There are plenty of solutions for managing tasks and to-dos for teams to be more organized and efficient while sharing work and collaborating on the same projects. If you are looking to start using such a tool at your work place or are already using one, but would like to try something new, this post will give you an overview of 4 options to consider.
A perfect task manager tool has the right set of features, nice and user-friendly interface, is fast and easy to use. It should be flexible, but not overwhelming or confusing with loads of advanced functionality that your team doesn’t need.
Let’s take a look at a brief overview, major features and pricing of:
Use the highlights below to compare these utilities and see if one of them matches your needs.
Asana is a web and mobile application. It allows you to manage tasks online without using email.
In Asana, you can create an organization or a workspace that will include members (your company employees) and guests (customers, partners, etc.). Employees are grouped in teams and organize their work in projects with tasks displayed as a to-do list that can be sorted and filtered based on user’s goals. A tasks list can have sections to arrange tasks based on their priority, different work stages, categories, etc. What’s nice is that the list of tasks is not overloaded with details. But they are one click away – select a list item and view its details on the sidebar that can be collapsed to get a better view of a tasks list.
Working with tasks is easy and intuitive, while powerful. You can assign a task to delegate it to someone, set a due date and time, create sub-tasks, post a comment, attach files, follow the task, mark the task complete or incomplete, and more.
Besides seeing a list of tasks from the project perspective, you can view the list of all tasks assigned to you or some other person across all projects. Another cool feature is personal and team calendars, which show tasks assigned to you (personal calendar) and tasks of your team across all projects in a single view.
Also you get:
- Inbox page, where the updates on all projects you’re a member of and tasks that you follow or are assigned to are shown
- Dashboard with your projects’ progress charts
- Basic and advanced tasks search capabilities
- Reminders about tasks
- Private projects, tasks and teams
- Creating tasks and conversations by sending emails to Asana
- Team conversations, where team members post announcements and discuss work
- Email notification as an alternative to using Asana Inbox.
Pricing: Accounts in Asana are free and tied to individual users. For teams up to 15 people there is a free plan with basic features. For larger teams or to use premium benefits, you need to upgrade either the entire organization or one team. The cost of the premium option depends on the size of your plan. You can get Asana Premium for $8.33 or less per user per month. You can be billed monthly or annually. Learn more
Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk (RTM) is a cross-platform web-based application that you can use to manage tasks from a computer or smartphone online or offline.
This tool is a popular tasks manager for personal use, but you can perfectly customize and use it for business purposes. While it is a bit frustrating that you need to go to Settings every time you need to create a list for tasks, adding new list items is quick and easy.
If your team’s work is organized in projects, you can create separate lists for each project. Plus there are:
- Inbox list that contains tasks sent or shared with you by other users, tasks you have emailed to your inbox or those you have added via Twitter
- Sent list with tasks that you have sent to other users
- Smart lists that are created based on the search criteria that you define and are automatically updated when tasks are changed, e.g. it can be a list of all tasks at all, all tasks with high priority, tasks due this week, or tasks with a certain tag
Unfortunately, you can’t assign tasks, but you can share or send to-dos to other Remember the Milk users. Tasks can be prioritized, postponed, moved to another list. You can perform actions on several tasks at once and set reminders. It also supports recurrent tasks, comes with flexible search, several sorting options and ability to add tasks via email. It is even possible to add a location to a task.
On the Overview page you can see tasks that are due today and tomorrow, or are overdue and get a printable weekly planner.
Remember the Milk has the Pro Tester Program, which you can join to get access to pre-release versions of new cool features. So if you are missing something in the released version, check out this program and see if what you are looking for is available there.
Pricing: Standard Remember the Milk accounts are free. Pro accounts are $25 per year and give you access to additional features. Learn more
JIRA & Add-ons
JIRA is one of the best issue trackers for software development teams. Lately it is getting more and more popular with non-technical departments and companies as well. Atlassian even introduced JIRA Core, which has the set of features suitable for business teams and offers JIRA basic functionality. However, for non-IT users it can be challenging to work even with JIRA Core, because the way work is organized there (workflows, how operations are performed and tasks are presented, etc.) can be not what business users are used to and are familiar with based on their experience with other apps.
There are add-ons on Atlassian Marketplace provided by Atlassian vendors that extend JIRA functionality. Some of them can provide an alternative way to manage tasks in JIRA. As long as JIRA is available in two versions, Server (you host it on premises) and Cloud (it is hosted in Atlassian Cloud), you need to pick an add-on based on your choice of JIRA hosting option.
In this article we will cover two add-ons for JIRA:
- Plain Tasks, which is available for both JIRA Cloud and JIRA Server
- Structure – The Issue Organizer for JIRA Server
Plain Tasks & JIRA Cloud
Plain Tasks helps hide JIRA complexity. In JIRA tasks are called issues and projects are collections of issues. When you have Plain Tasks installed in your JIRA Cloud, users can view all JIRA issues (tasks) of a selected project as a simple to-do list.
In Plain Tasks, users can easily switch from one tasks list (project) to another and add new tasks on the fly. One issue can be broken down to smaller tasks by adding sub-tasks. You can set task type (e.g. task, case study, campaign, etc.) and priority, add description and assign a task. Users can comment on tasks and mark them as resolved by marking a check box. It is also possible to reopen tasks and continue working on them.
Tasks can be sorted by their creation date or priority. There are also filters to see all or only unresolved tasks, view the list of tasks of a certain type or with a selected assignee.
When you select a task, its details are shown on the sidebar. And you can reassign tasks or change their priority and type by just clicking icons next to check boxes in the list of issues.
Pricing: To use Plain Tasks for task management, you will need to get subscription for JIRA Cloud and the Plain Tasks add-on. The cost of subscription depends on your user tier, e.g. the JIRA Core Cloud subscription for 50 users costs $200 per month and the Plain Tasks for JIRA Cloud subscription for 50 users is $20 per month. You can also get a 30-day free evaluation to try JIRA Cloud and Plain Tasks.
‘Structure – The Issue Organizer’ & JIRA Server
Structure allows creating and sharing multi-level, cross-project, hierarchical lists of issues (structures). It is only available for JIRA Server, which means you would need to host JIRA with this add-on on premises.
JIRA itself has only one level of sub-tasks. Using Structure you can create tasks lists with more sophisticated hierarchies, so if you need your task manager to support multiple levels of sub-tasks, this tool is a real catch for you. There are a lot of features in this product. But for the scope of this article, we need only major ones to get an idea of what’s special about this solution.
With the Structure add-on you can add an empty structure and fill it up by creating new tasks in the hierarchy right for your goals. It is also possible to use structures to create lists with tasks that already exist in different JIRA projects. This option allows to find and add the needed issues from multiple projects using search. As an alternative to manual adding of tasks, issues can be imported or added automatically by a synchronizer. One issue can be a part of several structures at the same time.
The structure board has the progress column, which displays the progress of working on tasks. You can perform bulk changes on tasks if multiple issues are selected. Initially the structures users create are available only to them, but a user can store the way he sees a structure in the form of a permanent link and publish or send it to other JIRA users too.
Pricing: To use Structure – The Issue Organizer, you will need to get licenses for JIRA Server and the Structure add-on. The cost of commercial licenses depends on the user tier, e.g. the JIRA Core Server commercial license (perpetual use and 12 months of maintenance) for 50 users costs $2200 and the Structure-The Issue Organizer commercial license for 50 users is $1100. You can also get a 30-day free trial to evaluate JIRA Server and Structure-The Issue Organizer.