@Work | Tools

3 project management software tools the pros prefer

Whether you’re organizing a client job or launching a relief effort, there are programs that will keep you on track. Here are some of the best.

A Facebook IconFacebook A Twitter IconTwitter A Linkedin IconLinkedin An Email IconEmail

Woman project manager using management planning software on a computerLooking for new software to keep your project on track? The pros have you covered. (Shutterstock/NicoElNino)

There is no shortage of project management programs on the market: in fact, a simple Google search will easily turn up several top-five or top-10 lists. But here are a few programs the professionals actually use.

Microsoft Project

This is the most general and widely used software, says Marcos Aurelio Salvador, a professional engineer for core engineering, requirements management, at Bombardier Inc. in Montreal

“It's a very powerful tool,” he says. “It gives you a general sense of a project, then you can use specific programs for different activities and/or processes.”  (For example, Salvador uses specific product life cycle management software such as Doors and Team Centre for requirements management.)

Microsoft Project also includes built-in templates and familiar scheduling tools. And it integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft software—particularly Excel. “That’s one of the main things I like about it,” says Emily Herczeg, senior manager of competitive intelligence at Rogers Communications in Toronto, Ont. [See The one Excel skill you can learn right now to save time]

Karbon

Designed specifically for accounting firms, Karbon claims to improve workflow efficiency, standardize practice processes, automate tasks and more. But what makes it unique, according to Josh Zweig, co-founder of LiveCA, is that it also allows you to manage your email through the app.

“You can comment and tag people on emails that come through or assign emails to a particular task or job,” he says. “At LiveCA, that saves us from having to copy and paste our correspondence as we did in the past.”

Asana

Fans of this software say it lets you plan and structure work in a way that’s best for you. Zweig also likes its simple “to-do” list feature.

“That’s where I put anything that can’t be stored in Karbon,” he says. He adds that LiveCA uses Asana to manage payroll for clients because it offers a simple way to set up recurring tasks with client-specific information.