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Project management: The most effective apps

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19th Feb 2014
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Kevin Tewis gives us an insight into finding the best project management apps on the market.

The responsibilities of a project manager, or in fact anyone charged with managing a project, big or small, are not to be underestimated. Whether you’re overseeing the workflow or undertaking tasks of your own you need instant access to all your documents, reports and schedules. These also need to be available wherever you are. Unfortunately the work of a project manager isn’t constrained to the hours of 9am and 5pm, so whether you’re in a meeting, on the commute or get an emergency call at home in front of the TV you need access to your files. This is where the project management app comes in.

Naturally of course there are a number of these apps on the market and sometimes finding the right one requires more time and effort than the project itself! People use these apps for all manner of projects; everything from running a small business to arranging a wedding, so how can an app cater to everyone’s needs, whilst also being efficient and easy to use? Put simply, it can’t. The best way to approach your search is to decide what your primary use for this tool will be.

For example, a self-employed writer might find Scrivener to be effective, whilst someone running a catering business might find little use for it. Consider the most important elements to you when searching for your app, and make a point of targeting apps that have functions that support your values.

You also need to think about how often you plan to use it and on what devices. If you’re constantly on the move you’ll need something reliable across all platforms. Evernote works well across desktop, mobile and tablet which goes some way to explaining its popularity. Whilst it doesn’t really offer a specific tool set for a specific industry Evernote claims to make it easy to 'remember everything' and that it certainly does with a clear interface and an easy way to search across everything you’ve entered. Well worth the £35 per year it demands as far as many are concerned and it also has a large network of apps that support it.

If you’re more of a post it notes type of person on the other hand, but you’re desperately trying to become more tech savvy, than Trello might be of interest. Fast and flexible, this app allows you to organise all the different aspects of your projects into columns and cards which can be dragged around. The brand prides itself on the use of its product to organise anything from daily work to your life’s ambition, even allowing you to set deadlines and open different boards for different projects if necessary. Best of all it’s free.

Personally I believe it’s only a matter of time before we see one of these all-encompassing apps from Google. Whilst the search engine currently offers various different project management functionalities within its other tools, such as Google Hangouts, Google Drive or its calendar function, it is yet to release these features amalgamated into one app and if there’s one thing we know Google loves to do, it’s release new products.

This being said, it’s not just about finding the right app but using it in the best way too. Once you’ve made your decision, it’s your responsibility and yours only to make sure you’re using it to the best of its ability. Research its full capabilities and visit forums to see how others are using it for fresh ideas.

Kevin Tewis is head of marketing at ILX Group Ltd who specialise in providing PRINCE2® training courses. Dedicated to pursuing industry updates and developments, Kevin regularly writes on the latest tools and trends within the sector

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