Project management/tracking software?
January 16, 2014 6:04 AM   Subscribe

My professional responsibilities are expanding to include much more supervisory work, including overseeing projects executed by outside organizations. I need a way to keep track of these projects' status so I don't let anything slip through the cracks! Details inside.

I am looking for a way to keep track of who is working on what, and to remind myself at periodic intervals to stay abreast of the latest updates. That would be a simple tickler file, but I also need the ability to get the 30,000 foot view of where all the projects currently stand so I can keep my boss informed, and collating that information from a variety of tickler files is not trivial.

Our company uses ActiveCollab as our default project management software, and I'm certainly open to using that, but I don't know if that works in this scenario because the external organizations don't use AC (and I have no authority to require them to do so). AC seems like a great tool for tracking responsibility between users, but I haven't seen anyone use it effectively as their own "responsibilities dashboard overview." If that's possible (and it may well be, because no one in my organization is an AC power user), I'd appreciate direction on how to do so effectively. If not, is there another tool I should be using? My best guess is an ticket tracker program, but I am open to any suggestions.
posted by philosophygeek to Work & Money (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Team Foundation Server? It may not apply or make sense, but we use it in my office (we're in IT) and it is pretty damned useful.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:37 AM on January 16, 2014

I use Trello (it's free) to manage my personal projects in addition to the projects of the two teams (9 people total) that report to me professionally. I find that the Board -> List -> Card model to organize works really well.

The only gap I see is periodic reminders. Trello doesn't currently do that, though it does support due dates on cards. And, once you get your update, you could update the due date to the next time you want to follow up.
posted by Jacob G at 7:44 AM on January 16, 2014

One fantastic ticket tracking program is Jira. But setting it up will take more work than becoming oroficient at what you already have. Why not become the one power user?

That said, excel can do amazing things.
posted by jander03 at 8:12 AM on January 16, 2014

You might look at OpenERP - it's a modular system that can handle project, task, and issue tracking, with an option for multiple company use.

It's offered as a service for a monthly fee, but you can download the software for free and just run it in a webserver on your own computer.

I've just started working with it myself, but it has a lot of good reporting and notification options.
posted by mikurski at 11:30 AM on January 16, 2014

I use an excel file and two project/categories in my to-do app (Things). Quick things I need to ask someone specific about, I tag as flag and things I know I need to get back to without immediacy, I tag as tickle to periodically circle around. Then I have a big excel file which has the next 12+ months for columns on the front with general projects and notes in rows below. I used to keep specific dates, but it's easier to group by month and glance up and down 50+ rows and put in comments or notes.

You need to find something that is super simple to add to (I can add a to-do with a keystroke entry and the excel file is always open during work time) or you need to have the daily discipline to sit down and review your chosen program and track these reminders for 20-30 minutes each day, or you end up relying on post-it notes and your memory.

I recently took on the responsibility to put together a monthly internal overview of reports because it forces me to read through many many reports and summarise them by a deadline. External deadlines help a lot. And now I have to get off metafilter and finish this month's overview.....
posted by viggorlijah at 2:01 AM on January 17, 2014

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