Capterra’s Rachel Burger recently wrote a captivating piece that discussed some of the biggest changes affecting the project management profession. Burger pointed out that a growing number of project managers are using non-traditional project management tools instead of traditional software applications. She states that it will be a while before more industries use their own project management software, but there are a number of more specialized tools that are available to all industries.
“One might expect an increase in Agile’s popularity to necessitate more industry-specific software, but we’re not quite there yet (with exceptions for marketing and design).
Instead, 2017 will mark the beginning of a shift to collaboration software, like Slack and its alternatives, from existing project management software. Gartner explains that the “applications are already in use,” which encourages adoption and change management within the workforce. In other words, because they’re used to using Yammer or Jive, they would likely prefer to stick with those options.”
While she didn’t delve into many specifics, she suggests that new GUI tools can be highly useful. The great thing about GUI project management applications is their simplicity. Many team members don’t have a strong technical background, so they have difficulty figuring out more complex project management tools.
If you are trying to manage your team more effectively, here are some great GUI project management tools that are worth looking into.
Mavenlink was founded in 2008 as one of the first SaaS project management tools. It has evolved considerably over the years and has a much richer GUI interface these days.
Mavenlink has a number of great features that are worth looking into. They include:
- Resource planning
- Financial management
- Collaborative capabilities
- Expense tracking
It is used primarily by professional services providers, such as financial, engineering, marketing and public relations. However, some other professions have started using Mavenlink as well, including educational institutions.
Visual Planning is one of the newest project management tools I have come across so far. It is also among the most promising. One of the biggest benefits of Visual Planning is the collaborative, real-time scheduling feature.
The developers pointed out that miscommunications often arise during the scheduling process. Project managers make mistakes by either forgetting to assign a task or assigning it to the wrong team member. Visual Planning addresses this problem by allowing anyone to assign topics and updating all team members instantly.
The biggest advantage of the scheduling tool is its GUI interface. It doesn’t take long for project managers to assign tasks because they can easily drag and drop them onto the schedule. This reduces the time they spend on scheduling by 20%.
Agilo for Trac
Agilo for Trac (formerly known as Agilo for Scrum) is a real-time team collaboration tool. The first version of the tool was released in 2009, but the developers didn’t add GUI features until a few years later.
Agilo for Trac is great for companies that need to manage multiple product lines. The tool can simultaneously manage multiple product backlogs without any real complications.
It is used by Agile applications, but users can download an add-on that allows them to use it with Python. The GUI includes the following features:
- The ability to drag and drop on a digital whiteboard
- Inline editing capabilities
- A GUI tool to export to Excel CSV files
I have talked to several project managers that use Agilo for Trac. They said that the new GUI tools make the tool much more efficient to use.
However, there are a couple of downsides of Agilo for Trac:
- Some people reported it is more difficult to learn.
- You can’t host more than one project.
- They don’t seem to have a mobile app. They didn’t have one a few years ago when I used it and people I spoke with haven’t heard of one either.
Agilo for Trac is good for some Agile projects, but some of these issues are a deal-breaker for some project managers.
Pivotal Tracker is a more specialized project management tool. Its primary focus is on helping teams from different disciplines collaborate with each other.
Pivotal Tracker added a GUI in 2014, which quickly gained popularity with its users. They reported that the Kanban board is much easier to use than the text-based interface, even for programmers that are used to typing all day.
In addition to the new GUI, there is another major reason people use Pivotal Tracker for project management. It is a great tool for teams that value transparency. All communications are made public to every member of the team. This minimizes the risk of miscommunication or team members restricting the flow of important information.