Here’s a cool site for small business owners who work work in teams with outside vendors to complete projects. It’s called Basecamp, and it’s an online project management tool.
I first encountered Basecamp when working with another design firm on a web project. The firm set up a user name and password to their Basecamp account, then asked that all communication, files, and landmarks go through the site. When I logged on to the site, I could see a record of all our emails, a to-do list—sortable by team member, a calendar set with meeting dates and milestones, and all of our uploaded files (project documents, design files, raw files and more).
Since then, I’ve used Basecamp for Mix Creative’s own projects. We customized the environment with our client’s colors and logo, which made it look very professional. The team, initially slow to respond, later embraced the site and used to it track milestones on a project with a lot of players.
We’re not the only ones who’ve been impressed by the program: I’ve since learned that many of my peers in the creative business are using the tool to communicate with project teams for their clients as well. At $24/month, it’s worth checking out.
In effort to be fair, there are some other options out there that do the same thing. Even though I haven’t had experience working in other environments, I’d encourage you to do some research before selecting a system. Here are some direct competitors: Goplan, Lighthouse, activeCollab, or wiki sites like PBWiki and Wetpaint. You can also do quite a bit with free programs like Yahoo! or Google Groups. There’s also: Intervals, Wrike, and Microsoft Project.