As client lists and project sizes grow, turning to project management software is a great way to stay organized by using to-do lists, calendars, collaboration, automated billing and more. There are many options available, each with a variety of features and prices, several of which are outlined below.
Basecamp is a project management package in which everything is managed through an online service, rather than downloadable software. This makes it a great tool for collaboration, as multiple users (such as subcontracted freelancers or even clients) can access the system from anywhere through a web browser. Ideas and project information are shared through to-do lists, milestones (important deadlines), messages (notes with comments), writeboards (shared text files), online chat, and file sharing. Project members are notified of changes and updates automatically. Several packages are offered, including a free option that allows one active project. The $49 per month “Plus” package gives you 3 GB of file storage, 35 active projects, chatting, SSL security, time tracking (which is tied to to-do items) and unlimited users. This prices Basecamp much higher than the flat-rate software competition.
OnStage is another online package, offering a nice set of features all accessible through a browser. Any number of users (OnStage has no limit) can share documents, calendars, tasks, and other vital project data. OnStage offers attractive pricing options, with the free version allowing up to 20 active projects as long as you are willing to view advertisements. Other packages start at $10 per month and go up by number of projects and file storage size.
Daylight project management software for the Mac is an extremely user-friendly application by marketcircle with several interesting features beyond the standard set of tools. Daylite’s “pipelines” allow you to track your projects by stage, with custom names and tasks defined for each stage. The “opportunities” tab helps you to keep track of prospective clients. The software also features a powerful tool that ties your work to Apple Mail, and lets you associate emails with entire projects, contacts and opportunities. Daylite lacks time tracking and billing, though marketcircle offers a separate application, called Billings, for those tasks. The two could use more integration to avoid double entry of data. However, both offer the clean and clear interface, possibly the strongest feature of the software packages. Daylite starts at $149 and Billings costs $59.00 for 1 user.
Studiometry 5 is a project management tool for Mac or PC by Oranged Software. What makes Studiometry impressive is the number of features available, and the level of customization of those features. Within the software you can organize your clients, generate invoices, track time, manage your accounting, sync data over a network and generate reports… and the list goes on. The benefits, however, contribute to the software’s major drawback, which is a steep learning curve to get to know all of the features and settings within a tricky interface. Studiometry starts at $209.95 for a single-user license.
NOTE: Due to the large number of options available, this list is always a work in progress. If you have a suggestion, please contact me.