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Project Management Programs in 2016

There were some discussions last year about project management options and Basecamp came up pretty consistently. I've also looked at Asana and a few others. It appears that the options are more numerous than one's ability to sample them all. That being said, can anyone chime in on any experience they've had comparing different products? If not comparisons, your impressions of a program you like or don't like.

The problems I'm trying to solve are first and foremost keeping tracks of myriad small tasks: getting out standard letters and documents to open a file, following up on recent incoming calls, getting signatures from multiple parties, and lots of other stuff I do my best to delegate. It's primarily with one person, so I don't need an application designed specifically for large teams. But expansion to the rest of the firm might be possible if it works well. Further, I need something I can access quickly and simply from my phone to jot down quick notes or send a task to someone else. I would prefer a program with a desktop application as well where I can modify reminders and incoming alerts with some flexibility between different types of tasks or events. And although I haven't been able to find this product, something that integrates with Worldox would be amazing. (Juris too, although less important.) Finally, my firm is deathly afraid of cloud-based applications. (I believe our malpractice insurer encourages us to never put client files in the cloud...or so says one of our partners.) That's a battle I won't soon or easily win. So anything that allows you to control where the program files are stored (like a local server) would be ideal.

Comments

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    If you're looking for personal task management, I would actually stay away from most project management software. They're great for keeping everyone on the same page, but poor for figuring out what you ought to be working on.

    That said, I think there are two features that instantly divide most project management software: recurring tasks and templates.

    Basecamp and Trello are both groundbreaking project management apps, for example. But neither has recurring tasks, and neither really has templates for task lists or projects you do all the time. You can make it work, but it may or may not work in a way that suits you.

    We use Trello to manage our editorial calendar at Lawyerist, and I use it for my daily MITs, for which it is okay but not awesome.

    We use Teamwork for everything else. Teamwork is basically Basecamp with all the features 37signals refuses to add to Basecamp. We don't love it, but it gets the job done.

    As for your requirements, this is going to make things difficult, especially if you also want to be able to access your project manager on your devices:

    Finally, my firm is deathly afraid of cloud-based applications.

    And this is almost certainly inaccurate:

    I believe our malpractice insurer encourages us to never put client files in the cloud.

    If you check into it and it's true, however, I'd love to know which malpractice insurer is so ass-backwards that it thinks law firm servers are more secure than respectable cloud services.

    If you need your project management software to exist locally, then maybe look at Microsoft Project. It's pretty old-school, but I think it meets the silly non-cloud requirement (I'm not calling you silly, but the person who is imposing the restriction on you). Or if you're on a Mac, try OmniFocus.

  • DLCDLC San Francisco Bay Area

    I recently checked out Project Management Software and watched several demos, etc. I settled on Freedcamp. There are different things you can add for a small cost. Templates being one for I think 2.99 or something like that.

    I completely understand where you are coming from with miscellaneous tasks and keeping organized.

    However, I find it very hard to reenter information into several programs.

    My recommendations instead of trying to find a new program and learning it:

    1. Get VERY good at Outlook. You can do most of the things you mention with Outlook tasks and reminders. There are hundreds of youtube videos and information on the Microsoft Website on tricks and tips for Outlook.

    2. Look to Worldox for companion products. They have something called Workflow Tools on their site you may want to check out.

    Your firm may be more supportive if you are asking to improve the products you have rather than get another product as well.

    Also, I agree with Sam on the insurance issue. The firm can get Cyber insurance for a very reasonable rate. It includes cloud based software.

    Best of luck!

  • samgloversamglover Minneapolis, MN Admin

    @TheoRand said:
    Trello.

    Yep. We switched to Trello at Lawyerist a couple of months back. We're still getting the hang of organizing everything kanban-style, but it's much more intuitive.

    However, I think lawyers should also give Lawcus a chance. It's basically Trello, but designed specifically for case management.

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