Project Management Applications For Small Businesses

If you manage a small business or project, using email communications, Excel spreadsheets and company hard drives for managing and storing project information might be okay on a temporary basis, but as the number of your projects grow (and your number of collaborators grow with it) you’ll need to consider a more sophisticated system to incorporate in your business processes.

In fact, it has been proven that for small businesses having a collaborative tool providing multiple features including task assignment, time tracking, CRM, document management, mobile connectivity and third party invoicing can make a huge difference in company’s bottom line.

For large organizations, systems like Primavera, MS Project or SharePoint are the most popular software programs for project planning, reporting, document sharing, progress updating and tracking. They are used worldwide and have their own benefits and disadvantages.

On the other hand, for small businesses or small projects (such as creating new websites, new software programs, new mobile apps or even a minor manufacturing projects) Primavera and MS Project might not be the best solutions, the most important disadvantages being higher costs, heavy platform environment, learning curve, the need for sophisticated support team and unavoidable staff training.

Deciding which project management application or software to incorporate into your small business processes can be a daunting task as there is quite a wide selection to choose from and they are all continually evolving and advancing. To make matters more difficult, each software creator provides different packages to choose from, depending on the number of projects, the number of users (collaborators) and the storage space offered.

On the lower end, developers seem to categorize their packages based on one of these two choices:

– Unlimited collaborators, but limited number of projects

– Unlimited projects, but limited number of collaborators

But, they also offer unlimited projects/collaborators packages at much higher monthly rates.

Even if you select a low-end package to start with, as a growing business the high-end packages should be an important criteria for your selection because in a few years when your number of projects/users grow you would want to be able to keep the same platform, and avoid having to transfer all your files to a less costly solution.

Storage is also another differentiator for choosing your package. Depending on the type of projects your organization is managing, and the size of files your team members share on a daily basis, this could become a make-or-break factor in your selection.

The ability to use the software on your mobile smartphone or tablet is another factor to take into consideration, if that is indeed important to you or your organization. Some applications are just web-based, others use HTML5 code that fits and adapts to any screen size, and others provide their own iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps for the most popular devices such as iPhone or iPad.

Another factor to consider is whether you want (or need) to work with Gantt charts that are simpler versions of MS Project and Primavera. Some project management apps offer visual Gantt-based (rather than a task-assignment based) software.

To make your selection a little bit easier, outlined below are some project management apps we briefly examined for small businesses (in no particular order):

Product Name: Basecamp (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 10 Projects, Unlimited Users, 3 GB Storage, $20 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage, $150 / month

Basecamp keeps all your project documents and communications in one place. You can control who sees what on the projects and who can communicate with whom. The user interface is quite user-friendly and provides quick access to the latest project progress, communications, To-Do lists, etc. Basecamp also provides iOS and Android apps for mobile phones and tablets.

Product Name: Mavenlink (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 20 GB Storage, $25 / user / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage

Mavenlink is fully integrated with Google Docs, Tasks and Contacts. It allows you to centralize your project information, files and communications in a shared environment. Real-time messaging ensures your team members stay on the same page. You can also stay connected using your mobile smartphone as the software offers an HTML5 mobile version as well.

Product Name: Apollo (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 18 Projects, Unlimited Users, 5 GB Storage, $23 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 75 GB Storage, $148 / month

Apollo helps you keep track of what’s happening on your project, tasks, and calendar using interactive timers. In the activity screen you can see who did what, and even communicate with other people. Files can also be kept within the platform. Mobile versions of the software for iOS and Android are also offered.

Product Name: Wrike (Web-based + Mobile App)

– Lower End Package: 5 Users, Unlimited Collaborators, Unlimited Projects, 5 GB Storage, $49 / month

– Higher End Package:: 50 Users, Unlimited Collaborators, Unlimited Projects,100 GB Storage, $199 / month

Wrike is another project management software providing task management, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time news-feed. It also provides Gantt-chart integration as well as Outlook and email integration to facilitate communications.

Product Name: Projecturf (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 20 Projects, Unlimited Users, Unlimited Storage, $40 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, Unlimited Storage, $120 / month

Projecturf provides a user-friendly web environment giving instant access to various projects using tabs. It allows you to grant and change access permissions in every section, and even remove some section if they don’t apply to a project.

Product: Project Bubble (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 10 Projects, Unlimited Users, 5 GB Storage, $24 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 100 GB Storage, $99 / month

Project Bubble allows you to assign tasks and sub-tasks to team members, as well as define user permissions. It also allows you to enter the amount of hours you expect a given task should take (planned) and compare with the amount of hours is actually took (actual) to compare your actual costs with your planned budget. A timesheet feature is also offered for team members to help track the hours

Product Name: TeamGantt (Web-based only)

– Lower End Package: 5 Projects, 5 Users, 1 GB Storage, $10 / month

– Higher End Package: Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Users, 20 GB Storage, $79 / month

If you like using simplified Gantt charts, then TeamGantt might be the solution for you. The software also incorporates simple task commenting (by team members) directly in the Gantt chart. You can still take advantage of sharing documents and many other resources, and even view multiple projects’ Gantt charts in one screen to help with your resource planning.

In a nutshell, if the essence of project management is the breaking down of multi-faceted projects into smaller tasks and milestones assigned to various collaborators, then project management applications and software should assist you in organizing and breaking those complex operations and individual tasks down into specific data available at your fingertips; thus, providing more efficiency into the process than contemporary paper documents and spreadsheets offer. Therefore, your decision to purchase a project management software for your small business should be a long-term strategy for your organization:

1- Make a list of features you need today (and maybe in the future)

2- Assign weights to each feature based on its importance to your business

3- Review each software platform (start on their website)

4- Use a simplified QFD chart to compare various programs and narrow down your choice to just a few

5- Test the waters by emailing/calling each software provider to evaluate their customer support and agility to respond to your requests in a timely manner.

A final note of caution: Not all these project management software programs will survive today’s competitive marketplace, and one can easily predict that only a few will remain in a few years. So make sure your selection is not just based on price and short-term advantages, but also looks further on the horizon. If you like the content of this article, please share it on social media.

What Are The Most Popular Types Of Mobile Applications?

Mobile applications (or mobile apps, in short) are software applications that run on mobile devices. Normally, mobile apps get divided into 3 categories – mobile web apps, mobile native apps and mobile hybrid apps. There is another interesting way to group these apps.

Based on the kind of functions a mobile app performs, here are the most popular types of mobile apps:

#1. Personal Assistants

These apps get designed to handle daily tasks. Some popular examples of these apps are reminders, notes, calendar, stopwatch and alarm clock. However, extra utilities can help enhance their powers and make them work better. These utilities make it possible for them to convert, estimate and calculate in a better way. For example, utilities can help turn a screen into flashlight, and scan QR codes. In short, these apps help increase a mobile user’s productivity.

#2. Geo-location Guides

Geo-location guides or GPS-powered guides are one of the most popular apps. The GPS guide allows users to use travel, weather, and navigation apps. The GPS feature uses Internet connection to find the geographical co-ordinates of the mobile device, and thus, users can find almost anything (from restaurants to railway stations) using the power of the Internet.

#3. Multimedia Tools

These apps help in playing video and audio files, capturing and editing images, and sharing all of them in popular social networking channels. It is clear that they are mainly for creative people, and video and music lovers. These apps are becoming more innovative and functional as Smartphone cameras are constantly getting better.

#4. Branding Solutions

These apps are a part of an effective marketing campaign adopted by smart companies. They get exclusively created to increase the reach of a company as they target their mobile customers. These apps allow users to access all the services of a brand on the go. Users can receive promotional deals and special offers, and stay up-to-date with a brand all the time.

#5. Proprietary Solutions

A user cannot download these special apps from the app stores; they are exclusive to internal usage. These apps run only on a handful of corporate devices, and are available only to the authorized account holders. What purpose do they serve? They perform automatic operations, and carry out data processing, planning and management works.

#6. The Educators

These apps get specially designed for kids, and fall in the games category. Unlike normal gaming apps, however, they focus on imparting education. They help a kid learn how to count, read and draw in an interesting and fun-filled way. In short, they help to wake the natural interest of a kid to learn something new and useful.

How to Write – Grammar Software

Grammar is a challenge not only for budding writers or for people with ESL. Even Native Americans or those with English as their primary language make the most awful mistakes in their written works. A lot of times, people are too dependent on the limited capabilities of their word processor, and would rather submit an article that is deeply flawed in English grammar. Whatever you write or let other people read reflects the type of person that you are. Passing a paper with a lot of grammatical errors can be very embarrassing and degrading. To make sure that your sentence construction is correct, and your subjects and verbs agree, why not use grammar software?

Grammar software is an innovative take on the English language, allowing a lot of people to write better and become more skilled in speaking and expressing complex sentences and words. The common problem of most writers is that they tend to be too lazy to proofread their work. They would rather write all the things in their mind and leave the editing to another person. But the problem is, what if there is no one to edit your work? At this point, if you are still not willing to do the dirty job of editing or grammatical errors, at least get software that can cut down the words for you. An average grammar software can be a very efficient companion in writing. It can do almost everything from revising and drafting an entire paper or report. You don’t have to sit in front of your laptop or computer for long hours of proofreading and editing.

Aside from correcting your grammar, the software also has the ability to check on your punctuation and spelling errors. You get a lot of benefits with just a single program. Whatever text editor your word processor have, the software can double up the work and enhance the main functions of your current computer editor. If there are also specific applications that need to be technically written, you can also enjoy the benefits of having your software with you. At the end of the day, you are viewed as someone who is credible in the field of writing, and one who knows exactly how to express his/her thoughts in concise and profound words. If you want to start using your grammar software now, there are a lot of programs for you to choose from. You can check online on some of the most popular software programs to date. These can also be downloaded and can be directly installed in your computer. Once you have it up and running, you can immediately start writing in your word processor and activate the software for instant proofreading and grammar check. To be sure on your selection of software programs, you can also ask some of your friends for recommendations on some of the best today. You can also check reviews online from other users of the software, or browse through the main websites of the different software programs.