Heading up a project can become a cumbersome task without the help of software to manage all aspects of the venture. Website hosts often have to juggle multiple projects and teams of workers at once. Perhaps you have a team of writers and an editor who oversees their articles. On the other hand, you might have a team of promotional specialists, each doing a specific task on a certain day. Keeping the information on who is doing what can be almost overwhelming.
With project management software, not only can you track tasks and who is responsible for which endeavors, but you can even track what has been completed and when. There are hundreds of project management software choices that can be used on your website or accessed through a third party site.
WHSR looks at the top five that offer the most features for the lowest cost.
Some of the web accessible project management software costs $50 or more each and every month, depending upon how many people are involved in a given project and how much storage space you need. Say hello to Freelance Suite. This software is uploaded to your website and you pay a one-time fee of $69.95 to license it. They offer a 30-day free trial to see if you like the software or not. You will need to know some basic webmaster skills, such as how to add a database and upload the files. Don’t worry, though, if you don’t have any idea how to set it up the company will do it for you for a small fee.
Freelance Suite gives you the ability to:
Add clients and give them access to their own invoices
Create projects and tasks within those projects
Add workers to a project (they log in via a control panel)
It also features a built-in payment gateway so your clients can pay their invoices with a single click. One of the advantages to this software is that you will not have an additional monthly fee.
PHPProject is an Open Source software that is free to use. It has additional tracking features for more advanced projects. The software is PHP-based and is uploaded to your own server. You can set up modules, which add features like:
Ability to upload files for sharing
Each project can be divided into a sub-project and each sub-project can have unlimited tasks
Basecamp is hosted on a third-party server website, meaning that you can access it at anytime, anywhere and so can your clients. Although you will pay a monthly fee for Basecamp, you can track your project from beginning to end, share files and have meetings all from one location. Basecamp also integrates with some third-party software applications for easy file storage and billing. Some of the more interesting benefits of using Basecamp, include:
Ability to archive finished projects
Separate projects and teams each have their own separate box
Complete control over who sees what items and which clients and workers can see one another
Quick and easy discussion features
View calendars for everyone, so meeting times can be chosen more easily
Work together in real-time on a project file
Expect to pay $20 a month starting out and more as you add additional clients, projects and people to Basecamp. The basic package allows you to work on 10 projects at one time. They do offer a free 45-day trial.
AceProject’s most basic package is free. With the free package, users will get unlimited users, two projects at a time, 50 tasks and 250 megabytes of storage. The paid packages start at $24 per month and offer similar features to Basecamp in that it is hosted on their servers. Some users have complained that AceProject is not quite as user-friendly as some others, but you will gain the advantage of managing both employees and expenses in one location.
Project status listed clearly along with percentage completed
Allocate specific hours and tasks to specific users
Tasks can be marked as “critical” or “overdue” to easily prioritize
Google Drive was originally called Google “Docs” and offers the ability for online file sharing. Google Drive is completely free and the advantage comes in the templates that others have created. Simply choose a project management template to track tasks or use the Excel-like spreadsheet to create your own tasks. You can even set up conditions where boxes change to green when a task is marked complete or whatever color and condition you’d like. The spreadsheets can be set to e-mail users as well. In addition to using the task sheet for project management, those who’ve been invited to share a particular document can all work on that document and share it with one another. This is a free and easy solution for small businesses. It is a great place to start with project management, especially when you need something basic and simple.
Those who love Huddle swear by its platform. Huddle is very easy to use and even offers tutorial videos. While it doesn’t have as many features as some of the more advanced project management software, it does have everything you need to get going on a project or two. You won’t get an online chat or project reporting, but you will gain:
Customize Huddle for your business needs
Integration with mobile apps
The company does not list prices for their product. Instead, try it for free for 14 days and then contact Huddle for pricing based on your specific needs. Try the free platforms first. As your project list grows, or your needs change, you can always upgrade to one of the paid services.
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.