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Best Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Team in 2020

By | Backend Support Services, Business Improvement, Customer Service, IdeasUnlimited US Remote Workers, Remote Support Services, Remote Work, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

A New Era and the Use of Project Management Software and Tools

Ever wondered how technology has encompassed every field of life today? For businesses, small or big, technology has enhanced the way teams are created and the way they work. Projects can now be delivered by a remote team spread across the globe, an in-house team, or a combination of both.

How is that convenient, you ask? Are you also wondering if such work arrangements will be productive?

The global remote workforce has been growing over the last few years because collaborative and interactive technologies have dissolved all geographical barriers to create efficient virtual workspaces. Reports on remote work show that 35% companies have currently employed a remote workforce, while 89% respondents are involved in fulltime or part time remote or virtual work. Moreover, a remote team shows 10-43% higher productivity as compared to an in-house team.

Benefits of Project Management Software and Tools for a Remote Workforce

Are project management tools effective for virtual teams?

Project management is difficult with an in-house team, and with virtual teams it becomes even more overwhelming. But technology provides the ideal solution. An ideal project management software helps a remote team in project planning, time management, resource allocation, and change management. As virtual workspaces are here to stay, effective project management is a must to build a remote workforce that is competitive, responsive, and successful. A good project management software serves to overcome the time-consuming communication issues and aids in efficiently streamlining processes and tasks.

Project management software and tools serve as a classic solution for keeping things organized and meeting deadlines—leading to greater profitability. Just like for an on-site team, the benefits of using project management software and tools for a remote workforce are innumerable:

 Better planning, execution, and monitoring

 Maintaining work schedules

 Better and clearer delegation of tasks

 Better collaboration

 Efficient problem solving

 Meeting deadlines

 Faster delivery of projects

 Better evaluation of performance

To give you a head start, we have compiled a list of the best project management software and tools for managing a team, especially a remote workforce. These have been handpicked based on ease of use, agility and advanced features, free trials, and quality of customer support.

Proofhub allows you to easily plan, collaborate, organize, and deliver projects—big or small—on time. This project planning software is based on Kanban boards where you can create custom workflows using tasks, assign user roles, choose a project manager, use Gantt charts, and do much more.

Create unlimited projects and add unlimited users, by paying a simple flat fee. Their free trial allows you to try it with your team and since there is a negligible learning curve, you can start using it for your business right away.

Proofhub - Project Planning Tool

Loved by over 85,000 teams and businesses around the world, including Google, Netflix, and NASA, this work management system ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. You can even bring on your clients, show them the progress made, and get real-time feedback and approvals from them. There is no need for lengthy email exchanges any longer. All you need to do is set up your client on Proofhub, give them the access they need, and make your life easy.

They promise to make work a “rewarding experience”, so go ahead and give it a try today.

Wrike is a cloud-based leading project management solution for team collaboration that serves well for both in-house and remote workers. It has won the Best Project Management Software award in 2018 and has 99% positive user reviews. It has a user-friendly, convenient interface, easy set up, and it works just as well on mobile devices. Wrike provides tutorials, documents, and live webinars for training.

It works well for prioritization, visualizing workflows, and analyzing results. Wrike’s features such as Gantt Charts, templates, built-in time tracking tool, scalability, and workload view are equally popular among project members and project managers.

It also offers cost-to-completion tracking for better budget management. Therefore, it has a dual functionality as a resource management cum project management tool. Wrike is a comprehensive software which comes with flexibility and customization to suit each team’s needs. Furthermore, it gives you the flexibility to easily integrate with various tools.

It is particularly beneficial for a virtual workspace because of its many data management and collaborative features. It helps in creating a remote team that is self-sufficient and productive.

Teams up to 5 members can reap its benefits for free. Bigger teams or enterprises can try it and then opt for a professional plan. However, reviews show it works best for marketing and design teams with 20+ members. It comes with a 24/7 support through a live customer service representative, which most definitely is a big plus!

Previously known as Dapulse, Monday.com has revived its image and has emerged as a fun, visually appealing, intuitively easy to use, and organized project management resource.

It offers collaboration and communication tools and provides integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack.

It is popular for remote workforce management because it is easily customizable, provides in-built tracking and monitoring, and can seamlessly become part of any established software system.

With a common dashboard, centralized communication and data management, the entire team stays in the loop. Different bright colors for each project stage, easy to add to-do lists, and member-designated tasks help the teams efficiently plan their timeline and use resources.

Its strongest feature is a URL mirrored Mobile Application. This is invaluable for those who are always on the move—as is the case for most remote workers. Monday.com offers the same interface on mobile as on PC/laptop, edging Monday.com over its competitors because of the easy integration and connectivity with the team.

It is most popular with creative agencies but is equally convenient for all other industries. It does offer a free trial and has different plans depending upon the features required and number of team members. Users find Monday.com intuitive but in case you have any difficulties, its robust customer service is always available to respond to queries.  This excellent and reachable customer service sets them apart from many other viable options.

This is one of the cloud-based software from Zoho with a focus of providing all basic features of project management. It has a simple pricing plan for both the web and mobile applications.

With clear user design, its best feature is its strong integration with other services from Zoho as well as Google and Microsoft. Moreover, the in-built chat option saves the user the hassle of opening external tools and keeps things simpler and timely.

It helps a remote team become organized through its time tracking, problem resolution, and document management tools. Progress tracking is also easy and quick due to easy-to-access Gantt charts, reports and analyses, and individual workflows.

It has a multiple view option and the members can choose their own style, depending on their preference for tasks lists. Impressively, Zoho Projects has shown continuous improvements, giving its users a better interface with many stable, customizable, and advanced features.

Along with tutorial videos and webinars, it also provides in-person trainings for the optimum use of the software. It has a free version for unlimited users, but the features remain restricted. For paid plans, you can enjoy a 10-day free trial to see if the plan suits your specifications or needs any revision. All their plans are flat rate and are very cost effective for larger teams.

Do you often find yourself scrambling at the last minute while trying to manage routine tasks and organizing work schedules for your remote team?

Asana might be a solution to your needs. It is another popular cloud-based project management suite that effectively helps you track the progress of your remote team and meet targets. It offers a simple layout, where all project and task details can be added for easy view.

The easy, flexible layout and mapped-out details for each task benefit the team in staying organized, identifying and rectifying any loopholes or errors, and adjusting schedules instantaneously. Thus, a remote team not only collaborates through Asana but efficiently completes a project by setting priorities, adjusting work structure, and assigning tasks—eliminating overlaps and delays. For routine tasks, a process timeline can be used and

shared as a template for all similar future tasks.

Asana can tie it all together for you with more than a hundred tools for integration, be it email, file sharing, data security, anything you can think of! It has gained popularity among small as well as large businesses and has 96% user satisfaction reports. It also acts as a resource management and collaboration software. Moreover, the mobile application helps with real-time updates and tracking.

It has a basic free version, while the premium and enterprise plans—with advanced and collaborative features—are billed yearly. For a larger team, the premium plan can come cheaply, and it offers exclusive projects, unlimited guests, unlimited dashboards, data export, central administration and other advanced features. Enterprise plans provide agile tools and customer support. Other than higher security and backup options, this plan also guarantees a dedicated customer success manager and instant customer support throughout the year.

Basecamp is most popular in creative agencies and it is very similar to a personal assistant who takes care of everything from assigning tasks and tracking the progress, marking them as done and then moving onto the next stage of the project. It is equally popular among entrepreneurs, contractors, small and medium businesses, and departments of larger organizations.

It has an easy, efficient system that helps in long-term planning and resource management as well. It gels conveniently for multi-customer and multiple projects firms.

It has all the features for collaborating on a project such as to-do lists, message boards, schedules, documents and file storage, and group chat. Since a decade Basecamp has been helping teams to organize, delegate, and monitor tasks.

It has a good file management system and integrative tools that helps virtual teams easily access what they require and finish tasks uninterruptedly. Team members can store, link, tag, share, and comment on project documents and files. The built-in real-time chat room is great for sharing ideas, proposals and discussions, and keeping the entire team on the same page. Therefore, Basecamp is your go-to tool when groups need to efficiently monitor their projects and achieve targets in a timely manner.

Basecamp gives you the freedom to set a date range, prioritize and rearrange tasks according to your needs. By the end of each operation, an automated report can be generated to analyze the progress and save time.

Use your google account to log in and you can enjoy a 60-day free trial of this software. The paid subscription is a fixed annual payment and depends upon the type of use.

For paid plans, the best part is that basecamp comes with all updates and IT issues are taken care of by 24/7 technical assistance. Users can also join a live Q&A base for instant solutions to their queries.

Here is another camp for you to join and enjoy some campfire with your team members!

Freedcamp is a cost effective, user-friendly software that has excellent features for seamless and convenient collaboration of remote teams. It is easily used through iOS and android applications too.

It is a project management solution that is not heavy on the pocket. It is used by a diverse clientele from many industries, ranging from retail, marketing, architecture, interior design to IT services, manufacturing, construction and many more.

Freedcamp features and tools facilitate project management through project scheduling, document and issue management, task management, reporting and time tracking. It has an in-built calendar for scheduling, reminders, tasks and monitoring events. It also has invoicing and billing and project templating tools.  Similarly, Wall is the interactive feature which allows instant communication between all parties. The settings can be used to adjust who sees what. This plethora of add-ons make up for the lack of a vibrant interface for Freedcamp.

It has a comprehensive and responsive customer service. Freedcamp has a general free plan for unlimited users and projects. Moreover, the company offers advance plans to non-profits, teachers and students without any costs.

Trello- Project Management Tool

You will love Trello whether you have just switched over to remote work or have had a remote global team for a while. All the features you need are completely free.

It is a Kanban-style project management app that helps you visually organize tasks, deadlines, and files. You can collaborate with and give updates to a team as well. Organized by cards, boards, and lists, it is a perfect tool for brainstorming a new idea or managing an ongoing project.

Best of all, use their amazing Power-Ups to sync your Google Calendar with the Trello boards, introduce agile elements to your workflow, connect to Dropbox, and do much more. You get one Power-Up free with each free account or you can upgrade to use unlimited Power-Ups. Trello even offers you the possibility of creating one for your own team, with custom functionality.

Conclusion

Using the right set of tools is necessary to reap maximum benefits of a remote team and its potential talent. At IdeasUnlimited, we have honed our remote workforce optimization strategy over the last 8 years to ensure the best quality of work from a geographically dispersed team. Our workers have a wide range of experience of using the above project management tool in several industries—be it real estate, sales, IT etc.

We would love to hear from you! If you have tried any other tool for virtual collaboration that has worked wonders for you, then please share your experience in the comments below.

 

Combating Food Waste on the Micro level - IdeasUnlimited

Combating Food Wastage on the Micro Level

By | Entrepreneurship, Food for thought, IdeasUnlimited Let's Contemplate Fridays | No Comments

Our IdeasUnlimited team has a tradition of sharing something positive and something thought-worthy every Friday before we all leave for a relaxing weekend. This gives us a chance to discuss our thoughts and bounce ideas off each other about giving back to the society in any way that we can. Coming from all over the world, the IdeasUnlimited’s team brings in knowledge of ground-level realities and a varied experience and input on every topic that is under the limelight each Friday.

This is in spirit with the IdeasUnlimited ambition of mutual growth and becoming conscientious world citizens.

A few Fridays back, our CEO Shahzad Yaqoob (Nick) initiated a discussion on food wastage across the continents. It got us all thinking about how we experience food waste as individuals and how can we counter it.

Food wastage is a complex and multidimensional issue. It impacts human existence through nutritional and environmental degradation.

Research shows the increasingly dismal situation of food availability, usage, distribution and access disparity amongst the developed and developing countries of the world over the years.

The stark differences in economic development are also reflected in the prevalent levels of food poverty and food waste reduction efforts among nations. The nature of food insecurity, hunger, food waste and food loss varies across the globe. Thankfully, there are many international and local initiatives that have prioritized food waste eradication as their main goals.

For a succinct and holistic report on Food Wastage and Loss Around the World prepared by IdeasUnlimited, please

click here

However, food wastage largely remains a societal issue which needs attention from all segments of the society. It is important to bring this narrative under discussion and share techniques for combatting this growing menace at households, organizational, and national levels.

One of our colleagues at IdeasUnlimited, Ashlie, has shared that she feels very strongly about food waste at the household level. Food wastage for her is eatables thrown away because of thoughtlessness, which is in effect food that did not reach the deserving families who are starving. Ashlie aptly calls food hunger as “a branch of poverty, yet arguably a symptom of uncontrolled luxury”. She practices portion control for adults in her household and only cooks a healthy version of the food her young son likes to eat, in order to avoid throwing away cooked and uncooked food. She suggests the creation of food drop-off points in every locality to utilize food that is not being used in homes.

This way instead of throwing it in bins, we can forward it to our fellow citizens who are facing food shortage.

On the same lines, Shakira advocates and practices controlled grocery shopping. This involves buying grocery only when needed and in quantities that can be utilized before the food goes bad in the kitchen. She is also a strong proponent of repurposing leftover cooked ingredients into snacks or supplementing them with another small dish for another meal. This not only reduces the burden of cooking but ensures that food never finds its way to the bin. Better yet, she packages up any leftovers and gives them to the less privileged around her.

Shahzad thinks developed nations should play a major role in eradicating this global issue, as these countries are more proficient in terms of technology and resources. As the developed world has a much more significant proportion of food waste around the world, they should be looking into making permanent and universally applicable laws for reducing portion sizes at restaurants and establishing food pick-up points after lunch and dinner hours to help the needy populace receive food parcels (with due regard to hygiene and health issues) which would otherwise be thrown away as wasted food items.

Shahzad postulates the usage of robotics and artificial intelligence to set up a permanent facility in every neighborhood for transferring food from those who do not need it to those who are looking for it. Not only would this assist in sorting any food parcels from households, restaurants, and supermarkets, it can match it with those who need it. This one-time investment can be fruitful in expanding the radius of collection and delivery of such food.

Moreover, a website or app can be set up that is updated at the backend in real time with available food packages and the contents of each.

Those seeking assistance in getting access to safe and healthy food can sign up for this service and get notifications on availability of the same. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) behind it can match the food packages to those in need closest to that location. The possibilities are endless!

He also believes that more investment should be made towards advocacy campaigns to educate households about efficiently utilizing food products and forwarding them to the less privileged in case of any excess.

I believe the major reason for food waste in today’s world is uncontrolled and growing consumerism. I see how we over-buy at giant food suppliers and hypermarkets because of cheaper prices and promotional offers on bundle purchases. I often find myself becoming a victim of these marketing gimmicks. An international law on food wastage and recycling for Hypermarkets should be implemented to monitor and control food wastage practices.

However, moving from a developing country to developed country, I have noticed how the number of needy people and the nature of food waste changes. Back home in Pakistan, it is very easy to find someone to whom you can give your excess cooked or uncooked food. It is very common at my parents’ house to pack all leftovers and distribute them to the poor people they find on roads on their way. Moreover, there are numerous local food points locally called ‘lunger’ where anyone can drop off cooked as well as uncooked food or even money, to be used by the administration there to feed hungry people. This is done as a form of charity.

Whereas in many developed nations like UAE, government takes full responsibility of its people and their wellbeing. One cannot find hungry or needy people and children asking for food on the roads or pavements. Here, it is very important that you shop and cook wisely to avoid filling your bins instead of nourishing other humans in need. Having said that, to feed people there are government established food or charity centers where you can help in preparing and serving food and provide raw food that can be cooked and distributed amongst the needy.

We always have a choice of being proactive and resolving a growing crisis or contributing to it. Together as a team at IdeasUnlimited, we have become more resolute to reduce food wastage in and around our spaces—resolving the problem at our own micro level. As a result of this discussion, we have come to realize the exponential and multilayered effects of food waste and loss around the world.

Hence, we have decided to become a strict advocate of food sharing and managed grocery shopping to perform our part of helping this world become more equivalent in terms of food distribution. As, indeed, if we do not practically become a part of solutions for Food Wastage and Hunger, we will certainly remain a part of the problem.