The best work management tool is the one you build

What makes a good work management tool?

Work management styles are like belly buttons: everyone has their own. With something like 146 million workers in the US alone, that’s a lot of belly buttons. The common tools used to manage work may not fit your style. Rather than work with an uncomfortable system that you don’t like, build the best work management tool you can think of by creating your own. What does that mean? Take a look at three of the most popular SaaS work management tools used today. Which features do you like from each?

Asana work management application

Asana is a very task-oriented tool. It isn’t a traditional project management tool with features like Gantt charts. Asana is more about Kanban / Agile features, a light interface, and a sense of fun and whimsy. Asana is a great tool for detail work. It’s deadline-focused and highlights your daily deliverables for work management.

Trello is a fantastic visual representation of work. By putting cards into lists and lists into boards, it creates a very tactile and visual tool. Brainstorm, plan, assign, and verify that work is being done. Trello is popular among teams for more freeform project planning and brainstorming. It’s also great for smaller teams who want an online Kanban board.

Wrike work and project management app

Wrike is a fantastic tool for traditional project and work management. It has automatic Gantt charts, in-app revisions and mark up, and many more features. Wrike has a whole lot to offer if you’re willing to take the time to learn the many features.  If you’re not able to make use of those features, Wrike may not be the tool for you. If you are able to make use of them, you’ll probably swear by it.

But how do you build your own?

Here’s a crazy thought; you shouldn’t use one tool. You should use two. Trello is great at planning and brainstorming. Asana or Wrike shine when due dates and timelines are crucial. Use them together and reap the benefits of both tools. Connect them with Unito and you can customize the two in limitless ways.

How to combine two work management tools

Set up the Trello project with lists like “backlog” “to do” “in progress” and “done”. Include more lists for different clients or projects.

Then, brainstorm in Trello. The ability to set images on cards and the physical sensation of the tool is hard to beat. When ideas are ready to break into actual tasks, tag them with a label like “work” and then drag them into the “to do” list. Keep Trello cards as a high-level item like “draft new sales brochure.”

Don’t make a Trello card for every single task. That’s what you’re using Wrike or Asana for.

Where Unito rules shine

Here’s where you use Unito’s powerful rules to make work better. Create a Trello + Asana or Trello + Wrike (depending on your second tool) workflow, and then customize it. Set it where you only sync Trello cards with the label “work”. All the rest sit in Trello and don’t bother you in your other tool. In Asana or Wrike, add sub-tasks under the synced task with individual deliverables.

For “draft sales brochure”, for example, you’d take that high-level Trello card and add:

Draft sales brochure

  • write copy
  • design new layout
  • replace stock photos
  • get customer approval
  • write landing page copy
  • design landing page
  • test landing page
  • launch

You want to to keep Unito from syncing subtasks from Asana or Wrike to Trello. Make sure that the label for filtering tasks from Trello to Asana is also applied in the other direction. That way, Trello is your high-level snapshot brainstorm and big chunks of work. The due dates, nested sub-tasks, handy calendar view, and task tracking of Asana or Wrike manage the actual projects. When you complete a high-level task, it’s completed on both platforms. so you can mark projects done and get on to the next one. Now there’s a new approach to task management! 🙂

Do you have any project management hacks to share? Hit us up on Twitter at @unitoio or in the comments below.