Online Project Management Applications

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Aliza Sherman
June 5, 2008
Episode #006


Hi there, The Digital Marketer here, ready to help you put the power of the Internet and technology to work for your business.

The e-mails! The to-do lists! The files! The milestones! Today I want to talk about how to easily manage your client projects using online Web-based applications, both free and fee-based.

I don't know about you, but I find myself juggling more and more projects this year. I've even had to bring on a few independent contractors to help with the workload. Now while a growing company is a good thing, for a business owner it can also mean headaches and new organizational challenges. How do you keep track of all of the correspondence, all of the documents, all of the day-to-day activity and communications?

I've been exploring several Web-based applications that can help with project management.

For example, Basecamp--at BasecampHQ.com--is a collaboration tool that can handle both internal and external client projects. You can post messages using a traditional online message board. You can also create task lists and delegate tasks. A helpful feature is the ability to upload files so all team members can access them. Basecamp also offers a Writeboard feature for editing documents collaboratively. When you log into your Basecamp account, you get an Overview page for either all of your projects or for each project individually for an at-a-glance reference of client activity.

Basecamp is not free. Prices start at $24 a month. Each package does come with a 30-day free trial and the higher priced levels include timesheets and reporting features.

Deskaway--at deskaway.com--is similar to Basecamp, however, they offer a basic free level of service. Many of Deskaway's features mirror what Basecamp offers at their $24 a month level, but Deskaway includes the timesheets and reporting features that Basecamp includes only at a premium.

Another comparable free project management system is Zoho Projects which you can find through Zoho.com. Other fee-based applications that also offer a free level of service include Who Does at W-H-O-D-O.E-S, 5pm at 5pmweb.com, and Projexx at P-R-O-J-E-X-X.com.

Here are some quick and dirty tips to finding and adopting the right project management application for you:

1. Test them out for free. All of the applications I've mentioned offer at least a free trial period so set up accounts and spend a few days clicking around each of them until you find the one that feels right for you. Every interface is different and you need to first feel comfortable with the tool before upgrading your account or inviting customers or clients to use it with you.

2. Roll it out slowly. Don't try to convert all of your clients over to your new system at once or it will turn into a nightmare for you and defeat the whole purpose of adopting a project management system. Start with a few clients at a time and as you and your clients work through the kinks, bring on new ones.

3. Upgrade as needed. Don't pick the enterprise level of any of these applications right away, even if you anticipate a future need for it. Start with the lowest level that meets your current needs. Most of these tools allow you to upgrade as needed so do so incrementally. Don't spend money you don't have to until you need a more robust solution.

Web-based project management systems can improve your efficiency and boost your productivity. Bottom line: The better organized you are about managing your multiple projects, the more efficient your workflow becomes. Efficiency saves you time. Productivity means you can make more money.

That's all we have time for today. Visit the show’s website at digitalmarketer.quickanddirtytips.com for links to all of the sites mentioned in the show. If you'd like to ask a question or request a topic for The Digital Marketer, email me at digitalmarketer@quickanddirtytips.com.

TheQuick and Dirty Tips for Building Your Business With Web Tools is part of the Quick and Dirty Tips network at quickanddirtytips.com. or leave a message.

Tune in for another business boost from The Digital Marketer, the host who's not afraid to go under the Internet's hood & get a little dirty!


Basecamp - http://www.basecamphq.com

Deskaway - http://www.deskaway.com

Zoho Projects - http://www.Zoho.com

Who Does - http://whodo.es

5pm - http://www.5pmweb.com

Projexx - http://www.projjex.com

Project Management image courtesy of Shutterstock