15 votes

What is a good free project management tool for a very small team?

Technically two people are a team, right? :P

If it was only me I would use Org Mode, but that's not the case.

Our projects are all artistic in nature, mostly screenplay collaborations, film criticism, YouTube, podcasts, etc [1]. It's easy to get overly excited about this kind of stuff, but we need to follow up too. And we don't have an external demand that would incentivize us to put in the effort.

Even though we're only two people, we both have trouble sustaining long term goals, organizing schedules and information. My partner is a brilliant writer, but for him concentrating is even more of an issue than it is for me. He needs something visual. This tool must also work very well on mobile since he currently does not own a computer. It also must be graphical and easy to learn for someone that only knows Windows and MacOS.

To be more specific, I'm looking for something that allows me to track what we have done, what we're doing now and what we're going to do next. A calendar and some kind of notification system would be nice, but, as I say in the title, it must be free (I'm Brazil and our currency is worth nothing, so even the cheap is expensive for us...).

Google gives me dozens of results, reviews, etc, but it's hard to assess how good each tool is without experimenting it. And I would like to avoid learning an entire platform just to conclude it is subpar (I know this is largely unavoidable, but we can do better with a little help from our friends!).

Any suggestions? :D

[1] Even though our projects are artistic, their execution involves many things that are not artistic at all, such as understanding, budgets, legislation, registering our works with the copywriting authority, participating in public contests, networking, etc. There are lots of menial tasks that are easy to forget.

17 comments

  1. [13]
    ibis
    Link
    Have you tried trello?

    Have you tried trello?

    8 votes
    1. [11]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      Thanks. I have not, but it showed up on my search. It seems fine, but there are like 200 alternatives that also seems fine. Have you ever used it?

      Thanks.

      I have not, but it showed up on my search. It seems fine, but there are like 200 alternatives that also seems fine. Have you ever used it?

      4 votes
      1. Death
        Link Parent
        Trello is probably one of the more approachable "Freemium" offers, with the most design cruft behind it. There are several open-source and other alternatives, many of them pretty good. I used...

        Trello is probably one of the more approachable "Freemium" offers, with the most design cruft behind it. There are several open-source and other alternatives, many of them pretty good.

        I used Trello for several different projects and instances, among them:

        • Task list and development list for a school IT project
        • Development tracker for a company I interned at
        • Development tracker for a different company I worked at (needed this so I could give the interns things to do without needing to hover over them all the time)
        • Tracking various things I did with groups in my old EVE alliance
        • Keeping tracks of my own larger tasks and projects (for everyday use I have Any.do)

        Overall I would say the only real issue I have with Trello is how many interactions there are in switching between boards (ideally you stick to one) and the classic issues of the "Freemium" model, which means it ocassionally bugs you about promoting it to friends or to buy it, or tries to entice you by dangling some more advanced functionality you probably don't need but would be swell to have.

        8 votes
      2. [6]
        ThatFanficGuy
        Link Parent
        Not the person you're replying to. I've used it. It's okay if what you need the most is tracking and discussing specific tasks. I feel like GitHub does that with their Projects part of the repo:...

        Not the person you're replying to. I've used it. It's okay if what you need the most is tracking and discussing specific tasks. I feel like GitHub does that with their Projects part of the repo: same kanban layout, similar capabilities.

        4 votes
        1. [5]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          I would like to use Git, but my friend wouldn't adapt. I think git would be pretty awesome to collaborate on screenplays using Fountain (markdown for screenwriting), TBH.

          I would like to use Git, but my friend wouldn't adapt.

          I think git would be pretty awesome to collaborate on screenplays using Fountain (markdown for screenwriting), TBH.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            ThatFanficGuy
            Link Parent
            To Git, or to any version control software? There are options. Then again, GitHub doesn't even require you using a command line once: you can use the website or their own GUI client to easily...

            To Git, or to any version control software? There are options. Then again, GitHub doesn't even require you using a command line once: you can use the website or their own GUI client to easily commit the necessary changes to the repo. (Can't manage projects or tasks or issues from the client, sadly, but the website is simple enough.)

            If it's the latter, Trello would do fine for task management. It's been on the market for years.

            5 votes
            1. [3]
              mrbig
              Link Parent
              I know there are other capable versioning systems, but Git is the only one I have ever used. It would be nice to have an easily accessible representation of everything we did, and even using...

              I know there are other capable versioning systems, but Git is the only one I have ever used. It would be nice to have an easily accessible representation of everything we did, and even using branches to prototype and explore new artistic possibilities without messing up the main thing. Just like people do with Git.

              Those are things I wish to use more in the future... with Git deleting an entire chapter or making drastic changes is not irreversibly. That's very convenient, creatively wise.

              I just need to understand Git to do that, right now I just repeat three or four commands ad infinitum. I treat it as a glorified undo.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                pvik
                Link Parent
                For the most part day-to-day use of git does boil down to a few core commands (commit, pull, push, checkout, etc). I think this is a nice tutorial that covers most of the basics of git, that I...

                I just need to understand Git to do that, right now I just repeat three or four commands ad infinitum.

                For the most part day-to-day use of git does boil down to a few core commands (commit, pull, push, checkout, etc).

                I think this is a nice tutorial that covers most of the basics of git, that I think helps people who think more visually.

                I treat it as a glorified undo.

                Git can be very useful to jump to previous version of your repository! But, one of the killer features I think is light-weight branching. Being able to create a branch to test out introducing a new character, or write a trial chapter to work through a storyline, and then discard the whole branch if you do not like where it goes, or merging it back into your ~master~ branch if you do like it is great :)

                1 vote
                1. mrbig
                  Link Parent
                  That's what I intend to do. Thanks.

                  Being able to create a branch to test out introducing a new character, or write a trial chapter to work through a storyline, and then discard the whole branch if you do not like where it goes

                  That's what I intend to do. Thanks.

      3. aphoenix
        Link Parent
        I've used a lot of different Project Management softwares, and Trello is what I would consider to be a default for Kanban; if you want a free Kanban board, it's the one you should use. The thing...

        I've used a lot of different Project Management softwares, and Trello is what I would consider to be a default for Kanban; if you want a free Kanban board, it's the one you should use.

        The thing to figure out is if Kanban is going to work for you. It's one of the simpler ways to do Project Management, and it works quite well for two people if both people check it.

        4 votes
      4. ibis
        Link Parent
        We use it at work and it’s very intuitive and works well. I haven’t used any of the 200 alternatives though so I can’t tell you if it’s better or not.

        We use it at work and it’s very intuitive and works well.

        I haven’t used any of the 200 alternatives though so I can’t tell you if it’s better or not.

        3 votes
      5. vorotato
        Link Parent
        Try Trello, in my personal experience it works quite well with small teams.

        Try Trello, in my personal experience it works quite well with small teams.

        3 votes
    2. mycketforvirrad
      Link Parent
      Can personally vouch for Trello. We are only a team of four at my work, and it has been working well for us.

      Can personally vouch for Trello. We are only a team of four at my work, and it has been working well for us.

      4 votes
  2. [2]
    moocow1452
    Link
    I use WriterDuet.com for screenwriting, and you can share with someone on the free plan similar to a Google Docs setup. It's a tool that I like using.

    I use WriterDuet.com for screenwriting, and you can share with someone on the free plan similar to a Google Docs setup. It's a tool that I like using.

    2 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Thanks. WriterDuet is fine but the free account is limited to one script at a time AFAIK. But the screenwriting itself is not an issue for me. He can write wherever he wants that FadeIn Pro will...

      Thanks.

      WriterDuet is fine but the free account is limited to one script at a time AFAIK.

      But the screenwriting itself is not an issue for me. He can write wherever he wants that FadeIn Pro will automatically recognize any format and formatting (it makes good guesses when it handles unexpected stuff) and export to Fountain so I can work on Emacs. I wouldn’t write in any other program.

      3 votes
  3. mxuribe
    Link
    As others have noted, Trello is quite good for managing work - which includes tasks under one or many projects. The kanban style that Trello leverages is very good for visualizing progress of "To...

    As others have noted, Trello is quite good for managing work - which includes tasks under one or many projects. The kanban style that Trello leverages is very good for visualizing progress of "To Dos". You can always experiment: try Trello for a few months, and see how it works for you. I've used Trello for years - for small teams - and it works great...but again, it works for me and my team. Try it and see for yourself.

    2 votes
  4. [2]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      He literally does not own a computer right now - yesterday I made a fresh install on my laptop with the intention of lending it to him. Today the laptop broke. And I don't think Org on mobile is a...

      Honestly, if you think using Org-mode would be of immense benefit to you (and your partner) and you are going to be working with this person for a long time, maybe it would be worth it to try to show them Org-mode and just use that for collaboration?

      He literally does not own a computer right now - yesterday I made a fresh install on my laptop with the intention of lending it to him. Today the laptop broke. And I don't think Org on mobile is a great experience.

      3 votes