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Tech Tools and Software: What Motivates Change

Tech Tools and Software: What Motivates Change

    Technology has clearly changed how we work. Mobile devices, for example, have allowed for a more flexible work environment, making it easier to work from anywhere on almost any device.

    Whatever changes we adopt, the bottom line remains the same; we want to get our jobs done and done well. And when the technology we’re accustomed to using works, we don’t want to take the time to learn something new. Email is the perfect example. The tech community continues to argue whether email is a dying form of online communication. While tools such as IM have helped us communicate faster, we still use email as our core content management system because we have not yet found another platform that’s better.

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    My previous post asked whether our digital work habits were helping or hindering productivity. Today, the question is what if something could make doing our jobs significantly better than the status quo? Would we change?

    What merits technological change?

    I may be going out on a limb, but I think a new solution needs to be at least 10 times better than the current solution if a company or individual is going to make the switch. But what makes something at least 10 times better? Think of it this way. How much time have I spent on learning? How much does it change my work habits? Are there are tangible benefits? Going back to the email example and how IM has replaced email in places; IM is simple to use, easy to understand, and it provides an immediate response where email could take days for a reply. This is what makes IM at least 10 times better than email in certain instances.

    The experience vs. features phenomenon

    One of the best examples of this phenomenon I’ve seen is one software company’s testing of the next version of its flagship software. The company invested heavily in a simplified user experience, designed to enable users to more easily discover the features they needed as well as expose them to other tools that might be helpful. The company’s development teams took the existing features from the previous product and put them into this new user interface. They then got a wide variety of users – from new to very experienced – to use the new product. The most remarkable comments came from experienced users, who could not believe how much had been added to the new version, even though the only difference was a new user experience.

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    Tipping point?

    Every company or individual can tell you exactly when they decided to switch their processes to something better. For an individual, it might be the realization of how much time is being wasted in a particular effort. For companies, it tends to be something that impacts the bottom line. These decisions often have additional, unforeseen benefits as well.

    One of my favorite examples comes from a major accounting firm. Their “tipping point” was in their financials. They realized they were spending 25 percent more in software costs than needed. A change was in order, and for them it was standardizing their tools.

    The results? They not only were able to reduce costs, but they also reduced software management time by 98 percent, improved productivity and collaboration among their employees, and kept ahead of the competition.

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    Today’s expectations

    With new tools and software, it used to be that “powerful” meant complicated. If you were prepared to take a class, read a book and invest significant time in learning, then that software or tool was more credible and capable of getting the job done. However, in the past few years, the web, mobile apps and the consumerization of software have all contributed to creating a new paradigm; the easier and more intuitive the tool, the better and more likely it is adopted.

    Yet we all suffer from some level of risk aversion and fall to “the old way of working.” I am guilty of this sometimes, and I suspect most people are as well. We know what it takes to get things done today, however old-fashioned. If we sit back and critically evaluate from a technological perspective how we work as individuals, teams and as a company, the red flags will emerge and change will follow.

    Conclusion

    Has your company experienced a technological “tipping point” recently? Or have you personally switched to something you consider at least 10 times better? Please share in the comments.

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    (Photo credit: hand holding the world and email via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on September 25, 2019

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

    Project management doesn’t need to be a complicated thing, not if you have apps that make things a whole lot simpler. When you have project management apps, you can take care of your team, tasks and deadlines, without even being in the office. You don’t even have to spend a lot of money to get most of the apps you might need.

    Here are the 7 best project management apps to super boost your team’s productivity:

    1. Basecamp

      It’s probably the most well-known project management app out there. It allows you to organize projects that act as a central location for everything and contains such things as to-do lists, notes, events, files, and much more.

      It is user-friendly, and has a free 30-day trial period. After that, the plan is $99 per month.

      Find out more about Basecamp here.

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      2. Asana

        If you are looking for something that is not difficult to use, check out Asana. This is a great task management app that can be used for managing projects as well.

        In a nutshell, Asana helps you create and share task lists with your team. The app is simple but smart enough and has got a lot of integrations. Teams with up to 15 members can use Asana for free. Teams with 15 members and up can choose plans that range from $10.99 per month.

        Find out more about Asana here.

        3. Casual

          This is a unique app that offers a different way of doing things. On Casual, you plan your tasks just by drawing them as a flowchart. The neat thing is that Casual helps you visualize and track dependencies between tasks.

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          This app is incredibly intuitive and works great for personal projects, as well as for organizing projects for small teams. You can try it for free, and if you don’t like it, there is no obligation to pay for anything.

          Find out more about Casual here.

          4. Trello

            This app is incredibly user-friendly, and is based on Kanban boards. It actually works like a virtual whiteboard with post-it-notes.

            Trello is great for organizing your to-do lists, ideas, and is very easy to use. You can create several boards to use for various projects, and it’s free of cost. Trello is available to iOS and Android users as well.

            Find out more about Trello here.

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            5. OmniPlan

              This is an awesome app for iPhone and iPad users. If you love Gantt charts, this is definitely an app that you can get a lot out of.

              You start out by creating a simple project outline. Then you can use the app to help you through every step of the project until its completion.

              A standard plan for iOS costs just $99.99, and the pro plan is only $199.99.

              Find out more about OmniPlan here.

              6. Podio

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                This is a great app for medium and large-sized teams working on projects. The special point about Podio is that there are additional features such as CRM and social intranet.

                There are four different packages: Free, which is free for up to five employees and five external users; Basic, which is $9 per month per employee; Plus, which is $14 per month per employee, and Premium, which is $24 per month per employee.

                Find out more about Podio here.

                7. Microsoft Project

                  This is one of the most commonly-used project management apps. However, it is also one of the most difficult apps to use. It does have a lot of features that are popular with project managers, which is why we have chosen to include in on this list. You can customize reports, track burn rates, and stay on track until projects are complete.

                  The basic plan starts with $7 per month, which allows you project team members to collaborate in the cloud, via web browser or mobile.

                  Find out more about Microsoft Project here.

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                  Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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