Top 10 Project Management Tools for Virtual Offices

With the concepts of remote offices, telecommuting, and working from home, a.k.a Virtual Assistants gaining momentum, it is imperative that we come up with a governance model that best suits our needs to manage projects within the team, and with the clients.

If you are a part of a large organization (lets assume its an MNC) which approves telecommuting and the remote office framework, then there is nothing to worry. The office will take care of custom management tools and will inform you about it. This post is not for you

On the other hand, if you are an independent virtual assistant then my guess is you will be relying on your mail threads to keep track of conversations and using spreadsheets to keep track of the project status. If you are a bit smarter, you will be using labels (as in Gmail) or folders (as in Yahoo and Hotmail) to sort mail threads for easy access. Mail attachments may be stored on your desktop. Again, if you are smart, you will share the documents rather than mail them.

Being a Virtual Assistant, means all of your work will be online. You may be handling more than one project for the same client, or you have more than one client at any given point of time. Perhaps you might be interested in some of the online project management tools. Most of these are free (with limited features for a single user), and comes at a reasonable price (if you want advanced features). The list below is my top 10 recommendations for online project management systems.

Top 10 Online Project Management Systems

Do check out the site to see the difference for free users and paid users

  1. ProjectInsight
    They have all the “required” features for a Project Management System. Try their demo. This is a little more than basic, and little less than advanced. So if you are a Virtual Assistant with average working knowledge of how a project management system works , then chances are you might get to like this. Strangely though, I could not locate the pricing page. If you can locate it, please pass me the link.
  2. AceProject
    The best project management system I have encountered so far.
    They have about
    22 features out of which I rate the Discussion Forum , Task dependencies , and Multiple Project and Task management to be of the greatest value. They offer web-hosted and self-hosted option if you want it in your business’s intralink. You might be overwhelmed initially, but once you get to know it, things are a breeze. I would say this is a “complete” system for single and multiusers (eg:- Virtual Staffing Agencies) alike .

  3. CoMindWork
    I would say that this is the second best project management system on the web based on the features like project-specific Wiki and project-specific blog that are being offered. They allow integration with other PMS such as Basecamp and Salesforce, and also integrate with Gmail and OpenID. So with so many “dream features”, why I rate this as second best is because free users have only one project. ( I need atleast 5). Maybe paid service will suit your business needs.
  4. MyClientSpot
    The Project Management system has been designed for freelance virtual assistants who operate independently. Short , small, and sweet. It is a very intuitive interface and upto 5 user sharing enables better interaction with team or client. If you handle 2 projects at a time (20MB space ), then this is certainly for you. Otherwise, you might want to go for the paid version.
  5. BaseCamp
    A very clean dashboard that gives Project overview of things, without any frills and fireworks. The tabbed interface places Messageboard , files area , Milestones and Todo lists are just a click away. Try the free account to get the feel of things.
  6. VirtuaAssistantManager
    The demo
    gives a fairly good idea about what to expect when you actually signup. The list is lined up according to existing clients, giving you a picture of project status regarding a specific client. This is a paid service starting from 39$ /month for 1 Virtual Assistant. Their clients inclue Pepsi, Time Warner ,and Comcast, among others. Personally, I think they are charging a premium. Certainly not fit for freelancers, unless you are minting money.
  7. EasyProjects
    This is especially good if you have a team, and want a single command center for all the client’s projects and also for in-house projects delegated to the team. The Employee Timesheet and Hierarchical Role Based Permissions are noteworthy features. Again, this is a paid service. (sorry, no freebies here )
  8. Project.net
    This is a complete enterprise edition of project management . system. The demo gives an overview of features from the Project Manager’s point of view. However , it remains to be seen how this can be modified to suit a single user with multiple clients. They do offer customization of tabs and formfields. But you never know until you try.
  9. IdidWork
    I will not call this a project management tool, but if you are a part of a team that requires you to submit regular work updates as long emails or shared spreadsheets, you can make use of their Twitter like interface, to communicate your work status. Moreover all accumulated “status messages” can be emailed to the manager of the team. This also allows a performance overview over a period of time. Worth a try, though individual preferences might differ.
  10. SmartSheet
    If you are extremely comfortable with using spreadsheets, then this Project Management System is definitely for you. The concept of workspace is used to aggregate sheets for the same project and the likes of it. You can collaborate with clients and upload files for discussion. It does take a bit of time to get used to the system. This is free and they have the beta version underway.

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  1. By Abt Pinto

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