Product management · Project management

What are the most useful project management tools?

Christopher Kim Product Manager

September 2nd, 2014

Currently working with a development/design shop offshore. I was curious what is the best way to track progress, improve communication and avoid surprises.

I've looked at Basecamp, Trello, PIvotal Tracker, Jira, and Asana. I don't want to use more than 1 of them, if possible. Any recommendations?

Susan Mees

September 2nd, 2014

Totally agree with Kate - internally our developers prefer Jira but it has limited the number of employees who can actively communicate with developers.  Most of our non-developer employees prefer Asana.

Shelley Perry CTO | Digital Innovation | Product and Technology

September 2nd, 2014

Ask your development shop which one they prefer, ultimately you want them to use it and find value in the updates .... it is probably easier for you to adapt to get what you want out of it ... if they actually update it.  

John Shiple

September 5th, 2014

Taking a step back, you must have these three (3) systems to run your business:
  1. Product Management - Top-down management of your business
  2. Project Management - Management of the millions of details in building out your product
  3. Knowledge Management - Institutionalize knowledge here. Product roadmaps, specs, wireframes, and everything artifact you create should go here
You must have these three systems - without one or more of them I can predict with 99% accuracy how your business will fail (or have serious challenges in succeeding). Also, for the most part, these tools do not overlap all that well. There are a handful of teams that can use 1 or 2 tools to manage these 3 systems, but inexperienced companies should have 3 separate systems.

I recommend these systems (and some I specifically recommend to avoid):
  • Product Management - Trello
    • Do not use: Google/online/Dropbox/etc. Drive/Docs, spreadsheets (spreadsheets are okay with 1 or 2 people on the team), sticky notes on the wall, or the written-on-once-but-never-erased-whiteboard
  • Project Management - Jira, Unfuddle, Pivotal (there are many many good tools here - go with what your team already knows)
  • Knowledge Management - Google Apps/Google Sites, any good (private) Wiki or intranet building tools
    • Do not use: a shared folder, Google/online/Dropbox/etc. Drive/Docs
In regards to the original question, make sure you have these 3 systems. However, based on what you have looked at already and what people said here, I think Jira is good for you. But that's ONLY for Project Management. And if you've "done it a couple times before" with your team, you might be able to Product Manage in Jira and/or Knowledge Manage...but go with 3 (separate) systems for clarity, transparency, and ease of use.

Best,

+=John

Iwein Fuld Entrepreneur and developer, founder of StarterSquad

September 6th, 2014

At StarterSquad we've settled on Trello (after trying Jira, Pivotal, Blossom.io). Things that were mentioned but deserve some emphasis:

- Developers that use it should pick the tool, not managers
- Different styles of management and collaboration require different tools
- Separate chat system (Slack was mentioned) is essential as well

Cecilia Domenighini Marketing

September 2nd, 2014

Hey Christopher, it looks like there is a similar discussion. It's called Jira or BaseCamp :) 

Mike Web Developer

Last updated on March 1st, 2017

It sounds like you're just looking for new options by name. Since you mentioned project management, take a look at10000ft.com. You might like the Gantt chart approach.

Riccardo Soff I help Startups succeed.

February 28th, 2017

15 Online Collaboration Tools that will Boost Virtual team Productivity in 2017: http://www.enqos.com/blog/15-online-collaboration-tools/

Rachel Truair Senior Marketing Manager, North America - East | Oracle Marketing Cloud

September 2nd, 2014

I'm a huge fan of Asana and use it all of the time. They are continuously improving the product, which I also appreciate. Asana has time tracking, which I would imagine would be useful with your dev team, but it's done through an integration with Harvest. I haven't really used that particular feature.


Jordan Finger E-commerce, Digital Marketing, Ad-Tech, Customer Acquisition, Mobile Commerce

September 2nd, 2014

I use Asana with a client for all of the creative projects.  It is very intuitive and easy to use.  

Alexander Gats

February 15th, 2017

you would better specify the nature of tasks and projects of that shop... I assume you are talking about Software development?


Then I would highly recommend MS Project Server...


1. Each project - is best to handle in (most used) MS Project , using the SAME template (we have modified standard MS SW Dev waterfall Template and used it over 7 years for more than 500 projects)

2. MS Project Server will allow you to handle "Project Portfolio":

* Project/Tasks priority

* People assignments -> best people time utilization

* it is easy to add "time registration" (T&M Invoices to your customers)

* and build better estimations for new projects on top of existent portfolio and history time data


MS Project is not very good suitable for Agile/Scrum (Better Jira/ Trello), but project portfolio is still good.