Project Management Software

Date August 20, 2008

My company is in the market for some online collaborative project management software. Since I have never used any of it, I'm appealing to you, the reader. What do you use (if anything) for this? 

I've used Microsoft Project a very small amount, and the open source solution Planner a bit more, but neither are web based or collaborative.

A quick search on Freshmeat returns a lot of likely candidates, but I think we're looking for something commercial, for the supported aspect. On the down side, this will cost the company a certain amount of money every month. On the up side, I think they're finally realizing that my time is finite.

Here are the options we're looking at:

Basecamp

goplan

Liquid Planner

Intervals

DeskAway

WorkZone

Anyone have any experience with one (or more) of these, or any others? I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts.

  • Scott Cover

    Personally we use Central Desktop and I can't be happier with the product and the support they provide. Just remember that Basecamp is 37signals way or else, and they are e-mail based support ONLY.

    I definitely recommend checking out Central Desktop as they have a 30 day trial, which is really the only way to decide which product to use is to use it.

  • NATALIJA

    I suggest you to try ProjectOffice.net . With its easy to use and user friendly interface it will provide you with all the functionalities you need to make your project a success.
    ProjectOffice.net offers an intuitive user experience and functionality for: Project Management, Time Management, Expense Management, Issue Tracking and Wiki Collaboration.
    And best of all, it is still completely free of charge.
    I know you will like it.
    Give it a try and tell me what you think.

  • Matt

    @scott

    Thanks, I'm looking into it now. I'll pass it along to the real decision makers, since it looks like it has everything we'd need

  • Brandon Bowman

    I recommend that you look at what http://www.zoho.com/ has to offer. I have begun using them for some of the small consulting work I do, and their Planner tool is nice, but they also offer all the other productivity type apps you would want, with basic free version and paid versions based on number of users, storage, etc.

  • ernieoporto

    Microsoft is indeed web based and collaborative. Microsoft Project Server uses the familiar Microsoft Project server as a client. You only pay for the licenses you are using and it's not difficult to set up.

    With these per-month solutions, you are already approaching that cost anyway, so why not go with something that has all the bells and whistles for the same price.

  • Matt

    @ernie

    Mostly because we don't have much of a Microsoft infrastructure yet. I just ordered my 2nd server license which will be a 2nd domain controller for centralized authentication. All internal web and application servers are Linux based.

    I guess I didn't mention it, but it's important that the software be cross platform, since we've got several Mac users, and at least one Linux user (me)

  • Clarizen

    Disclaimer - I work for Clarizen!
    That being said, this chat calls for having a better idea of the spectrum of solutions being evaluated. Imagine on one end a collaboration-centric easy to use solution such as Basecamp or CentralDesktop and on the other end Project-centric more complex solutions such as MS Project.

    Clarizen provides core project management functionality without compromising the ease of use. By perfecting this balance of project fundamentals and ease of use, we are able to attract a very hungry audience of teams seeking a solution that they can easily set up, use and maintain while having access to the core project features they use.

    Clarizen's uniqueness is in its emphasis on execution (not only planning) and accommodating the entire team (not only the PM) via features such as reporting task progress via email.

    Come see for yourself and, of course, a free 30-day trial is available!

  • shania

    Hi, I've used DeskAway, and it is a newer software that some of the ones you've mentioned, but I have found it very user-friendly. I believe it depends on what you are looking for. DeskAway is more powerful in terms of features than say BC or GP, and their customer service is excellent. I have been emailed personally by the CEO to assist me with some queries. After trying BC, CD and GP, I chose DeskAway. PS: The permissions were also a great deciding factor - they have excellent permission control.

  • HarshilJK

    Hey, we at FoxyMoron use DeskAway. Its handy - cheaper and everything that you are looking for. For a lot of our content work it acts as an online repository and i think the interface is super intuitive!

  • Aditi

    I am a 1-person IT team / collaborator / CTO all rolled into one for a medium-sized firm and I would recommend Deskaway for your needs mainly for it's user-friendliness and superior customer support. Personal contact and on-going support from the Development/Admin team has convinced me of continuous evolution of the product. Most importantly, I think it would be difficult to find a better alternative for a technically superior, online, Project Management software at a better price and a better Support system.

  • instigator

    Have a look at Wrike. Depending on the features you need it will be between $4 and $12 per month per user, if you go for the year-to-year option. They have a lot to offer: email integration, interactive gannt chart, wiki feature set and some other cool stuff.

  • Milan

    We are a 30 people internet solutions company. I have used few of the mentioned packages and here are my comments:

    - Basecamp: Great tool, works very well for simpler tasks and small teams of 2-3 people. But If you have bigger teams and want to use more advanced project management features, you are better of going for a different online project management solution.

    - Deskaway: I came to know about them from web worker daily blog and took up a trial account. Later I upgraded to the paid account and been quite happy with it. Most of required advanced features are supported with a simple user friendly interface. Support is quite prompt and the price is fairly competitive. Go ahead and try the Free trial and see if it works for your team.

    - Zoho: These guys seems to be trying to every thing under the earth and my impressions is "
    companies that claim they can do everything actually excel at nothing". They seem to have tried to copy Basecamp and add few more features, but the UI is quite clumsy and product has not come together very well.

  • john

    Thanks for considering Intervals in your list. We will be increasing the storage amounts and project limits soon, so stay tuned for that. Meanwhile, Intervals is ideal if you are focused on time tracking and task management. And the granular reports give you invaluable insight into project health in real-time.

  • Charles

    Matt,
    First a disclaimer that I’m the CEO of LiquidPlanner. That said, I agree with my friend from Clarizen. There are BIG differences in these products and picking one is a bit like getting married, so you need to think a ways beyond first impressions.

    If all you need is a light weight task manager and file sharing, then by all means look at Basecamp et al. If you actually need professional grade project management then that’s a much different proposition. You’ll really want to take the time to kick the tires using the 30 day free trails of products like LiquidPlanner and Clarizen. When I say professional grade, what I mean is the ability to handle tasks numbering in to the thousands spread across multiple projects plus serious collaboration and analysis features. This also means having an actual scheduling engine to give you useful forecasts of exit dates and help you manage the workload and execution of your projects. Actual product support (as in humans who answer email, forums, and the phones) is nice too.

    It really should not be too hard to evaluate a few PM products. For example, you can get a really good feel for LiquidPlanner just by watching our training videos which we make available to everyone at the bottom of our support page.

    Re: pricing, you have to look closely at the offers. Some providers will bait and switch with low prices on versions of their product with key features turned off and then jack up the price for the full service (@instigator could tell you about that).

    LiquidPlanner offers the full feature set in trial and with subscription. You also have to look at the incentive pricing offers. LiquidPlanner is currently offering 3 free seats which would cut your effective price in half for a team of 6 people; more at our pricing page.

    Best,
    Charles.

  • Robert Sander

    Hi,

    Have a look at http://openproj.org/, a java based multiplatform MS Project clone.