5 Game-Changing Project Management Tools

project-toolsProject management tools and applications are incredibly valuable to web-workers. Tracking time, tasks, people, and everything else is difficult, and the right project management tool can make all of the difference.

It’s been several years since the first web-based project management software debuted, and some of the best systems have gone on to become incredibly popular (I’m looking at you, basecamp). Some newer systems, like ActiveCollab and 5pm, have also joined the party and carved out their own segment of the market.

The market is still young, however, and new software and apps are emerging at a rapid pace. This new segment of applications is we’re going to look at today and, more specifically, we’ll be looking at some project management applications that are doing things differently.

In the ongoing quest for the perfect project management system, here are five tools that are changing the game:

1. OpenGoo

opengoo project management
OpenGoo describes themselves as an easy to use web office that’s focused on productivity, collaboration, communication, and team management. All in all, I think that’s a very good description. The OpenGoo office was created by FengOffice and the open source community, and has actually been in the market for quite some time — only recently, however, have they been gaining significant traction.

OpenGoo is a very feature-rich productivity system, and in many cases would be too much for a freelancer or solo-preneur. If you work with a number of people though, this could be a great solution.

Why This is Game-Changing: I would consider OpenGoo a game-changing productivity tool for one primary reason — it is an open source system that is both very functional and easy to use. Many open source project management systems (like ProjectPier) are difficult, lacking in features, and lacking in support. OpenGoo has been getting very regular updates, bug fixes, and new features. In addition, the system is very robust and very well styled. Overall, it is a pleasure to use and it’s free.

Visit the OpenGoo website, or try the demo.


project management for rockstar freelancers
SUBERNOVA describes themselves as ‘project management for rockstar freelancers’. Their system handles many of the things that freelancers and web-workers require, such as invoicing, project management, and contact management — all of which is done can be done through a sleek web interface, and adobe AIR app, or an iPhone app. You can demo the system free for 30 days, and after that it costs only $5.99 to upgrade to the full version.

Why This is Game-Changing: SUBERNOVA is a game changer for a number of reasons. The fact that the application is available on three different platforms (web, desktop, and mobile) is a strong push towards complete integration — the industry will be heading further and further in this direction. They also fall into the category of “one app to rule them all”, similar to WorkETC below. Between these two facts, and the low cost of $5.99, I think SUBERNOVA is going to be a big player in the future.

Visit the SUBERNOVA website.

3. Projectivity

projectivity app
Projectivity is another open source project management system that you would download and install on your own server. They offer a combination of tools including portfolio management, project management, knowledge management, and collaboration.

Projectivity is very powerful platform with an interface that is both beautiful and easy to use. Setup is somewhat difficult if you aren’t a tech-geek, but it is certainly possible for the average freelancer with a little help here and there.

Why This is Game-Changing: Like OpenGoo, Projectivity is a game-changing piece of open-source software. Finding free software that is as mature and fully-featured as this is very difficult, and the fact that it has a great user interface and is easy to use is just icing on the cake.

Visit the Projectivity website, or try the demo.

4. WorkETC

worketc collaboration, crm, billing
WorkETC is a productivity tool that wants to handle your entire business in one place. They combine project management, CRM, time tracking, invoicing, and a lot more all under one roof. The software is a hosted solution with a starting cost of $29.95/month for their “freelancer” plan.

I’ve been following WorkETC for a few years now as they have developed from a complete underdog into a successful company, and I can say that the progress I’ve seen is amazing.

Why This is Game-Changing: If you’re anything like most freelancers or web-workers, you’ve probably got subscriptions to at least 3 different hosted software systems. WorkETC is a very promising company that is doing no less than going for the holy-grail of online software — the do it all application. It’s a tough goal, but after watching all of their progress I think they are well on their way.

Visit the WorkETC website.

5. Daylite

daylite mac productivity
Daylite is a mac-centric productivity app that is quickly becoming very popular among designers and other freelancers. In stereotypical macintosh fashion, Daylite is very pretty and very easy to use. It is also very comprehensive in its feature set — including things like scheduling, project and task management, mail integration, and more.

Another important feature of Daylite is its mobile integration — specifically with the iPhone. For most of us, project management is not limited to the office, and so this mobile interface is a welcome addition.

Why This is Game-Changing: Daylite is a very different project management tool for two reasons, in my opinion. First, it is downloadable mac-only software. Despite all of the existing tools and software, this is one category that is rather empty. Mac-only productivity tools have almost exclusively focused on consumers, but Daylite is decidedly business oriented. The second reason that Daylite is a game changer is because of its mobile integration. We’re just starting to see mobile + desktop project management apps surface, and you can bet that this trend will be continuing into the future.

Visit the Daylite website.

What’s your opinion?

Project management is often a very personal thing for freelancers and web-workers. Some people like big systems, others like smaller ones. Some people prefer web-apps, others one-time-purchases.

What’s your opinion on these 5 apps — do you agree that they are game-changers? Are there others that you would recommend?

If you’re looking for some more information about the topic, check out this open thread to see how other freelancers are handling project management, and take a look at this list for the top 5 web-app combos for running an online business.