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Web based collaboration software
August 28, 2008 12:46 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for programmable web based collaboration software for team in multiple cities (such as basecamp or google docs)

[I am not a software expert so my request is based on what I (a user) need]:

- The software could be called a project management software as the team (consisting of about 10 members).

- The work involves analysing a number of project leads (10 to 20 max at any given time). The object of the analysis is to identify the best lead (one or more) and kill the ones that do not meet our internal criteria (the criteria are not codefied as a check list but are subjective criteria).

- During the process of analysis the analyst collects data from the project owner (word, excel and pdf format usually) and from other sources such as the web (urls, pdf) and it there was a way to have all this information to be centralised that would be excellent.

-Optional Extras:

1. Ability for project founders (outside the organisation) to upload data directly into the project space without having the ability to read what we have entered

(maybe ablity to email data into the project)

2. Ability for analysts to generate automated emails to founders requesting for information or to update other analysts on the status of a project.

- My understanding is that we will need to pick a platform such as Basecamp or Google sites and have someone programme and customise this for us. Any reliable suppliers?

- Our budget is not huge and we are very inexperienced with software projects and we have heard horror stories of them going out of control which we will not be able to afford. It seems to me that if we picked a platform that had the basic functionality of what we want then there are probably fewer things that can go wrong.

- Would eLance or such sites be good to identify a programmer once we have identified the platform.

Thanks very much for your attention.
posted by london302 to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
moodle may fit the bill. It's designed as a content management system for education, but that fits your needs pretty well.

There are basically three classes of users; teachers, students and admins. The teachers can publish work for other teachers and/or pupils on a course (project basis). This can be files, urls, videos, photos, whatever.
They can have pupils submit homework for assessment, without seeing anything other than their own work. Teachers can mass mail different groupings of students.

Set up each project lead as a course, use the description for details and make them only visible to yourselves. Add files to them as part of the process. Kill or keep the courses based upon your criteria.
Once kept, assign the 'teacher' as the project liason, publish it, and assign the project founders to that course as 'students'. You can then have individual tasks under that course to publish your files to them privately, and/or have them upload files back.

It's all open source, a very popular and well used project (so lots of peer support). You can either run it yourself on your own webhost, or even just go to a moodle specific hoster; some of them will do minor tweaks like doing the rebranding of teacher to analyst and student to project founder for you - they're easy enough to alter. If you've any semi-IT guys available, it's a moderately straightforward project to setup for testing in house, but they will need to know a bit about mysql and apache etc.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:21 AM on August 28, 2008

ActiveCollab. This is PHP based, and can be installed on a server and customised with a minimum of fuss and expense. It's open source, but they charge for business licenses. They also do free demos.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:54 AM on August 28, 2008

ActiveCollab isn't OSS. The open source fork is Project Pier. I don't think either are exactly what london302 is looking for, though
posted by Leon at 4:45 AM on August 28, 2008

Oh, it was open last time I looked at it. Shame.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:29 AM on August 28, 2008

Thanks to all who answered. I guess I will keep looking for ideas.
posted by london302 at 1:24 PM on September 5, 2008

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