The Definitive Guide to Google Project Management

Google provides work management and collaboration software to anyone with a Google or Gmail account. With Gmail and its accompanying business apps, teams and managers can create groups within an organization’s workspace to communicate and collaborate on specific roles and projects. 

Groups and individual Google users can create, share, and edit documents, reports, and presentations using apps like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. You can collect requests and feedback using Google Forms, schedule events in Google Calendar, and store files and media in Google Drive. 

Used together, these apps provide a comprehensive suite of modern work and project management solutions. However, as a business grows, implementing improved ways of managing systems and workflows becomes essential. 

You need more advanced, streamlined, and automation-friendly project management software to manage multiple teams, monitor progress, and achieve more at scale. At this stage, spreadsheets and patchwork project management systems become inadequate. 

This is a sign it's time to transition into a more robust project management tool like Wrike. Luckily, Wrike integrates with Google project management software, providing the added benefits you need to improve organizational efficiency while managing your teams and projects.

Read on to learn how to use and integrate Google project management software with Wrike. You'll also learn to use Google Workspace to improve team productivity and collaboration. 

What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace, formerly called G Suite, is a cloud-based digital office suite developed by Google. It is a collection of work, collaboration, and project management software with an admin dashboard for managing users, permissions, and services. 

Administrators can set up advanced security measures like 2FA and forced alphanumeric passwords to tighten security and safeguard data in an organization's Google Workspace. Hybrid and remote teams can collaborate and work quickly in real-time using Google Workspace apps. 

Does Google have a project management tool?

Although Google is consistently adding new features to improve the use and functionality of Google Workspace, it does not have dedicated project management software. 

Instead, Google provides a curation of business apps that teams can use to enhance productivity, collaboration, and project management. Google Workspace includes Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Chat, and Meet. It is accessible to all Google users, making it possible for individual and enterprise users to create, collaborate, and achieve more together regardless of location.

What Google planning tools are used for project management?

Depending on your organizational inputs, outputs, and workflows, specific Google apps may be more useful for your teams. The most common Google planning tools across the board are Sheets, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Gmail, Slides, and Forms. Let's take a closer look at each one. 

Google Sheets

Google Sheets is one of the essential Google project management tools. It is cloud-based spreadsheet software for individuals and teams. 

Google Sheets is intuitive and easy to use, enabling teams to make and monitor project plans, store and manipulate data, and create in-depth reports. Teams can collaborate in spreadsheets in real-time to achieve their goals. Invited members can view the history of changes made in the sheet, fostering transparency and accountability and eliminating the need to send multiple versions of the same document.

Project managers can also plan and manage projects using Google Sheets. They may choose to start from scratch or use templates provided in the software. Using Google Sheets as a planning and project management tool reduces email and notifications overload, boosting team productivity and focus.

It's important to note that Google Sheets is not a proper project management software. It can be used to manage projects but was not created to do so specifically. Managers can create task lists and project timelines, but they cannot see how project resources and requirements overlap.

Spreadsheet timelines and manual lists provide a picture of the project roadmap and who's responsible for what. However, Google Sheets does not provide helpful project management capabilities, such as notifying members when there's a bottleneck or highlighting employees with a lighter workload. Data from past completed projects may also be lost or misread. 

Although Sheets fosters collaboration in remote working, it isn't easy to use on mobile devices. Most users find it difficult to update sheets on small screens and miss comments and updates. Integrating Google Sheets with project management software like Wrike enables you to:

  • Dig deep into the progress of ongoing projects, extracting and analyzing rich data on teams and projects
  • Customize your workflows to optimize team output and performance
  • Leverage automation to codify your internal business processes to enhance productivity and eliminate monotonous work
  • Work efficiently on the go with optimized mobile project management apps

Google Docs

Google Docs is one of the most popular Google planning tools for remote teams. It is a lightweight cloud-based word processing software for individuals and teams to collaborate in real-time and produce documents in various formats, including .docx, .pdf, or zipped.

Working in Google Docs improves team collaboration, productivity, and creativity. Managers can detail and distribute project plans, product roadmaps, and milestones to attract buy-in, request feedback, and empower their teams.

Google Docs' benefits to the modern workplace are numerous, especially in content creation. But you may be wondering: Is using Google Docs sufficient for project management? 

Google Docs enables individuals and teams to access, work, and collaborate in documents in real-time, but it doesn't empower you to manage projects from end to end. Using Google Docs for project management allows brainstorming, creating, and improving working systems but not much else. Integrating it with project management software like Wrike adds project management features including:

  • Keeping project-specific communication front and center
  • Reviewing, editing, and approving documents in progress
  • Creating and assigning tasks from Google Docs comments

Google Drive

Google Drive project management is crucial to most businesses today. The cloud-based software service provides an accessible way to organize, store, and distribute documents, files, and digital assets at little to no cost

Google Drive provides 15GB of free cloud storage to all Google users with a Gmail account. Individuals and teams can access documents in Google Drive in areas with poor internet, as long as they’ve previously downloaded the needed files. 

However, Google Drive is not made for project management alone. It enhances project management and team collaboration with its cloud-based storage features but does not focus on project management. Google Drive caters to a wide variety of business needs. 

Google Drive allows teams and managers to organize files into folders and sub-folders, then share them with specific email groups or team members using the appropriate permissions level (e.g., view-only access, comments access, and editing access).

Google Drive project management is, however, limited. You can store and share documents, but you can't create and assign tasks to teams, extract reports, or view progress. 

Integrating Google Drive with robust project management software boosts its capabilities, streamlines ongoing projects, keeps files and assets accessible, and ensures your communication and task details are in the same place as your projects.

The Definitive Guide to Google Project Management 2
Photo by Louise Viallesoubranne on Unsplash

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is another crucial component of Google Workspace. With Google Calendar, you can create events and reminders of approaching deadlines and invite involved team members to participate. 

Google Calendar is a calendar software developed by Google and provided free of charge to Google users. Managers can create project-related calendars, schedule meetings and events, and invite teams and stakeholders. You can also create and share multiple calendars so that team members are not inundated with events and timelines they are not involved in.

When used optimally, Google Calendar boosts team collaboration and productivity. You can set your calendar to send out notifications before each meeting or event. You can also create tasks, goals, and reminders. 

In large executive teams where it's tough to schedule events that work with everyone's calendar, project managers can layer each team members' schedule to see when everyone is available. Encourage managers and employees to share their calendars for the best scheduling results. 

You can leverage automation and gain more control of your schedule by setting your calendar to send a daily agenda showing your daily schedule before you start working. This helps keep track of important upcoming events and team meetings.

Integrate Google Calendar with your project management software to seamlessly add tasks to projects, enhance your Google Calendar project management capabilities, and track goals, tasks, and other milestones efficiently. 

Google Slides

Google Slides is yet another useful Google planning tool for individuals and businesses. It is used to create presentations, proposals, and other visual documents. 

But how does it improve project management? Google Slides provides intuitive software to sketch out your vision, establish deliverables, and create project reports with graphs, charts, and visual elements. 

Google Slides is particularly useful for remote or distributed teams. It enables screen-sharing and live presentations during online video meetings via Zoom, Google Meet, or other video conferencing software. 

You can attach a Google Slides link to calendar invites and meeting notes, making it easy for team members to stay updated on ongoing projects. Google Slides also provide templates to help you work faster.

When integrated well with the project management software of your choice, you can boost Google Slides’ capabilities with proofing and approval features while storing all media assets in a centralized collaborative project management tool such as Wrike. 

Google Forms

Google Forms is a free online questionnaire or survey tool. It helps to gather feedback and answers from customers, teams, and other stakeholders easily. 

Google Forms is one of the fundamental Google project management tools. It simplifies collecting data and responses from internal and external sources and displays results in different views like graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. Google Forms is quick and easy to set up and works well with other apps within the Google workspace.

While it is not a dedicated project management tool, Google Forms is helpful to automate certain aspects of your tasks and projects, like receiving service or support requests and evaluating project-relevant data side by side. 

Google Forms also provide templates to create your survey or questionnaire and customization features to reflect your brand style in the forms. If you want to utilize the data you gather through Forms to improve your project management outcome, it is best to integrate Google Forms with a robust project management software like Wrike. You can create new tasks in Wrike from new Google Forms responses by integrating Google apps and Wrike using third-party integration apps like Zapier and similar tools. 

Gmail

Gmail is the epicenter of Google project management. It is currently the most popular email platform with over 1.8 billion users worldwide. Most savvy individuals and businesses rely on Gmail to get work done, as it comes with free access to most of the apps in Google Workspace. 

Regardless of the size of your teams and projects, you may have to send out detailed instructions or feedback to team members and other stakeholders. Gmail helps to organize your ongoing work and inbound emails to optimize your productivity. Users can send files and media attachments by inserting them into the emails or adding a Google Drive link (for larger media sizes).

The problem with relying on email for project communication includes:

  • The loss of email in overflowing inboxes
  • Replying to the wrong person
  • Drawn out back-and-forths that are better suited for a chat or messaging platform
  • Drafting and responding to emails takes up a significant amount of time
  • Distracting notifications
  • Lack of context in some conversations

If your team members do not all belong to your organization, there is the added risk of missing emails because they are marked as spam. 

Managing projects via email is barely sustainable and often chaotic. To avoid these pitfalls, integrate your email software with secure and robust project management software. 

Wrike's Gmail project management software increases team productivity by capturing tasks from email and creating and managing the new tasks right in your Gmail inbox. Team members can work in Wrike without ever leaving their email inbox, boosting productivity by reducing the need to switch between tasks and tabs. 

For more streamlined collaboration within teams, add Google Chat to your Gmail inbox and lay down beneficial email productivity rules to empower your teams to work asynchronously in the right communication channels. 

To turn Google Chat on or off in Gmail, click Settings in your Gmail inbox, view all settings, and choose Google Chat. Select Google Chat On or Off, and then save your changes. This brings more functionalities to your Gmail inbox, providing an integrated homepage to view all your communications in one place and have targeted communication with various teams and stakeholders about project-related activities.

Measuring goals with Google planning tools

There are many ways to measure goals and OKRs using Google planning tools. Depending on your level of tech-savviness, you may create a project tracking tool within your Google Workspace.

The best Google apps for planning and measuring goals are: 

  • Google Sheets: For developing project plans and timelines
  • Google Calendar: For scheduling and assigning work to team members via a shared calendar
  • Google Drive: For storing and sharing digital assets
  • Google Forms: For collecting data, feedback, and responses from internal and external stakeholders
  • Google Docs: For creating and collaborating on documents

These tools, especially when used together, provide extended capabilities and functionalities to synchronize and manage projects with your team.

Make sure to be clear and concise as you plan and manage your projects with Google planning tools. Notice any gaps in the workflow and create custom solutions to enhance productivity and collaboration. 

If you have a to-do list in Sheets but find that your team members often miss their deadlines, you may decide to send daily calendar notifications to your team to remind them of their tasks and ongoing projects.

Google project management and planning tools require manual setup and continuous monitoring to bring the best results. 

Are there any problems with Google project management software?

Google project management software has generous benefits for its users. Its main drawback is that it wasn't built for project management and users have to combine at least five Google apps to make a simple project management and planning solution. 

Here's an example: A project manager may draw up a project plan and timeline in Google Sheets, email team members and stakeholders about this project in Gmail, and schedule a meeting to discuss the project in Google Calendar. The manager shares a Google Docs link of the Meeting Agenda in the email. This Google Doc contains a Google Forms link to take in feedback about the project plan and timeline. 

Google Workspace provides almost all the basic functionalities a project manager needs to begin and monitor projects. However, it presents them in a piecemeal, ad-hoc package that is not elegant or sustainable for innovative, fast-growing businesses. 

If you choose to go ahead with Google Workspace, you must continuously monitor your workflows and team performance, creating solutions for what isn't working and communicating ground rules for team members to follow for the best results. 

Some common problems with Google project management include:

  1. There's no dedicated project management tool: This forces managers to create patchwork methods that may provide superficial benefits or cause roadblocks and collaboration challenges.
  2. Google project management software is not integrated as one: Within Google Workspace, there are Google Sheets, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Drive, and many more business applications. It is up to teams and managers to create the best system for working together and minimizing impediments.
  3. Google project management software provides a fragmented view of project progress: Because each one of the Google planning tools creates its own reports based on in-app activity, managers have to collect and study these reports before drawing a unified conclusion on project progress.
  4. There's a lack of project-focused communication and collaboration: As described in the Gmail section, you can turn on Google Chat in Gmail to improve targeted communication and messaging in your team. This, however, depends on team members remembering where to send specific messages. Dedicated project management software, on the other hand, provides organized workspaces for project-related conversations.
  5. Task management, not project management: Google project management lacks advanced project management functionalities to monitor progress, conduct gap analysis, and use learnings from completed projects and past reports to improve future chances of success.

What alternative project management tools are available?

Our top recommendation for alternatives to Google project management software is Wrike. Wrike's project management software is highly secure, built for managing teams and projects of any size, and provides all needed project management needs in a streamlined, centralized collaborative workspace. 

Wrike's software solves all the challenges of Google project management and integrates with Google software to supplement its drawbacks. Big and small teams alike, including Google, Airbnb, Fitbit, and Estee Lauder, use Wrike. Useful Wrike project management features include:

  • Complete visibility into projects and teams
  • Support and training
  • Real-time activity streams
  • In-app communication
  • Free cloud storage
  • Web and mobile applications
  • Project management templates
  • Customizable project permissions and roles
  • Easy integration with other work applications

Can you integrate Wrike with Google software and tools?

Google project management software and tools are widely used. Your team members are likely already using one or more of these free business applications to manage their work. 

To build on this familiar working system, Wrike integrates easily with Google applications, including Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and others, to help you streamline and automate your work and improve collaboration between your teams, knowledge vendors, and other collaborators. 

You can manage tasks in Wrike without leaving your Google account, and you can manage tasks in Gmail without switching between tabs. Integrate team and project calendars to automate sending tasks and due dates from Wrike into your Google Calendar. You can integrate Google apps and Wrike using Wrike's integration or third-party integration apps like Zapier and Zoho. 

When plugged into the right software, Google project management software enables flexible working and increased productivity, regardless of where your team members work from. Enhance your project management systems by integrating Wrike's powerful project management software with Google Workspace. Get started today with a two-week free trial.

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