Online project planning software for small business

Have you ever had to manage a project without project planning software? It can turn into a Goliath-like apocalypse pretty quickly.

Even with clear strategy and the best of intentions, a project can take wrong turns, people can become disengaged, and months of hard work can go down the drain. A single wrong move can be the business-equivalent equivalent Hara kiri.

Taming a project that has gone off the rails can be a herculean task and cost lots of money.

Fear not.

There are many options project planning software for small businesses such as Basecamp, Huddle, and Zoho; and the best part is that they are light on your wallet.

I decided to road-test Basecamp on their 60 day free trial - after which it costs $20 per month on the cheapest plan. 

project planning software

Basecamp: small business project planning software

In using Basecamp I was taken to the project page. The project that I was working on was developing an app for time management. It involves working with several people from my team (who work in different cities) and a client.

So the first thing I did was set up a new project called Mytimemanagement app.

base camp project planning software

Then I invited the core people on this project. I didn't need to invite all 10 of them, I just invited the core 2 people on the team.

project planning software

I then wrote a Basecamp message to the team explaining the project and how I envisaged using Basecamp.

What I really liked about the set up was that:

  • easy to use (5 minutes to set up)
  • I could streamline all communications about the project in one central place - rather than playing email ping-pong. 
  • my team were all on the same page
  • I could save this as a template for recurrent projects.

Setting up the project in Basecamp software

Below is the base camp project for mytimemangement app.

It is on this page that I was able to keep all my todos, discussions, events, documents, about the app that we were working on.

In the discussion tab I can post messages. These might include:

  • goals of the project,
  • feedback on the design of the app, or 
  • share updates with our client.

By clicking on the to do tab I can make lists of all the tasks and stuff that needs to be done to complete the project. For example, here I kept details of the people we needed to contact and the actions that each person in the team needed to do.

In the To Do's I was able to assign and track tasks to different people.

I liked two things about this:

  1. I could  attach files directly to a to-do item.
  2. Once a date was assigned these dates appeared as milestones on the project calendar. 

A big timesaver was the ability to have my team work on a single text document together - there was no need to send stuff back and forth through track changes. It allowed my team to brainstorm and collaborate more effectively.

I have found that whether we develop a new advertising campaign, hire a new sales person, or arrange more app development, Basecamp streamlines our communication, keeps everything in a central place, and tracks our progress on to do items. 

In short, Basecamp aided us to stay on same page - no matter what your role, everyone worked toward a common goal and finished the project together.

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