Do you need project management tools? It is important for remote teams to use them for increased efficiency. Luis shares his thoughts.
According to GitLab’s latest report, only 20% of nearly 4,000 respondents use a project management tool. That’s insane. How are people able to work remotely without a project management tool? People must be using task lists of some sort, probably sharing them. According to Luis, communication and coordination are the names of the game in remote work. So you need something to enable coordination. Slack and Zoom are widely used for communication, but you still need coordination. Watch this video to know more about remote communication and coordination via the use of project management tools.
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Most remote workers don’t use project management tools. What’s up with that? Welcome, ladies and gentlemen to Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis. Yes, I am Luis’s twin. Luis’s twin. You know it’s not Luis because I have shorter hair and I’m not wearing a blazer. He couldn’t be here today, so it’s up to me, his more handsome, someone would say evil twin to join you for a virtual coffee chat.
Let’s talk about project management tools or the lack of them because apparently according to GitLab’s latest report, only 20% of nearly 4,000 respondents use a project management tool. That’s insane. I don’t know how people are able to work remotely without a project management tool. I honestly do not know. I don’t know how I did … I suppose people must be using task lists of some sort, probably sharing them, I guess that constitutes a proto project management tool. And I’m certainly a fan of preferring tools with minimal overhead, but no tool, no project, I mean … Look, communication and coordination are the names of the game in remote work. So you need something to enable coordination. Communication is usually pretty much settled with Slack and Zoom and alternatives, but you still need coordination.
It’s not like it works to just have a Slack channel and everyone say, “Hey, I’m on this, I’m on that. I’m on this. I’m on that.” And then just look through the whole history to know who is up to when the deadlines are, et cetera, et cetera, that’s just insanely inefficient. I guess that you could make a case for sharing to-do lists as a proto project management tool. Again, doesn’t strike me as particularly efficient. So let’s talk a bit about what a project management tool is. At its most basic, it’s a version of a whiteboard with post-it notes on and then post-it notes as a task, possibly a deadline and a person that it’s assigned to. And that said, one of my favorite project management tools for remote work is actually Trello, which is a virtualization of that concept.
Of course, then it has a lot of different bells and whistles, capacity for information, et cetera. But at it’s core, it’s a board with post-its that are assigned to someone and that can have deadlines. And using that enables you to look up at any moment, what everyone is up to, what everyone has assigned, who is responsible for what and absent in office. And actually I would use one off these tools, even if I was working in an office because it just makes everything much simpler. But absent in office, I don’t see how people can coordinate without something like this. It’s just insane to me, that 80% of people working remotely don’t use this. So there’s a lot of room for improvement there.
If you’re working remotely, if your team is working remotely and you don’t have anything where you can see what everyone is up to, what everyone is responsible for, the deadlines, et cetera, et cetera. If you’re just working in a situation where you have your own to-do list with your own deadlines and that’s it, whenever someone needs to intersect with that, you just need to talk it out. That’s extremely inefficient and I would encourage you to talk whoever’s responsible, maybe just put the topic up to your colleagues saying, “Hey, we should consider finding a project management tool.” There are plenty of options that are free up to a certain point, but the free version is perfectly good to start. Basecamp has a very robust free option. Basecamp, the user interface isn’t very modern, but if you like to-do lists, it’s a pretty good way to have team-wide to-do lists plus a lot of extra functionality.
Some people even use it to communicate instead of Slack. I don’t think it’s as nice because by design it’s designed not to disturb you, but sometimes you really need notifications. I certainly do. And it’s easy to miss things in chat and Basecamp. But overall, I would say it’s a winner. I’ve used it for several projects and several companies. It’s definitely a good way to start. Trello. Trello, you need to have a reasonably nice laptop or computer for it to work fluently on a web browser, but it’s surprising the extent that you can organize projects and teams using the free version of Trello. And then of course there are many paid apps that you can just easily Google and look it up and think remote because at thinkremote.com we have articles about the best tools for remote work and among them, some of the most essential are project management tools. So, give them a try.
If you’re working remotely without them, you are definitely [gimped 00:05:53]. You have still no idea if the level of efficiency that your team can reach. Of course I stress, work is more important. Work is more important than organization. So prefer tools with minimal overhead. I do think that the ones that I described allow you to work as a group with minimal overhead. But of course, humans have a tendency to complicate things and it’s possible to over-engineer systems and processes in even the simplest tool. So don’t do it. Keep it simple, but use a project management tool. It’s going to be a game changer, I promise you. In any case, this was it for our Virtual Coffee Chat with Luis for today. It was a pleasure being here with you. And if you enjoyed it, please press like, subscribe, and share and visit thinkremote.com for all the latest remote work news and insights. See you tomorrow.