Recommend To Me A Broad-But-Shallow Project Tracking Tool

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,343
The 718
Hi.

At any one time, I have to manage ~75 open cases (legal), 5-10 prospective cases/new business leads, another dozen or so office-management projects, and bill collection status on ~100 open accounts. For each of these, the crucial thing for me to know is what is the very next thing is scheduled to happen or that needs to happen.

I don't need a Gantt chart or something that tracks a bunch of different permutations or activities for each case/project. I don't need project history or 5-10 tasks into the future. I just need something that shows at-a-glance the one thing that is next up, and that can be very easily referenced/updated. A plus if it can be accessed from the Web and/or multiple devices and/or teams, but not necessary.

It could be just a spreadsheet, but having a spreadsheet open all day long and saving it is a PITA. I was using Todoist but fell out of love with it and haven't touched it in a couple of months. I'm guessing that there's something out there that fits the bill.

Thanks.
 

Hoodie Sleeves

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 24, 2015
1,204
We use (shared) Tasks and To-Do Lists in Outlook/exchange to handle minor projects at work - not fancy at all, and won't do a ton of cool stuff - but you probably already have it, and it fits the multiple devices/web/phones/etc requirements. I don't think there's any "get next task" function, but it'll sort by due date. Not great, but beats the hell out of a spreadsheet
 

Was (Not Wasdin)

family crest has godzilla
SoSH Member
Jul 26, 2007
1,938
The Short Bus
Wunderlist. I've got way fewer open matters than you (because transactions) but the lists are very customizable, with subtasks and reminders available at the lowest level for individual tasks. Very easy to share as well, and you can really be specific about who the tasks are shared with-you could share client A with one colleague, and client B with someone else.
 

3_games_down

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2007
112
Coastal NC
We use Basecamp. It is good for basic projects with simple task assignments, it can be shared, and it has good discussion threading at the task level. My one critique is that you can't assign a task to a group. Tasks must be assigned to an individual.
 

crystalline

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 12, 2009
5,711
JP
If you're looking at Trello you can look at Asana too. I don't love either but Asana is better at managing more bits of info - you can create project-based todo lists and order them, which would fit what you want.
 

JimBoSox9

will you be my friend?
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
16,573
Mid-surburbia
Hi.

At any one time, I have to manage ~75 open cases (legal), 5-10 prospective cases/new business leads, another dozen or so office-management projects, and bill collection status on ~100 open accounts. For each of these, the crucial thing for me to know is what is the very next thing is scheduled to happen or that needs to happen.

I don't need a Gantt chart or something that tracks a bunch of different permutations or activities for each case/project. I don't need project history or 5-10 tasks into the future. I just need something that shows at-a-glance the one thing that is next up, and that can be very easily referenced/updated. A plus if it can be accessed from the Web and/or multiple devices and/or teams, but not necessary.

It could be just a spreadsheet, but having a spreadsheet open all day long and saving it is a PITA. I was using Todoist but fell out of love with it and haven't touched it in a couple of months. I'm guessing that there's something out there that fits the bill.

Thanks.
We use Basecamp. It is good for basic projects with simple task assignments, it can be shared, and it has good discussion threading at the task level. My one critique is that you can't assign a task to a group. Tasks must be assigned to an individual.
Sounds like a Trello problem.
If you're looking at Trello you can look at Asana too. I don't love either but Asana is better at managing more bits of info - you can create project-based todo lists and order them, which would fit what you want.
This is one area I've spent quite a bit of time researching professionally, and I can tell you that there are a million options, it's really all about the specific fit to your foibles, but the above answers are as good a starting point as you'll find (and above all, just pick one and start) - good enough or better for >90% of use cases. For the record, I am a Trello guy like the good Silicon wannabe-weenie I aspire to be.

-key thing you didn't mention is whether you want free-only or have some amount of budget you'd be willing to spend. IIRC Trello's paid tiers have features which are highly beneficial to multiple-person coordination. They made their rep on the free app but they've intentionally been starving it in favor of paid subscriptions for a couple years now.

-At the volume you describe, some may find Trello's card-based view (think sticky notes) to be somewhat overwhelming, in favor of more threaded tasks (think GMail) of the others. I'd make your initial choice based on how visual you think you/your team are.

-Because I'm interested in the problem set (family boutique law firm), have considerable domain expertise (did this kind of team/portfolio management consulting in 2014-2016), and most importantly am bored (unemployed), if you wanted to PM me so I could ask some questions about the nuts and bolts of your desired process, it's probable I can walk you through a solid first draft of how to set up what you want in any of Basecamp, Asana, Trello, or Google Sheets, and would be happy for the chance to exercise my brain.

-edit/P.S, we did this in another thread a year or three ago if you want to search for it, I think most of the high points are probably still relevant.
 
Last edited:

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
Apr 3, 2001
40,492
Mtigawi
Great write up.

I'd say that 90% of the people who ask this question and aren't tied into some project management methodology already choose either Trello or Asana.

I mostly use trello, but by this point it would take some significant feature difference to move me over to Asana because I just have so much invested in Trello at this point
 

OilCanShotTupac

Sunny von Bulow
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jan 10, 2004
17,343
The 718
Thanks everyone.

At this point I don't want it to be multi-user - the level of tech sophistication of my users varies and I don't want an office-wide workflow. That would get me juggling chainsaws and asking 50 questions a day. I just want an at a glance dashboard for myself of the very next thing to be done on each matter/project.

trello looks like it might be good. Asana was rolled out a few years ago by the IT guy without any buy-in or thoughtfulness of how it would fit our work, and it bombed. I don't want that stink on me so Asana's out, regardless of its merits.

We're a Mac shop, and I got an invite to dapulse, which is supposedly for Macs but is Web-based so whatever, and that looks interesting too.

jimbosox I will PM you.

Thanks.