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management

Comparing 3 top project management tools: Trello vs. Monday vs. Asana

If you’re shopping for an online project management tool, you could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Luckily, there are three good ones that are free – or at least free to try – so that you can find a good fit for managing your deadlines and projects. 

We decided to check out popular online services that are all good choices for assigning work and tracking progress – Trello, Monday and Asana. Each takes a slightly different approach, however, so we considered how each of these tools might appeal to different types of users. Let’s take a look.

Trello

Target audience: Project owners who want an elegant way to keep on top of things, for ongoing projects. 

Trello uses an elegant, visual approach to project management. The interface features an agile-inspired Kanban board, with columns of tasks displayed on cards. It’s a very efficient and friendly to see what’s coming, in progress, or done.

Moving cards and changing who they’re assigned to is a simple, drag-and-drop affair. When you start a new project, you’ll create a new board, add tasks and if necessary, rename the columns – which Trello calls lists – to suit your needs. Click the Home button, and you can view all your boards in one place.

[ Related: 14 Microsoft Teams apps to help you work smarter ]

To help get started, Trello offers dozens of prebuilt templates. Some of the templates include boards, for example, that help you create a software product, organize a meeting, or manage a publishing schedule for a blog. 

trello boards Trello

You can add one of Trello’s pre-designed boards with a few clicks, then customize it to fit your project.



There are also community-created boards you can select in Trello. Project managers have posted boards designed for making and tracking a big decision, for example, or setting objectives and tracking results. You can also submit your own templates to share on Trello for others to use.

Trello provides optional add-on features called “power-ups,” which enhance the interface, automate a process, or integrate with a third-party tool. The calendar power lets you view due dates in, you guessed it, a calendar view. The Card-Repeater power-up automates the creation of cards you use regularly. And you can add power-ups to integrate with third-party tools, like Google Drive, to easily access project files in the cloud. There are also integrations for, among others, Microsoft Office, Slack and Salesforce. To use some power-ups, or to use more than one per board, you’ll need a paid plan. 

Log in or subscribe to Insider Pro to read the complete comparison.

 

If you’re shopping for an online project management tool, you could be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed. Luckily, there are three good ones that are free – or at least free to try – so that you can find a good fit for managing your deadlines and projects. 

We decided to check out popular online services that are all good choices for assigning work and tracking progress – Trello, Monday and Asana. Each takes a slightly different approach, however, so we considered how each of these tools might appeal to different types of users. Let’s take a look.

Trello

Target audience: Project owners who want an elegant way to keep on top of things, for ongoing projects. 

Trello uses an elegant, visual approach to project management. The interface features an agile-inspired Kanban board, with columns of tasks displayed on cards. It’s a very efficient and friendly to see what’s coming, in progress, or done.

Moving cards and changing who they’re assigned to is a simple, drag-and-drop affair. When you start a new project, you’ll create a new board, add tasks and if necessary, rename the columns – which Trello calls lists – to suit your needs. Click the Home button, and you can view all your boards in one place.

[ Related: 14 Microsoft Teams apps to help you work smarter ]

To help get started, Trello offers dozens of prebuilt templates. Some of the templates include boards, for example, that help you create a software product, organize a meeting, or manage a publishing schedule for a blog. 

trello boards Trello

You can add one of Trello’s pre-designed boards with a few clicks, then customize it to fit your project.

There are also community-created boards you can select in Trello. Project managers have posted boards designed for making and tracking a big decision, for example, or setting objectives and tracking results. You can also submit your own templates to share on Trello for others to use.

Trello provides optional add-on features called “power-ups,” which enhance the interface, automate a process, or integrate with a third-party tool. The calendar power lets you view due dates in, you guessed it, a calendar view. The Card-Repeater power-up automates the creation of cards you use regularly. And you can add power-ups to integrate with third-party tools, like Google Drive, to easily access project files in the cloud. There are also integrations for, among others, Microsoft Office, Slack and Salesforce. To use some power-ups, or to use more than one per board, you’ll need a paid plan. 

Trello offers three tiers. The Free plan lets you create unlimited cards, lists and boards, with an attachment limit of 10MB. And you can use one power-up per board. Business Class adds priority support, unlimited powerups and additional third-party app integration.

Trello is an excellent choice for individuals and small teams that need a basic, free tool. It’s also good for executives who want a tool for quickly spinning up ideas without a steep learning curve. By comparison, Monday may be a better fit for any process that is typically managed with spreadsheets, where you’re interested in reducing the need to create them from scratch. And if you’re looking to manage a large project with many teams and deadlines, Asana may be a better choice. 

Monday

Target audience: Nontechnical users, creatives and spreadsheet pros. 

If you’re spending too much time in spreadsheets, manually adding tasks, deadlines and charts to show what’s happening on your projects, Monday might be the right tool for you.

In Monday, the default view – called Main Table – looks like a simple, attractively designed, color-coded spreadsheet. Here, you enter new tasks, assign them, and show their status: For example: Working on it, Stuck, Done, or Waiting for Review. You can quickly see how projects are coming along, and the status of those working on them.

Click a menu and you then see that same information in Monday’s Kanban view, with lists displayed on cards, providing a quick visual snapshot of where your project stands. Another view called Timeline can display projects with concurrent deadlines. Or you can view your deadlines in a calendar. A chart view lets you break tasks down visually by percentages, for example to see how many tasks each member is handling. As with Trello, you’ll need a paid plan to use some of these features. 

monday main table view Monday

Monday’s Main Table view is an excellent way to see who’s doing the work, the deadlines for task, and when the jobs are completed.

It also costs more to add some integrations, like Github, Outlook and Zendesk. Monday also offers integrations with Trello and Asana, so coworkers or clients who work in those tools can add tasks and deadlines there, which will automatically appear in Monday’s interface. Upgrading your plan also means the ability to use automations. Monday offers pre-written automations you can customize, taking a trigger like a date, or a change in status, to fire off an action, like creating a recurring task.

Monday doesn’t offer a free version, however, they do provide a 7-day free trial. After that, pricing starts at $39 per month per user, for their Basic plan. The Standard Plan is $49, this option adds features like a Gantt chart view (called Timeline) and a calendar, and you can share your boards with people without requiring them to sign up for a Monday account. The Pro plan costs $79, for additional views and enterprise features like time tracking. For a full plan comparison click here

Monday is easy on the eyes for nontechnical staff and may appeal to creatives, like designers and ad staff, or anyone who finds that spreadsheets are the way to stay on top of projects. Like Trello, it’s better for ongoing deadlines, rather than large projects that have a hard stop. For those, Asana is likely a better choice. 

Asana

Target audience: Teams operating concurrent deadlines, large enterprises, creating new products or services.

Asana may be the most full-featured of the tools we examined for managing projects, and potentially, large teams. If you don’t mind a steeper learning curve – or if you like the idea of automating routine tasks – Asana may be the tool for you and your colleagues.

Asana provides a free version of its Basic plan for up to 15 users. This tier lets you create tasks, assign them to team members and view them as a Kanban board (Trello and Monday also offer this sort of view). In the Basic, plan, you can also display all your deadlines a calendar. (Check out the complete plan comparison here.)

But many features, like the capability to view your project in a timeline, require a Premium plan, which costs $10.99 a month per user (each of Asanas plans is discounted if you pay annually). The Business plan adds priority support, and additional features, including the ability to see task dependencies, and a “workload” view that shows what everyone is working on – and potentially which employees are overloaded.

asana list view Asana

Asana can help you manage large projects, but most users will need a paid plan to see more than a simple list view, and access features like Gantt charts. 

To speed up routine tasks, Asana offers automation through its “Rules” feature. You can create your own rules based on triggers, like moving a task to a certain column as soon as it’s been marked complete, or use pre-designed ones from Asana.

You can add comments in projects, but there’s no built-in chat feature. That said, Asana offers excellent integrations for third-party collaboration software, for creating tasks assigning them, and adding or editing deadlines without leaving Slack, for example, or Microsoft Teams.

Asana offers a deep list of integrations for other tools as well, including G Suite and Microsoft Office. Asana also offers an app integration with Trello to sync up projects between them. Some of the integrations, like those for Salesforce and Adobe Creative Cloud, require a paid Business plan. 

Test drive before you decide

If your primary interest is in flexibility, and choosing how you want to work, Asana may be a good choice for your organization. It’s an excellent tool for managing sprawling projects with many moving parts. If you’re interested in simplicity (and need to watch costs) Trello is likely a better choice for you. And if spreadsheets seem a natural way to organize your project, Monday could be the right move. We recommend test-driving all three, for free, to see which approach best fits your team.



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How to use Todoist for team task management

Task management software is great for planning, managing concurrent deadlines, and creating a visual snapshot of where things stand. But when you’re managing a team, it’s likely both you and your colleagues keep task lists of your own. What if you consolidated your individual and team task management into one system — in this case, Todoist, where you can create projects, add tasks, and assign people to complete them? 

While Todoist is best known as a personal productivity tool, you can use it to delegate, set due dates, share files, add comments to tasks, and track the progress of team projects. It also offers the ability to integrate and sync up with other apps and services that you may use, like Slack or Microsoft Teams. And it helps you separate your personal and work projects, while staying in the same interface. 

Todoist is available via any web browser and as an app for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and more, so you and your colleagues will have access to it from anywhere.

Here’s how to make Todoist work better for your team. 

Get down to business



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This project management training can supercharge your team’s efficiency

Business owners know the importance of efficiency. That’s why project management methodologies, like Lean Six Sigma, have grown so popular. But wrapping your head around the art of project management is usually easier said than done. Thankfully, The Ultimate Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Bundle is here to guide you through it, all for just $99.99.

This package, which includes nearly $2,700 worth of content, provides a low-risk and convenient introduction to Lean Six Sigma, a leading project management methodology centered around reducing operational waste. While those on a project management career path will obviously benefit from knowing Lean Six Sigma, virtually any professional operating in a leadership capacity can apply this methodology’s principles to streamline efficiency in their operation.

Through five courses, students will get familiar with the methodology and learn how to identify inefficiencies so that customers are happier and profit margins become maximized. And, unlike some other web-based training programs, it includes White-, Yellow-, and Green Belt-level training for a more comprehensive dive into the field.

Plus, it’s all facilitated by GoLeanSixSigma.com, a Hawaii-based company that made the Inc. 5000 list for 2019 and has been celebrated as one of Hawaii’s 50 fastest-growing companies every year since 2016.

No matter what industry you happen to be a part of, you’ll benefit from knowing Lean Six Sigma. To this end, The Ultimate Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Bundle is absolutely ideal. When you consider that you can purchase the program for just $99.99, which represents a savings of about $2600, there may never be a better time.

 

The Ultimate Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification Bundle – $99.99

See Deal

Prices are subject to change.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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Enterprise resilience: Backup and management tips for iOS, Mac

Apple’s solutions are seeing increasing use across the enterprise, but do you have a business resilience strategy in place in case things go wrong?

If you’re one of the estimated 73% of SMBs that have not yet made such preparation, now might be a good time to start.

Your data is your business

It’s challenging enough when a consumer user suffers data loss as precious memories and valuable information go up in the digital smoke.

Natural disaster, technology and infrastructure problems or human-made problems such as burglary, cyberattacks or civil unrest can all impact the sanctity of your systems, whatever platform you use. It matters because in today’s connected world, your data is your business.

One way to approach business resilience improvement is to adopt a mind-set in which you think about what happens if every piece of hardware your business uses fails at once.

While this may seem extreme, fire, flood or successful cyberattacks all threaten damage to your systems, and while the iPhones in your fleet may be left untouched, your internally hosted servers and on-site Macs and other equipment could suffer.

How do you protect yourself?

One part of the response is to put together and follow a data backup policy, but even if you do so (and many do not), how robust is your protection? Do you have first line, second line, online and offline backups? Do you have a remote backup system in place? Do you use a password management system and if you do are all the relevant master passwords held securely off-site?

[Also read: Enterprise resilience: iOS, Mac tools for remote collaboration]

It’s also important to develop a backup and recovery policy both you and your employees can easily maintain, including use of cloud-based services.

It’s imperative that data stored in the normal course of business by your company be cohesively stored as you do not want to have to explore every employees private Dropbox, Box, OneDrive or iCloud Drive account as you attempt to forensically pull all your information back together after a disaster strikes.

It is also quite important to think about how your data flows.

While less of an inherent problem for Apple systems, what happens if malware gets into your deployment? To what extent are your primary data backups sequestered from your day-to-day business, and what security verification policy do you have in place in order to ensure the integrity of the information you store in your primary backups?

The reason this matters so is that in the event malware gets into your backup systems (perhaps hidden in something as seemingly innocuous as a PDF document) then once you put all your enterprise kit back together the problem could reoccur.

The three-part approach

Reading around this topic and in previous discussions with people in this field, I’ve learned that those businesses that do put good systems in place generally adopt a three-part strategy:

  • Local backups: To shared local servers or locally attached hard drives.
  • Online backups (offsite): For the very smallest SMEs, iCloud may be fine, but larger concerns will need shared online services, such as those from iDrive, Egnyte or BackBlaze.)
  • Redundant backups: If local backups fail or online systems become compromised, a redundant backup system will have all assets regularly stored to a system held securely offsite. A consumer user may store their information on a drive at a trusted friend’s house, perhaps using two drives and swapping them out every few weeks. An enterprise may use the same rotating dual backup strategy to keep offsite backups regularly updated in a safe place. If you are based in an earthquake zone you might even choose to keep these in a completely different state.

It is important to note that whatever backup system is used is robustly protected with highly secure password systems.

It is also important to ensure clear role responsibilities such that someone is responsible for ensuring backups are successful. 

The hierarchy of needs

While full backups are essential, in truth not every piece of data is as valuable as everything else. This is why organizations should prioritize their data in terms of its importance. Typically, the order goes:

  • Databases
  • Accounts/Finances
  • Business operations/HR.
  • CRM information.
  • Documents and email.
  • Everything else.

In most cases it makes sense to run daily backups of the most important information. Automated systems (and it’s best to automate the process as much as possible) can be set to run these.

The role of MDM

If you use a Mobile Device Management system to handle your fleet, you should find it a little easier to deploy and equip replacement systems in the event of disaster, so long as you maintain backups offsite for access by your device management provision system.

Combined with regular backup policy, such as arranging weekly or monthly device backups from iOS devices locally to Macs using the Finder, and subsequent Mac backups using Apple’s Time Machine system, it’s possible to ensure that data integrity is near complete.

(Independently stored information should be thoroughly security vetted before being introduced to core backup systems to avoid malware infection).

A good MDM system equipped with robust security and management tools should help with the process.

Prevention is the core defense

The first line defense is prevention and while you can’t prevent every imaginable crisis you can prevent some.

That means preemptive risk management and fostering situational and security awareness across your teams.  Your employees may be the first to notice any anomalies that may signal threat, and you need to work with them to provide a supportive culture in which they feel empowered to come forward with any concerns.

This is also why it’s important to develop a friction-free approach to your backup resilience strategy, ensuring whatever protections you do put in place are actually used. Consumer level backup services may form part of your preparedness strategy, but only if this is strategically managed, through enterprise storage systems or emerging solutions that can work with consumer options, such as Challo.

Finally, it is extremely important to put together a plan for how to reconstruct your systems after a crisis. In an ideal world, if crisis strikes your organization then your people should already know their roles and be aware of what steps they should immediately take as you prepare to rebuild your organization.

Even the most die-hard Mac user knows that putting things together after data loss can be a lengthy and frustrating task if you are unprepared. (Though iCloud Drive helps a great deal with this).

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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