Project Management Exploding my Head
October 2, 2012 10:38 AM   Subscribe

In search of Project management software, and loosing my mind, I need something to help organize this mess, and also not make it worse.

So I am in need of project management software, let me describe my business and perhaps that will help with the answer. My company is a manufacturers representative. We rep. 30 companies that build, lets say widgets that mostly cities buy. We rep for a specific region, and we do the processing of POs and PQ, for those factories. We bid on jobs for the companies and if we win the bid, we get a cut of the profit. We have no inventory, we do not have access to the factories product number or codes.

What I need is a unified calendar that my two employees can see and edit, notes for each specific project, tasks, and perhaps a unified address book of all our clients and our manufacturers details.

I've looked at so many project management titles and they are either grossly simple, or so complicated that we do not need half the features.

Any advice, ideas?
posted by Guyatoffice to Technology (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What did or didn't you like about Microsoft Project? Understanding what your concerns are about this product can help us understand what you need.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:39 AM on October 2, 2012

Basecamp springs to mind. It's really simple, but you can use it the way you want to, and 37signals is really easy to work with.
posted by xingcat at 10:43 AM on October 2, 2012

Sounds like a job for Google Calendar and Documents. Simple and clean, but ticks all the boxes you need, I believe.
posted by jbickers at 10:48 AM on October 2, 2012

i work for workxpress, so this is a self link.

we make custom cloud based custom database apps for businesses.

making that you for would be relatively easy and we could make it be exactly what you want, rather than you trying to corral existing software into your needs.

we've made several scheduling apps and also did a project for an HVAC rep company earlier this year that sounds like they have a workflow similar to yours.

i'd be happy to give you a tour of some of the apps we've built.
posted by sio42 at 10:53 AM on October 2, 2012

The features you describe are so common, even in categories outside of "Project Management Software", that I would expect you'll just need to try out a bunch of different ones. Planning out how you're going to use it and making sure everyone agrees on that and is on the same page is probably more important than which particular software package you choose.

Of interest may be Wikipedia's comparison of project-management software list.
posted by XMLicious at 11:01 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was recently thrust into a project management role, and I wanted to set up my own toolset before starting the job just in case they didn't have anything already in place. So I bought a cheap website from fatcow and installed two different CRM/Project management packages.

For simplicity, I really like Fengoffice.
You can group tasks, contacts and calendar entries under specific 'workspaces' and then you can associate all your tasks and milestones with that one workspace. It helps when you have a lot of separate inititatives underway. You can permission each person in your group to only see the workspaces that are relevant to them.

If you want something much more ambitious there is SugarCRM CE which is also free.
posted by exparrot at 11:08 AM on October 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like Basecamp but it's kind of worthless unless you make everyone use it all the time, which I have found to be more difficult than the previous organizational problems "solved" by Basecamp.
posted by elizardbits at 11:15 AM on October 2, 2012

Take a look at Ganttproject... I've used it several times lately, most recently for the launch of a new community radio station.
That said, I'm not sure "project management" is really what you're looking for; order fulfillment or contact management might be more appropriate.
posted by drhydro at 11:26 AM on October 2, 2012

well Microsoft Project is useless, as it doe not meet several of my needs, no unified calendar, tasks, contact lists. It doesn't have a view where I can see all of the projects and associated tasks, at once to see what needs to be taken care of on a given day. It's really only good for working one project at a time.
posted by Guyatoffice at 11:30 AM on October 2, 2012

Fengo looks nice, but it's pricing is untenable. We would cross the 200 project mark within two years, and that's too much to pay. I am installing SugarCRM, I will be back with sentiments on it later.
posted by Guyatoffice at 11:43 AM on October 2, 2012

Google Apps for Domains, free version. Not only does it have what you've described, it's free for up to ten users, is extensible via many, MANY apps, and is accessible anywhere there's internet.
posted by dozo at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2012

Asana! I've just started using this for work, and like it a lot better than Basecamp.
posted by smirkette at 6:34 PM on October 2, 2012

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