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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Apps

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Keeping track of work in progress
Gagandep Singh Sapra, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 06, 2014
First Published: 15:19 IST(6/5/2014)
Last Updated: 16:04 IST(6/5/2014)

Management is all about breaking down a problem into simple steps and then working towards achieving it. From the most complex software projects to painting our house to building those six-pack abs, maintaining a step-by-step approach, ensuring that all key stakeholders are aware of the steps, and ensuring a dashboard view of what is going on, can make or break a project.

This week, we look at some apps and websites that let you manage things easily, without having to do a degree in project management. Say you want to paint a house, which entails getting the rooms vacated, selecting the colour shades and placing the furniture among other things. You can break down the project into tasks, and do the same with any other project, and follow a similar method.

1 Trello
[Web, iOS, Android, Windows 8]
This app starts out with a stack of cue cards on which you have jotted down nuggets of information. On each card is all kinds of information -checklists, attachments, comments, due dates and more. You can attach labels to each card or project and add names of members allocated the task. You can also invite unlimited people, and they can add attachments, make changes or add cards.

All this information is then sent to the whole team via notifications. Everyone can see the task assigned to them and collaborate in real time from the Trello Website (http://trello.com) or through the free app. It also lets you attach photographs.

2 Team work
[iOS, Android, Web]
Sometimes a project manager needs to keep a close tab on a particular project. Team Work lets you do this by giving a quick overview of recent projects and easy access to files. The Team Work dashboard has been designed using the principles of project information memorandum (PIM) that enables you allocate a task as well as add estimated completion dates and project reminders. There are milestone trackers to help you keep track of your project.

The downside of this is that everything is visible to everyone. If you don’t want this, the lockdown feature lets you keep messages private, or even create a private group.

Another disadvantage is that its free edition has limited features, and lets you use only two projects with 10 megabytes of full storage. For anything more, you need to pay.

3 Thoughtboxes
[www.thoughtbox.es, Web Only]
Unlike the other two reviewed here, this is available only off the Web. It looks at a project as a task-list that is visible on a single page. So if you don’t want to set timeframes but only like to plan things in a simple format and can do without attachments, Thoughtboxes should do. You can highlight tasks, move them around using drag-and-drop, and mark them when they are completed. If you want to share a project, you will need to upgrade to the super version that lets you collaborate.

4 Azendoo
[www.azendoo.com, iOS, Android]
Most data are increasingly stored in remote cloud servers. But what if different people in the same team were working on different software applications? Say, your architect works on Google Drive and you are on Evernote to store your files. Azendoo lets you bring all these together, irrespective of where the documents are stores on the cloud (Internet). The good news is that it is free for unlimited projects and you can use it for project management, assigning tasks or checking on progress – and can do this through a simple Web interface or with the app.

Azendoo also lets you initiate a Skype call from within the project and focus on hotlists on a day-to-day basis. This means you can have real-time discussions and track a project by the minute, perhaps, if that is what you want. It also has some paid plans for more complex busi-ness scenarios.


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