Recently I asked myself how to improve the way I manage my projects & daily tasks. Currently I’m using JIRA to manage our Sprints, issues, features and ideas to evolve our projects. Besides, I’m used to writing my own tasks, notes and crazy occurrences on pen and paper.
I have my own notebook where I draw everything, but it became too unstructured. So I moved to two notebooks, one for keeping my actions to take and meeting minutes and another one for drawing algorithms and arch ideas. I prefer to capture my fleeting ideas on paper, it’s easier & more flexible to get out than drawing boxes and hexagons with my mouse. I like the feeling of wasting ink on papers.
Despite that, I would like to try and learn other tools to improve my daily job, see what other pals and companies are using. So I asked my friends and co-workers what tools are they using.
Project management tools
JIRA – Software development tool used by agile teams
Jira is what I’m currently using with my team. We are used to plan our task in Sprints of two weeks. First day planning, sixth day sprint review and last day demo, retrospective and plan the next one. Jira allows you to structure your task by Epics, story points, issue type (epic, task or bug) and by priority level.
For each sprint you have at least three columns, ToDo, In Progress and Done. Besides it’s possible to add more columns like Closed tasks (tasks done and verified).
Jira allows Kanban boards too, but I’m not a user of that methodology. That’s more project dependent and kanban does not fit our project.
- Price – starts from 10$ monthly per 10 users.
- Trial – 7 days
Trello – Free, flexible and visual way to manage everything.
I use Trello for informal projects with friends like my Communication team from Lacrosse – Barcelona Bandits Lacrosse.
It’s quite user friendly. Trello brings check-lists, tags, deadlines, attachments and the option to assign each task to a member board. It’s possible to create multiple boards and use each one for specific topics. Each board is conformed by columns where you can drag & drop tasks following your needs.
- Price – Free
- Google login
Google Keep – Save your thoughts wherever you are
Thoughts project oriented. Google Keep allows you to create notes, check-lists and audios. It’s possible to share and archive them with tags.
It’s more like a digital concept of Post-its.
- Price – Free
Open source tool that brings the opportunity to manage your tasks and issues on Agile way. It brings a Wiki, status reporting and meetings features.
It feels like the Open source option from Jira. If you don’t have a hosting, they provide support starting from 25€/month for 25 Projects & 25 Users.
WorkFlowy is a notebook for lists. They provide a demo to try it before. WorkFlowy is a simple and clean tool to write your notes and archive or organize them by tags.
WorkFlowy team writes a cool blog sharing new ideas and ways to write better notes.
FeatureMap – Collective Intelligence for smarter decisions
Product more focused in story mapping. Seems more friendly with Lean Analysis methodology by the way that organizes topics and tasks.
Feels like it can grow in a dirty task mapping with a lot of columns and rows. It’s like coding, if you don’t know good maners and don’t respect guidelines can merge into a mess.
Allows integration with Jira.
- Price – Unlimited maps starts from 10€ monthly.
LeanKit – See your Work Flow
Same as FeatureMap. Tool focused in mapping and friendly with Lean Analysis methodology. In both tools you will need a big screen to visualize correctly your maps.
- Price – $12 per user / month.
Old & New School. Easy to use. Each peace of paper fits a small text so you have to summarize your task. Use different colors per topic or project. It can be used to create art too.
They provide articles to boost creativity, productivity & connections through Post-its.
Good for meetings like Retrospectives, Lean analysis and planning. It can be useful for momentum tasks like providing information or memorandums. One thing to remember is not to cover your wall full of papers, because then it will be a nightmare to know which task to pick next.
- Price – 5 pads per $10.
Notebooks plus Trello & Google Keep.
After researching different tools introduced above I decided to keep using my notebooks to write my actions and algorithm draws. Keep Trello for my personal projects (it’s free, cool and friendly, what else can I ask?). Besides, I use Google Keep to take random notes when I’m walking on the street or taking a beer with my friends and they suggest to me websites, movies or TV-shows to watch.