A Guide to Web Design Project Management & 5 Best Softwares
If you’re only designing a single, simple website, you might think there’s no reason to invest in project management software. But for any project of significant scale, you need the right tools to keep up. Otherwise, you’re invariably going to run into setbacks. Part of a website will fall behind and won’t be ready to implement. Worse, if you’re working with multiple clients, it’s easy to let one fall through the cracks. You depend on your business to earn a living. Why risk your reputation by failing to plan?
In today’s competitive environment, you need the right tools to help you meet your deadlines. At the same time, most project management software isn’t built for designers – it’s built for managers. This poses a challenge for individuals who are web designers first and project managers second. Let’s take a look at the five best software packages for web design project management.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
Why Do You Need Web Design Project Management Software?
If you’re running a small project or team, you might think you don’t need any electronic project management tools. But that’s simply not accurate. In fact, there are several reasons to invest in project management software. These include:
- Improved communication: Client management software helps you keep in touch with your customers. You’ll be able to track whether they’ve approved any changes, or the next step in your project. And when they get back to you with notes, you need to make sure those notes are visible to your team.
- Task management: Unless you’re a team of one, you need to keep track of which team members are responsible for which parts of your project. Otherwise, you can end up with redundancies – or worse, unfinished tasks.
- Delivery management: You need to keep track of whether you’re on pace to meet your client’s deadlines. If not, you need to know which tasks are holding the project back. Then, you can adjust your team’s workload as needed.
- Better time management: As a leader, you need to know what your team is capable of doing. This means knowing whether or not they’re ready to take on a new project, and whether they can deliver it on time. Good software will make it obvious when you’re overstretching your team’s resources.
Factors to Consider
Before you choose one web design project management software package, consider what you need. Different tools have different advantages. For example, some are better for a larger design team, while others are better for smaller, tighter-knit teams. Similarly, some project planning tools are complex, while others are better-designed for beginners.
That said, there are a few basic features you should be looking for. These include task management, resource management, time tracking, project planning, and collaboration tools.
Beyond that, you may want to look for additional features. For example, many project management tools will integrate with other popular software, such as Google Drive. You may also need automation or other advanced features.
Another consideration is whether the software is on-site or cloud-based. With cloud-based software, you don’t have to manage any hardware. Not only that, but it will scale with the growth of your creative team. On the other hand, on-site software gives you more control. It tends to be easier to customize to meet the needs of your business, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all cloud option.
Finally, you need to think about price. This is a business investment, after all. Consider the scope of your work and the budget for your design team. If a particular piece of software is too expensive, you may want to consider a more affordable alternative.
The Best Web Design Project Management Software
Basecamp is not specifically designed for web design in particular. That said, it’s one of the most popular team collaboration tools, with a number of useful project management functions.
To begin with, you can perform basic task management. You can create tasks and assign them to members of your project team. You can also view the due dates on a simple timeline. This helps you keep your project on track.
Along with that, Basecamp comes with a number of communications features. There’s a group chat, where team members can quickly get answers to their questions. You can share your documents, both within Basecamp itself or through integrations like Dropbox and Google Drive. There’s even an automated check-in feature. This system will automatically follow up with your team members as their deadlines approach.
Perhaps Basecamp’s most notable feature is that it’s free for up to three projects with up to 20 users. For a smaller business, this may be all you ever need. And at only $99 per month, the Business plan will unlock unlimited projects for unlimited users. Not too shabby!
Podio is similar in many ways to Basecamp, but with a few more visualization options. The basic features are the same. Project managers can create and track tasks, and assign them to team members. However, you can also create custom workflows, so tasks can be automatically handed off from one team member to the next.
In addition to more advanced task management, Podio also includes more integrations. This includes native FreshBooks compatibility, as well as support for GoToMeeting. The free version of Podio supports unlimited projects, but only for up to five users. The paid plan costs $9 per user, per month.
3. Toggl Plan
If you’re looking for a lightweight tool to manage your web development project, Toggl Plan is tough to beat. It provides basic task management, both through a simple workflow display and an optional Kanban view. It even allows you to attach checklists to your tasks, so team members can track their progress.
At the end of the day, Toggl Plan’s main benefit is collaboration. Checklists make it easy for multiple team members to work on the same tasks. At the same time, native file sharing negates the need for many integrations. The free trial version only supports a single user, but the paid version costs only $9 per user, per month. It also includes a 14-day free trial.
FunctionFox is a comprehensive project management tool geared towards creative teams. It helps you work through the entire design process, from the initial project through any changes you need to make. Among other features, you get a task management function to assign tasks to specific team members.
This software stands out mostly because of its reporting features. You can easily output charts and graphs to keep track of where your project is at. There’s no free version, however. The base cost is $50 per month, plus $10 for each user after the first.
Asana is one of the most popular project management tools on the market. It includes an ordinary timeline layout, as well as Kanban boards and Gantt charts. You can also take advantage of a calendar view to make sure everything is on schedule.
Asana allows for integration with dozens of other services. This makes it easy to continue using Outlook, Google Drive, and other software you’re already using. Best of all, the free plan supports up to 15 users. For the paid version, the cost is $13.49 per user, per month.
Each of these web design project management software packages has its own benefits and drawbacks. But whether you need to manage a simple task list or keep track of all your project goals, at least one of these options should meet your needs.
If you want to learn more about project management, as well as other business-related topics, take a look at our resource hub. It’s filled with dozens of articles to help you succeed.