The Evolution of Project Management Collaboration Tools

Anu Singh

Anu Singh

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: June 23, 2021

Update 6/2/2021This post has been updated with additional information about the evolution of project management tools.

93% of organizations report using standardized project management practices.

A decade ago, project management collaboration tools were very complicated and confusing. However, the present scenario is witnessing an influx of project management solutions that are easy to use, facilitate team communication, and have integrated features.

Looking for Project Management Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best project management software solutions.

Two-thirds of companies are using online tools to communicate with clients and complete projects. However, collaborative project management is yet to reach its maximum potential. This blog will take you through the evolution of project management tools and provide you a list of the best tools in the market.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in!

project Collaboration

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What is Project Management and Collaboration? 

Project management is what teams do to meet project goals and establish workflows. It is deciding on how to go from point A to point B and then doing it.

But, what is project collaboration?

Well, let us understand this through an example. Imagine you are holding a set of balloons, and each one represents a team member.

If you let the balloons go, the winds of deadlines, strategies, and expectations will carry each of these to a different destination. This can be very frustrating. Let us look at it in another way.

If you tie those balloons together and hold them firmly, even strong winds will have a tough time loosening your grip. While you cannot control the wind, you can ensure that the team stays close whatever the weather.

Project collaboration is the energy that binds a team together. It helps them achieve common goals and easily navigates the ups and downs.

Moreover, it lets teams be more productive and aware of each other’s needs, perspectives, and timelines. Even if a team member works across the border, he/ she can still be looped in and contribute to the project.

Under the broader umbrella of project management, collaboration might simply mean teamwork. However, as companies go global, team dynamics are constantly changing.

project management

Source

Evolution of Project Management Tools

Now that you have a clear idea of project management and collaboration let us look at their journey.

1. Past

Let’s have a look at how project management tools looked like 2 decades back.

A. Fax Machines and Paging

Be it in a team or an organization; collaboration was a big issue. While technology made its mark, it left companies with a myriad of project management tools. First came the fax machine, followed by the portable fax machine and then pagers.

B. The EMail Saga

As time passed, leading telecom giant BlackBerry revolutionized communication with a QWERTY device. This device allowed users to reply to messages on the go.

With the start of push emails, professionals developed an on and off relation with emails. Also, they realized that while emails are inevitable but not always necessary.

C. P2P File Sharing and Task Management

While Blackberry and emails were great tools, internal communication quickly shifted from emails to messenger apps like Slack and Hip Chat. However, it was good only for communication and P2P file sharing.

Gradually, video conferencing platforms and task management tools started gaining popularity. However, companies were skeptical about using it.

2. Present

Here is how the current project management collaboration tools work.

A. Cloud Storage and Video Conferencing

The shift to cloud-based platforms was slow and steady. However, in the current scenario, most of the teams cannot do without a Google drive, OneDrive or DropBox.

Online calendars and task managers like Trello, Basecamp, and Asana help teams stay on track and keep track of projects. Furthermore, Skype, Google Hangouts have made video conferencing accessible to everyone.

These project management collaboration tools have helped teams save money spent on collaboration and phone bills.

B. Multi-Platform Usage

Enterprises today use a minimum of three to four applications to collaborate and multiple platforms make it time-consuming and complex. For instance, you send a message via Google mail with a file attached as a link on Dropbox.

An average employee spends 28-man hours on writing emails, managing tasks and organizing calendars. So, if you had all of it in one place, it could help you get through your workday without any distractions.

The need is to find solutions that make collaboration easy so that you don’t need to hop from one platform to another.

3. Future

Excited to read? Here is how the future of collaborative project management would be all about!

A. Cloud Computing For Easy Collaboration

In the coming years, we will see a growth in collaboration 2.0 platforms. But, what exactly are these?

Well, these collaborative work management tools will leverage cloud computing to simplify processes, increase productivity and improve project management software performance.

With cloud storage, task management tools, and communication all at one place, you will be able to get more things done in a shorter span of time.

An example of such a solution is Accenture’s collaboration 2.0 solution. However, it is limited to its clients and not available to other teams.

B. Focus on Scalability

Centralizing processes and scalability will be the core focus of future project management tools. They will offer multiple features like instant messaging, personal planners, and video conferencing facilities for teams.

Moreover, these solutions will offer multiple-third party integrations. Thus, allowing effortless collaboration between teams and helping you manage your priorities.

With rich features and functionality collaboration, 2.0 is slated to take productivity to the next level and redefine teamwork.

Top 5 Collaborative Project Management Management Software

Here are some of the best project management solutions to invest in.

1. Zoho Projects

zoho projects logoZoho Projects is a cloud-based collaborative project management software designed for small and midsize companies.  From project scheduling and budgeting and defining project tasks to estimating project costs, Zoho Projects does it all!

It lets you automate document processes such as access control, search and retrieval, and revision tracking. Zoho Projects also provides a portal for sharing documents with team members.

One of the best offerings of the platform is its issue management module that helps managers resolve errors in project tasks.

Pros 

  • No restrictions on the number of projects you can create.
  • Easy to switch between projects 
  • Create workflow automation
  • Ability to share projects with vendors/project participants

Cons

  • No integration with Quickbooks
  • Needs a more compact user interface

Pricing 

Basic PremiumEnterprise 
Free$4/ month $ 9/ month 

2. Focus 9

Focus 9 logoFocus 9 is a cloud-based enterprise resource and project management. Its software suite includes modular enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relations management (CRM) solutions.

You can use it for warehouse management, creating automated workflows, and supply chain management. It has a no-code drag and drop interface that lets you simplify aspects of project management and enhance operational efficiency.

Pros

  • Generate customized reports
  • Excellent customer support

Cons

  • Steep learning curve

Pricing 

Quote-based

3. Jira

Jira logoJira is a business process management tool commonly used by agile teams to track, plan and release software. It will help you create project roadmaps to map out all projects in progress.

Jira also offers functionality to create user stories, distribute tasks and distribute tasks across the team. The icing on the cake? You get access to thousands of business apps, from source code to productivity apps to design and monitoring tools.

Pros

  • Extremely flexible 
  • Ideal for project planning and creating stories
  • Quick creation of bug tickets 
  • Offers advanced analytics and reporting tools

Cons

  • A bit complex to understand 
  • Priced higher than its competitors

Pricing

BasicStandardPremium Enterprise 
Free$7/month/user$14/month/userQuote-based

4. Monday.com

Monday.com logoAn award-winning collaborative project management software, Monday.com has helped 1000+ teams plan, track and execute complex projects on time.

With features such as time-tracking,  automated notifications, and integrated kanban board, workflow automation, and calendar integration, teams can achieve better and faster results for every project milestone.

It offers a collaborative environment that allows team members to share files, communicate and create a knowledge base. With unlimited boards and an integrated timeline feature, you can easily track project progress and tasks across multiple boards.

Wait, there is more to it!

Monday.com can be integrated with various third-party team collaboration and task management solutions such as Pipedrive, Google Calendar, JIRA, MailChimp, Google Drive, Dropbox, and many more.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Gives email and desktop notifications
  • Seamless project tracking and execution

Cons

  • Does not support hosted exchange email integrations
  • Requires  the functionality to expand all sub-items at once

Pricing 

Basic StandardPro
$10/user/month $12/user/month $29.00/user/month

5. Celoxis

Celoxis logoCeloxis is a comprehensive online project management solution for midsize and large businesses. It offers a suite of modules including resource management, time and expense tracking, revenue forecasting, budgeting, and team collaboration.

Additionally, Celoxis’ interactive Gantt chart can handle 10,000+ tasks from different projects. The solution is fully customizable and offers integrations with Excel, Outlook, Salesforce.com, and other tools.

It also offers a notification center that allows you to have a look at notifications right inside the application.

Pros

  • Offers a web-based interface 
  • Mobile Access 
  • Access to Gantt charts and timelines
  • Easy time tracking

Cons

  • Interface is a bit heavy for a small teams

Pricing

SaaSOn-Premise
$25.00/user/month$450.00/ user; One time payment

Wrapping Up

Ease of access, collaboration, and tracking is what all project management collaboration tools aim to provide their customers.

The ones opting for collaboration 2.0 will eventually rule the market and take organizations implementing them on a higher level of success.

What’s your take on collaborative project management? Share your views in the comments below!

Anu Singh
Anu Singh has worked for known SaaS firms and holds extensive expertise in breaking down technical topics into digestible copies. Her content speaks volume about her creativity and knack for exploring new avenues. When not writing she likes to read novels, hone her editing skills and stay abreast with the latest industry trends.

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