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Top 5 Online Project Management Tools

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Top 5 Online Project Management Tools Powered By Docstoc
					                   Online Project Management Tools
Whether you are an experienced Project Manager, or just starting out, the
volume of online Project Management tools is sure to leave you a little
overwhelmed to say the least.

In addition, many online tools offer very similar services. Here are a few of
the most common key features that online Project Management tools provide:

       Message boards
       Online discussions
       Online information sharing
       Project management template documents
       Time monitoring
       Milestone management

If you’re still finding it hard to decide, help is at hand! By turning to a site such
as Delicious, the social book marking website, you can get a feel for the
general popularity of these solutions.

We entered the search term ‘Project Management Tools’ on Delicious and it
gave us the following results:

   Online Project Management Tools

   1)   Basecamp with 14538 book marks
   2)   activeCollab with a 8169 book marks
   3)   Trac with 6178 book marks
   4)   Redmine with 4456 book marks
   5)   Dotproject with 4060 book marks

If you read further, you’ll find out in a bit more detail how these ‘Delicious Top
5’ online tools can help you improve communication, save money and reduce
the risks of managing a project.
Basecamp

Key Features

Communication
   Message boards and easily edited task lists
   Discussions in one central location
   Select who can see which messages and leave your comments

Sharing Information
   Share your project documents in all popular file formats
   Can be set up to email the project team when new files are uploaded.

Time
    Set up milestones and to-do’s to help you track project progress
    Ability to assign activities to project team members
    Basecamp gives a clear picture of project progress and draws attention
     to potential problems.
    Monitor how much time has been spent at individual task level or for
     the overall project.
    Reports can be exported to Excel

Templates
   Templates allow you to quickly replicate common task lists and
     milestones.

Cost
   $24 per month for the basic package which allows you to manage 15
     projects, store 5GB of data and allows access for an unlimited number
     of users.

What Basecamp users think

“The dashboard overview lets me create a new message, a new task, or a
new milestone in one click. They make it easy for many people to
collaborate.”

“It wasn’t easy or intuitive to set up Campfire, the chat tool, but it wasn’t hard,
either. It just didn’t seem built to connect to the Basecamp app.”

Source: http://smallbiztrends.com
activeCollab

Key Features

activeCollab is a tool that you set up on your own server or local network.

Sharing Information
   Range of tools to help Project Managers to share files and allow people
      to comment on them. Projects are organised around milestones, each
      one with files, comments, tasks attributed to it.
   No limits to the number of people that can access activeCollab and in
      terms of privacy, people only see information related to the project that
      they are working on with a further facility to control who can see and do
      what - helpful if your client requires access to the system too!

Tickets and Checklists
    You can add ‘tickets’ or big tasks to milestones which can be broken
      down into bite-size tasks and discussed. Alternatively, if you simply
      need a ‘to-do’ that doesn’t require comments then the Checklist
      function will help.

Time Monitoring
    Allows you to track time at project and task level and generate reports
     by person, date, status and project. This system allows you to
     distinguish between chargeable and non chargeable hours.

Invoicing
    Integrate your invoicing process with your project management
      activities through information already on the system including time logs
      and tickets.

Email
   activeCollab sends email notification to keep you on top of new
      comments, files, tickets and documents and it allows you to reply,
      submitting your comments in the appropriate place. As email is the
      accepted communication tool, this may support client and team
      engagement with the tool.

Cost
   Two options are offered by activeCollab, ‘Corporate’ at $499 and ‘Small
     Biz’ at $249. The corporate version includes some of the more
     advanced tools including time tracking. Pricing Information




What activeCollab users think
“A major plus is that you can host activeCollab on your own server. There are
no limits to storage space to worry about.”

“I was a little disappointed that there was not more attention given to client
interaction. It’s hard enough to get your clients to log in to a project
management tool without at least giving them some extra ability to interact
with the project.”

“There are plenty of tools available for helping you to break down your project.
Project milestones, discussions, file sharing, joint calendars, time tracking,
and forums are the standout ones. Noticeably missing are whiteboards, real
time chat areas, and any type of RSS.”

Source: http://freelanceswitch.com
Trac


Key Features

      Trac is described as “an enhanced wiki and issue tracking system”
       designed particularly for software development projects. For those of
       you who may already be a little lost, a ‘Wiki’ is a website that allows the
       easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a
       web browser (and is taken from the Hawaiian word for ‘fast’).

      Open Source - Open source describes practices in production and
       development that promote access to the end product's source
       materials and are usually free. However if you are not ‘technical’ and
       have little knowledge of working with this type of solution, you may feel
       a little out of your depth.

Sharing Information
   Communication, discussion and decision-making within the Trac
      project is done primarily through mailing list conversations. The lists
      are powered by Google Groups.

Time Monitoring
      The timeline provides a historic view of the project in a single report.
        It lists all Trac events that have occurred in chronological order, a
        brief description of each event and if applicable, the person
        responsible for the change.
      Each event entry provides a hyperlink to the specific event in
        question, who authored the change as well as a brief excerpt of the
        actual comment or text, if available. It is possible to filter the
        displayed events with the various filters in the option panel.

Cost
   Trac is an open source free project management tool

What Trac users think

“It is amazingly easy to use after it has been installed, and it allows a shallow
learning curve so that every project team member will be up to speed on Trac
in just a few hours.”

Source: http://www.softwareprojects.org

“Web designers and others who like their interfaces clean and less cluttered
my find Trac a bit cumbersome.”

Source: http://www.myintervals.com
Redmine

A flexible, project management web application and like
Trac, Redmine is open source software.

Key Features

      Multiple project support: projects can be either ‘Public’ (accessible to
       all) or ‘Private’ (accessible only to the project team), depending on the
       needs of the project.
      You can manage related project elements as ‘sub projects’ of the main
       project.
      Flexible role based access control which means you can define your
       own roles and set permissions.

Time Monitoring
    Time can be entered at project or ticket level.
    Simple report to view time per user, issue type, category or activity
    Automatic Gantt and calendar based on issues start and due dates

Information Sharing
    You can easily post messages and share files
    Project activity, change sets, news, issues, issue changes are available
      as Atom feeds
    Each user can have a different role on each project
    Each project can be declared as public (visible by anyone) or private
      (visible by project members only)
    Modules (e.g. wiki, repository, issue tracking, ...) can be
      enabled/disabled at project level

Support

      Redmine lets you authenticate users against multiple ‘LDAP’ or
       Lightweight Directory Access Protocol
      Accounts can be created on-the-fly when a user is found in the
       directory (optional)
      You can allow users to register online
      3 account activation methods are available: automatic (no confirmation
       required), manual (by administrators) or through an auto generated
       URL sent via email
      Multiple databases support - Redmine runs with MySQL, PostgreSQL
       or SQLite

Cost
   Another free-of-charge, Open Source Software
What Redmine users think

“The integration throughout the entire system is excellent. You can create
nested subprojects and move issues/tickets from one project to another.”

Source: http://www.digitalbase.eu

“I often wish a few more items where ‘clickable’. For instance when viewing
the issue list, I’d like to be able to click the Category name in one of the rows
and see a list of issues for that category. “

“You can save filters on the issue list, which is ace, but it would be nice if you
can ’save as new’. I often create lots of very similar queries and have to build
up each one from scratch.”

Source: http://www.davedevelopment.co.uk
dotProject


dotProject is a volunteer supported Project Management application. There is
no "company" behind this project, it is managed, maintained, developed and
supported by a volunteer group and by the users themselves.

Key Features
   Offers a view that almost all other project management tools ignore,
      instead of just managing projects, you can manage several companies
      at once.
   dotProject provides more than just project management solutions; it
      also sets up a help desk with ‘trouble tickets’. This allows your clients
      to contact you with their issues and complaint or suggestions, and
      organizes them by date or priority level.
   Ability to attach files to tasks and projects. Allows you access to
      budgets and an employee database system.

Cost
   dotProject is free to anyone who wants to download and use it.
   Day to day support is provided free by volunteers.


What dotProject users think

“One of the best free tools we have found, with an excellent layout and design
and fast page loads as well as clean and concise lines, so its easy to see
what to do.”

“The only thing missing from this excellent project management tool is a time
logging module, allowing team members to show when they were actively
working.”

Source: http://www.softwareprojects.org


The Centre for eBusiness recommends that, if these solutions are still a
little ambitious - experiment with online collaboration and document sharing
using Google Docs.