How to Leverage the Power of Software to Help Manage Projects
As a solopreneur, you wear a lot of hats and one of the roles you have to fulfill is that of project manager. After all, someone has to keep you from slacking on the job. Whether you use it for staying on task or organizing collaborative efforts, good project management software is a great thing to have. You might think such a thing would be a costly investment, but you’ll be pleased to learn that solutions are available in just about any price range (starting at… free!).
The trend over the last decade or so has been toward software as a service (AKA: “The Cloud”) and away from on-premises or “shrinkwrap” software. As you likely know, what this means is that the program is not installed on your computer, instead, it is accessed and used remotely, similar to a web-based email account.
The advantage of this approach is that there is less cost and maintenance associated with using the software. You don’t have to purchase physical software, or install, update or maintain the software on your computer. Plus, you can access it from just about anywhere.
SaaS should work just fine for you, unless you’re working on a top-secret invisibility suit, in which case you should probably store that information locally.
Deciding on the Best Option for Your Business
So, which option is best for your business? Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Freedcamp. This one is, as you might guess by the name, free! If you tend to collaborate within smaller groups, and don’t have a lot of spare cash to throw around, Freedcamp is an excellent solution for you. It allows you to create to-do lists and projects easily. It has 256-bit security, templates for those tedious, repetitive tasks, and a group wall where you can communicate with your collaborators.
Freedcamp also features email and text notifications, and a highly functional and customizable dashboard, which makes it easy to know where you stand on all of your most important projects.
Dotproject.net. The interesting bit of trivia about this free project management application is that it is actually developed and maintained by the users themselves. Support is provided by volunteers. Hooray for altruism!
Dotproject.net features a minimal but useful interface, which allows you to create tasks (with attachments), and projects. If you have issues, you just look in the forums to see if your question has already been answered. If it hasn’t you can submit it. It may take a bit of patience to get a reply, as your question goes into a queue. If you need immediate help, priority support is available at a cost.
Teamlab. Designed as a free Basecamp alternative, Teamlab provides everything your business needs for project management and collaboration. It has Open Office and a document editor built into its interface, making document management a snap.
It also features project creation with tasks, milestones, time tracking and all the other goodies, a calendar with multiple schedules and customizable permissions, and a mobile app so you can keep tabs on things from your Android or iPhone when you’re out in the field.
It even has a customer relations management module, so if you’re prone to losing business cards, you should be thrilled. It doesn’t currently feature built-in email management, but they’re working on it, from the looks of things.
These are a few free project management applications that we think are great. You certainly can’t beat the price, but we’re sure you have favorites of your own. Let us know what you use and how it works, and submit a guest post in The Self-Employed Blog.