In recent times, we’ve seen that remote work has become an integral part of how businesses operate and grow. It’s now the norm and not a temporary solution.
As a consequence of this transformation, it has become vital for startup founders to zero in on the right remote work tools to manage projects handled by fast-growing remote teams.
Before we look at some great project management tools for you to pick from, let’s list out some fundamental aspects that need to be considered before choosing one for remote work:
1. User Interface (UI)
This is a no-brainer. The tool’s user interface (UI) needs to be intuitive, engaging, and easy to use. In today’s digital landscape, the UI needs to be device-agnostic and optimized for mobile applications. With video calls an integral part of the remote working landscape, screen sharing is a must. Is the UI easy to navigate? You definitely need to take that into account.
2. Ease of Use
Deploying a tool for remote work invariably results in the IT department getting inundated with queries and complaints from the remote teams. Often, remote personnel by themselves have to figure out how the software works. So, to ease things out, it’s imperative that the new project management software needs to have accessible documentation. This could be made available in the form of FAQs, customer support resources, tutorials, live chat, Q&A forums, etc.
3. Seamless Integration
The new software needs to be capable of smoothly integrating with your existing tools. It should be able to seamlessly integrate and allow communication between your tools as much as possible. This includes collaboration tools, time-tracking applications, and task management. It is crucial to check if the remote project software integrates with other popular applications such as Zoom, Skype, DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft apps, etc. In case you’re using a CRM system, that should also be integrated with the tool, ideally.
4. Value for Money
The pricing is as important as all other aspects of the new tool you’re picking. You need to consider: How suitable is the price given the fleet of features you’re getting? Also, are the policies and pricing transparent and flexible?
Key Features of Remote Project Management Tools
Studies have shown that industries that have the most remote team members are healthcare (15%), technology (10%), and financial services (9%). By 2028, 73% of all departments across industries could be piloted by remote workers.
So, it has become crucial for startups focused on remote work to pick effective remote project management tools. Say, you’re a founder of a tech startup looking to hire remote developers, or you’re in the healthcare business, offering medical consultancy over long distances, what you’d need is a sound remote-oriented project management software.
A good project management tool comes with a set of important characteristics that make it trusted. For good measure, take note of these six key features the tool you select should have:
- Smooth access even when high-speed internet isn’t available
- Secure cloud storage
- Automated business processes
- Centralization of disparate workflows
- Simplified communication across the organization
- Range of engagement and productivity tools
Now that we’ve studied the fundamental aspects and key features of remote project management software, it’s time to look at our top five picks that you could take into consideration:
Trello was developed primarily for online project management through an engaging, intuitive graphical interface. Given the rising popularity of remote work, it is important to maintain team morale and elevate the company work culture into the virtual space. The tool’s ‘Team Directory’ feature allows you to put a face to every person on the team, and hence, it serves as a great ice-breaker.
And then there’s Advanced Checklist, which offers a macroscopic view of various tasks. Add a checklist to any card, write out the things to be done, assign team members, and put in a due date for delivery. This feature provides a clear picture of who is handling what, and when these tasks will be completed.
One of the top features in Trello is, of course, Butler. It lets you configure automation, rules and commands on your individual Trello boards to eliminate the possibility of repetitive work. The best part is that Butler doesn’t require any code to function.
While Trello is free to use, it has some premium features that are handy. But if you’re handling a massive amount of data as well as multiple teams, then it will have limited storage.
Formerly known as dapulse, monday.com allows teams to manage complex projects, streamline workflows, and collaborate easily. Designed to be an engaging, visually appealing, easy-to-use, jack-of-all-trades workspace tool for remote teams, it delivers on all these fronts. Users can ideate, monitor, and execute projects using a library of visual and customizable templates.
Monday.com allows you to automate repetitive tasks through default automation recipes. This enables you to create a customizable workflow by changing triggers/actions.
Monday’s checklists facilitate splitting larger tasks into smaller ones. Once the team is done with the smaller tasks, they can simply check the circle next to it to mark it as completed.
Monday helps you set up tailored dashboards, assign tasks to teammates, and evaluate bottlenecks and risks. The free version offers basic features and can be used for up to two seats. From there on, the minimum is $8/seat per month, billed annually, and goes up to $16/seat per month.
Kintone is a crowd favorite and offers a unique approach to project and task management. On Kintone, you can build a wide range of customizable “apps” from scratch, using templates, or from spreadsheets. As a cloud-based platform, Kintone simplifies viewing, editing and updating workflows across devices.
Project management apps can be built on Kintone using the drag-and-drop interface. This allows you to include specific elements required, such as rich text fields, number fields with built-in calculations, provision for attachments, and so on. Customization allows multiple datasets and projects to be tracked easily with custom notifications, reminders, accessibility and permissions. Users can expand on existing capabilities using free native plugins or by integrating with other tools.
Kintone also has great features for online project management, including filtering and prioritizing based on data fields. This allows users to generate custom reports or dashboard views, automate reminders, and make handoffs between team members smooth.
You can use Kintone for a single workflow or set up a custom workspace to manage all your collaborations. Kintone offers a 30-day free trial and costs $24/user per month with a minimum requirement of five users.
When we think of LiquidPlanner, the first adjectives that come to mind are ‘compact’ and ‘mighty’. With tools and features ranging from simple to sophisticated, LiquidPlanner makes project management a breeze.
Apart from the standard set of tools, LiquidPlanner is also an incredible helpdesk-style issue tracker and general resource management tool. Thanks to easy integration with major cloud providers, remote working is simple and fast with this tool. The built-in reporting tools are simple to use. Further, with Zapier support, users can build their own automated connections with other business tools as and when required.
One-off tasks can be assigned to specific users or groups. The impact of the extra work it will entail is automatically calculated when determining project deliverables.
While LiquidPlanner has great resources, there may be some complexity. However, it requires some time to set up and become familiar with its functioning. This and its pricing together make it a good fit for larger teams and organizations.
LiquidPlanner doesn’t have a free option. However, you have a two-week trial period. Plans start at $29/user per month for a maximum of 50 projects.
5. Zoho Projects
Zoho Projects offers a wide arsenal of productivity tools at an economical price range, making it a favorite for startup founders everywhere. Quite a few features make Zoho Projects a great software for remote work.
Tasks can be viewed either in kanban or more conventional styles, with dependencies able to be set between each task. Complex project requirements with multiple metrics can be handled easily with tools such as issue and workflow management, Gantt charts, and customized reporting.
Additionally, the built-in chat app makes it simple to communicate with team members without having to use an external tool such as Slack or email.
There’s seamless integration with tools offered by Google and Microsoft in addition to Zoho’s existing suite of apps. Further, Zoho Projects provides a basic built-in time tracker. While it isn’t as sophisticated as a dedicated tracker, it’s still very useful.
The basic tier of Zoho Projects comes with 10MB of storage, two projects, and is limited to three users. This is adequate for small projects or for figuring out how the software works, and if it is a good fit for your requirements. Paid plans are available with a 10-day trial and allow more users, offer more storage, and start from $5 per user to $10 per user. You can save up to 20% if you choose to get billed annually. Both Web and mobile versions of Zoho Projects are available.
No One-Size-Fits-All Solution
Today, remote work isn’t a quick-fix solution anymore. It’s an integral part of the growth story of startups. That’s what makes remote project management tools increasingly significant and indispensable.
But at the same time, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding which is the best remote project management tool for you depends on specific requirements. The direction that your enterprise needs to take is the key to figuring out which tool suits you best. It’s important that you weigh in on the important features and aspects outlined in this article before arriving at a decision.