Free Project Management Tools

15/06/2019

Whether you are an individual, running a business, or working as part of a team, Project Management tools can be invaluable.

Before deciding on a tool, it's worth considering what you want it to do (functionality):

  1. Task Management, including reminders, task delegation and notifications; sub-tasks
  2. Communication features - face time; email; chat 
  3. Document storage and management - sharing of documents; managing versions of documents; collaborative working
  4. Reporting tools; graphs and tracking of project
  5. Budget management
  6. Shared calendars
  7. Customer relationship management (CRM)
  8. Mobile App / desktop / Cloud (online) services

It's also worth considering how your team currently works. People can be reluctant to embrace new systems, and sometimes the best answer is to work with something that integrates with what they are already using. 

I investigated a range of different options for the administration of a research project, and selected Bitrix, which I really liked, and which ticks all the boxes above. It has brilliant functionality, and I found it easy to use. However, the team found it more challenging, and we ultimately reverted to using Outlook. All of the tools below can be used for free, although some require payment for additional functions.

Bitrix

Bitrix is free to use for a small group, and has an impressive range of functions. It's easy to create and assign tasks, adding deadlines and tags. Documents and comments. It includes email accounts, if wanted, but works with existing email addresses too, if you add people with their current address. The system includes customer relationship management, budgeting tools, and a great range of reports that are customizable, although this requires an understanding of database structures. There is a desktop app, which allows for live chat, and also for face time calls.  Of all the tools I tried, this has the best range of functions, although it is not as simple in appearance as some of the others. 

Microsoft Outlook

I once worked for a company that managed the business through Outlook. It's one of the most commonly available email programmes, but many people don't know that it also includes a calendar, which can be shared with other team members; you can use the contacts section for managing customer details and the Task section allows you to create tasks with deadlines, and to delegate them to others. As many people already use it, it is a simple tool that is familiar, and therefore attractive. However, there are very limited options for reporting and graphs. 

Spreadsheets

I love spreadsheets (sad, I know) and there's not much I can't do with them - they have always been my go-to management tool. You can use them to list and organise tasks, but unfortunately, they don't include the facility to email someone else. If you're not an expert on spreadsheets, you can always find a free template to use, like these: https://www.excel-macros.co.uk/project-management-template/ or one from this site: https://www.projectmanager.com/resources 

Todo Cloud 

This is a simple online tool that sets up tasks, assigns them to people. Tasks can be assigned to people, set priorities, and reminders set. It is easy to use, and all on one page.

Pintask 

This is a simple to use online tool, all on one page. Notes can be moved around, and assigned to team members, reminders etc. The site allows you to sync your existing calendar to the tool. The sheep picture can be replaced with your own image

Hygger 

Hygger has a lot of functionality, but is more complex to use than some of the more visual options. 

if you don't like the look of any of these options, you can explore more here.