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Finding Project Management Solution for Projects w/ budgets - $4,000 to $9,000

Discussion in 'General Business' started by wayne.piscolaty, May 15, 2012.

  1. #1
    I am trying to find the best Project Management tool (other tools as well) for my situation.
    I am starting a web design & online marketing company and could use some pointers & tips in terms of operation & project management.
    While it is a "startup company". I will have some pretty successful clients with well established businesses & budgets (this is not a naive assumption). Some jobs already set in motion.

    I know this ^ may sound like a contradicting 'arrogant' statement from someone posting for help, but just trying to give you a good idea of my situation. Here is some background on me.
    [HR][/HR]My Background:

    Though i have some knowledge, [basic php, photoshop, css, mysql & platforms-wordpress, joomla, magento, etc] I am not a designer or developer myself. I plan to outsource almost all of the work, which actually can be a LOT of stressful work, as a "project manager". I am extremely business minded and have been working for 10+ years. Earning a pretty decent salary for about 2+ years. I have a serious passion for website design, development, SEO. Anything web, mobile, or gadget related is where my passion lies. So this web design company is not a ploy "Get Rich Quickly". Though that would be nice :)

    Through my work the last couple years, I have connected with many companies with decent budgets ($4000-$10,000+). Don't know what profit margin of projects would be. Anyway, not sure if this is even relevent to your help, but just to prove its not a naive statement.
    My History:
    (I can't disclose too much info)
    I've worked online the last couple years selling some online ecommerce web applications to companies (start ups to fortune 500 companies). Not having in depth coding knowledge, I outsource the maintenance & debugging work to developers (in India, Ukraine, China, etc). I frequently get requests & opportunities to do custom web design for some of these companies. Mainly because of lack of time focusing on the web application, I never took these jobs.

    The web applications are provide a good & passive income, I do not see it lasting 20+ years (At least, I do not believe so). So I plan to transition my focus on web design, online marketing & consulting projects instead of selling the web applications. I am looking for the right Project Management solution to help me run this business.

    [HR][/HR]My biggest concern is finding tools (mainly a project management tool) that will help me with my business operations. I have been searching thoroughly and there are SO MANY Project management tools, some free & some that cost. I seriously have no idea which route to go. I came here to the forums in hopes that I could get some help based on my criteria, your experience, and suggestions. I learn very well through the experience of others, so I thought it would be more productive choosing based off recent suggestions. I have read many previous P.M. posts, but the solutions change so rapidly I thought a new post would be a good idea. Hopefully this will save me the headaches of trial and error of 15+ project management tools over the next few months. Though I know I will have to test some out & see for myself.
    While reading the descriptions it seems like all these Project Management solutions do the same things. I guess I am having trouble differentiating.

    **Solution to get contactors up to speed MID project.
    **The biggest thing I am looking for is a web based project management solution that will allow new designers/developers to get up to speed on projects. When contracting/outsourcing work, especially to Indian & Middle Eastern areas, developers frequently do not complete assignments; or they randomly tell you they cannot continue working (based off experience). In these cases, when I find new contractors I have to spend hours getting them up to speed. It takes a very long time (hours) updating new contractors on the history of projects. Would save me a lot of time if new contractors could familiarize themself with the intimate details of the project by reading a project profile. For example, reading through instant messenges, tasks, completions, message history, etc. This is so I don't have to waste time in I-M chats explaining everything (very unproductive).**

    In preparation for this business, I signed up for Ace Project a while ago because it had a solid Android App. But after being introduced to Google Apps for Email on my domain, I just realized Ace Project does not have Google Apps integration. Google Apps is something I believe I need, because of the time it will save me.
    I also know that everyone frequently recommends Basecamp. They only have some limited Android apps designed by some 3rd party devs, which sucks.

    Here are some features I'm looking for...
    Preferred Features Project Management Software:
    - *Web Based w/ Cloud functionality.
    - *Google Apps integration
    - Instant messaging btw myself, clients, and workers
    - Android App-I have an Android device (iPhone app would be great as well)
    - Time tracking
    - Integrated Invoicing software (though I can use freshbooks or another software)

    I would appreciate suggestions for other features I should be looking for to assist in running this business (project management or not).

    Other information:
    - I see many messages on the forums about how designer/devs fail because of lack of business knowledge. I am more business minded & understand design/development as a whole. I have a masters in business & a minor in computer science.
    - Have about $10,000 - $15,000 to use in the company. So while I would prefer a free project management solution, I understand that may be unlikely.
    - I still am making money passively through my application sales.
    - Would appreciate any other suggestions. In some areas I know a great deal, in some areas I am a beginner. For example I just found out about how essential Google Apps is.

    Sorry for the long post. I figured the more I wrote about my situation, the more accurate help I could get.
    Not sure, but if this is the wrong fourum section, please move the post.
    wayne.piscolaty, May 15, 2012 IP