Friday, 7 January 2011

Creative working and Project Management Software

A few years ago, it was hard to find anyone in traditional Project Management who understood why working in digital media creative companies was different. The difference lay in the workflow: work allocation, flexible resources, variable costing, changing markets, clients demanding ongoing revamps, work starting before written approval and so on. After all, traditional project management is all about control while creativity doesn't like control. No wonder there were clashes.

But once creatives started demonstrating that their workflow was different and that project management software didn't quite fit, software was developed specifically for creative companies - often by creatives themselves. Well, after a shaky start, this has come of age. Now there are choices of software to suit digital creative companies. We thought it was high time to revisit this aspect of project management. If you have tried and given up on traditional PM software solutions, why not appraise some of these creative solutions instead? They may well offer a better fit for your way of working.

The most well-known and (informally) endorsed project software for creative working that we've come across is Basecamp. It prides itself on being very easy and intuitive to use, and it started from the project communication process rather than from the chart / stats angle. It is a good way to get employees into the concept of project management but may need progression afterwards (See Copper below).

Workamajig is an integrated system from task to accounting – and says it's Mac friendly too. Used by mainly by ad agencies, it is customisable for size of company as well as functionality.

Proworkflow is a hosted service that has 3 different plans for different sized solutions. It is also an integrated system that covers several of the main company functions.

Gantter is a FREE web-based PM tool. Ryan Dube endorses it in Oct 2009 where he enthuses over it and compares it to Microsoft Project. The files from Gantter are compatible with Microsoft Project too. Also tipped on Google Apps Marketplace as in the top 10 PM Apps in 2010.

Timefox aims at Freelancers and is more of a Timesheet and task tracking system. Monthly payment per users.

Copper is the one to watch! This might be the progression after your employees take to Basecamp. They focus on saving your company time and therefore money by better project control. They say they save between 20 and 100 hours for you a month!

Better project management for your company sounds like a good New Year's resolution! Now even creative companies can't just turn their backs on the opportunities.