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7 Online Task Managers That Divide Monster Projects into Actionable Team Tasks

Some content marketing projects are monsters.

They can eat you and your team alive if you don’t break them into smaller, more manageable mini-beasts!

When I studied C Programming at university in late 2009, my professor said a huge problem is impossible to tackle unless, like a tribal group trying to eat a big elephant, we divide that problem into small, easily digestible chunks, and only then can we start putting hand to code.

Why? After dividing the problem up into smaller tasks, we’ll know exactly how to program each part of the software and solve the larger problem!

The same works for huge content marketing projects.

As a team, you can only lead a project to completion (and success) when you divide the workload into actionable tasks and then delegate to your team members.

Easier said than done, right? No wonder, the number of tasks, data and tracking to handle can grow exponentially!

That’s why you need a task manager platform—preferably one that’s web-based so your team can log on anytime, no matter where they are.

7 Online Task Managers That Divide Monster Projects into Actionable Team Tasks

As a planning-obsessed person (trust me, it’s a healthy obsession when you suffer from anxiety and depression), I love going on a hunt for online task managers that will make my life easier, especially when I want to collaborate with others on content marketing projects.

The seven tools reviewed below have three characteristics in common that I consider as plus points in a good online task manager:

  • They’re intuitive and easy to master at different degrees, but none took me longer than one hour to get started with.
  • They’re mostly comprehensive, including handy features like task categories or labels and priority, charts, productivity trackers and team discussions.
  • They’ll save your marketing life with task notifications and reminders!
  • They’re all accessible online, in your web browser or via apps, which is ideal for remote teams, international teams and teams that travel frequently.

Let’s view them in detail, including the proscons, plans and pricing of each tool.

Donline-task-manager-droptask-1ropTask

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The nice thing about DropTask?

Visual power.

I got myself started with DropTask in less than ten minutes, so talk about a quick learning curve!

The interface is clean and colorful and it works with drag-and-drop diagrams (circles and arrows). DropTask makes it easy to have a general overview of the project and each small task your team is working on. You can visualize the workflow at a glance.

Here’s an example Task under my “Client Articles” category:

online-task-manager-droptask

You can see how easy it is to set progress, importance, effort and other data on a Task!

DropTask also comes with a messaging system (so no need to use email) and integrations (Evernote, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Office 365 and more).

You get two plans:

  • Free: The free plan works for up to five members. You’ll get plenty of features for free, such as task priority, an internal inbox, progress tracking, team updates, notifications, milestones and deadlines, daily summaries, the integration with Google and Outlook and more. That’s a lot in my book!
  • Business: (Starting at $3.49/user/month for a team of at least five people) This is the complete package for unlimited members, including task scheduling, member invitations and roles, access control, all integrations (Evernote, Dropbox, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Office 365, etc.) and much more.

The three-year discount is something to take into consideration if you like DropTask and you’re going to work with your team long-term.

  • Pros: It comes with apps for all the major operative systems and it displays beautifully on a computer, tablet and smartphone. Also, the price for Business can get as low as $1.87/user/month if your team reaches 100 members—a very budget-friendly “the bigger your team, the less you pay” philosophy!
  • Cons: It would be nice if the Free plan allowed two projects instead of only one.

Tonline-task-manager-todoist-1odoist

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Todoist is one of the first task manager apps I used for my own work management, and it took me less than five minutes to get started.

Todoist can be used as a single user or as a team. The two solutions share similar features: An Inbox for comments and notifications, a Today tab (to do today, tasks overdue, to schedule, etc.) and a Next 7 Days tab for tasks due this week.

You can manage projects via Labels, Add Project (or the “+” on the top menu bar) and Filters (to set priorities, deadlines and assign tasks to team members).

This is an example from my own (single user) Todoist dashboard:

online-task-manager-todoist

The only plan for teams, Todoist Business (because Free and Premium are for single users), starts with a free 30-day trial, after which it’s $28.99/user/year or $3/user/month.

This includes project planning and responsibility levels, file sharing, progress tracking, productivity graphs, 24/7 data sync and automated backups.

As for pros and cons:

  • Pros: Available as an app and via web. Also, super quick to get started with, thanks to an intuitive interface and condensed features.
  • Cons: It’s a pity the free version is only for single users. A basic, free solution for teams would have been a better start, even though a 30-day free trial isn’t a bad idea either.

Wrikeonline-task-manager-wrike-4

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No suite I toured so far is as comprehensive as Wrike! I got shivers of excitement when I learned more about it.

But you know, this is exactly the type of comprehensive framework you’re seeking when you have to manage a big team and more projects at more than one or two levels.

In addition to project and task creation, Wrike comes with noteworthy features such as request forms and automated task assignments, live editing of documents, a visual timeline for project progress and resource management on the basis of workload flow. Also, time and budget tracking, templates, simplified feedback and approval cycles.

Here’s how you create a Project from the Wrike dashboard:

online-task-manager-wrike

Remember to create a Project and not a Folder if you want to track progress on Tasks and Subtasks because anything created as a Folder doesn’t get tracked!

A Task can belong to more than one Project. For example:

online-task-manager-wrike-2

Wrike pricing ranges from free to custom, but you always sign up for free and then you can start a 14-day trial to test paid solutions:

  • Free: Up to five users, small teams can easily share lists of tasks.
  • Professional: ($9.80/user/month) Up to 15 users, you can create projects and have your team members collaborate. Includes Gantt charts and integrations with MS Project, Excel and RSS.
  • Business: (24.80/user/month) Up to 200 users, you can manage your entire organization, get customizations and real-time reports, user groups and integration with Salesforce.
  • Marketers: ($34.60/user/month) For marketing and creative teams, from five to unlimited users, with Adobe Creative Cloud extension, creative briefs and proofing.
  • Enterprise: (custom price) An advanced and comprehensive suite with added security (two-factor authentication, SAML Single Sign-On and password policies).

Overall:

  • Pros: One of the most comprehensive task management suites I reviewed so far, but not so complex as to make it impossible to learn in a few hours.
  • Cons: The Professional plan is probably a tad too expensive for its features.

online-task-manager-cospotCoSpot

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CoSpot helps content marketing teams handle writing projects, so it’s very specifically tailored to its own audience—and isn’t that a beautiful thing?

You might think I’m biased because I’m the one writing here, but when I was hired, I found CoSpot so nicely essential and easy to use I managed to get started right away. The interface is clean and intuitive, and it’s easy for team members to communicate with each other thanks to the comment-based messaging system for each Content piece (or task).

Writers on the team can pick keywords from pre-approved lists and assign posts to themselves that they can start writing as soon as their ideas are approved by their editors.

Managers and editors can keep an overall picture of their team’s productivity and performance through graphs of historical data. CoSpot is also integrated with WordPress, making it quicker to get drafts uploaded and edited. The process is streamlined and hassle-free.

CoSpot comes with only one plan for $9/user/month, and you get started with a 14-day free trial.

  • Pros: Content marketing teams get everything they need in one solution, without additional fluff that doesn’t help a team with a focus on writing.
  • Cons: For writing projects only, so not a good pick if you also have email and social media marketing projects to manage.

asana-review-5Asana

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Asana is a project management tool for small and big teams, and it’s a comprehensive suite, inclusive of everything from project and task management to security and reporting.

Asana is flexible and can be used by multifaceted teams who work on multiple projects of different natures.

online-task-manager-asana

This is the List view for tasks in Asana, but you can also select the calendar view and the list of files. As you can see, the tool is very intuitive and clean-looking.

Pricing comes in three solutions:

  • Free: If your team is just getting started and has 15 or fewer members, the free plan helps you manage projects, tasks and communications, and comes with basic dashboards and search functions.
  • Premium: ($9.99/member/month) This plan adds advanced search & reporting, private projects, task dependencies, Single Sign-On and helpful resources like priority support and webinars.
  • Enterprise: (custom price) This plan adds SAML, dedicated support, security features and custom branding.

So, for Asana:

  • Pros: It’s a joy to use, you know exactly where to find what you need, and there are no extra fancy features you’ll never need.
  • Cons: In my own experience, the web-based app makes Firefox slow down and lag until it becomes unmanageable, but that might be depending on my own computer’s resources. Also, I would love to see some kind of basic reporting even for free accounts.

Read the full review of Asana here.

Hionline-task-manager-hitask-1task

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Task management made simple and inexpensive, I’ll say!

This software is specific for agencies, startups and marketing teams, complete with SSL encryption and automatic discounts for teams under 20 people.

Hitask comes with a nice list of features, including storage, a shared calendar, time tracking, integrations (Outlook and Google Calendar), a mobile app, the possibility to send tasks via email, push notifications and reminders for tasks, a team chat, subtasks and hierarchy of tasks, deadline tracking and a lot more.

online-task-manager-hitask

Hitask has plans for all needs:

  • Team Free: Registration is free for teams up to five users. This includes tasks and projects with no limits, sharing for tasks, projects and calendars, a small storage per team, sync calendar with Google and Outlook, no sharing, only online support.
  • Team Business: The plan for bigger teams is $4.98/user/month, and it includes real-time sync, unlimited storage, selective sharing, access privileges and priority support.
  • Enterprise: ($14.98/user/month) This plan comes with personalized support, 24/7 customer service and Single Sign-On.

Pretty inexpensive, not bad!

  • Pros: A comprehensive suite, nicely featured even in its free version.
  • Cons: Interface isn’t as clean and intuitive as the other platforms reviewed here, and it takes some looking around and testing to get started (there’s a guided tour, however, to make it a little easier).

TaskQueonline-task-manager-taskque-1

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A unique feature of TaskQue is the automated assignment of tasks to team members on the basis of workload—which is smart!

That means no team member will ever have too many tasks to handle, while others get a day off because there’s nothing else to do.

TaskQue makes the whole project management process transparent for both company or agency (overall productivity) and team members (for example, tracking their own progress).

The tool makes it easy for team members to collaborate with an internal messaging system, lists of projects, the possibility to reopen closed tasks, discussions (even on tasks), workflow tracking and notifications.

Managers can check the status of a project, forward tasks, check privileges for tasks and projects and assign access levels (Admin, Normal, Limited). TaskQue can also integrate with Slack.

This is how you create a project within TaskQue:

online-task-manager-taskque

Under the Project section on the left sidebar, you can edit, close or archive a project and view the summary for it (statistics).

Plans:

  • Basic: Free up to 10 users (can’t create groups in queues, can’t invite external users, limit of 5 MB of attachment storage).
  • Business: ($5/user/month) Assign privileges, create private projects, groups and advanced discussions.

TaskQue comes with:

  • Pros: Super easy to get started right away with all the basic project management features.
  • Cons: Workload assignment can be a little difficult to understand at first. When you create a new task, you can assign a workload, that is, the maximum number of tasks you can take. That means you won’t be able to take on new tasks as long as your “plate” is full.

Final Thoughts: The Right Task Manager Is What Works for Your Team

Every task manager corresponds to a philosophy on which developers built the tool.

That means that every task manager will be the optimal choice for those with specific needs.

For example, if you focus on writing, CoSpot is your top choice. If you need a multifaceted tool to manage different projects (software, email, social media, etc.), Asana, Todoist or DropTask will be a better choice.

Also, if your team is small (less than five to ten members), you can go free with tools like Hitask, Asana and TaskQue.

So the right questions are:

  • How does your team approach big (and small) projects?
  • Do you collaborate on every stage of the project or do you do it standalone and then put everything together at the end?
  • How many and which features do you really need?

If you answer those three questions, you will have the direction to help you choose the right task manager.

An online task manager helps you and your team divide big projects into small chunks, like the elephant-size programming problem my professor talked about in his lecture.

This is your ultimate goal that the task manager helps your team achieve: moving it forward until you reach the project’s completion, you and your team together.

There’s no time—and budget—for the fancy extra feature you know your team won’t use.

You’ve got to win over that monster project and tame the smaller beasts (tasks or subprojects).

Good luck!

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