Freelancers (or very small agencies), what's your setup to manage tasks and client feedback?

over 7 years ago from

I was searching for ideal and easy to use solution for ages ;) but never found one. Could everyone tell, what web apps / apps they're using to: — Track projects and tasks/subtasks — Track time, especially with projects paid per hour — Track client feedback on layouts you've made (and ideally, mockups/prototypes) — Gather source files, tech requirements and other project-related docs in one place

I personally found some solutions, but neither is ideal, or even close to ideal:

HubStaff to track per-hour work, UpWork-style timetracker with screenshots and reports. Has a lot things to polish in interface, but it works.

Google Docs to collaborate with client on tech requirements (pretty ok) and fixes (not OK, but at least allows to put "review" state for comments. And it's free.

InVision to gather feedback on layouts. Sleek, but: glitches with some PSDs (simply can't import them) and when there are a lot of comments on layout, they're pretty hard to deal with but at least it has some nice tools to draw over a layout (clients love them) and keeps file versions for assets.

Basecamp to gather feedback and collect files. but it doesn't allow to make notes directly on images, so another thing is always needed, and it's frustrating. I also tried Asana, but as with Flow — areas with project details there look more like chat area, not a place to seriously talk / collect some easy-to-read feedback. But Basecamp to-dos are pretty nice to track tasks / delegate them. What it lacks is dependencies between tasks, so say you need to move due dates here and there when content creation stuck for some time, or smth like that )

UXpin to make prototypes, pretty perfect, but poor commenting (only simple notes), no versioning (by versioning I mean ability for client to view different versions of same layout) and no usable asset management.

So what's your workflow? ;) do you have any suggestions?


  • evan kosowski, over 7 years ago

    The tools you have listed work great for me. Maybe I could give insight in HOW I use them...

    Basecamp: documentation for EVERYTHING on the site. All UXPin and InVision links are posted here along with PDF and JPG just for documentation. Every Round, batch, deliverable is uploaded under its own conversation for ease of management.

    UXPin: Obviously for wireframes and some prototyping. These wireframe links and exported PDFs are uploaded to Basecamp like I said. The reason why I don't find notes on UXPin important is because all conversations about wireframes are ALWAYS done either in person or on the phone where I am diligently taking notes. These notes are then uploaded to basecamp after the call.

    Invision: Used more as a way to hold and view JPEGs of the comps in one place with nice organization capabilities. The comments sometimes are nice but I prefer them to actually leave the comments in basecamp instead, again so that all information is in one place.

    GoogleDocs: Great for timelines requirements etc like you mentioned! But again, always posted in Basecamp.

    Thrive Solo: I use this for Invoices, time tracking, project management, expenses and much more. I have been using this one for a good 5 years and just love it.

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    • Vasiliy Leytman, over 7 years ago

      Wow, that's exactly what I was hoping for — some details about how you use those tools ;) Actually I was hoping if there is one solution for almost everything, as having such a big number as you (and I do) takes a lot of switching time.

      Nice idea about collecting comments yourself, btw, as I mostly deal with my clients by email/skype, or Basecamp, and they don't like putting comments in Basecamp because many of them want say to add some comments directly on layout, put arrows, etc... and to do it in Basecamp, you need to fire some external program, add, then save, upload... so they usually resign :)

      Do you use either UXpin or Invision to make interactive prototypes, not wireframes? Like when there are 10 pages ready and you want to show how menus and small interactions work, or how pages link with each other? If yes, do you import Photoshop/Sketch or just plain JPG/PNGs?

      And about ThriveSolo — haven't checked it out. Do you track hours right inside Thrive Solo? And about project management — you mean tasks/subtasks? As you've already mentioned Basecamp for some sort of project management too.

      Thanks for your answers!

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      • evan kosowski, over 7 years ago

        I sometimes use invision and UXPin for prototypes but on a case by case basis when i feel it fits. I used the prototyping in UXPin for the wireframes of a SAAS app that I created and it was in order to help pitch the app. Potential investors need to be able to click around to get wireframes. I have prototyped with Invision mostly as a way to present hi-fidelity mockups while showing flow. If the site is something simple like a blog this isnt important but certain web apps/sites require a interactive flow to properly convey your thinking. I just use jpegs for these.

        Thrive solo (http://www.thrivesolo.com/) is for personal project management, not client and or employee management. It tracks things like hours, progress, multiple projects, planning, invoices, and other management aspects that arent always specific to projects. It isnt for communication as much as it is organization.

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