THE TOOLS OF THE TRADE: essentials that make PM, account manager and producer’s lives easier
When you’re a PM or a producer, tools are your friends. Timelines don’t make themselves, notes and deadlines have to be clear and as the person who ultimately draws a project together, making sure a process is easily communicated and transparent is key. There’s a bunch of software and other tools out there to help make things easier, so here’s an impartial glossary of some of the most common.
Adobe Creative Suite
Creative stalwarts Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign all come under the umbrella of the Adobe Creative Suite, alongside their pals Acrobat, Bridge and Media Encounter. Can be accessed as individual programmes within the suite or via the Creative Cloud.
Originally co-created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz with the aim of improving Facebook employees’ productivity. Oddly taking its name from Sanskrit for yoga, it offers time tracking software and conversation tools for easy collaboration.
A web-based project management tool that lets users create to-do lists and documents and share files. It also features time tracking and messaging tools.
While these are readily available on most computers, phones and other digital devices, INT Works project manager Ally Carter recommends using a “big one with fat buttons.”
Bills itself as a tool to “bring your life's work together in one digital workspace.” What this means is that you can make notes, collect inspiration in the form of images, webpages, text and voice recordings. Notes can be tagged, annotated, searched, edited and formed into a notebook, which can then be exported. Available in free or more advanced paid formats.
Microsoft spreadsheets programme. Can be used as standalone software as part of the Microsoft Office suite or in-browser to allow access to files from anywhere.
A stylish 80s staple. Go for a black faux leather look for the full yuppie effect.
Connects to your other Google programmes like Gmail and Google Calendars. Allows the creation and editing of web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, which can be accessed from any computer.
Handy tool to keep track of contacts. Users can add notes and data about people they’ve met or spoken with on email. Contacts can be imported or added manually. Conversations can also be recorded and all those with access to one database can add their own notes to existing entires.
A design prototyping tool. Design files can be uploaded and animations, gestures, and transitions can be quickly added to demonstrate projects and interactions. Ideas can be shown across multiple screen sizes and platforms.
Notepad and pen
Hopefully you already know what these are, but it is worth pointing out that in many situations going analogue is your friend.
This app by Locometric allows you to easily create floor plans. It draws the room for you and adds features like doors by touching the device to the door itself. These plans can then instantly be emailed on.
Go-to pen brand. As INT Works producer Sara Williams puts it, “You can never have enough pens.”
Messaging service that can be used across teams and subgroups for quick, easy discussions and avoidance of emails. Can use direct messages or split into relevant groups.
Spirit Level app
Like a traditional spirit level angle measurement tool, but on a phone or other digital device.
For Apple Mac users without access to Post It Notes.
Using a chart-based interface this software was created to plan and manage projects. Users can invite colleagues to view and edit charts and timelines. Documents written and conversations had on the software can be added to the tasks or deadlines shown.
Kooky word for a to do list. Describes itself as a “simple, designy to-do app.” Not for those with little patience for twee copywriting.
A free online to-do list and task manager tool. Tasks can be shared with others to collaborate on in real-time.
Time tracking software that can either be used as an app or in browser, with options to time tasks directly or input hours at a later date.
Uses a card-based design where you can make to do lists and idea cards. They can be moved around to show what you’re doing and what you’ve already done. Users can sync with other programmes and upload files from a computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive. Also offers notifications.
A Chrome browser tool for lists and notes. Can be used on desktops or mobile devices and includes the ability to tag and filter list items and mark them as complete. Can be used offline. Again, not one for those turned off by cutesy copy: “WorkFlowy uses WorkFlowy to build WorkFlowy ;),” reads the site.