James: Today on the show Joanna we are talking about project management tools.
Joanna: Yeah we want to be practical with everybody. We want to talk about some of the tools that we've used and tried and what the pros and cons are of them.
James: So today we're talking about project management tools. What is the number one tool that you're using right now Joanna?
Joanna: For me the number one thing I'm using right now is a combination of what I call sticky notes and Basecamp which is a app that I use. I've used a bunch of other ones in the past. I know that you have as well so we can talk about which ones we've liked or pros and cons and yeah let's get into it like Base camp, Asana and Trello seemed to be the top apps that people are using right now. They're the most mentioned right now and there's pros and cons to all of them. When Base camp changed their interface a little while ago. Well actually probably a couple of years ago now a lot of people jumped ship and I stuck with it. I actually still really like Base camp and I think that a lot of people have been coming back to Base camp as they've gotten some feedback and have continued to improve it. Basically what Base camp is is there's a there's a project that you can create and then underneath that you can share files and deadlines and dates and to-dos and what I like the most about it is the to-do feature, that's the thing that I use the most. So I can assign it to somebody on my team or to myself I can put a date or that it's do or a window of time that has to be worked on and you can add any notes, files, photos, images all that kind of stuff below and then you can kind of track back and forth who's working on it. What the feedback is they can upload like if it's a graphic designer they can upload their files and I can comment on them and we can keep track of projects that way.
James: And are you paying for this right now?
Joanna: Yeah we do pay for it, it's a paid service. I think you pay if I can remember correctly because it just comes right off my church's credit card. So what do we pay for. I think we pay based on how many projects we have open at any given time.
James: Would you say the ballpark per month is on there?
Joanna: Shoot I should have I should look this up before we started. I think we pay around 50 bucks a month or something like that.
James: That's pretty reasonable. Now in the office here we I've experimented with a Asana and Base camp. And the problem that I have with it is it's always this way where we have so many Internet windows open all the time and you're constantly going to online software. I find it to be overwhelming to have too many things on the go. Yeah. I like having something tangible. So we for the most part as far as long-term planning we have a sticky board and kind of note over here where basically we just write all of our our things that are on the go as well as even people's schedules. And we have like future projects just written on stickies and I like being able to go up there about once a day look through it move things around in the order of priority and it allows me to kind of tangibly and physically see things that are going on as opposed to always being on my on my computer and doing that kind of thing. And then as far as his daily task we use WounderList. It's free and that's just a list of I basically will write out you know the night before or you know Sunday night for the week I'll write out a list of things that I want to accomplish and I want the team to accomplish. And all they have to do is check it off when it's done. And then it can you can schedule due dates on it you can even write in notes if you need to add links or even just some instructions. And it's completely free which is also really handy and it's a little tiny app that runs on your computer that can just be off in the corner it doesn't need to take up a full window. And so yeah I find that really helpful just using a mix between the digital and having something physical to touch.
Joanna: Later in the week we're going to talk a little bit more about what I do on what I call the wall in my office and how we lay out projects visually in tactile form in front of us live and in person. But like the digital apps are nice because we're not always in the same places at the same time. So having some sort of digital brain can really help us. Another thing that a lot of people use of course is Asana. I know like our friends over at Church Media Squad. That's how they do all their projects is through Asana. So I definitely have lots of experience using it. It's just not my go to for some people it is like their lifeblood is Asana. And it's again there's no project management tool that is perfect because it's created by a company that isn't you it isn't your brain isn't necessarily exactly how you function. So there's always going to be some that you connect with better than others and none of them are exactly what you want because your business is a bit unique.
James: And team size really matters. The system that we use works because we're a small team. It wouldn't it wouldn't work to use WunderList with 50 staff members. There's just too many people, too much chaos going on which is why people end up with something like Asana or Base camp because they are built to manage large scale teams, as opposed to a really small scale teams. You don't want 50 people coming in to check out you know the sticky wall and start moving things around because that's what works on a few people working together and a small team but not big.
Joanna: That's the key with it no matter what you use it's working with your own team what actually works. That phrase sets from Alcoholics Anonymous, "It Works when you work it" the idea of no matter what tool you use if you don't actually use it if you don't actually update it and check it off and check it every day to make sure you're on track with projects it doesn't really matter how many features it has if you don't actually use it. It works when you work it. And so whatever project management tool people want to use you got to stick with it for a while to find out if it's really best for you.