5 Useful Project Management Tools

By Don

As a project manager, you’re always looking for efficiencies.   Writing projects need coordination and writers need efficient systems and means of communicating to successfully complete client initiatives.  This year, at TEDx Fort Wayne, twenty-five planning volunteers utilized several, online project management tools to deliver a successful, annual event.

Time was a premium. The teams were diverse and included multiple departments, partners, vendors, and influencers.  Our careers, families, and outside responsibilities pulled us in various directions.  Finding time to plan a conference, in the midst of minimal time availability and differing schedules was challenging.

We found five useful tools that made project management easier and helped to make the conference a success.


Podio describes itself as “online work platform with a new take on how everyday work gets done.”  I call it the “Swiss army knife” of project management and collaboration – even if the service was founded in Copenhagen.

In practice, it lets geographically dispersed teams communicate and add tasks, projects, and files to the workspace.  Using Podio made feedback easy.  Team members built upon each other’s ideas without scattered email threads.

Podio’s apps are magical.  Build business processes with its app builder or choose one of thousands that other users have contributed to the free app store.  We modified an app to download speaker information, from the website’s contact forms, right into the Podio workspace.  The team was able to review individual profiles, view submitted videos, and then rank and leave comments for the rest of the team. This online process, nicknamed “speaker idol,” greatly increased collaboration over the in-person process used the prior year.


This simple file sharing and synchronizing service was a huge help in project management.  Each team had their own, shared folder for plans, agreements, creative materials, etc.  In the end, pick one cloud-based service that fits your team’s needs and move on.  Time is too valuable to nit-pick forever on features.  Drop Box fit our needs.

 Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts is free, simple, and offers quick video conferencing for up to nine people. It was a savior when someone couldn’t attend a status meeting.  Hangouts were also perfect for fast, brainstorming in-between scheduled meetings.

 Whiteboard and CamScanner

What’s a whiteboard doing in a list of online useful project management tools? It’s still one of the most valuable ways to brainstorm.  The problem with volunteer projects is the team doesn’t have easy access to revisit the finished board .  Enter CamScanner, a smartphone app that makes your phone a scanner that generates image enhanced PDFs that can be uploaded to Dropbox and other sharing services.  Then, everyone can have the whiteboard to reference after the meeting.

 Social Media

Listening to and engaging our target audience through social media was key during the project.  It gave us ideas for subjects, speakers and marketing tactics.  The team was able to get greater diversity of thought, which helped us to make better decisions during the project management process.

The common theme between these five free or inexpensive tools are their abilities to streamline project management by making communication and information sharing easier across distances and time. Projects move faster because collaboration doesn’t have to wait for physical meetings.


Filed under Project Management, Social Media, Time Management

10 responses to “5 Useful Project Management Tools

  1. Stephanie

    Drop Box and CamScan are two of my most used resources as an entrepreneur on a time budget and a money budget. I don’t know what I would do without them! Have you ever tried Speek for conference calls? Very cool too!

    • don


      Thanks for the feedback and the Speek idea. I just signed up.

      I continue to use both Dropbox and Google Drive, albeit for different features.


  2. online Collaboration (@onlineCollabor)

    I like binfire.com, a great project management tool for distributed teams

  3. shauna

    I recently switched to box.net / box.com from DropBox because Box had better options for embedding public folders into web pages. As a writer, I sometimes find myself doing more than document management — I find myself doing web content management for public or public-niche audiences.

    Another tool I love for working remotely with businesses is — a thin client for screen sharing. There’s nothing worse than editing procedures and not being able to see the variety of documents and software the person performing the role handles. It’s even better to see how that role handles their procedures – real-time.

    • don


      Welcome back. Great to see you again!

      Good point on your Box application. The competition in this space will be good for users.

      Screen sharing does come in handy. I see G+ Hangouts have added a screen share tab. Time to experiment.



  4. dianna

    Well, as for me I like blueprint more than any other project tools for it greatly helps me find a resource and much more meet my deadlines on time and thus it also gives me more time to relax. It’s definitely a huge help for every marketers who does a multi tasking job.

  5. Pingback: Learning From Others: Five Useful Project Management Tools | A Desk is a Dangerous Place

  6. leonida

    You really made a handful of wonderful points in your article, “5 Useful Project
    Management Tools | My Web Writers – Website Content & Editing Ideas”.
    I will possibly be coming back to ur site before long. Thx -Leonida

  7. Pingback: Ideas for Managing Your Content Costs More Efficiently Social Media Week


    Some great tools listed here! ProofHub is another great project management tool which I would like to recommend for your list.

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