University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Higher-ed Project Management...Podio? 5pm? Basecamp? Something else?

Here in the Office of Marketing and Communication at Ohio Wesleyan University, we're currently toying around with the idea of moving from a home-brewed paper-and-Excel-based project management system into something more...useful.

Ultimately, we'd like to streamline the entire project process here in our office, from receiving requests for a new project all the way through to delivery, for everything from print to web to media-relations and from the lowest of priorities all the way through to "the president needs this done within the hour!" priorities.

We've done a little bit of searching and have narrowed down our options to three Web-based tools: Podio, 5pm, and Basecamp (but we're still open to other suggestions at this point).

I know there probably isn't one single best solution for managing such a variety of projects/priorities, but is there anyone out there who has had experience dealing with online project management systems and/or the pros/cons of switching to that sort of implementation?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide,

Doug Thompson
Manager of Web and Electronic Communications
Ohio Wesleyan University

Views: 1933

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I would highly recommend http://www.teamworkpm.net/index.cfm we have been using it for approx 2 years. We had tried basecamp (the old version) which didnt work well for us and this has worked great.

We really like TeamworkPM as well! I like Basecamp for simple projects, but it couldn't handle task dependencies well, and lacked some other features we wanted. TeamworkPM was a good option in terms of having a lot of features and flexibility without forcing too much overhead on our team. I'm not sure it will do what Doug is looking for in terms of streamlining project intake, but if you created some sort of intake form there are various ways you could put that in and create task lists, etc. based upon it. 

I'm not particularly familiar with Podio and 5pm, so I can't comment on their features. I am pretty much in the pro camp for switching to an online system from your homebrewed one-- it's a lot easier to have most project content in one environment that's built for projects, and our group  found the switch pretty smooth (granted, only 5 people plus occasional use by our Communications partners, and now a few others). That being said, we're still using spreadsheets for inventories and other such materials associated with projects (for example, my big list o' wordpress themes and plugins for upgrades and other projects). 

Another vote for TeamworkPM. Working out great for us.

The larger planned proactive projects might benefit from the tools you are considering, but they will probably be too much overhead for the stream of smaller and essential-but-reactive projects that we all have to deal with as part of our flow.

For these kinds of flow tasks and 'project-lets' I use the brilliant Trello (http://trello.com). It is totally free, has an excellent UI/UX, and is based on the Kanban workflow system that is used in some flavours of Agile.

I'll second this. I use Trello on a daily basis and it's my go-to for project management.

We've been pretty successful with a product called intervals. http://www.myintervals.com. It's very "billable hour" oriented (which we don't really use) and has decent amount of features. The big hurdle for us was being able to track and manage the little updates (as mentioned by Daniel) and also to have a request form feed directly into it (to limit copying and pasting from one system to another). We were able to set up a request form online that feeds directly into the intervals system. We receive notifications and can then assign and track as needed. Intervals offers a limited free plan that we've been using for just over a year. We're looking into the paid version as we're about to outgrow the free plan "four active user" limit. It's been working well for us but depending on your needs may or may not be a fit for you. I also haven't really looked into other products now for more than a year so there might be really nice ones out there that I'm not aware of. It is really hard to find a perfect product that fits everyone's needs.

I just found out about Intervals recently. It looks like it has an interesting combination of support ticket and time tracking features. We need that combination for our IT department and help desk, so I'm considering it as a possible system for use there.

I'm glad to see a perspective from someone who has been using it for a while -- thanks for posting!

We have used an in-house developed and IT supported Sharepoint site for print projects and ActiveCollab (http://www.activecollab.com) for web and development projects. We are currently looking a new options to use one system instead of two. ActiveCollab is about have the cost of Basecamp and most will say the self-hosted version of Basecamp. Our IT team would now like us to move off of Sharepoint as updating and maintenance on custom Sharepoint site is challenging.

There is a challenge with web and development since there can be help desk-like ticket tasks and full blown development projects. We tend to open a maintenance job per year and create tasks for the helpdesk tickets items in order to manage them.

We are looking very seriously at TeamworkPM as it has a lot of features of ActiveCollab and more flexibility in organizing jobs. It also has a better time tracking interface as well as integrates with Harvest (http://getharvest.com) which we use to track our time on projects. Ideally we would not use a time tracking software and a project management suite, but once you start using Harvest it does time REALLY well. So it is hard to stop using it.

I have also used Basecamp at a previous job and for our local AIGA Board. It is a great product, but usually they are not willing to do customization for you and some of the features are pretty basic. I have heard that TeamworkPM accepts suggestions and implements them regularly to test or improve their product.

We're also using Intervals here at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. We've been using it for just over two years. I looked into a number of project management tools before selecting Intervals.

We use it for everything from large projects to "this little tweak needs to get done now." If it can be captured in an email, it goes in to our Intervals. As a measure of how much we use it, we just recorded task # 2500.

All of our webforms send directly to the Intervals request queue. Some forms, where I know they'll end up in a certain project, are sent "to" the project. This feature saves me a second or two in assigning tasks.

Intervals is project oriented. While much of what we do are regular 'projects', a fair amount falls under standing projects I've created: News, Production, Legacy Sites (updates to pre-CMS sites), etc. These projects have no end date and we assign certain kinds of tasks to the project.

Intervals doesn't do task dependencies. It has milestones, where you can group tasks together, but if you're looking for Task B relied on Task A being done, it's not in Intervals. Nor is there any way to link tasks together outside of a milestone. For instance, we have tasks for articles. We track photography for the task separately (in part for a cleaner comment history). Intervals doesn't have a way to link those together, other than a link in the comments.

Things I love about Intervals:

- it will email task owners, assignees and follows every update to a task. You can reply to that email and it will go in Intervals and back out to everyone else on the task.

- you can track billable and unbillable time. All of our time is unbillable but we track it to show how much effort it takes to make a site (and justify more resources or "no, we can't do that right now")

- searching and filtering tasks is pretty awesome

- comment history, document attachments

- how it handles projects and milestones

- reporting

- how easy it is to customize

David Anderson
Director of Strategic Digital Communications
Office of Communications
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Did you hear? OUTC16 Call for Proposals is now open. We are eagerly awaiting your submissions!"
yesterday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Have you seen The University of South Alabama's new online course catalog? It integrates with Banner. Looks sharp! Check it out. "
Aug 26
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Congrats to Oklahoma City Community College on going live with their new responsive online course catalog! "
Aug 24
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Curious about what's going to be in the 2015 E-Expectations Report? Get some hints in today's blog post! "
Aug 20
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Big congrats to Butler County Community College on going live in OU Campus last week with their new responsive site. Looks amazing! Check it out: bc3.edu "
Aug 20
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"HUGE shout-out to Hope College on going live in OU Campus with their new responsive site, which Includes a course catalog, calendar, directories, news center, and much more! Check it out: hope.edu "
Aug 18
Howard Hanna posted a discussion

Cloud Providers: Acquia or Pantheon?

We're considering moving a lower-trafficked site with a fairly vanilla Drupal install to a cloud provider and are wondering whether to go with Acquia or Pantheon.Which would you choose?See More
Aug 18
Profile IconJanine Sazinsky and Cynthia Rodriguez joined University Web Developers
Aug 14
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"#OUTC16 dates and location have been announced!! Get the scoop on our blog! "
Aug 13
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Southwest Mississippi Community College has joined the OmniUpdate family. Hip hip hooray!! #weloveourcustomers‬"
Aug 11
Howard Hanna posted a discussion

Site Search: Evaluating and Testing

Amherst College is considering switching the search engine we use on our website (Drupal) from Google Search Appliance (GSA) to Google Custom Search Engine (CSE). We are considering using Google Tag Manager (GTM) for A/B testing of GSA and CSE. We are configured to seamlessly switch between the two search options.Does anyone have ideas, resources, or a checklist you've used for testing the site search and gauging relevancy?If not GTM for A/B testing, any recommendation on what else to use?All…See More
Aug 5
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"New post up on the blog by OmniUpdate CEO, Lance Merker! Check it out: Three Takeaways from #eduweb15 "
Aug 4
Phyllis Treige posted a discussion

UX Analyst at University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Communications Department in the UW-Madison Division of Information Technology (DoIT) is looking for a full-time User Experience Analyst to join our team.  The opportunityWe’re redefining the experience of higher education at UW-Madison, from improving the course enrollment process to designing tools that support advising to overhauling the MyUW portal.  We need someone who is driven to understand the challenges our users face, to help untangle thorny process and technical ecosystems, and…See More
Aug 4
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"We're so excited to add Lake Tahoe Community College to the OmniUpdate family! Welcome aboard!"
Aug 3
Profile IconKendra Smith, Dan LeGate, Matt Kacskos and 2 more joined University Web Developers
Jul 31
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Congrats to Snow College on going live in OU Campus with their new responsive site! Check it out: www.snow.edu "
Jul 30
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Get the scoop on snippets in the new post up on the blog! "
Jul 29
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"New blog post from Kate Browne, Technology Trainer at Illinois Wesleyan University! The Welcoming Website Part 1: Accessibility and Universal Design "
Jul 22
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Nevada State College went live in our OU Campus CMS! Check it out: nsc.edu http://nsc.edu/"
Jul 20
Erin Leavitt commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Exciting news! We've released 10.3 of OU Campus which includes OU Marketplace! Read all about it in today's blog post. "
Jul 17

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2015   Created by Mark Greenfield.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service