Breaking Down Popular Project Management Tools: Slack vs. Trello vs. Basecamp vs. Asana
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Breaking Down Popular Project Management Tools: Slack vs. Trello vs. Basecamp vs. Asana

Integrating multi platform digital solutions for work isn’t just an option in 2017 - it’s a necessity. Gone are the days of paper agendas and endless email chains. Today, thanks to project management programs, we have numerous ways to organize both our work and the work of other team members.

The Internet is full of options for managing our daily work, but are they as good as they claim to be? Is one app enough for the entire project management process, or do you need multiple apps working together to get things done? In this article, we’ll go over the features of the four most well-known PM tools. We’ll tell what makes them great but also exploring the negative aspects that don’t usually appear on product info sheets, yet are key to finding out if a particular app will be a project savor or a project dud for your organization. For a nice graphic summary of this, visit Softonic’s nifty infographic.

Slack

Slack has become the top-choice communication tool for many companies. Though at first glance it looks like nothing more than a chat app (it even reminds us of the old IRC channels), this tool goes way beyond a simple conversation platform.

Its channel system is perfect for organizing a company’s spreadsheets by project and allows communication channels for established teams as well as temporary channels for temporary projects or contractors.

Although its primary purpose is to communicate, Slack is the king of integration: you can use it in combination with other productivity tools (Google Drive, Todoist, Jira…) so you don’t miss a single detail, making traditional email notifications ancient history.

Despite its advantages, Slack isn’t without setbacks. As well as it does integration, it’s not the ideal app for creating and tracking assignments. Another negative is that its chat design sometimes creates huge amounts of unnecessary messages on some channels. Their rudimentary message search system doesn’t help differentiate between the important and the unimportant messages either.

Trello

Trello is an ideal tool for project management. Inspired by the Kanban method, it’s a virtual blackboard where, in a very visual way, users can create projects, assign them to team members, define specifications and more.

Trello is great for collaborative projects where hierarchy isn’t an issue: everybody on the board can see and edit what others have started. The fact that everything is displayed on virtual post-it notes makes it simple to understand and use, even for those who are more reluctant to use new technology.

However, beneath its attractive appearance, there are aspects that need improvement. For one thing, it doesn’t have a calendar function, something essential in the world of make-or-break deadlines. On top of that, it falls short with its integration with other services. These two features make Trello a good platform for small-scale projects, but not powerful enough for more involved projects where there is much more to keep track of.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a pioneer in the PM sector: founded in 2003, this project management app remains one of the most used in the business world due to its numerous options and features.

Far from new methods, like Kanban mentioned above, Basecamp is an app with a simple interface that reminds us of forums from the past. Each “thread” is a project. If you click on a thread, you can define the details, assign it to collaborators, create to-do lists, share files and more.

Basecamp is much better suited for larger-scale projects than Trello. Also, unlike similar apps, Basecamp isn’t just designed for company employees, but also clients as well. The platform can be a wonderful tool for communicating with them.

Despite its advantages, Basecamp has been showing its age, apparent in its lack of portability and integration. Everything that happens on Basecamp stays on Basecamp, since integration with external services isn’t on par with its competitors. In addition, its design is somewhat outdated, something that could put off those who judge apps by their appearance.

Asana

If you find Basecamp outdated, Asana could be a good alternative. Asana also lets you manage the entire workflow for the projects you’re managing, but on more modern and attractive interface.

Its easy and intuitive functionality makes it the perfect app for creating and managing tasks for different teams. As a tool of the current generation, Asana has the look and feel of social networks, with a to-do system that reminds us of Facebook’s posts and comments format.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. Within each task on Asana, you have several options and integration with multiple external apps (storage services, productivity apps and even “rival” apps like Trello).

Of course, too many features aren’t always a good thing. Asana may be chaotic for large-scale projects and its notification system could use some improvements. Also, unlike other apps that have many internal options, you need to use integration and extensions to get the most out of Asana.

What’s the best Project Management app?

As you can see, the four contenders in this comparison have both positive and negative aspects, so there isn’t one ideal app for all types of organizations.

If you’re planning to use any of these services for your company, we recommend two things. First, think about the type of organization you have, your structure and communication needs. Second, try “trial” versions of all these services and test them out with your employees. There’s nothing like trial and error to determine which project management app is the best fit for your team.