The only constant in life is change. In a startup and growth environment, building a strong foundation using a virtual project management tool can either accelerate your progress or slow it down. Organizations that don’t establish clear, consistent processes and document them will struggle to execute projects and track their results. 

If you’re managing your business’s entire pipeline using Excel spreadsheets, your project management system could probably use improvement. When communications aren’t scalable, communication issues are practically inevitable. 

Project management software enables startups to be more productive, focused, and communicative, often helping team members manage projects in real-time. Below, we’ll look at three valuable tools and provide some tips for identifying software that matches your startup’s unique needs.

Zeni provides full-service accounting, bookkeeping, and CFO solutions to help your business focus on managing projects without losing track of key metrics. Learn more by scheduling a demo.

Startup Project Management: Guidelines For Beginners

At its core, project management is a methodology for taking an idea all the way through execution and into sustainability. Different project management methodologies can be beneficial for different types of organizations. 

The Agile methodology, for instance, is especially popular with software development companies. Organizations might choose different Agile frameworks such as Kanban boards or Scrum to optimize their workflow processes and assign tasks. In manufacturing, the Lean methodology approach, which eliminates waste while reducing costs, has become a near-universal standard over the past decade.

Regardless of which method you choose, creating clear systems is critical to maintaining the velocity of your projects, especially as a startup company. As you scale, identify the central processes to your business and document them, housing those documents in a centralized location. Set goals, project schedules, and implement time tracking. Otherwise, you’ll eventually face slower throughput of projects and dissatisfied internal and external customers. 

Finding Project Management Software For Your Startup

Ultimately, project planning in entrepreneurship requires a clear strategy. The right software can complement that strategy, help hone your project management skills, and mitigate communication issues. 

The best project management applications are end-to-end solutions. They’re flexible enough to meet the needs of different methodologies but powerful enough to meet the needs of scaling organizations and enterprises. When evaluating options for project management for startups, ask questions like:

  • Is the project management software designed for a specific management style? If so, is it designed for my startup’s methodology?
  • If my startup doesn’t have established processes, will the software guide how to start in project management?
  • What data or information would you need to integrate into that solution to make your job easier? 
  • What software capabilities and features are the most critical? 

With those questions in mind, let’s look at the features of three of the most popular — and most capable — project management solutions. 

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1. ClickUp

ClickUp is cloud-based project management software suitable for entry-level users and organizations of all sizes, but it’s a particularly attractive option for scaling businesses.

Advantages of ClickUp:

  • It’s designed for the Agile project management methodology.
  • It’s flexible enough for users of other methodologies.
  • The platform’s rapid improvement implementation introduces new, useful features regularly.
  • Its embeddable frames allow for powerful integrations. For example, Google Docs integrates in a way that feels native within the ClickUp interface.

The only significant disadvantage: ClickUp can be intimidating at first, especially if you have limited experience with project management. Other solutions provide more hands-on guidance that may be more appropriate for some businesses. 

2. Asana

Asana is marketed as a “complete project management tool,” which is somewhat misleading — no single solution can meet the needs of every type of business. Nevertheless, Asana is easy to pick up — most users can learn the basics within a few minutes — and it provides plenty of guidance for growing organizations.

Advantages of Asana:

  • It integrates with Google Drive, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other apps.
  • It takes a collaborative approach and features an intuitive user interface.
  • It’s easily navigable, understandable, and functional.

The major downside is a lack of customization capabilities. The API is limited compared to a tool like ClickUp, and Asana doesn’t have as many features for power users. However, Asana is an effective introduction to project management.

3. Trello

Trello is a kanban-based project management solution. Kanban is an Agile workflow methodology intended to reduce bottlenecks by incorporating a visual system for work management. While Trello is a fairly simple application, that’s not necessarily bad news. If your projects are relatively straightforward, there’s no need to complicate your processes.

Advantages of Trello:

  • It’s extremely easy to learn and use.
  • It features cross-department functionality with simple management tools.
  • Its API allows for limited integrations with other apps.
  • It is ideal for smaller projects and teams.

Currently, Trello doesn’t have great functionality for knowledge bases and process documentation. It’s arguably more simplistic than Asana, and it’s certainly less powerful than ClickUp. But if your startup’s processes are relatively simple, Trello gets the job done. 

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Choose a project management solution that grows with your business. 

Search for a solution that solves as many of your needs as you’ve identified. At the same time, it’s important to recognize that no software is a one-stop shop for everything. 

Your overall goal in project management is to connect your strategy with the tactical execution of work. Look for software that will easily align with your current processes and provide the metrics you need to make stronger decisions. Don’t force your business into a project management methodology that doesn’t make sense for your business structure.

Accurate financial metrics can help your teams stay aligned on key goals. Learn how Zeni can help by scheduling a demo.

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