Recommend options for project management for freelancer



  • I'm looking for a decent option to organize freelance projects.

    Some goals:

    1. Reduce the total number of programs and apps I need to organize projects and data.
    2. Securely communicate with individual clients with complete separation between client projects.
    3. Store all relevant data including secure info, account access, files, notes, etc
    4. Ease of use for clients with as painless onboarding as possible.
    5. Robust archiving and backing up of project data.

    Some typical features I don't really need:

    1. Due dates and calendaring stuff. It's rare to deal with deadlines and due dates, I don't want to waste UI on date based tools.
    2. Invoicing, estimates, payments.
    3. Conferencing, video chat, screen share, etc.

    To list specific features, I'll describe a typical project life cycle.

    1. New client comes onboard. I need to start gathering information. This could be described as CRM type stuff. Record the client, their details, start a new project file, etc. We are typically communicating over email, but it's important early on to establish secure communication before we start sharing passwords and so forth.

    2. Project scoping. We start defining the project, what needs to be done, project specs or standards, whatever. This may involve both text and files. You might even describe this as wiki-like and could be written by both the client and myself collaboratively. Often it will just be them sending me Word files and PDFs, mockups, etc.

    3. Store secure information. I need passwords, FTP, SSH, key files, maybe even credit card info. While most every online tool will be over HTTPS, they are rarely "trust no one". All I have to do is get on live chat or something, and within a couple seconds the tech is inside my account browsing around my data. I've even asked a couple tools I use, if they are safe to store passwords and credit cards, and they said no.

    4. Finally the project starts and I begin work. Organizing work into sub projects and tasks and subtasks is perfectly fine, using typical styles found in today's software. Chat, inline file uploads that remain contextual, file upload revisions, task assigning, etc. I don't have a preference for whether it's list style or kanban style or whatever. What IS important is that it's easy for myself and clients to stay on top of everything.
      What I find often happens is there is too much activity, thus too much notification. So and so commented, so and so uploaded file, so and so commented on uploaded file. You being to lose track on what activity is important. For example someone commenting on a file may or may not be a brand new task. "I like this logo, but make it green". This is an actual task, not just a comment on a file. The ability to micro-manage communications is a very difficult problem, and keeping notifications in check while also being notified of everything important.

    5. File storage can get out of hand. Tools often pool all files uploaded from any context, into a single file storage, and lose all context. I'll end up with a folder with 12 different version of a logo but not really knowing which is the latest, or why it was uploaded in the first place or what I was supposed to do with the file etc. For example "here is the new header image for XY page". Typically people can upload a file, but the file storage system doesn't keep track that the file was meant for that purpose, or connected to a task.

    6. Public verses private notes. I do my own time tracking, I also need to keep notes about my work and research during the project. Not everything should be visible to the client. I may want to store code snippets or tools, keep a sideline commentary for myself, etc. There is very much a public and private world during a project. And this needs to be very easy to distinguish in the interface. I need a private notes section connected to tasks or files, private files, private documents/wiki/pages whatever.

    7. Sharing. I need to be able to always link a client directly to specific projects, tasks, subtasks, files, conversations etc. And to some degree, if possible, publicly share things like work progress (screenshots) mockups with other people without having to invite them in the project.

    8. An easy way for the client to create tasks. I'm talking more like a ticketing system here. Something looks off, a bug is found, they can quickly just shoot an email or something and it auto-generates a task in the project.
      Keep in mind here that one client may have many projects, new and old or archived projects etc. So sending in a "ticket" would be connected to the client themselves, not necessarily any particular project. I feel like if I have a good project management tool with this kind of bug reporting/ticketing, then a separate ticketing system would be unnecessary. Clients I've once worked for should be able to submit a ticket and then I can attach it to a project or not or handle as an independent issue.

    The bottom line is I'm trying to find a tool that can replace needing to use 3 or 4 tools. I.e. Slack, email, OneNote, FreshDesk, CRM, Trello.

    I don't need every feature of all those, I just need a general mixing of them. We can "chat" about projects, send messages and have "threads" about topics, write documents, store files, submit tickets, manage tasks and notes, and keep everything contextualized with very smart notifications and managing of activities. Store public and private information, share stuff, and be secure.

    Is it too much to ask? Probably. A typical "all in one" service generally lacks one or two very important features, or is just ridiculously expensive, like add $10/m for every single person! Yeah, not as a freelancer, I don't have thousands a month to communicate with everybody!

    I could do a self-hosted solution but it needs to be very robust. The whole point of consolidating services is to same time. It takes a lot of time to communicate over email, copy stuff to notes, copy notes to tasks manager, get incoming tickets, copy to tasks, save to notes, prepare my private notes into public notes to send back to client, gather files incoming from emails into file service, handle revisions manually.
    Passing data all around various services takes a metric ton of time when multiplied by even a handful of clients and active projects.

    I'm just looking for recommendations beyond the top google results. I know about Asana, Basecamp, Trello, etc.



  • @guyinpv +1 for Trello



  • Please Check https://92fiveapp.com/#features

    It's $199 No Monthly Fees. No renewal of account. Just one time price for single domain.Self hosted Unlimited users, projects, tasks, files etc.Free Updates forever



  • @guyinpv That's a pretty tall order indeed.

    I've been poking around with Ryver. It's a hosted app that is free to use. You create your team and login and it combines your standard chat features (like the standard stream of content you'd see looking at Facebook Messenger - no context but threaded which is useful and not context sensitive). They also have "posts" which would be like posts here on ML that are context based and messages inside the posts as replies are kept related to the context at hand.

    You can create sub teams where you remain the admin and invite others to join those private teams. In these, your communication on both chats and posts is limited to those with access.

    If you want a global public forum, then anyone with login can view and participate in those chats and posts.

    This allows you to create private teams per client and then use the chat + post functions to keep context sensitive information together and general chat threaded.

    They also integrate with a number of other apps which may help close the gap for you.

    This only addresses some of the features you're looking for so I'm interested to see what others will recommend.

    https://ryver.com/ryver-vs-slack/
    https://ryver.com/why-ryver/
    https://ryver.com/feature-tutorials/



  • At my previous job we used Redmine. It's an open source application built on RoR and customizable.

    http://www.redmine.org/projects/redmine/wiki

    A shared online demo can be found at http://demo.redmine.org/. It's been setup to give registered users the ability to create their own projects. This means once you register, you can create your own project on there and try out the project administration features.



  • @guyinpv said in Recommend options for project management for freelancer:

    Is it too much to ask? Probably. A typical "all in one" service generally lacks one or two very important features, or is just ridiculously expensive, like add $10/m for every single person! Yeah, not as a freelancer, I don't have thousands a month to communicate with everybody!

    You are asking for a ton of functionality there. Some of that stuff, like CRM alone, often costs more than $10/user/mo. To get that all put together would be incredibly expensive for a vendor to do. Enterprise email alone is $4, enterprise Slack-like functionality is similar, CRM is often $25 and so forth. $10 would be a steal for that.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Recommend options for project management for freelancer:

    @guyinpv said in Recommend options for project management for freelancer:

    Is it too much to ask? Probably. A typical "all in one" service generally lacks one or two very important features, or is just ridiculously expensive, like add $10/m for every single person! Yeah, not as a freelancer, I don't have thousands a month to communicate with everybody!

    You are asking for a ton of functionality there. Some of that stuff, like CRM alone, often costs more than $10/user/mo. To get that all put together would be incredibly expensive for a vendor to do. Enterprise email alone is $4, enterprise Slack-like functionality is similar, CRM is often $25 and so forth. $10 would be a steal for that.

    I'm only talking basic features though. Commercial CRM apps often come with crazy stuff like email marketing and sales funnels and reporting and communications tracking etc etc.
    By CRM I really just mean, a place to store info on the client.

    For example take Trello, if I use the free version, it's way too open. A person I invite can basically go right in and start deleting boards and cards and wrecking havoc. But even if I use Trello, where would I store the client's contact info? I mean I could just create something like an "info" column and store various cards about this kind of thing. It just feels hacky.

    On the other hand, many project management tools will at least give you a basic profile page for each user. But not typically simpler apps like todo or task management apps.

    What I'm saying is that the tool, if it has a focus at all on freelancers, needs to store a lot of separate types of data. Client data, private data, project data, tasks, files. I have a preference for wanting this data stored in it's own dedicated area, unlike perhaps Trello, where I have to fit everything in a card, which is the only kind of data it stores.

    I also didn't say it has to be free, if it's a quality product that fits the need. I just don't want to have to keep paying more and more every time I get a new client or start a project. I'd like to be able to archive and store and keep all past projects, but not continuing paying for the person it was attached to. Plus the fact that I may do multiple projects for the same client, but the project could be separated by a year from the last project. So I don't want projects/tasks being intermingled with each other. Each project is its own thing. Though a perpetual ongoing project is fine too.

    Yes, I want a lot of features, but the features don't have to be intensely complicated. It just has to make sense. A freelancer, with multiple clients and projects, keeping all the information separated and safe, easy to navigate and onboard clients, easy to backup/archive/search.



  • @nashbrydges
    I wouldn't have thought Ryver. I've had an account there for a while, watching it develop.

    I think this would be suitable for small time stuff, small clients with just one or two people. You only get a single chat stream with no real channels or multiple threads, though posts can kind of fill that need.

    It would suffer a bit in the UX I think. For example to comment on a post you have to expand it and then scroll to the bottom. This could get ugly on longer posts. But also you don't get any kind of general dashboard regarding activity, or even basic management of something like tasks.

    It could be useful as a Slack alternative for live chatting but that's about it. I'd almost rather stick to Telegram for chats. I can throw a few people into a group chat and then I can use the app everywhere.



  • @ambarishrh said in Recommend options for project management for freelancer:

    Please Check https://92fiveapp.com/#features

    It's $199 No Monthly Fees. No renewal of account. Just one time price for single domain.Self hosted Unlimited users, projects, tasks, files etc.Free Updates forever

    This seems really interesting, no live demo though, I have to sign up for a demo I guess.
    Not much info anywhere online, and the stuff I do find is for the old version, which I tried downloading but it won't run, just throws all kinda errors.



  • @guyinpv sign up for a demo i guess this might be a good fit


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