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Event orchestration | 21 October 2016

6 Event Project Management Tools To Help You Work Smarter

David Epstein

Post-Its, paper checklists and spreadsheets aren’t the ideal event project management tools for the modern event organizer. With distributed teams collaborating on projects from different timezones, a constant influx of emails, messages and pings and increasingly demanding stakeholders, event planners need a modern project management solution built for the way we work today.

But what tool is right for you?

That’s the million dollar question, and it is one that this article should help you to answer. We’ve curated a list of 6 of the most respected project management platforms available. While each platform listed here has pros and cons, all of them are a capable of managing event planning projects and more. They are ranked in no particular order.

1. Basecamp 3

Price: $99 / Month

Basecamp is a collaboration first project management tool ideal for those planning events with a team. The creators of Basecamp took a holistic approach to project management which means that everything a team might need to get work done is inside of this platform. From chat tools, to file management, and of course to-do lists, Basecamp could be the only tool you need to manage your work.

As with other project management tools, the Basecamp home screen is divided into teams and projects, which means that users can easily switch between one event planning project to another (ideal for event planning agencies or consultants). As mentioned, Basecamp supports different teams as well, which means users can easily speak with multiple clients or multiple teams.

There are a number of features that are unique to Basecamp, one of them is called “Campfire”, which is essentially a scheduled group chat ideal for brainstorming ideas or troubleshooting an urgent issue. Campfire makes it encourages for teams to collaborate in real time, regardless of where the team is located.

Basecamp.png

Basecamp also features a few mechanisms designed to make it simple for project leaders to check in with other team members through automated messages. As a project lead, an event organizer can schedule a daily end of day message that asks others to describe what they worked on that day, or the project lead can schedule a “daily stand up” where members commit to completing specific tasks that day or week.

Key Features:

  • Live chat
  • File sharing
  • Document collaboration
  • Automated check-ins
  • Group hangouts
  • Segmented team and project boards

2. Asana

Price: $8.33 / user / month billed annually for Premium (Free for 15 or fewer users)

To-do lists on steroids, that’s Asana in a nutshell. This simple yet effective project management tool is ideal for planners who tend to be overwhelmed by technology with an endless amount of features. Asana allows users to work on projects in teams, and allows project managers to monitor the productivity of those teams through reporting features.

Users are able to add tasks and subtasks, set due-dates, and comment on those tasks to provide feedback or additional information as needed. Plus, Asana can remind team members that tasks are due or overdue, helping to keep people aligned even when projects become complex.

Asana Main Product.png

Thanks to custom fields and many integrations, including one with Slack, Asana works well when used by organizers interested in implementing a specific process or work flow. That’s because people completing a task, could be required to fill in pre-defined custom fields in order to mark the project as complete.

Key Features:

  • Automated check-ins
  • Segmented team and project boards
  • Custom fields
  • Integrations
  • Calendar view

3. Trello

Price: $9.99 / user / month billed annually for Business Class (Free with fewer tools)

If Pinterest created an event project management tool, Trello would be what they created. Trello is a flexible tool that uses cards and columns to organize tasks. It is perhaps the most visually intuitive tools on the list because of the column and card system.

As with other tools mentioned here, Trello allows users to separate projects (called boards) and teams. Team members create assignable cards with a due date, a card title, and if applicable a label, and project summary. Files can also be attached to cards, which makes referencing previous content or creating new content a snap.

usecases-card.jpg

Trello features a host of integrations (mostly available through Business Class) that makes it possible to connect tools like Evernote, Dropbox, Mailchimp and Slack, among others. Similar to Asana, users can customize Trello by adding required fields that help formalize specific processes.

Perhaps best of all, Trello makes it easy to intuitively understand what tasks are most critical because cards are sorted vertically, the card closest to the top is usually the most urgent task on the list, and since Trello allows users to filter cards, everyone can work from the same board while only seeing the tasks relevant to them.

Given all of this, it should come as no surprise that Bizzabo uses Trello and we have written about how event planners can make the most of it, here.

Key Features:

  • File sharing
  • Segmented team and project boards
  • Custom fields
  • Integrations
  • Calendar view

4. Wrike

Price: $9.80 – $34.60 / user / month billed annually

Wrike could be an ideal tool for those working at an agency or as a freelance consultant, since it allows for up to the minute time logging, and the creation of gantt charts.

Wrike.jpg

As with other tools, Wrike supports multiple projects and teams, and makes it easy for users to collaborate with one another to provide context or project feedback. It also integrates with other tools like Photoshop, which makes it an ideal solution for teams that are frequently tasked with collaborating with designers.

Key Features:

  • File sharing
  • Segmented team and project boards
  • Custom fields
  • Integrations
  • Calendar view
  • Time logging
  • Sharable Reports

5. Dapulse

Pricing: $25 – $118  / user / month billed annually for five users

Dapulse claims that “project management software is dead,” instead they argue that business people need a need a simple but highly addictive tool that can easily be implemented in a single department or across an entire company. To that end, Dapulse is an easy to use tool based on what feels like a modernized Excel layout.

Dapulse.png

The platform relies on highly flexible spreadsheet that makes customizing the task management process easy to do. It provides users with a view of tasks for this week and tasks for months or quarters ahead as well, making it easy for everyone to stay aligned on day-to-day to-do’s and larger business objectives.

Dapulse also integrates with a number of different tools like Salesforce, Google Drive and WordPress among many others. This means that Dapulse can be set up to incorporate event data from other platforms to make managing projects even easier.

Key Features:

  • Segmented team and project boards
  • Custom fields
  • Integrations
  • Wrapping Up

6. Nifty

Pricing: $79 – $124 / per month, billed annually

Nifty helps teams plan, track, and implement projects all in one workspace. Teams can make use of an integrated chat system, time tracking, and automated project status reporting. Besides that, teams can also use Zoom video call directly in the app. By clustering project management and team communication in one tool, team workflows are simpler and quicker. This way, a team can use one tool for both internal and client-side communication.

Project Management Tools - Nifty

Key Features:

  • Integrated chat
  • Time Tracking
  • Automated status reporting
  • Zoom integration

Wrapping Up

Those who are able to plan the most successful events are not only organized and driven, they avail themselves of the best tools for the job. Gone are the days when events could successfully be managed with pen and paper, or even with a spreadsheet. Today, and increasingly moving forward, event professionals will need to incorporate project management and event management tools to be most successful.

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