My business is in desperate need of some good web-based project management software. We are a small web development studio, with 6 staff all in the same office.
Before the suggestions start flying: we've used Basecamp, ActionMethod and a long time ago a free one called NetOffice. None have addressed our needs.
Basically what we are looking for is - other than the obvious features - something that can achieve the following,
- Able to assign costs to project so we can see how much each project is valued at (as this is important for judging priorities)
- And be able to provide an overview/list of all projects in the system - really important when we have a WIP meeting so we can see what we have on and whats coming up.
- Be able to track projects ALL the way through the cycle: quote, project, completion,invoicing,paid,closed.
- projects broken up into milestones
- client management (projects will be assigned a client)
- multiple users (logins for separate users of the team) and ability to view schedule of each user - see what they are/should be working on.
- keep track of changed - e.g. when the scope of a project changes it needs to be noted so can be charged for at the end.
- Be a place we enter ALL projects, including quotes. its important to track quotes so you can see how much business you are getting versus winning, but also for follow up purposes - some quotes may be accepted and move to the project stage but others may be rejected.
- Archive completed projects
We've spent a lot of time researching different online tools and thought it was time for an expert opinion from the sitepoint community.
Hope you can help.
I don't use it personally, but an associate of mine uses activeCollab. He raves about it.
If you can't find something 'off the shelf' you might also consider developing your own solution.
am using www.workflowmax.com, which does all apart from the sales funnel. I'm sure you'll find that many aspects of it are too complicated and not flexible enough - I do.
You won't find such a system unless you build it yourself. We will do that at some point, including SVN and bug tracking integration and possibly recoding/ documenting all customer interaction for the customer to review.
Until then its WorkflowMax, Xero, Mantis, Openoffice and subversion separately.
I actually just came across workflowmax which looked interesting because it integrates with MYOB which we use for accounting. But you say that its too complicated and not flexible? and does not include bug tracking?
its really targeted at plumber and the like, I know the owner from local networking. We happily use it and will use the invoicing soon, but it requires too many clicks and too hard to add people to projects. I think it works much better with short jobs that ongoing projects.
No bugtracking, its really not targeted at software industry.
I've used Project Insight for several projects and found it quite flexible and easy to learn, but it has the power features that project managers often need. Team members really like the Outlook and Project integration, and it's nice to be able to give executives or clients or outside partners or regular team members their own, personalized views into the data -- but only the data they're allowed to see, in the case of outside partners and clients.
I have spent a lot of time this year battling the same thing. Tried this, tried that, tried just about everything under the sun.
And I realised something, only this past week: None of the systems I have looked at "suit", because I'm expecting the software to do the work for me.
I don't believe it matters what software package you use - project management still requires work on the part of the project manager.
I started planning our own, got to the point of doing up some wireframes and workflow charts (and got really excited about it), and then the obvious dawned on me. I will still need to spend time managing my projects, even if we built our new whizz-bang system.
We're using a heavily customised version of NetOffice, and it certainly has it's flaws, but ultimately the reason it's not working comes back to me. I'm expecting everything to just happen, and that will never be the case.
A large part of project management is communication, and I have found that trying to get software to do everything you want actually hinders that. So, if I need to know what the guys are doing right now, I ask them. We sit down at the start of the week and look at what's on, discuss priorities, issues, and so on.
I have decided not to waste any more time on trying to find or build the perfect project management software. Having a good system is more important than the software.
Perhaps this doesn't apply to you Mitcho - but before you waste as much time as I have, think about how much do you really need the software to do, and you much can you achieve with some coffee and a whiteboard.
i think Activcollab will work for you.
I think this is a really interesting topic. I'm constantly trying to streamline things in our office and managing projects and communications always seems to be a big one. I've used Basecamp a few times over the years but it just didn't offer me what I wanted however I understand that others really like it. It's probably me.
I did start using a new hosted service recently that I'm pretty stoked about. It's called ClockingIT and I think it shows a lot of promise...
It has the obvious controls like adding clients and team members and then creating and assigning tasks. It sends out notifications to the team members when they are assigned a task and sends emails to the project manager as tasks are worked on. When a team member start working on a task they click a clock icon and their time is tracked until they click the clock icon again. Then they can document their progress and close the task or leave it open to continue later.
There is a chat window so I can discuss things with a team member while we are both online and there is a discussion forum as well.
I haven't tried the uploading tools but it looks like I can upload files to be made available to the team.
It looks pretty cool from my perspective and for some reason it's free too.
I think Active Collab works just fine. Here in our office we're using OnTime w/c is not sleek but is very useful especially for us doing software development.
As for presentations and stuff, we're currently using a startup solution called 321Meet w/c is free but if you have money you can pay for their pro edition. Webex is another good option too although its a bit pricey.
37signals solutions are still pretty popular, so it may be worth giving an Agile solution like Basecamp a try.
I will echo RockyShark's comments though; PM tools are no silver bullet, something you'll already undoubtedly know after starting this thread. I lean towards minimalist solutions that allow teams I work in to work in our own way.
ActiveCollab looks good, and I have started using ProjectPier (a still open source fork of activecollab) just to try it out while I restart my business. So far I like it.
You are really looking for a single system to do many things so it's going to be hard.
I've heard good things about clockingIT, but also about where it lacks. It's unfortunate Mitcho's post was two years ago, as WORKetc would have been a pretty on-par solution specifically. It combines aspects of CRM, project management, and billing into one.
Because of that there's contacts, leads, projects, timesheets, calendars, invoicing, support, customer portal, and other features, in one single location. For small businesses, it is awesome for workflows because it can streamline all operations, and also handle the entire client lifecycle. Not too mention you avoid integration costs, the cost of multiple applications, and the problems that come with a lack of integration.
I'm currently using self hosted Collabtive, which is open source, but I've started looking at a couple of hosted tools as well. One is TeamLab, which is basically a BaseCamp clone. The other, and the one I'm really interested in is Podio. It's in Beta right now, so you'll need an invitation, but the cool thing about it is that it lets you build your own modules. It's got a drag & drop interface that allows you to put together, say a "Bug Tracker" module, and link that with a Timesheet module. I haven't fully explored its capabilities yet, but it does look promising.
I was using One Place for a while. However, they've sold the company and the reports didn't work as they did before.
I've been using CLockingIT for over a year now and it works well but I would rather have a self hosted system so that I would have more control over backing up and/or restoring information. Lots of good stuff in the system though.
I was looking at activeColab and Project Pier this morning and they both look promising, activeCollab more than project pier at the moment though.
I've not long signed up to Harvest and quite frankly have fallen in love with it. I was initially looking for a time-tracking and invoicing solution and this fitted the bill completely. I'm a one-man band so it might not be as suitable for multi users but so far I'm very impressed.
Excellent point. As a developer, I can't imagine a manager forcing me to use certain application to give updates as I'm probably busy meeting the deadline. I'd say use your common sense and use a general system engineering process. If a tool helps you that then fine~ If not, a manager should be able to do it w/o any specific software to manage it.
For a small project, sure. For a large project that requires collaboration, all developers should absolutely agree to participate in a communications/management platform as it will keep the project on track.
Absolutely! In the last couple of years we've participated in larger projects with up to maybe a dozen people working on the same project concurrently. While this isn't a huge group, we would be horribly inneficient without using a common system for time managment and keeping our goals and milestones on the radar (not to mention billing and paying all the parties involved).
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