Since a few years ago I’ve been working with some friends on different projects. Some of which were projects we built for ourselves, others were solutions that our customers asked us to provide. So we’ve built a kind of network of freelancers with different skills.
As it usually happens at times we have found ourselves tight on time when building projects for our clients. Either estimation wasn’t perfect or the due date was fixed but the customer continued to ask for new features. Sometimes both of the above.
For projects to be delivered in time and network/organisation to succeed, apart from a good lawyer, a good set of organisational tools is mandatory.
Over time I’ve come down to using the following set of tools
- Asana (task management, easy to integrate with other apps)
I use Asana as a task manager tool. I’ve been using it for many years. Tried some other tools every now and then like TaskMeister, Trello, Wrike. But my collaborators and I have always liked Asana better. Maybe for the familiarity we have with it now.
- Templana (fast checklist templates for kind of every need)
A sick integration for Asana. Take a look. It has a tasklist ready for you whether you want to launch a website or write a business plan. You just have to choose the one that does for you and import it into Asana. No need to be creative always to invent tasks if there exists predefined models!
- Harvest for time tracking. It integrates beautifully with Asana helping have a better overview of how tasks and project development is evolving.
- Instagantt (integrates with Asana tasks) Is a great tool to create Gantt charts from Asana tasks. You can plan tasks, milestones and more. As well as track completion, resources and have an overview of the progress in a given project.
- Slack (communication platform)
It’s just as good as Discordapp, Gitter.im, maybe Basecamp or even Telegram. But I find it more organised, more professional, closed and private. For a small group of 10–15 people it’s ideal in my opinion. Channels, that can be private or public, are there to help for different topics as well as many other obvious features. One thing of course that is very important is that I integrate almost every other service I use with Slack so I get real time notifications on almost every thing that happens in the organization.
- Gitlab which apart from acting as a VCS for my code offers plenty of features that help ease the software lifecycle. Most important are issues that can be labeled and categorised as one pleases. The board that lets you work in an agile-like environment. I mostly use the gitlab issue system for bugs, tasks and features that are strictly code related.
- OmniPlan (Mac/iOS app for designing advanced Gantt charts) I use this as an alternative to Instagantt mentioned above mainly for large projects where there are different components and services to be delivered and a lot of resources (collaborators) that play a role in the project. It is pretty advanced.
- Mindmeister for mindmaps. I always create mind maps both for my personal life and for my work. I find it very helpful to remember things and to recover forgotten things. Also, in a project made of different components and different actors, making a mind map helps define boundaries and relations.
- I use Wave to keep track of money inflow/outflow. Very easy to use. Sufficient for my needs, in fact I find it a complete solution for what it’s supposed to do.
- Bitrix24 as a CRM. It’s a very powerful tool that offers plenty of features. It was a bit hard at first to familiarise with the UI and get to know the different parts of the application but once I learned the basics and limited it to just the things that I needed I started noticing it’s benefits.
- Can’t forget to mention the Reminders (on iOS devices for me), that as of today I’ve completed about 2500+ entries. As well Calendar, Notes and Alarm clocks on iOS.
I know these are just too much. Most of which are integrated seamlessly together so using them becomes natural (at least for me). A lot are paid services obviously.
I’m relying on all these tools and making my brain become all the more lazy. :( Don’t follow me on this path! haha