New tools for doing the old tasks better

April 20, 2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Running projects during a pandemic can be difficult. Use these tools to amp up projects, databases and brainstorming sessions.

BRAC Social Innovation Lab has been working on a new project titled “Innovation Fund for Futureproofing the RMG Sector of Bangladesh” funded by the H&M Foundation. This project aims to alleviate the lives of women employees in the ready-made garments (RMG) industry and increase the competitiveness of the RMG sector of Bangladesh.

Read more: Study explores COVID-19 impact on the lives of garment workers

The project has been making use of some new web-based tools to manage the project better, manage the databases more efficiently and tell stories in a more convincing way. These are tools most professionals have come across, but using these tools in the right setting has yielded amazing outputs. These tools will not only help to manage your project better, but will also help you to manage your lives better.

Read more: Culture clash: The ‘not-so-dirty’ secret of digital transformation

Trello – The project management tool

Trello is famous for project management. Our project has paired up Trello with a customised SCRUM of agile methodology where work is divided and distributed to members in weekly sprints.

Trello cards are assigned to specific member(s). These cards are populated in sprints which entail the five working days within a week. Upon clicking that card, the team members can view all the relevant information regarding the task. The cards have checklists which can contain a breakdown of the task. Deadlines and members can be tagged to individual checklist items in the business class version of Trello.

Other than that, there is a backlog and slow-cooking list where all the tasks of the project are populated and distributed accordingly. Cards can be filtered according to individual members or via the tags assigned to the cards.

Airtable – The ultimate database management tool

Airtable combines spreadsheets and database elements to give users the best of both worlds. The first and most striking feature Airtable offers is easy visualisation of data. Other than the basic grid view that spreadsheets users are familiar with, Airtable lets users create calendar view, gallery view, Kanban view and Gantt view. Each record in the database can also be expanded and viewed as a card that contains all information associated with it. Another standout feature is the ability to attach multiple color-coded tags to a record making the grouping and filtering process much simpler.

As a database management system, Airtable makes linking records easy. The link can be established between records within the same table, base or even workspace. The software is highly suited for teamwork and collaboration.

We have been using Airtable to manage partnerships and maintain our communications plan. The features outlined above have made the management and tracking process very simple. The best part is the easy learning curve. Due to its similarities with spreadsheets, the platform feels intuitive and familiar. Moreover, Airtable removes the need for complex formulas for customisation making it easier to learn and use the platform.

Miro – Tell stories better

With the ongoing pandemic, a platform where a whole team can come together to visualise their ideas and develop them simultaneously can take remote brainstorming to another level. Miro may look like just a digital white board at first sight. However, it has hundreds of different functions and features to help visualise ideas.

We used Miro to map the insights that we have received from four of our project activities, a needs assessment study, a series of 1:1 interviews with the RMG industry experts, a series of virtual workshops, and an offline market-place workshop. Altogether, these components accumulated a huge amount of knowledge and insights which we are using to generate themes for an upcoming virtual conference.

This mammoth task became much simpler through Miro as we could visualise and compare the outputs of different activities. A big advantage of this is that users can show the thought process that went into an activity or intervention, which helps the external audience to understand the concepts better. Besides, the whole team could work on the same board at the same time which made it more convenient and team-work friendly. Miro also comes with a lot of pre-built templates which can serve as a starting point for any project management.

How to get them?

Contacting their sales support should do the trick. We have been able to appeal for the not-for-profit status of BRAC to get Trello Business Plan at a 75% discount and Miro for a 50% discount for all members of the Social Innovation Lab. Airtable is free for a year for teams that have been instrumental to combat the pandemic.

 

Nafis Sadik, Afrida Maroof and Shegufta Armin Ahsan are all working as Innovation Associates for the Social Innovation Lab at BRAC.

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Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Town Manager, UNDP BD
Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, Town Manager, UNDP BD
5 months ago

Excellent and timely exploring! Hats off! Thanks for sharing. Stay safe.