Choosing a project management tool can be a very difficult decision.
Just ask in Facebook groups and it can turn into a very heated debate.
I get it. Each person works differently. Each person has different preferences.
But I believe there are 5 features your project management tool must have in order to make it effective.
A subtask is a task that is connected to a parent task and it has the ability to set a due date AND an assignee.
Think about it. Many of your tasks have multiple steps that you don’t want to forget.
Take a podcast episode for example. You have to write the questions, email them to the guest, record the episode, edit the episode, load to Libsyn, create the graphics, write the show notes and more. Some action items are done before others. And some of those steps might not even belong to you, like if you have team.
This is where subtasks come in.
You can group all the tasks needed to complete a bigger project together. You can assign out due dates to make sure the project is moving along and you can assign them to the appropriate team member.
This is an ABSOLUTE MUST as it keeps everything in one place.
You would think this is a feature with all project management tools, but it isn’t.
Are there tasks that you do over and over again? Such as a weekly meeting or monthly review or daily inbox zero?
Then you need recurring tasks.
Recurring tasks allow you to set up a task to recur automatically. This saves you so much time because you don’t have to manually add each task. The tool does it for you.
And this should be easy to do. You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops.
Sometimes due dates change, you lose a team member, or you accidentally create a task in the wrong folder.
Things happen. And you need an easy way to make those updates.
Being able to change multiple tasks (and subtasks) at once saves you so much time.
Dependencies are a MUST HAVE if you have a team or even just do client work.
They let the team know what tasks are ready to go and what tasks can’t be started yet because it is waiting on (aka dependent on) another task.
It is great because it adds accountability. And you can see at a birds eye view if a task is overdue because it is waiting on someone else.
Personal Dashboard / Daily Tasks View
The point of a project management tool is to keep you on track.
Having a personal dashboard that shows you all of the tasks you have to work on that day (and coming up) allows you to plan your day according and makes sure you don’t miss anything.
It is great if you know what you need to do for one project, but that doesn’t give you the big picture. This should show you all of your tasks across all of your boards/projects.
A Tool That Has It All (and More!)
My favorite tool that has all of these features and more is ClickUp.
If you are looking for a project management tool either to start out with or to transfer to, I can't recommend ClickUp enough.
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What is one feature you can't live without?