4 Questions You Should Ask When Picking a Project Management Tool

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Life’s just a little bit harder when you’ve got a million things running through your head, or when you’ve got a big project to tackle but aren’t sure where to start. Many people find a project management tool to help them keep track of their tasks. This frees up brain space so you can focus on actually doing the work instead of wondering what you need to work on!

If you’re in the process of picking out a project management tool, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind. With so many tools out there, how do you pick the one that works best for you? Ask yourself these questions when picking a project management tool, and you’ll find one that’s a perfect fit for your needs.

1. What tools are you currently using?

Begin by thinking about the programs and tools you’re currently using. How would you want them to integrate? Are you using Google Docs? Are you sharing images? Are you managing time logs and invoices?

Anything involved in creating your projects may impact your decision for a project management tool. If you’re considering a tool but you can’t immediately find any integrations with your other programs, look at a service called Zapier or IFTTT. You might find a way to make the tools talk to each other.

Zapier banner connections plutio

Not worried about saving time by keeping everything in one place? You should be! If you are constantly having to go in between apps and programs to do your work, you could be wasting a lot of time.

The American Psychological Association estimates that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40% of a person’s productive time! Imagine losing 16 hours of your work week, just going back and forth between programs.

2. Who do you need to communicate with?

If you’re a freelancer, you’re looking for a tool that lets you communicate with clients as well as collaborators. You need to be able to show you work to your clients, while also getting files and communicating with other collaborators.

Plutio handles collaboration in some really awesome ways. You can specify the relationship of a contact (if they’re a contributor or a client) and allow access to certain projects based on their status. If you’re a solopreneur that doesn’t work with others, you might not be as interested in ease of communication, but it can still be helpful to share your work with others for accountability of progress and also to get feedback.

3. How do you like to organize your projects?

Everyone’s brain works a little bit differently, and therefore we all have different ways of organizing our projects. Some people are more visual and need to see the flow of their projects through various stages, and other people just want a long to-do list that shows all the specific tasks in each project. You know how clutter affects your brain? It’s distracting and makes it hard to focus. Poorly organized projects are like digital clutter, making it harder for you to focus and actually get those projects completed.

A great tool is only great if it helps your work make more sense to you, not if you have to learn to think about your projects in different way. Some tools like ToDoist are mostly straight checklist tools. Other tools like Trello are more visual based and let you see your projects in terms of tasks organized in lists.

Plutio gives you the best of both worlds and let’s you organize your projects just exactly how you like. You can break them down as granularly as you prefer and list them in a fashion that makes the most sense for your brain. This is critical as you choose a project management tool, otherwise you’ll have use too much brainpower to understand your project instead of using that brain power to actually work on the project itself.

Trello boards visual tasks list in one, Plutio

4. What’s the cost?

At first you might think “cost” means the price tag. Is it $9.99 a month, or $19.99? While this is an important thing to consider, there’s more than the subscription cost to think about. Some tools will take you five seconds to learn, and others might take a little longer. Think about the cost to learn how to use each tool, as your time is more valuable than any dollar you spend!

You also need to consider the cost of getting your team on board (whether that is coworkers, collaborators, or clients). The more time and learning to get everyone acquainted with a program, the higher the cost.

Check out this calculator to see just how much your time is worth. You might find that a premium tool that’s easy to use will save you more money over the long term, compared to a free tool that’s hard to use. (We’ll save you some time on your homework... Plutio is both free AND easy to use.)

Ready to choose?

When picking a tool to manage your projects, there’s more than meets the eye. It’s not just about the fastest loading, or the prettiest background. With so many tools available today, you have the opportunity to pick a tool that perfectly suits both your needs and the needs of your collaborators and clients.

If Plutio sounds like a tool that might work for you, click here to give it a try and get started for free!