Tracking project progress
December 5, 2012 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Asking for a friend: three people working on a startup together. There are numerous tasks and to-dos and they need a website to track it (what needs to be done, who's doing it, progress, etc.). Something pretty simple would probably be best. Recommendations?
posted by rastapasta to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I've found pretty easy to use.
posted by Trivia Newton John at 7:13 PM on December 5, 2012

We use Unfuddle at work and love the crap out of it.
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:14 PM on December 5, 2012

We've just started using Trello at my gig for exactly this sort of thing. It's pretty flexible. Since we're a client-based company, we have what are basically bulletin boards for each client, then columns for To Do, Doing, and Done, and you can put what are basically index cards on the board to track things with things like due dates, reminders, comments, etc.. It's pretty handy and how I manage all my tasks for them.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:20 PM on December 5, 2012

trello is nice for this, and free.
posted by spatula at 7:21 PM on December 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Google Apps, create a Site. Simple, fast, secure.
posted by ellF at 7:32 PM on December 5, 2012

JIRA, especially if this is a software startup. Hosted service starts at $10/month.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:36 PM on December 5, 2012

We use RequestTracker and ChilliProject. Both are free and open source.

We tried using Trello for a bit, but I don't think Kanban is very good for general task tracking -- Kanban is a lean manufacturing system designed to reduce inventory. You have a dozen workers working on repeatable tasks that require input inventory and produce (more) finished goods. Kanban identifies where your inventory is building up in the system and by including your suppliers in the information flow, reduces the bullwhip effect in the supply chain.

None of this is relavant to your needs. You have three people, none of whom are likely doing the same thing over and over again. The only cost to having tasks queued up is opportunity costs, and your profits aren't measured by having a huge pile of Done tasks. So right away, the Done category is noise. And ideally, you'd be replacing the default queues with a pipeline of requirements, developing, testing, deployment, etc instead of "Doing".
posted by pwnguin at 7:38 PM on December 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing trello. It is great.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:49 PM on December 5, 2012

Trello or Asana. Trello is good for working on a lot of projects, Asana is more traditional but worked for me in a coding / design / development environment. Both are free.
posted by suedehead at 8:01 PM on December 5, 2012

Surprised no one recommended BaseCamp. Built to be simple and effective, like a super, shared todo list. If that's what you need, It Just Works and you don't need to waste time learning another tool.
posted by lubujackson at 8:23 PM on December 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

PivotalTracker comes recommended to me.
posted by WidgetAlley at 8:30 PM on December 5, 2012

I love Wrike. It lets you view tasks in as granular or as grand a form as you want.
posted by mynameisluka at 8:58 PM on December 5, 2012

Seconding Unfuddle, we ( a developer and I) are using it for a large contract job. It's great for version tracking and source control during development if that's part of what your friend will be needing it for. I've also contracted on a project with a company in the past that used Basecamp. Hard to compare the two since the latter was used more for project management than development, but I've had good experiences with both so far.
posted by stagewhisper at 10:26 PM on December 5, 2012

Assuming the tasks are literally that...small tasks...I'd suggest checking out Smartsheet. It's essentially excel on steroids so it's easy to customize to your needs. You can view your line items in a calendar format, set email reminders, attach shared notes to each item...lot's of handy stuff. I also use basecamp but I have mixed feelings about it. It's serviceable but lacks a shared queue for high level tracking of a large queue of projects. Smartsheet fills that gap for me without being too clunky and unnecessarily feature heavy.
posted by amycup at 11:17 PM on December 5, 2012

Came in to recommend Trello but I see that's already been done =)
posted by katrielalex at 12:31 AM on December 6, 2012

Trello or Asana again.
Jira is too much for your needs.
posted by like_neon at 1:34 AM on December 6, 2012

We LIVE for Basecamp and its sister contact management app Highrise.
posted by at 2:57 AM on December 6, 2012

I like unfuddle for free source control and ticket tracking, and I think it could be used for what you need. However, as an even smaller consultant, I use Unfuddle just for that, and I use ClockingIt to manage projects and tasks. It allows you to organize by client (if that's at all relevant), as well as by project and milestone. It does easy one-click time tracking, which is invaluable for managing estimations and projections ("did Foo take as long as I thought, or two times that?"). It also has forums and chat built in for communication. Both are free at the smallest level; unfuddle charges for multiple projects, IIRC. (It's not an issue the way I organize my source code.)

Based on the description in your question, I'd go with ClockingIt.
posted by instamatic at 3:32 AM on December 6, 2012

Basecamp and Highrise are pretty awesome, but it only works if everyone uses it like they're supposed to. With just 3 people I assume this won't be a problem, though.
posted by elizardbits at 5:54 AM on December 6, 2012

Asana for management tasks and to-do lists hands down. Jira if you are doing technical tasks.
posted by sauril at 2:46 PM on December 6, 2012

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