The Basic Uses of Free Project Management Tools
With a free project management tool, you can map out project plans and schedule, track progress, collaborate on documents, work with calendars and even catch issues affecting your project so they can be remedied in time. The true definition of what Project Management is varies based on the project that is being carried out, the team behind it and the project management style you’re implementing. But generally the package comes with the following things regardless of whether you’re going for a free or paid solution.
Features of a free project management tool
Mapping out the entire project with the ability to visualize how the various elements interconnect together is a critical function of any project management tool. In project planning, the tool being used should make provision for a detailed breakdown of tasks to be accomplished, assignment and teams behind them, time estimate, and a link between dependent tasks. The sum of all these elements makes up a project planning tool.
Managing tasks at hand
Despite working with a free project management tool, you should still be able to define tasks, assign them to people in your team and create deadlines as well. This is one of the most critical functions that these tools need to have. Otherwise, project management courses can turn out to become an extremely difficult endeavor to participate in.
The ability to share and collaborate on important documents
In every project out there, teams need to work with documents. There must be a system that stores documents so they can freely be accessed whenever there’s need to. This feature is extremely important for teams situated in geographically different locations. Subjecting such a team to a nightmare of countless email attachment and revision can result in a poor project outcome.
However, when there is collaboration of documents so that every relevant member of the team is able to access them, work can run smoothly and efficiently as planned. In fact, this feature is the cornerstone of many web-based collaborative project management tools out there.
Sharing of calendar plus contact list
Projects work within the confinements of time. Being able to know the calendar or schedule of each team member can help save a great amount of time. If you currently rely on Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Outlook, chances are that you’re using Calendar and contact list functionality for added convenience. Generally, whatever tool you use must allow you to create and freely share calendar details to keep the rest of the team members working within deadlines.
Dealing with bugs
A project will be marked by a start, a deadline, a status and probably the person owning it. However, along the way, the person behind the project needs to rate their priorities, difficulties or any other issue faced along the way. If it’s a technical project, this function can be used to resolve bugs. However, for other general projects, it can be used as a way to manage issues as they arise. In addition to this, the function can be used to store open questions about issues that have been faced and what has been done about them.
And of course there needs to be an effective time-tracking feature which ensures that every member of the team is working according to the plan. With a tool such as Microsoft Project, you can request timesheets which will be delivered through email. Such a timesheet flows directly with the project you’re handling.
Tools that are currently being used for Project Management tasks
This is a simple but popular project management tool being used in projects that don’t involve a lot of work. It puts emphasis on geographically isolated team members who are in need of document sharing, collaboration and real time notification when there’s a change.
This solution is more powerful when it comes to integration with email-based workflow. Not only do you get the usual functions like the ability to share documents, calendars, tasks, or notifications, but you also enjoy the benefit of having email comments automatically directed into their appropriate project files. Of course you can get it as a free project management tool, although you could still upgrade.
DreamTeam is ideal for people who use Salesforce. It’s free for up to 10 licenses. The main reason why DreamTeam exists is to bridge the gap existing between Microsoft Project and the Collaboration-focused cloud-based tools. In addition to this, it has a strong support for planning as well as the use of Gantt charting.
We call them free project management tools because developers don’t charge a fee when using their basic versions. So depending on the nature of your project, you will find basic plans appropriate for you, unless you want to upgrade to take full advantage of advanced features.