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:
Online information sharing
Project management template documents
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.
Message boards and easily edited task lists
Discussions in one central location
Select who can see which messages and leave your comments
Share your project documents in all popular file formats
Can be set up to email the project team when new files are uploaded.
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 allow you to quickly replicate common task lists and
$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
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
“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.”
activeCollab is a tool that you set up on your own server or local network.
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.
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.
Integrate your invoicing process with your project management
activities through information already on the system including time logs
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.
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.”
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.
Communication, discussion and decision-making within the Trac
project is done primarily through mailing list conversations. The lists
are powered by Google Groups.
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.
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.”
“Web designers and others who like their interfaces clean and less cluttered
my find Trac a bit cumbersome.”
A flexible, project management web application and like
Trac, Redmine is open source software.
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
Flexible role based access control which means you can define your
own roles and set permissions.
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
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
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
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
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.”
“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.”
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.
Offers a view that almost all other project management tools ignore,
instead of just managing projects, you can manage several companies
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.
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
The Centre for eBusiness recommends that, if these solutions are still a
little ambitious - experiment with online collaboration and document sharing
using Google Docs.