The original project management tools were paper and a pen — maybe some colored markers, if you wanted to get fancy. For decades, even the most complex projects were plotted on legal pads, white boards, and Post-It notes.
And listen, you can still go analog if that’s your thing. But these days we’ve got tons of sophisticated software built specifically to help you plot scope, assign tasks, keep track of documents, and generally streamline your workflow. “Project management” might sound like some nebulous corporate task that requires uncomfortable shoes, but guess what — if you’re creating a podcast, you’re managing a project. And that means project management software can help you too.
How project management tools can help
In fact, these types of programs are particularly useful for podcasters. Implementing project management tools for podcast production can help you:
Keep show and episode ideas organized
Create separate files and documents that will help you keep track of the random bits of inspiration that come your way. Then, instead of having to comb through your email drafts, iPhone notes, or, god forbid, physical scraps of paper, you’ll always know where to look to find the name of the guy that girl at a party said would be a great interview if you ever did an episode on his specialty.
Schedule interviews and episodes more easily
Having a centralized calendar helps keep everyone on the same page about what’s coming up and who’s free when. It also allows team members to see where certain tasks are at instead of having to bug their co-workers to ask directly!
Collaborate with co-hosts and other team members
In fact, project management software generally helps people see out of their silos and keep an eye on how the whole process is moving, not just their piece of it. Plus, having a single point of truth that’s accessible to everyone and updated in real time means clearing up confusion about what’s been done and what’s left to do.
Put everything you need for publishing in one place
Podcasts are primarily an audio medium, but publishing one is a multimedia project. Project management software allows you to keep image files for your logo and social media, links to be included in the show notes, transcriptions of each episode, and audio files for intros and outros all in one place so they’re easy to find, every single time.
The best project management software for podcast production: Our picks
With so many options out there, which one will work best for you? Here is our roundup of the best project management software for podcast production, with notes about each program’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Trello: Trello is ideal for beginners because its format is so simple: it’s a web-based Kanban-style list-making application. If you aren’t familiar with it, Kanban is an organizing structure that comes out of Japanese auto manufacturing, but it turns out it’s useful for all kinds of industries, including podcasting! Kanban-style list-making breaks down a workflow into repeatable elements like To Do, In Progress, and Done. These elements are each represented visually as a column on a task board. You start with your tasks under To Do, move them to In Progress, and then, (ideally anyway) all the way over to Done! Kanban can be a great way to keep track of a cyclical process like creating weekly or monthly podcast episodes. If you want to try it it out, Trello is free to start, with paid tiers starting at $5 per month and going up from there.
- Asana: The next step might be something like Asana, which scales well for bigger groups. Instead of being Kanban-based, this is traditional task management software, designed to help teams find ways to aggregate, delegate, and complete tasks. An important feature that Trello lacks is the ability to assign tasks to people — but with Asana, people pull together a list of their tasks across projects to get a full sense of what’s on their plate at any given time. Asana is also free to try, with paid tiers starting at $10.99 per month.
- Monday.com: Monday promises to be an all-in-one type platform. They offer templates as well as customizable frameworks to help you do everything from make a Kanban-style board to tracking milestones and workload, so you don’t accidentally saddle your co-host with too much week after week . You can link Monday to programs like Photoshop and InDesign so team members always know what the latest version of a file is; it can also integrate with Dropbox, and the Google and Microsoft suite of programs. Though if you really want to keep everything in house, Monday offers the option to ditch Google Drive and just compose documents in the app itself with its built-in word processing program. A team of two can test Monday out for free; if you want to include more people than that, paid tiers start at $8/person per month.
- Airtable: Airtable’s pitch is that it allows you to build a custom app for your workflow — without ever having to learn to code. You start by entering data into a database; Airtable then allows you to visualize that data in various ways, including calendars, Kanban lists, and Gantt charts. Its core offering, however, is the spreadsheet, which makes AirTable another nice option for beginners who are already familiar with Microsoft Excel. AirTable’s free version accommodates up to 5 team members; after that, you’ll be paying $10/person per month.
- ClickUp: ClickUp bills itself as “one app to replace them all,” since it offers task management, messaging, docs, and more. Like most of these programs, it offers templates as well as the option to do everything from scratch; you can create whiteboards for visual collaboration, write up documents, and even assign tasks from within those documents to your collaborators. And of course it helps you keep track of to do’s and goals as well! You can try it out for free; for smaller teams, ClickUp recommends a tier that costs $5/person per month.
- Notion: Notion is a Google Docs alternative, designed to help you take notes, create documents and assign tasks. Instead of separating word processing and spreadsheet creation into Docs and Sheets like Drive, however, it allows you to combine both into custom apps. Notion provides you with blank pages that you can fill with different blocks depending on what types of information you need; data in tables can be shared across different docs in the same workspace, so it also functions as a database. Try it out for free, and if you love it, paid tiers for teams start at $8/person per month.
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