By Kellye Crane and Heather Rast
As we mentioned in Part One of this series, effective project management is important for all professionals, but for solo PR pros, it can be a key to profitability. Making better use of your time means you can take on more work and increase revenue.
In Part One, we covered free collaborative project management tools. In Part Two, we focus on “freemium” and low cost options below.
Once Kellye's favorite for smaller projects because of its Google integration, Manymoon is transitioning to a new product called Do, now owned by Salesforce. The service claims to retain the features Manymoon users love, adding in features including task notes, real time notifications concerning activities for tasks and projects, and iOS support.
Because there is a lot of change going on with this product in light of the acquisition (potentially including the pricing model), we recommend keeping an eye on it, but not adopting it until the migration is complete.
- Integrates with Google Apps and Salesforce. Add Google docs to your task updates; create Do tasks directly from Gmail, and more
- The application works on smart phones, tablets, and of course, computer browser
- The ability to opt-in (subscribe) to a particular task without bothering with the whole project, or to view an activity feed for an entire project, and comment on any activity.
- Do opened in December 2011. While it’s part of Salesforce – which probably means access to smart people and good technology – there may be some drawbacks as the company must first develop, test, then refine new features and functionality.
- No reminders for upcoming due dates or Android application yet.
Get It Done
Get It Done is software based on the popular productivity book titled Get Things Done by author David Allen. GID will look familiar to those of us who have heavily relied on analog to-do lists in the past.
- Clean drag-and-drop interface, and tasks sync to Google calendar
- 15-day free trial, $39.00 per year thereafter for unlimited users.
- Accessible via web browser and webapp (iPhone and Android), also for the iPad
- Receive daily email updates of tasks due, send “push” emails to people assigned to new tasks, and email GID to add new tasks to your lists
- Useful as a central repository for tasks, even long-term objectives. Set the due date so something you’d like done in 2013 is out of the way until later
- Teammates must have (and pay for) their own GID account in order to collaborate on your tasks (receive push emails, check items as completed, etc.). This may not be optimal if you have a large or seasonal team
- When something is marked as “done,” it moves to the trash. You may wish to keep a history and therefore may find checked items in the trash less than ideal
Zoho offers a lot of software products, from project collaboration to CRM to invoicing. This “baked in” integration can be smooth if you need some of the extra functions, though you can use them on an individual basis, as well.
Zoho Projects lets customers choose from several pricing packages: Express, Enterprise, and Premium. The free version allows you to set up a single project with unlimited users.
- Clean interface and robust reporting capabilities, which can be customized with your logo and colors of preference
- Includes Gantt charts — a visual way to track a projects’ progress over time
- Allows for centralized filing, including a search function, version control, and sharing
- Opt to receive email notification of project updates or changes
- The tasks function allows you to set dependencies – meaning one task must be completed before the next one starts (typically an advanced feature in other programs)
- Imports Microsoft Project and Basecamp data files
- Offers a webapp for iPhone and Android smart phone
- With more features comes a steeper learning curve (true for all the products)
- Cancelling your paid service isn’t a simple point-and-click. The link to the cancellation page could be more visible and in a more intuitive location. An email request to customer service isn’t a simple solution; we were redirected to the website to take care of it ourselves
The freemium/low cost project management solution space is an extremely crowded field – this list is not all-inclusive, but focuses on the tools we've tried and our experiences with them. What are we missing? Let us know about your favorite tools in the comments!
Next week in Part Three, we’ll look at solutions for larger teams, including Basecamp, Central Desktop and Deskaway, so stay tuned!