What's the best project management software for this task?
April 11, 2014 12:44 PM   Subscribe

I am leading a team of approximately 15 people who will be working together to create a database of academic policies (maybe 20-40), categorize these policies by department/area, assess their current status (some don't exist yet, we'll just identify the need), prioritize need for attention, work to create and/or revise policies, and then continue to update and maintain. Our group of 15 will likely divide into smaller subcommittees to do more focused work. Is there a piece of software (above and beyond google docs) that will help facilitate collaboration on this task? Is something like Evernote or Basecamp what I'm looking for? How to choose between platforms? I'm willing to pay for the right thing, but it's essential there is no major learning curve for users.
posted by TurkishGolds to Technology (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Basecamp would be a pretty good solution for this. Some people hate it, but it's dead simple to use and you can be pretty flexible with it.
posted by xingcat at 1:14 PM on April 11, 2014

Dedoose is qualitative analysis software which would let you do all of this. I'm not sure about the learning curve, but it is web based and collaborative. It's specifically designed for many of the tasks you mention, including importing outside documents.
posted by codacorolla at 1:27 PM on April 11, 2014

Trello + Google Docs. Both are free and can use the same Google login, and they integrate seamlessly. You can use people's personal Google accounts and it'll work, but I believe you can also sign up for a free private Google Apps account for educational institutions. Here's how you'd use these tools together:

Trello is your status-tracker / kanban board. For each policy, you'll make a card. Then, for each card, you can assign specific team members, create a specific to-do list and deadlines that team members can check off, make notes on progress, and link the Google Doc where the actual policy text will live. You can also easily drag-and-drop sort (and re-sort) the cards into different piles -- I'd suggest using red/yellow/green color-coding to indicate progress towards doneness, and sort into stacks corresponding to the different departments, but you could also reverse that (ie, use color-coding to ID department and stacks to ID project progress).

Google Docs is where the actual policy text will live. It's very straightforward to type up a document, then have reviewers comment on specific areas, and resolve the comments through discussion right in the specific comment thread. Because everyone is collaborating in the same document (rather than spawning versions), you can also have people get into a phone or in-person conference and edit together in real-time. If you're not already familiar with the advantages of Google Docs, check out this video for a brief explanation.

Both of these tools are very intuitive and pretty easy for a wide range of users to grasp. I've used them for projects like this and been very happy with the results!
posted by ourobouros at 1:30 PM on April 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

I like Asana for projects like these. It's mobile features are useful, too.
posted by skye.dancer at 2:35 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I work at an academic institution and we use Basecamp to manage our projects (I suppose it's worth noting that we also have an intranet run off Drupal and we use Google Docs/Drive extensively with the occasional pinch-hit from Dropbox).
posted by librarylis at 8:18 PM on April 12, 2014

Nthing Basecamp.
posted by degoao at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2014

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