Software tools are an invaluable help for managers and project management professionals. Once a project manager has gained experience, they tend to have their own list of preferred tools for managers. For a PM just starting out, it can be tricky to know which tools are best.
At Teamhood, we know how important it is to find the best tools for any job. That’s why we’ve put together this list of tools for managers that incorporate every main category that’s most useful.
Project management tools are perhaps the most difficult to get to grips with because the best of them have so many features. At first, you might not know what to look for.
This is why we have put together a comprehensive comparison blog on the best project management tools here. For this article, we’ve decided to feature some of the easier-to-use or more specialized project management tools.
Teamhood is a visual and easy-to-use project management tool that has a wide variety of features to choose from and use. You will find Gantt charts, Lists, Kanban boards, workload management, time tracking, and more. It aims to create a visual environment that is easy to use and understand even for the first-time user of such tools. At the same time, Teamhood provides reports and analysis of your data in order to give you more of an insight into what is going on with the projects.
Proofhub is a good all-around project management tool that is useful for managers in most industries and is easy to get started with. It is particularly useful for combining multiple functions in one place – or ‘hub’. As a result, Proofhub is a good way to promote collaboration for remote teams. It gives you access to Gantt charts, reports, timesheets, cloud-based file management, and even an in-built chat tool, meaning it fulfills many of the specialized functions in the rest of this list of all-in-one tool.
- Toggl Plan
This tool has one of the simplest user interfaces of all project management software tools. So, even though it counts the likes of Amazon, Airbnb, and Netflix as clients, it is designed to be used by small and medium-sized teams. This makes it ideal also as a project management tool for managers who are just getting started and need something that is easy to learn and use.
Accelo is a cloud-based project management tool for engineering managers you can access via any desktop or laptop. It also comes with Android and iPhone apps so you can use it on your smartphone and iPad. Accelo is popular with professional services businesses and was designed specifically as one of the tools for engineering managers. Accelo users are able to generate tasks from project requirements, trigger automatic communications with clients, and keep records of all communications linked to the relevant client account.
In contrast to project management software, task management is more specific, and focused on creating, prioritizing, assigning, scheduling, and managing tasks. Good task management tools exist to make this process smoother and more effective. You can read Teamhood’s comprehensive task management tool comparison here.
Meanwhile, below are three of the more quirky and most frequently recommended task management tools that are particularly useful for first-time project managers:
Weekdone enables you to align your team through objectives and key results (OKRs). This means it does cross over into being a team management app, but it does so through specific OKRs, making it more task-based.
What’s more, the Weekdone tool actually guides users step-by-step through implementing OKR by providing examples of best practices and a learning center. Users can also get OKR coaching from professionals via the app.
Super simple and easy-to-use automated task management tool. Todoist will automatically highlight your most pressing or more urgent tasks based on the criteria you give it. This reduces the time spent putting together priority task lists.
Todoist is good for visualizing your team’s productivity. Although it lacks a Gantt chart view, this is something you can get using other tools if needed.
TeuxDeux is a to-do list app that creates checklists for your daily tasks. It has a simple interface that allows users to strike through tasks as on a physical to-do list. It also automatically carries over any unfinished tasks from one day into the next. Using the built-in calendar, you can organize tasks for the week ahead or month ahead, making this a super simple tool to get started with.
Best people management tools 2023
People management tools are those designed to help with scheduling, optimizing productivity, and increasing satisfaction and retention. Think of them as a kind of HR support. Here are three of the most interesting and potentially useful.
If you are looking for the best workload solutions, check out this list of the best workload management tools.
- Team Compass
Do you need a robust and easy-to-use tool for weekly and daily task planning, Team Compass enables managers to assign tasks and keep track of their team’s progress. It also comes with a nifty Newsfeed feature which keeps all team members informed on what everyone is working on. This feature can also be used to praise achievements and share the good news – a great way to optimize motivation while also keeping everyone in the loop about what’s going on.
ZoomShift is a work scheduling app that allows employees to take more initiative in scheduling their hours, improving staff accountability. It considers employee work availability, overtime, time-off requests, and shift swaps when creating real-time schedules.
Managers can use Zoomshift to track employee schedules and reduce internal conflicts. It’s also a great time saver due to the ability to export employee schedules and attendance to your payroll software. Files are also stored on the cloud, allowing managers to upload, store and share any relevant files of multiple formats.
SoapBox is a shared agenda tool for one-on-ones and team meetings. It offers shared meeting agendas so individuals can add items, assign next steps, and more. The tool automatically generates and sends out meeting minutes once the meeting is finished. It helps to make these key personal development conversations documented, collaborative, and actionable.
Time tracking tools can be useful for optimizing performance either at a team or individual level, either by managing from above or by giving team members the ability to manage themselves.
An automated time-tracking system that track’s your team’s web and desktop app usage and generates reports detailing its findings. Team members can also use Timely to track their own individual usage, making it a useful way for them to take ownership of and accountability for their productivity.
- Webwork Time Tracker
A time-tracking tool that also offers task management and employee monitoring. This tool makes it easy for managers to get a general picture of how their teams work and how much time they’re dedicating to projects. The visual representation of the process allows managers to identify and eliminate potential bottlenecks. It’s available across web, desktop, mobile and Chrome extension, and also have four screenshot modes for different levels of privacy.
- Time Doctor
An excellent scheduling app that allows you to track the performance of your individual team members, pick out top performers, and highlight any performance issuers. Team members can use this data to identify and work on their own strengths and weaknesses. Useful for tracking and easy to integrate with other apps – unless you’re on the lowest-cost plan.
A cloud-based project resource management software that includes resource scheduling, capacity and leave management and time tracking. Features include time tracking, timesheets, work scheduling, leave management, and resource scheduling. Managers can customize to suit their needs, as well as being able to assign customer fields to people and projects and in the form of data tags.
Collaboration tools are useful for focusing work, communication, or files in one place, making them easier to store, track, share, and modify while reducing the risk of human error.
- Google Workspace / Google Drive
Google Workspace comprises all your daily Google tools – Gmail, Docs, Spreadsheets, and more. Many organizations use this as the backbone of their collaboration. It’s super useful for remote teams and for coordinating the efforts of multiple freelancers on a project. It’s also free and easy to access for almost everyone regardless of where they are in the world.
Within Google Workspace, you can also access Slides, Calendars, Meet, and a plethora of other management tools. The only potential drawback is the need for most teams to expand their storage space or move to a paid plan. However, the feature set is second to none, as is its ease of use.
Brosix is an easy-to-use instant messaging platform designed for creating closed, private, secure IM networks. Think a more secure and private version of WhatsApp, with more features, such as sharable, stored, and searchable messages that are easy to tag and retrieve when needed. Team members are also able to send/transfer files of unlimited size that are encrypted. You can also easily share your screen with other users, take and share screenshots of what you’re working on, use a whiteboard tool to help visualize your ideas, and keep track of multiple conversations at once.
Shift consolidates all of a team’s apps into one easily searchable interface. This significantly reduces time wasted by switching between apps or browser tabs. This tool can also consolidate all your email addresses into one central inbox. Again, this is all about efficiency and consolidation to optimize the time taken to switch between apps and tools.
Best communication tools 2023
Effective communication is at the heart of all successful projects, and these tools are just some of the most widely used tools for improved and enhanced communication in 2023.
Possibly the most famous video conferencing tool in the world, Zoom is now ubiquitous. Most of us have used it since the lockdown. Particularly good for connecting large remote teams, its video and audio-conferencing software is easy to access and intuitive to use. Suitable for live chats, webinars, and screen sharing. Also notable that most features are still accessible for free.
- Microsoft Teams
Probably the next most famous video conferencing tool after Zoom, Microsoft Teams is particularly useful for companies that use Office 365, as it is a fully integrated part of that software suite. This is part of what makes it so useful, as well as its chat function, which makes it a blend of Zoom and Slack. Simple to use and intuitive for the majority of teams already used to Office 365.
The best-known team messaging app on the market today, Slack was designed to reduce reliance on email and stop urgent messages from being missed or ignored. Organize chat by specific topics, or teams – or both. Can be a very efficient way to communicate instantly, but does risk individuals getting overwhelmed with too many messages, so needs to be managed with your own set of in-house rules to optimize its usefulness.
Chanty is a new calling and voice messaging tool that incorporates elements of Zoom, Teams and Slack, and may be easier to use than all of them, although it is not as feature rich in chat as Slack, or in video conferencing as Teams. You can review previous communications quickly, search all previous links, tasks, files, and messages. There are no limits on the number of items being stored, which is particularly useful.
Next steps for picking the tools for managers
Now you’re familiar with many of the coolest and most useful tools for managers to help manage projects and teams more efficiently, what should you do next?
Teamhood incorporates the functionality of all of the different tool categories above, being a great all-around project management tool with specific task management, team management, time tracking, communication, collaboration, and people management features.
Find out more about how Teamhood could help with your project or task management needs.
Passionate content marketer looking to bring better solutions to the project management space.
2020 - Present Marketing specialist at Teamhood.
2014 - 2020 Marketing manager for Eylean.