2 min read

What's your set up?

From where I stand, at a small agency, there are 4 major function of a PM's role:

  • Fostering Clear Communication
  • Project Planning and Maintenance
  • Time and Budget Tracking
  • Resource Planning

That list is proof that project management creates a perfect storm of activities that no single app can handle. Right now, our PM setup is a collection of tools that are good for a single purpose within project manager. I am in the middle of assessing the tools we use and find myself wishing for the unicorn of all apps. (We all know unicorns don't exist, right?

From where I stand, the unicorn of all PM apps would cover all of these bases. Here's a run-down of what we use each for:

Communication - Basecamp

We all adore Basecamp for its ease of use and ability to help with client and internal communications. In some ways, it has created more open ways of communicating without making people completely rely on email. Its API is open enough for a lot of companies to have built apps that work very well with it. For more info on how we use Basecamp at Happy Cog, check this out.

Project Planning and Maintenance - OmniPlan

Honestly, it is what it is. We can create and track single plans fairly easily. Recent updates have eliminated some features and made others more difficult. Honestly, I'm ready to jump ship. I want something that is easier to use. I also want to be able to track multiple plans within on file. With its latest release, OmniPlan did away with that capability. When you're working on a team of more than one PM, it's essential to share.

Time and Budget Tracking - Harvest

I think we found the app we love. Its desktop version is great; team members can plan their days, set up timers and easily and accurately track time. Its reporting capabilities are solid and easy to use, so  tracking budgets is super simple. There is also a great Harvest iphone app. Track time on the go and it syncs to your account. I love that, especially when I am traveling. In addition to that, Harvest allows you to track project expenses and send invoices through a simple interface.

Resource Planning - A clunky spreadsheet

This is a work in progress. There are a couple of tools out there that merit a review: Float and 10,000 Feet. The jury is out, and I am pretty excited about the prospects.

It's not horrible, because there are some really awesome tools out there But it could be better! So tell me, What's your PM set up? Are there tools that are just so perfect and amazing for your PM process? If yes, why? Or, are you working on a single tool to rule them all? I want to know about it!