Project management is a big ask at the best of times – but when your team is distributed, things become much trickier. The challenges of work visibility, communication and asynchronous collaboration require remote teams to rethink how they coordinate and monitor their efforts.
Luckily, these days there are all manner of tools that assist with that process, from project scoping and task prioritization, to syncing and tracking progress. While by no means an exhaustive list, we’ve detailed the core tools we use here at Memory for remote project management. Together they allow our product team to work together effectively across 12 time zones.
Productboard is a great system for documenting, consolidating and prioritizing all project tasks. We use it to prioritize scoped features and track the progress of different project work using a simple board format. You can create as many boards as you need for different aspects of your product, add user impact scores, and customize status categories for all tasks in progress. The Insights board is also especially useful, as it allows you to consolidate all feedback, research and requests in one handy place.
Airtable can be used in a multitude of ways, depending on your team structure and approach to projects. At Memory, we use it mainly as a development-side directory – to catalogue all product ideas, scoped feature pitches, different project cycle dates, and all the individual projects specific people are working on. You can view the same content from different perspectives (depending on your preferred aesthetics), meaning all team members can organize and visualize their work the way they find easiest.
Tracking the time you spend on project work is essential for delivering projects on-time and on-budget. We use Timely to automatically capture all the time we put into a project, down to the individual phases and tasks, which makes accurate billing infinitely easier. You can use Timely to track project budget spend, review project activities and quickly pull professional reports to share with stakeholders. It also helps to capture commonly overlooked billable hours – things like overrunning meetings, project communication, out-of-hours email, travel and actual project management itself – as well as get a more accurate reading of your project costs.
Basecamp is one of the best tools for gathering all documents, assets and links for each project in one useful place. Think of it as your project communication hub. Its message board and chronological list of actions, messages and updates make it easy to catch up on project developments and discussions asynchronously, which ensures nothing slips through the net. The post feature allows you to write out product pitches or background in depth, and the comments capability allows you to post updates of weekly progress and discuss any blockers. More generally, it’s an enormously useful space for documenting and sharing key project information with non-development teams like marketing, sales and customer success.
Clubhouse makes it incredibly easy to begin a project – all you have to do is create a Story for any task, chore or feature, and the pre-formatted templates will save you and your team serious time. You can easily track the progress of the whole team with Epics and Milestones tracking, and these features also make it super easy for people to see how their individual work is advancing the project, supporting employee motivation and engagement. We use it mainly for technical implementation and actual product building, as well as mapping tasks and allowing developers, designers, content and QA teams to collaborate on specific issues.
As the most popular and best-rated video conferencing tool in the world, Zoom plays a large part in helping remote project management teams communicate successfully. We use it mainly for complex problem solving, like brainstorming and scoping, as well as project kick-offs and reviews. It’s also useful for providing live demos, and because you can use it on-the-go, is especially handy for remote teams. Just remember to record meetings, so anyone in a different time zone or team can catch up on what was said asynchronously.
Billed as your virtual office, Slack is ideal for project check-ins and quick syncs. It makes it easy to keep your entire project team (including stakeholders) up to date – without spamming people with unnecessary emails, updates and meetings. You can set up a channel for each project and keep project communication accessible to all team members, regardless of their time zone. If you’re looking for a specific note you can easily search through past communications to quickly find it. It’s also easy to share project resources, files and assets and get instant feedback. Slack has the additional bonus of allowing you to share progress with other departments, ensuring nobody is working in silos.