication much more streamlined. However, it lacks project management capabilities and isn’t ideal for complex
Unlike the other three tools above, Wrike is a
Wrike’s workflow revolves around breaking each project into its small tasks. You can then keep track of these tasks via lists, boards, or even visual timelines (Gantt charts).
You also get live file editing and collaboration from within Wrike itself. There are also automated templates and request forms for collecting data from outside requesters (such as support queries from customers).
Additionally, you can keep track of budgets and time spent on each task by each user. This is ideal for keeping track of support requests or managing
This laundry list of features is Wrike’s biggest advantage but also its Achilles’ heel. Some
- Long list of features, including visual timelines, file editing, automated request forms, etc.
- Time tracking and dynamic data collection forms work well for managing customer support activities
Best-in-classsecurity features such as role-basedaccess controls and data authentication.
- Difficult to use with too many features
- Geared towards marketing and product teams, not
- Very limited free plan
Wrike offers a free plan, though you’ll want to upgrade to the Professional plan ($9.80/month) at least to get the most from it.
Summary: If you’re just starting out, Wrike might be a bit too complex for your needs. However, if you’re in the growth stage and have a team of 15+ people, Wrike’s features will radically enhance your productivity.
Teamwork is another
Using Teamwork follows the same process as Asana or Wrike: create a new project, break it down into small tasks, assign people to each task, then use Teamwork to keep track of progress.
Where Teamwork excels is in giving you a macro overview of your project progress. Instead of spending time managing small tasks, you can zoom out and get a broad overview of your project through Gantt charts.
Teamwork includes a
Although Teamwork can be used for any business, its
- Gantt charts and Kanban boards help keep track of project progress
Built-incommunication and collaboration capabilities
- Integrates well with a number of services
- No free plan
- Difficult to use for new businesses
- Designed for product and marketing companies, not
Teamwork does not have a free plan. You can get a subscription for $69/month with no restrictions on the number of users. Additional plans are available from $169/month.
Summary: Teamwork is great if you’ve already used simple project management software and want to upgrade to a better alternative. If you’re new to project management, however, you’ll do better with a simpler tool.
Freedcamp is an entirely free solution similart to Trello and Asana. With a
Freedcamp is organized around tasks. You create a new project, add your tasks (along with their due dates and priorities), and assign people to them. Freedcamp gives you a number of ways to visualize and track progress for each task, including a Kanban board and a calendar.
Besides task tracking, Freedcamp also gives you a single dashboard to hold team discussions and manage files. The latter is particularly useful for running
In addition to these, you can also install extra applications such as milestone tracking, time tracking, etc.
Freedcamp’s strength is its ease of use and intuitiveness. You can get started without having to read any tutorials at all. It is also free to use, though there are paid plans with more features.
- Free and ease to use
Kanban-styleboard, team discussions and visual calendar for tracking project progress
- Centralized file management for each project
- Some features such as file management and discussions take time to load
- Limited support
Freedcamp is entirely free to use. However, you can upgrade for more features starting at just $5.99/month.
Summary: Freedcamp is a great starter solution for
The six solutions we’ve shared above vary in their complexity, cost and ease of use. Pick a free project management software such as Trello or Asana if you’re just starting out. Once your needs expand, choose a
How do you manage your
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