Best Project Management Tools for the Low-Cost Startup in 2013
By Amanda Mock
Project Management is a beast. Communication, sharing documents, tracking time: managing a project can become a headache real quick. It’s no wonder startups love to use project management tools (specifically online ones) to help connect everyone as well as organize the handling of projects. These pieces of software help businesses manage their inner workings and even their sales.
But with endless choices for Project Management, it can be overwhelming to pick the right website software for any business. Features, cost, everything is a factor. The bottom line is that no two businesses are the same, so no matter how great a piece of CRM or PM software is, it might not be the best one for your business.
Most businesses and startups have three major uses for Project Management software: to assign and track tasks, track time used, and manage/increase sales. The cost of the software is another consideration. To be thorough in our reviews, this article will focus on the best software for accomplishing tasks and improving management. Look for future posts on time management tools and sales management tools.
Take note: These are suggestions for businesses or entrepreneurs that are not focused on development work. I will write another article in the future specifically on Project Management for Developers since their needs are unique.
Yes – Even though the software itself is free, Collabtive also offers a preloaded version on its site that you are welcome to log into and play around with before you attempt to download and load it on your own servers.
Ease of Use:
Setup requires some technical knowledge. Once installed, the software is easy to use.
- Projects, Milestones, Tasks
- Basecamp Import
- Time Tracking, Reporting
My personal top pick for Project Management, Collabtive (that’s not a typo) is a great solution. And, because the software is open source, you can update and customize it at no cost.
Not tech savvy? No problem, Collabtive’s really easy to install on your own personal website. It’s easy to get going. Even users who are not comfortable with technology can get the swing of it quickly. And, in the unlikely event that you find yourself totally lost, the forum is a great resource for those that need a little direction. Again, this is all for free.
I personally find Collabtive to be a perfect solution for those who are unhappy with the new and “improved” Basecamp. Not only is Collabtive easy to use, best of all you can create your own integrations or hire a programmer to make it your own. What more could you ask for?
Collabtive also offers plugins (which you do pay for, but only once) for additional features that are often requested. These are:
- Project Templates
- Prioritization for Projects, Task Lists, and Tasks
- Automatic Time Tracker
- Project Independent Task Overview
- Gnatt Chart for Projects and Tasks
- Comments for Tasks
Though some users feel less intimidated by Basecamp (reviewed below), Collabtive is a great solution if you can handle getting it installed and running. Once up and running, it’s easy to use and fits most basic needs for small (or even large) startups. Best of all, it’s free. Even more, you can customize it to your needs or, if you don’t know how to alter it, you can hire a developer. Either way, the software can grow with your company at little to no cost.
Free – $25/yr
Yes – 2 weeks
Ease of Use:
- To-Do Lists
- Repeating Tasks
- Google Calendar Integration
GQueues is a really great choice if your only concern is tracking tasks. Don’t be deceived by its name: GQueues is not a part of Google. It is, however, created to work specifically with companies that are already using Google Apps. So, if you love Google and you only want to track what people are doing, GQueues might be right for you. It’s pretty, it’s easy to use, and it automatically drops tasks that are assigned into your Google calendar.
With GQueues, you can not only assign tasks, but you can specify a deadline down to the hour and even how much time you want the assigned party to spend on the task. This is one feature of GQueues that I really like.
You can also share task lists in a way that cannot be edited; this means you can keep clients in the loop without them accidentally messing up your workflow.
GQueues is really great if all you have to worry about is getting things done. It’s easy to share and assign tasks and attach due dates to them. If your needs are more robust, however, its integration isn’t as nice as it could be. The creator of GQueues does seem to be hard at work to change that, so it might be a service to keep an eye on.
$1 to $5 a day
Yes – 60 days
Ease of Use :
- To-Do Lists
- Upload and Share Files
- Text Only Documents
- Calendar Management
I have to be very honest here, I used to love the old Basecamp, but long gone are those days. Basecamp has changed its look and, in my opinion, the update wasn’t an improvement. That said, l still believe it’s a great low cost pay-as-you-go solution for companies that are struggling with organization and communication within the company or with other companies. The user interface is intuitive and visually pleasing. If you are not good with technology then Basecamp might be the perfect solution for you.
You don’t need any technical know-how to set up or use the system. With Basecamp, everything is right in front of you and easy to understand. It comes with many integrations including but not limited to:
- Smart Phone Apps
- Time Tracking like Harvest, Crispy, Tick and more
- Reporting, Charts, and Planning like DashStack, SlickPlan, and EazyBl
Basecamp gets the job done. For that, I love it, I really do, but I feel a business can easily outgrow the software. To its credit, Basecamp has aimed to become easier and easier to use, but this leaves companies that have tailored and specialized needs begging for more. In the end, they have to sign up for 3, 4, or even 5 different services in addition to Basecamp to get what they need done. Some people don’t mind this, and, for them, Basecamp might be perfect. However, if you are looking for more of an all-in-one solution, Collabtive might be worth some serious consideration.
Are you using any of the Project Management tools listed above? Are you using something totally different that you LOVE? If you answered yes to either of these questions, share your experience in the comments below.