Creative businesses provide unique, creative and tailor made solutions to their clients as per the requirements. Their clientele belong to various fields like advertising, website design, graphic design, publishing, crafts, fashion, photography, architecture besides others.
They have to work under time and budget constraints. Creative agencies have to think creatively, provide estimates, create invoices, do billing, schedule and track tasks, track time, do accounting, indulge in marketing and perform various other activities. Doing so many diverse tasks within the preset time-frame and as per the required quality can be hard. This would require proper management and tracking of tasks, projects undertaken by them.
It cannot be achieved manually, but requires use of enhanced solutions for the same. Online project management softwares are such solutions which are pretty effective in this regard. These enable creative businesses to manage their tasks, activities, processes, projects smoothly as they grant them more flexibility, control in managing them.
As creative agencies differ in terms of their expertise, way of doings things, etc., similarly web based project management solutions differ in terms of their features, functionality and the benefits they deliver. Most of the available online project management softwares are general purpose solutions and not tailor made for any specific industry. But the needs of creative organizations are unique, so they need such tools which enable them to maintain a firm balance between their creative and business pursuits. When it comes to solutions that have been devised keeping in mind the specific needs, requirements of creative agencies, a few project management tools will get listed. This means that a creative business will have to work really hard for choosing the best solution for itself out of so many prevalent project management applications.
But their search for the best project management tool can become considerably easier if creative businesses focus on the below mentioned key points for evaluating various given solutions.
1.The nature of work
A business needs to put due emphasis on its field of operation, the services, products it provides, the type of activities, tasks and processes it executes for fulfilling its various objectives. This will enable them to define their requirements and thus help it to evaluate a tool to know if it’d be able to fit into its scheme of things. It can analyze if it has got the relevant features, adequate functionality which would allow it to function in a smooth and organized manner.
2.Considering size of organization
The size of a creative business also remains one of the prime considerations while going in for a specific tool. A small sized business would find it easy to manage its limited number of tasks and team members, so simple solutions would suffice for managing its affairs. But a middle sized business would have increased number of members, tasks and more complex projects to manage. This would make it difficult to track tasks, taking note of members’ responsibilities and for tracking their performance at work. So a business has to choose a solution that can cater to its current needs and complexity in its projects and also is scalable to ensure that it is able to serve in the same vein as the number and complexity of projects increases.
3. Ease to use
A business also needs to evaluate a given project management solution for its ease of use. An easy to use solution would require less investment of time & money in learning how to use it. It is advised not to depend on a sales person when he or she tries to show how easy their tool is to use as it can be misleading. The moment a business starts using a tool after paying for it or after getting impressed with a sales person’s version, it more often than not discovers that it has been taken for a ride.
Free trials offered by solution providers can be of great help in this regard as it would allow a company to judge the software’s ease of use. Thus it can make out how effortlessly it has been able to run through its features and how comfortable it felt while trying it.
4. Effective customer support
A business should check if a tool provider provides a reliable customer support (available 24 X7) or not and would it deliver whenever need arises. If it encounters difficulties in running an application and these start affecting its workflow, these should get addressed fast by the solution provider. This is pretty important as the clients, customers would not like to wait long for getting fixed any issues.
5. Easy pricing and upgrading options
A creative business should go for a tool that provides easy, clear pricing options. This makes it convenient for users to sign up, pay for its use and upgrade. Businesses should avoid a tool that tries to bind them into long term contracts. They should instead go for one which can be subscribed by paying monthly or through a single annual payment mechanism.
Many businesses require a tool to be customizable so that they can make it best fit for their working. A business before adopting a tool needs to check if it allows customization and if yes, how much it charges for getting it customized.
After a tool has been adopted, efforts should be made to encourage its use among the various teams. This would mean imparting training sessions to them for enabling them how to use it. Effective tips need to be shared with them, so they can use the tool with ease. Members should be given an opportunity to interact with the tool providers, so they can ask about various difficulties faced by them and get prompt solutions. Someone high in the management hierarchy needs to be given key responsibility to act as an observer and mentor. So he interacts with every team member, provides them necessary support and encourages them for using it. This helps to do away any fears, negativities about using the new tool in an organization. So members are more comfortable using it.
We are providing here some enterprising project management solutions that would enable creative businesses to function in a smooth, productive and organized manner. We are giving them a good idea of the tools’ features, benefits, pricing plans and other related information. So they themselves can compare these tools and choose the one that suits them the most.
This web based project management and collaboration tool is being used by million of users globally for managing their projects. Its prominent features include assign tasks, meet deadlines, share files and centralize feedback. Basecamp emphasizes on collaboration for proper project management. It offers various integrations, add-ons and apps along with four monthly pricing packages and one annual pricing package is provided for the users.
- To-do lists
- File sharing
- Message boards
A simple and easy to use project management and collaboration tool enables businesses to manage their projects in a smooth and organized manner. It boosts team collaboration, facilitates task management and enables precise tracking of project progress. It offers a free plan along with 4 monthly pricing packages.
- To-do lists and tasks
- Events and milestones
- Gantt charts
- Time tracking
A web based project management tool that enables managers, team members and clients to collaborate on projects. So a business’s productivity gets enhanced. This solution can be hosted by the users themselves. It has a free plan besides 5 different pricing plans and a separate enterprise plus plan for businesses with enhanced needs.
- Managing projects
- Managing tasks through task lists
- Creating and tracking milestones
- Time tracking
- Adding messages
- Uploading files
Zoho Projects is an online project management software that provides a centralized location for storing project documents and posting updates. This tool’s positives are it boosts planning, enables teams to work smarter and enables reporting. It is free for one project. Also offers 3 different paid plans.
- Project milestones
- Task dependency
- Sharing documents
- Time tracking
This online work platform enables businesses to create their own workspaces, so they are able to structure their projects, teams and workflows as desired. Similarly they can create content, information which is linked with their work process and interactions. It has got three pricing plans - Podio lite, Podio teams, Podio business.
- Instant messaging and video chat
- API for Developers
- File sharing integration with Dropbox, Google Drive and others
- Progress reporting and calculations
- Time tracking
This project management and collaboration tool boosts team collaboration, so every member of the team is on same page over a project. It enables keeping projects on the right track. Positives include ability to collaborate, proper task management, providing email support, drag and drop scheduling besides saving time.
- Managing projects
- Tracking time and expenses
- Sharing files
- Email integration
These above mentioned project management tools along with the fine points to consider for choosing a solution will be valuable for a creative business in choosing their best solution. So they will be able to make a better choice for themselves and get benefitted in turn.