At some point, your to-do list and spreadsheet will grow beyond simple task management into a full blown, large scale project. Perhaps it does that every single day and you have been searching for a more robust way to manage the details. These seven online project management tools may help.
Smartsheet is a service I’ve used on a number of client projects and have always been impressed. You can manage a sales pipeline, a production schedule, team task lists, and more. It works directly on the Web—via Google Apps—and with Salesforce.com. But my favorite usage is for crowdsourcing research and marketing project tasks. They are partnered with on-demand workforce providers Amazon Mechanical Turk and Livework. If you haven’t seen either of these services, you’ll want to check them out. You can get work done fast, and at an affordable rate. Free 30-day trial with no credit card, then plans start at $15.95/month.
Do is a social productivity tool—it was known as Manymoon until it was recently acquired by Salesforce.com. The beauty of this project management tool is that it shares seamlessly with other team members. If you add tasks or plan events, you can add a person to the team with just an e-mail. The main dashboard is simple and easy to use: start a project, enter a task, invite a colleague. You can login with your Google account, if you’re already a Google Apps user, or just login from the Web. Best of all, it’s free.
AgileZen sounds like a software developer’s tool. While that is indeed part of its focus, it is not limited to software development. Lean startups use it; HR teams depend on it for recruiting; Customer service teams use it to track issues and response times with it. If you like to work visually, AgileZen uses the Kanban concept to help you quickly see your progress in columns. They offer a 30-day trial, free plans for open source projects, or it's $9/month.
Teambox states “for fun you have a Facebook, for work you need a Teambox.” They integrate social networking utilities into a project management dashboard. That means you can see activity streams, threaded conversations, comments, manage your inbox, and just about any detail around your project communication. It is free for up to five users, then $5/month per user.
Basecamp is nearly synonymous with the term project management, and one could argue they invented the space for the Web. They know their customers and prospects incredibly well—just about everything you might ask is stated on the homepage, above the fold. Pricing, length of trial, a list of features, and best of all, a question to you: “Which best describes how you work with other people?” The three answers you can choose from describe a problem almost all of us face, and by clicking one of the answer boxes you get some pain relief. They offer a 45-day free trial then plans start at $20/month.
5pm wins points in my book because they allow you to “log in” as a regular user or a power user and see a fictitious setup as opposed to a canned tour or demo. You can see in-motion projects, the timeline and view sample reports. It is a useful approach that quickly helps you check out the features and functionality. They offer a 14-day free trial then plans start at $18/month for up to five users.
Nimble comes at project management from a contact-centric, social network approach. I debated whether to include them in a project management list, but their approach signals the changes coming in project management and other corporate functions—communication, customers and communities are all merging. Nimble is at the forefront of that with social CRM (customer relationship management). The project management aspect is called Activity Management, but it ties into all your other communications: e-mail and social, in particular. They have a free plan and paid plans start at $15/month per user.
What tools and technologies do you use to manage your projects?
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