Ask DN: Advice on Project Management Tools

almost 7 years ago from , Interactive Designer

I work in a small office, as the only graphic designer. Up until now, we have managed our projects via Excel. However, I would love to find a new solution. For the last six months, Excel has been getting on my nerves. I thought I had the perfect spreadsheet laid out, and I fight with the program more than actually getting work done.

We have about 20 columns in each of our spreadsheets and different categories for each spreadsheet. Our biggest concern is keeping a history of everything we have done/do.

I am looking for some help when it comes to picking out a project management tool. Any tips or suggestions for what works for small teams?



  • Robin RaszkaRobin Raszka, almost 7 years ago


    3 points
  • Jonathan SimcoeJonathan Simcoe, almost 7 years ago (edited almost 7 years ago )

    If you are using Excel, then I think Airtable would be right up your alley.

    They have lots of templates like Project Tracker that give you a good intro to how you can use the software.

    The mobile apps are incredible and you can build public forms that feed into your sheet. It has nice Slack integration and can also talk to other stuff via Zapier if you want to pull data from say GitHub Issues or other sources.

    Check it out.

    3 points
    • Wyatt Campiz, almost 7 years ago

      That looks great!

      Thank you Jonathan, I have never heard of Airtable before. I am definitely going to check it out.

      0 points
    • Andrew OfstadAndrew Ofstad, almost 7 years ago

      Thanks for recommending! I'm one of the cofounders of Airtable, so please let me know if you need any help getting set up. As Jonathan mentioned, our project management templates are probably a good place to start.

      We also released our calendar view recently, which allows you to view your records (in this case, projects) on a calendar rather than a spreadsheet-like grid. I'd imagine this would be particularly useful for your use case.

      2 points
  • Stefan TrkuljaStefan Trkulja, almost 7 years ago

    Be sure to check out activeCollab, sounds like it's right up your alley. https://www.activecollab.com

    1 point
  • Caleb SylvestCaleb Sylvest, almost 7 years ago

    I've been using FreedCamp because I'm cheap (well not really, but sort of. still in early stage of my company and need to pinch pennies).

    Creating another PM tool as a ripoff of Basecamp is kinda lame, but honestly, I find FreedCamp more useful in a few ways than BaseCamp.

    1 point
  • David Holman, almost 7 years ago

    Spreadsheets are an underrated tool in the creative community, but a tough way to manage a dynamic workload.

    I've been through most of the tools out there and I keep coming back to Asana. It's not bloated (Microsoft Project) and it's not too light (BaseCamp, Trello). It's focused on a simple list, which can have sublists. And the team can comment and attach assets at any level. They've also added a Gantt feature in one of the recent releases (I haven't tried it).

    After working in a spreadsheet, any good project / task management system might feel awkward at first. Any time I try a new system, I try to give myself at least two weeks to come to a conclusion.

    1 point
    • Wyatt Campiz, almost 7 years ago

      Great advice David! Thank you very much. I have looked at Asana a few times (just their website) but have never given a shot. I will try it out!

      0 points
  • Akhil Sharma, almost 7 years ago

    If you looking for a good Project Management Software then you should checkout BrightPod.com It's simple to use and very easy and like others is not cluttered with features. I love using it. It's a SAAS model so you don't have to worry about taking backup's & it has marketing workflows already integrated in it. I have a team of SEO experts, graphic designers, SMM experts, PPC etc. and Brightpod keeps us all synced. Do take a look at it. Hope this helps. Cheers.

    0 points
  • Toffeenut DesignToffeenut Design, almost 7 years ago

    Look into teamweek.com. Using that together with Trello.

    0 points
  • Andrew-David JahchanAndrew-David Jahchan, almost 7 years ago

    We've been managing projects using Apollo at MADSOFT for over 6 years now. I see those kinds of posts often and, for some reason, I never, ever see Apollo mentioned and I'm not sure why.

    They're continuously improving it, adding new requested features, and it's very streamlined and easy to use. We use it for everything: tasks and milestones, file version control, project-related discussions, contact management, project events and timelines, etc. It's pretty cheap too.

    0 points
  • Adam Hopwood, almost 7 years ago

    It depends what you want from a system.

    Is it resource allocation? Task tracking? Client feedback? Time tracking?

    If you're looking for a collection of smaller tools, I've used a combination Harvest / Harvest Forecast and Team Gantt. All really good focused tools.

    Teamwork provides the most fully featured offering we found but is a bit heavy as a result.

    Basecamp is really popular but I've always find it too simplistic.

    Asana is another all in one solution which recently got a redesign - not used it though.

    0 points
  • Artur Eldib, almost 7 years ago

    Asana Flow Basecamp (I dont like that much, but they have many fans out there)

    0 points