project management systems

Project Management Is Never One Size Fits All

Choosing a project management system is all about balancing needs with simplicity.

I wrote a post on project management outlining the basic structure to start with and what to keep in mind when choosing a system that will work for you. 

This week, I put the call out to the fellow Creatives Roundtable community to hear what systems they have in place, why they chose them.

So I’ll start with me. 

Crystal Reynolds | Airtable

I dove into using Airtable this last month. I was looking for an app that would help keep the ducks in a row for projects I work on with my clients.

The user dashboard looks great with the simplicity of listing bases. You can see what is shared with you and customize icons for your own projects to organize your bases.

You can alternate the views. Below is my original task list in a basic grid spreadsheet.

I love being able to send a URL version to my client that they can view with live information. The interactive element where they can sort and organize the content is another plus.

Overall, Airtable is the system I am using for now because:

  1. I chose it because of the user-friendly experience, and a designer, that it visually was modern and didn’t look clunky. Also, the introduction price of FREE gives you all you need to get set up and as I learn more about it, paying for the upgrades will make sense.
  2. Nancy Ruzow had introduced it to me when she invited me to view her content management base. It was the ability to invite others into the base was a feature that makes it more useful when working with clients, as well if clients don’t need the hassle of using it, you can share a preview option which is just a link that shows them the content, and they have the ability to view change the sorting of content.
  3. I had a chance to use Basecamp for free for six months and ended up cancelling my free plan because I found the program was so extensive it required a tonne of training and I wanted a plan I could pop in and visit, not have to dive into all day to keep on top of work. 

One of the best parts of being part of the Creatives Roundtable community is being able to connect with each other and ask for advice and thoughts when it comes to the ins and outs of running a business. So I put the call out to some members and was not surprised to see that each answer to the project management question was different.

Cara Capizzi  | Trello

I use Trello and love it. 

  1. It gives me an at-a-glance view of my pipeline and it’s so satisfying to be able to move tasks to my completed list. 
  2. I tried other tools but because I tend to have a lot of ongoing projects with repeat clients and I have to use their PM tools as well, this works really well for me to stay organized and on track.

Nancy Ruzow  | Slack

I have been using Slack as a tool to coordinate with clients and their projects.

  1. Slack allows all client conversations and file exchanges to be within one environment. We do not lose emails or files sent. I break the channels down to each project, as most of my clients have multiple projects ongoing. 
  2. I also use my Ruzow Graphics/Google Calendar to put due dates, work time, and when to reach back out to a client as a great reminder tool.
  3. Participants can use the basic free level which makes is viable.

Jenny Poff | ProWorkflow

I love love love Proworkflow – it’s easy yet robust and just did some major updates.

  1. My clients don’t use these tools – I have found over the years, they are too busy to add another thing to their learn list.
  2. ProWorkflow allows me to be proactive with start dates and due dates, time tracking, integrating with Dropbox/google drive, sharing with contractors, etc. It also can integrate with QBO but I don’t like to do that.

Lidia Varesco Racoma | Trello & Asana

I’m a little weird and use two apps instead of one. I use Asana for project management when I am working on a large client project or my marketing assistants’ projects. I am very active with Trello and prefer to manage my social media calendar in its space. When it comes to daily projects I am still in old school using a spreadsheet (which I have been meaning to convert to Asana!) 

Here’s a screenshot of my content calendar in Trello.

And there you have it, a glimpse into the inner workings of other creatives’ systems for managing projects. I know there may not be answers here, but there is insight and learning so you can start to confirm that what you have works, or you might see something worth looking into and changing things up.

If there is one thing that I have found beneficial to joining the Creatives Roundtable is having a community of fellow creatives who are at all stages of their business journey. And learning from each other is a great way to benefit from hearing other’s mistakes and successes.

Written by: Crystal Reynolds

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