Development, MSPs

Best Project Management Apps for 2017

When I started at Sapper two years ago, we were 5 people sharing a few offices. Fast-forward
to today, we have scaled to 40+ people and are slowly conquering an entire floor of our
building.

While our workforce has grown, we’ve been required to find technical solutions that can grow
with it…which isn’t always (read: ever) easy. The software that works at 5 people breaks at 10,
and completely catches on fire at 20. It’s also been surprisingly hard to identify a PM software
that will work with the nuances of a non-technical services business. Many of them seem to
cater specifically to development.

Needless to say, we’ve dated a lot of project management systems. See 4 options below
we’ve used at different stages of growing our company.

You always remember your first love.

Asana is an excellent solution for teams large and small. From a feature standpoint, Asana is
like the “Apple” of PM – They want to save you from yourself. Each feature seems to be
carefully curated for the PM novice (you need a separate software to generate GANTT charts)
and can be used by anyone. If you’re focused on task management (assigning across the
org, creating recurring tasks), then Asana is it.

To check out their new features, I logged into our old Asana instance. I may have had a few
outstanding action items…

Long and short:

1. USE IF: You’re team appreciates a granular PM system with killer UI.
2. DON’T USE IF: You have 1,479 client projects, as it will get messy.

We still manage portions of our internal business operations on Trello: a Kanban system that
provides unique project visibility

Every task lives on a ‘card,’ which you then sort under different boards to signify the status of
the project. Trello is the best tool for companies that have projects with multiple stages
because you can easily track progress.

However, if you’re a Type-A task-assigner, Trello might be a challenge for you. Each task must
be a “card,” which can quickly clutter if you enjoy the details. You can create ’checklists’ within
each card, but you cannot assign them or set due dates.

Long and short:

1. USE IF: You have projects that require multiple stages with many people involved.
2. DON’T USE IF: You want granular task-assignment.

We are currently in a long-term relationship with Basecamp, and it’s getting serious. Already
widely known for being a PM rockstar, we found that Basecamp is truly built for services
companies (which is no surprise, since it was the brainchild of an agency).

Basecamp projects are divided into 6 sections (client-specific chat functionality, file storage, and to-dos, etc.) and include everything you need to manage clients – no more accessing multiple projects or diving into G-Drive whenever you need a file, it’s all there for you.

Another major plus is Basecamp’s “Clientside” feature, which enables you to collect
feedback and approvals from clients without giving them access to the entire project.

While we are (obviously) very happy with Basecamp, our most major pain point is the lack of
recurring tasks and visibility across projects.

1. USE IF: You’re an agency or client services business.
2. DON’T USE IF: You’re a small operation with few clients. It’ll still be effective, but you
won’t benefit from many of the features.

As you grow, your tools need to grow with you. And having said that, I would 100%
recommend these PM tools to help any company more efficiently and effectively manage their projects.

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