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Tools for team players: project planning

Modern software tools facilitate project planning, quality management, process management and teamwork, especially in marketing and sales.

Foto: Sunrise UPC GmbH - Screenshot


We present five tools, including old acquaintances like Slack and Trello.


Slack the natural enemy of email

Slack is the shooting star among business messenger services, it combines numerous functions that used to require several tools, above all it is the natural enemy of email. Many companies use it for fast communication and coordination in teams. For this purpose, channels can be created that are assigned to a project or team; the messages in them are only visible to the team members. Slack is ideal in sales, for example, where employees need to work together in different locations but still closely.


Advantages:

Slack is free, which is enough for small teams. The search function is fast and accurate. Slack offers many extensions, including for notifications from the mail programme or Trello; Google Drive, Dropbox and other services can also be connected.

Only those who have their own account can participate, which prevents spam from outside. Of course, there are apps for all desktop and mobile operating systems.


Disadvantages:

The paid version has no flat rates, but charges per user, which can be expensive for large teams. Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption. As the service is based in the USA, the authorities there can read messages - despite compliance with the legal provisions (DSGVO and Data Protection Act).



Trello the simple project management tool

Do you know Kanban? The system with colourful cardboard cards came to us from Japan in the 1970s and is used for process management in production logistics. Trello works in a similar way: you create cards online or in the app (for all operating systems), each one representing a project, a task, an idea. The card organises the project process in lists, offers a chat function for teams and serves as a filing system for files. Marketing and sales of small businesses can use Trello for lead management.


Advantages:

Trello is free in the already extensive basic version. It can be set up quickly and is easy to learn with a video tutorial. In the meantime, many plug-ins exist that can be used to convert emails into cards, for example.


Disadvantages:

Other tools are better suited for fast communication in a team. If projects become more complex and are broken down into many subtasks, the Trello board becomes quite confusing. Trello is a US company, so the servers are also located in the USA.



Asana the time management tool

Asana supports teams in planning and handling tasks and projects. In the dashboard, projects can be set up as Kanban cards, and workspaces can be created. This sounds like a mixture of Trello and Slack, but Asana focuses more on time management. It offers to-do lists and displays upcoming tasks in the calendar or in timelines, for each person and for the team.


Advantages:

Asana is also available as a free version. Appointments from Asana can be shown in other calendar apps. Asana is also open to other tools such as Slack, Outlook and many apps for marketing, sales and software development. Apps are also available for iOS and Android.


Disadvantages:

Asana runs in the cloud, so an internet connection is required to use it. The paid version charges per user. The servers are located in the USA. The three team collaboration tools presented store their data on servers located in the USA, with the risk of government organisations reading them. Those who do not want this should look at the following alternatives:



Rocket.Chat das Open-Source-Tool

The tool is modelled on Slack. Because it is open-source, many developers are constantly working on extensions, and data protection is a top priority. A good tool for project management.


Advantages:

Rocket.Chat apps are available for all platforms (desktop and mobile). There is also the option to run the service at a cloud service provider of choice or on servers in your own company.


Disadvantages:

Relatively new, therefore still some bugs.



Factro for complex projects

A project management tool from the cloud. Factro organises projects and tasks in one. Project structure tree with Kanban board and unique task numbers, therefore it is also suitable for complex projects.


Advantages:

Server in Germany, German data protection. Free basic version for up to ten participants.


Disadvantages:

The paid versions charge by user and are very expensive for large teams.


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