Comparing 4 Project Management Tools

You have many options for project management software.

There are literally hundreds of ways you can manage projects. A simple Google search for “project management software” will yield many lists of programs and services, all of which do essentially the same thing.

We hear some people actually still use pen and paper or a whiteboard, but it’s just a rumor.

But whatever you decide to use for project management at your church, the hardest part is getting everyone to use it. But the second hardest thing is choosing one. There are so many different features and pricing structures it can overwhelm you fast.

To keep it simple, we’re going to lay out the top 4 project management tools we hear mentioned the most often in church communications circles and tell you what they are good for, what we like about them, what we don’t like, and why it matters.

Comparing Project Management Software

Whatever you choose to work with, the bottom line is it needs to work for your context. Just because some big church down the road or a guru with an affiliate link tells you one of these is the best, doesn’t mean it will work best for YOU. You have to figure out what’s best for your team to use and agree for everyone to get on board.

The initiative interface grade is our assessment of how easy it is for teams, volunteers, and staff to learn how to use the tool without a lot of training.

Now, let’s look at some pros and cons of the big 4: Trello, Asana, Monday, and Basecamp.

Trello

Trello is a kanban board system that resembles a wall full of post-it notes. Don’t be fooled though, there’s a ton of organizational power hidden inside each “card.” It’s a board with columns that have cards within that column that you can move around.

Asana and Monday can also switch to a view like this, but to Trello, it’s really the only option.

If you are a visual person, Trello may make a lot of sense for you. However, we have noticed that users of Trello either love it or hate it, which has more to do with how people are wired than it does with its functionality.

The Good

  • Customizable look and automation rules are available in the free plan, unlike paid features for others.
  • Easy to use and very visual.
  • Integrates with just about everything

The Bad

  • Subtasks can’t be given a due date/assigned team member without paying for it. Each card can have multiple checklists and items on that list can contain member tags, but no individual due dates without, again, paying for it.
  • If you don’t know how to organize your boards, it can get a little confusing.
  • The calendar view isn’t native. It’s free, but an add on and you only get a fixed amount of those per board.

Intuitive interface grade: B+ to A+

Asana

Asana is the most well-rounded free option. If your mind really works well with a list format, then Asana is probably a good fit.

The free plan of Asana is really powerful. Calendar view and kanban board view are both native to the free plan and you can really get specific about assignments and details within projects. You can add up to 15 people to your team on the free plan, which is usually more than enough.

We also like that the free plan has the ability to create subitems with their own specific people assignments and due dates, a feature not found in Trello’s free plan.

The Good

  • It has the most powerful free version of all of them.
  • Versatile and can adjust to anyone’s project management style
  • It also integrates with Zapier among many other specific tools.
  • Has a good mobile app to work from

The Bad

  • Boring user interface except for celebrations. Who doesn’t love a cartoon yeti flying across your screen when you complete a task?
  • Too expensive for features like automation rules and templates. You are charged by the user; no flat-rate plans.
  • Rules (automation) only for paid accounts. So you’re doing everything manually.

Intuitive interface grade: B+

Monday

Monday is our Project Management tool-of-choice for our partners when we work together at Church Comm Team. It’s a good combination of the things we like about Trello and Asana. It is colorful, boasts many different views that are native, and offers TONS of great automation options.

The big advantage Monday has over the rest is how easy it is to automate communication and task management inside. We set up a lot of template boards with automation built in that make working with a team much easier.

The Good

  • Progress tracking is easy and available to the lowest tier plan
  • Integrates with your calendars like Google or iCal
  • Good templates to get you started on different types of projects
  • Great mobile app and other integrations like Slack and Zapier

The Bad

  • There is no free plan. You can test drive it for free for 14 days, but after that, you must pay for “seats.” If you work with us though, it’s not an issue because you’re covered in our workspaces.

Intuitive interface grade: A+

Basecamp

Basecamp works differently than any of the others and utilizes email as a primary notification method. It is a good place to keep ideas, conversations, and files under one project at a time, though its terminology is a little confusing. Creative teams and those who are not so task-list-oriented tend to enjoy its interface.

Teams who live by the checklist may struggle with the interface as well as the insider terminology used to label the different sections. This lack of intuitive design really works against clear communication in teams and is enough to earn a lower grade.

The Good

  • Collaboration of ideas
  • Works from email so you never have to log in
  • Has a standalone app for desktop

The Bad

  • Overall, the interface has everything too divided up so that you have to click in and out of certain areas of the project like conversations or checklists instead of having it all in one panel to work with.
  • Insider language is all over this thing. One menu called “Hey!” and one called “Pings” and one called “Message Board.” It’s hard to know what to do with each area and you’ll have to figure it out.
  • Because of the other negatives mentioned, you’re going to forget where you talked to who about what in what part of the project. It all blurs together because you can chat, tag people, and upload files everywhere.

Intuitive interface grade: C+

Your turn

What are your favorite tools? There are a ton out there.

Or if you don’t really want to think about it, you can always check out our prices and plans and let us organize your workflow for you! We’d love to talk, so hit the Request Free Consult up top and we’ll be in touch!

Seth Muse

Seth is one of the co-founders of Church Comm Team and has been in ministry for over 20 years. He is a trusted voice in the Church Communications space nationally. He has served as a Communications Leader at multiple large churches in the DFW area, is a seasoned blogger, and hosts a church communications podcast called The Seminary of Hard Knocks. Learn more at Sethmuse.com.

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