Feeling overwhelmed, disorganized and out of the loop? You’re not alone.
When we analyzed results from our 2020 healthcare content and marketing trends survey, we found that the three biggest challenges among our survey respondents were:
- Short-staffed teams (38%)
- Lack of internal communication and siloed departments (24%)
- Lack of tools or processes to manage marketing efforts (15%)
Frankly, we didn’t find these results too surprising. After years of working with the healthcare industry, these are pain points we often hear from our clients and colleagues.
With that in mind, we wanted to share some of the best project organization tools we’ve used for collaboration and project management. We hope these tools can help our colleagues who are feeling the pressures of short-staffed teams or chaotic internal communications.
Our favorite project organization tools
We pulled together five of our go-to tools that help keep projects organized and on track. These tools have well-designed interfaces and are relatively intuitive, which means your team can jump on board quickly and ramp up productivity. Plus, there are a couple on our list that are either free or have free versions available.
If you think we missed something on this list, be sure to share your go-to project organization resources in the comments section below.
Basecamp is one of the most popular project management tools available today, and WriterGirl is no stranger to the platform. The cloud-based platform allows us to easily communicate internally about projects through to-do lists and message boards. We can also upload files to send drafts to team members and editors, or to share final versions with clients.
Basecamp also makes it easy to get a high-level view of what’s going on across your various projects through project activity updates and daily recaps in your inbox.
While Asana isn’t our in-house project management tool, it has grown to be one of the leaders in organization and task management. And although it’s a robust tool, its interface is well-designed and intuitive.
Asana allows you to easily collaborate on projects and track milestones for your team and your clients. You can also upload files, ask questions and start discussions within individual tasks.
One of my favorite features of Asana is the timeline. With this tool, you can better visualize your overall project plan and set deliverables to be dependent on the completion of tasks and sub-tasks.
We’ve mentioned Trello in the past as one of our favorite tools for content marketing, but it’s also one of the best project organization tools out there today. It’s easy to use and it helps us better visualize complex projects.
Trello is a Kanban-style collaboration tool that you can use on your own or across teams. After creating a board, you can organize “cards” into lists. Each card can also include comments, file attachments, links, images — the list goes on. You can also color-code and categorize individual cards.
Trello can work for campaign planning, customer journey mapping or as an editorial calendar. If you’re managing a blog, you could create different lists for articles that are in progress, completed, or under review. Each card can also include details about the article and any relevant attachments or links.
Oh, and did we mention that Trello has a robust free version? A paid version can help you take project organization to the next level but trying out the free version is a good place to start.
4. Google tools
The WriterGirl team often uses the various tools available through Google, including Google Drive, Sheets and Docs. When we need to collaborate on an internal project or brainstorm ideas, these free Google tools make it easy.
When it comes to editing, Google Docs allows multiple collaborators to hop in and leave comments or suggest edits. Plus, users receive email notifications when someone has responded to a comment or suggested edit.
Google Docs and Google Sheets also come in handy for an editorial calendar “parking lot.” With this setup, anyone on your team can contribute ideas for your editorial calendar. Here’s a glimpse at how the WriterGirl parking lot is organized:
We also like Google Docs for passive brainstorming, which allows our team members to contribute solutions or ideas without having to restrict the timeframe to one meeting or brainstorm session.
Harvest is another tool that is a staple here at WriterGirl, where we use it to track time on projects and tasks across the organization. Tasks are easily customized across different projects, so we can provide more detailed reports to project managers and clients.
This time tracking app also has an easy-to-use interface that can be accessed in various app versions, including web, desktop, iPhone or Android. Harvest also offers a whole bunch of integrations with other project management tools, including Basecamp, Asana and Trello.
Teams can also use Harvest to track expenses against specific projects or tasks.
Improve communication for better project organization
The tools mentioned above are a great way to improve your project organization. Still, one of the most essential features of a successful project is frequent communication amongst team members. And, as our industry survey showed us, healthcare marketers often struggle with siloed communication.
Here are a few ways WriterGirl communicates to keep projects organized and on track:
While we often post messages within our project organization tool, the WriterGirl team also takes advantage of Skype’s chat feature for quick questions and clarifications. This allows us to get fast answers so we can keep projects moving along.
Skype’s voice and video calls also come in handy when typing out a question won’t cut it. These quick check-ins can save time and lots of unnecessary emails.
While voice calls can sometimes do the trick, seeing a team member’s face and watching her speak can often improve understanding and prevent communication issues. It’s also a great way to prevent remote work isolation and connect with our co-workers.
FreeConferenceCall.com is another one of our go-to tools for both internal and external communication. Whether it’s a team meeting, a project kickoff with a client or an SME interview, this service makes it easy to talk via phone or computer.
FreeConferenceCall.com also allows you to record calls, which saves us from having to frantically jot down notes or type transcripts.
Is it time to rethink your project management processes?
As you jump into 2020, it may be a good time to stop and think about your current project procedures — is there room for improvement? Take stock of the tools you use and the pain points in your organization, and find spots where you can adjust and optimize.
While you may not need an entirely new project management system, a few small tools here and there could help smooth out some bumps in your process.
Which tools are you hoping to try out in 2020? Do you have some favorites you’d like to share with our readers? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
Project management pros to the rescue! For years, WriterGirl has been managing healthcare content and marketing projects for organizations across the country. Whether you need someone to help with a website overhaul or a physician bio project, our project management expertise can help you reach your goals. Drop us a line to learn more.