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Project Management Apps: A Fresh Look

By Brett Owens

Last summer we began our journey toward an automated, money-printing practice when we discussed how to use project management apps to manage your practice and your people. Pardon me while I make the assumption that your firm has not quite yet begun to operate 100 percent autonomously … with your only remaining role being the cashing of your clients’ checks (paid early, of course).

If that’s a reasonably accurate assumption, let’s continue our mission and highlight some of the current crop of project management apps—four new ones, along with some classics that have aged as well as an unpretentious 2001 Bordeaux.

A Few New Options

Here are four new project management apps to consider.

  • Remember The Milk is an advanced to-do list that is a favorite of ABA Legal Technology Resource Center guru Josh Poje. While the program’s been around for a while, the newest versions of the mobile app (available for Android, iPhone, iPad and now also BlackBerry 10) let you manage your to-do lists  from anywhere even more effectively. If you’ve experienced the frustration of non-mobile-friendly web apps, you know how convenient a true mobile app can be.
  • Smartsheet—basically a spreadsheet on steroids—is a dream come true for Microsoft Excel fans. It is blinged out with the project management and collaboration features you always craved in Excel. Spreadsheet jockeys, rejoice!
  • Wrike is a great option for more advanced project management needs because it has the ability to support custom workflows. With Wrike you get everything in one place—your team’s activity, timelines and communications. Perhaps most importantly, Wrike pays homage to the almighty Gantt chart by dusting it off for practical use in the 21st century.
  • Podio is a veritable pupu platter of apps … for productivity, that is. You start with their project management offering, and then have the ability to add additional apps to your plate account (sorry, couldn’t resist). Like a trench-coat-wearing watch salesman, Podio has it all. Need a CRM tool also? Expense tracking? A new Rolex? Check the Podio App Market for current listings.

And Some Classics

Two of these classic project management apps—Workflowy and Basecamp—are what we can call “mainstream” offerings:

  • Think of Workflowy as a giant whiteboard in your office—with the added bonus that everyone can also access it remotely. If something needs to be done, you just add a bullet. When items are completed, you cross them off or delete them. You can also indent sub-items below higher-level objectives to create sub-lists.
  • Project management app “legend” Basecamp caters to the manager who wants to simply delegate once and never speak of the task again. It emails daily recaps to team members, dropping new assignments directly in their inbox. Open to-dos can be sorted by team member by due date—so that at a glance you can see who should not be leaving the office early today.

And lastly, for those who like their project management and their practice management in the same location, the dynamic duo of online practice management applications—Rocket Matter and Clio—also boast their own highly formidable project management features.

  • Rocket Matter was designed to be a vehicle for implementing GTD (Getting Things Done) for lawyers, with a special task capture system intended to “eliminate all ‘open loops’ from your psyche.”
  • Clio also contains an integrated task management system that rivals Basecamp and, like Rocket Matter, provides you with a “one-stop shop” for all case-specific information related to a matter.

Brett Owens is CEO and Co-Founder of Chrometa, an automatic timekeeping software product designed for solo and small firm attorneys.

More Posts to Help With Your Project Management Know-How

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.

Categories: Daily Dispatch, Lawyer Apps, Legal Project Management, Legal Technology, Managing a Law Firm
Originally published May 28, 2013
Last updated September 14, 2019
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Brett Owens

Brett Owens Brett Owens is CEO and Co-Founder of Chrometa, an automatic timekeeping software product designed for solo and small firm attorneys. Follow him @brettowens.

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