New York, USA - November 7, 2020: Notion app store logo on phone screen, illustrative editorial
Image: Postmodern Studio / Adobe Stock

At first glance, Notion might seem like nothing more than a super-loaded note-taking app, but it’s actually a tool that can be used for project management, especially for smaller, less complex projects. With just a little work, you can set up your Notion account so it can work to help you manage those projects.

SEE: Hiring Kit: Project Manager (TechRepublic Premium)

How much work does it take to get this service on par with a real project management platform? You may never be able to make Notion work like Asana, Trello, or Jira. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles found within those platforms, Notion is a great option.

Tips for using Notion for project management

Take advantage of the blocks

Notion’s main focus is on blocks, which are a collection of content. Each block can easily be turned into another block type or add new blocks to it.

When you first start using Notion, blocks should be your primary focus. Blocks can be pages, to-do lists, formatting, an image, a table, embedded videos, message boards, maps … you name it, and it’s a block in Notion.

With Notion, blocks can be transformed. For example, you create a note and then edit it into an on / off list, block equation, 2-column page, quote, or any other type of block. You can even move a block to a previously created page. To get the most out of Notion, you need to make the most of the blocks.

It’s about the database

Beyond the blocks, one of the most important aspects of Notion is the database. Notion uses real databases to store content, so it does more than just a spreadsheet or tag. There are five different types of databases you can create with Notion:

  • Lists
  • Galleries
  • Tables
  • Boards
  • Calendars

It is these five types of databases that will greatly help you in project management.

Don’t worry though: Notion makes managing these databases a lot easier than you might think. You don’t need to be a DB administrator to use them. With the ability to easily create boards, tables and calendars, you will find that Notion is more capable of managing projects than you thought. Since Notion creates these features as real databases, the same data can be used for different views.

Use extended templates

Notion has a pretty large collection of templates, many of which are suitable for project management. You will find templates for both planning and project management that can add features such as Project Tracker, SMART Goals, Task Manager, Customer Activities and Communications, Business Expense Tracker, Roadmap, Research, Agile Sprints, Post Mortem Meetings, Business Scope project and much more.

Customize your views

One of the most useful aspects of Notion is that you can select the view that best suits your needs. Thanks to the way Notion handles data, you can easily add new views that will all work with the same information. Already have a Kanban view? Why not add a list view? Do you need a more structured way to view your data? Add a table or calendar.

There are six different views to choose from: Table, Whiteboard, Timeline, Calendar, List and Gallery. Each view is unique and allows you to easily change properties such as assignee, attachments, creation date, due date, priority, project and status. When you create the right view for your needs, you can also copy a link for any view to share with your teammates.

Manage access to everything

With almost everything you create on Notion, you can manage access to it. After adding teammates to your account, almost any block can include a Persona property, to which you assign one or more teammates. For some blocks, that property is already built in, but for others you need to add the Person property first and then assign a team member to the block. Since you can get very detailed sharing, you can decide which team member has access to which block.

Use the team spaces feature

With the help of the teamspaces feature, you can create a space within a main workspace for each team. For example, suppose you have Project X that multiple organizations need partial access to. In the Project X workspace, you can create a team space for developers, admins, testers, PR, HR, and more. This will become increasingly important as your projects increase in scope and complexity.

Collaborate

In Notion, you can add collaborators to multiple teamspaces and grant them access as owner or member. An owner can change workspace settings and invite new members, while a member cannot. Both types allow you to work with content, and there is no read-only option available when adding members. For this reason, you’ll want to be judicious when sharing blocks with collaborators.

Once you understand how Notion works, you shouldn’t have any problems using it for project management. It may take a little longer to prepare this solution for the task, but once it works properly, it can serve you well.

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