God isn't bland. The Church shouldn't be, either.
Friday Four: Online Collaboration Tools

This past week, I had the incredible opportunity to work alongside some great designers and developers for the successful “re-branding” of @ScottWilliams website, BigIsTheNewSmall.com. For those that are unaware of @ScottWilliams, Scott the Campus Pastor of the Northwest Oklahoma City Campus of LifeChurch.tv — works with Craig Groeschel.

We had never met and never really talked to each other. I had seen his blog, read some tweets, but it was the chance encounter of our mutual following on Twitter that initiated several online and phone conversations. He simply tweeted he needed help completing his website. I had some available time, offered up my services, and the site was officially re-launched this past Tuesday.

Consulting via remote location can be challenging if you don’t have a good game plan for project management and collaboration. Here are four web-based solutions I have explored and recommend.

1. activeCollab

ActiveCollab is a project management and collaboration tool that you can set up on your own server or local network. Work with your team, clients and contractors in an easy to use environment, while keeping full control over your data.

Pros: access to source code, self-hosted, unlimited projects, unlimited users, interface for mobile devices, invoicing module, checklist module, file sharing, time tracking.

Cons: self-hosted, requires knowledge of installing application – but straight forward documentation; if you go corporate – it will cost $499.00

2. DeskAway

A project management system that you can use to easily organize your team, DeskAway features shared calendars, task assignment system, file and document sharing, message boards, and more. The free version comes with 25MB of storage and up to 5 members per team. You can check out the pro versions here.

Pros: track work, delegate, share, collaborate

Cons: limited file storage, no invoicing module, limited branding, no docs access in FREE version

3. Basecamp

Offers to-do lists, wiki-style web-based text documents, milestone management, file sharing, time tracking, and a messaging system. It also offers integration with its own Campfire product.

Pros: customizable interface design, data exporting, 3rd-party integration, mobile support and applications, massive customer base

Cons: lack of functionality outside of project management, bland design

4. Teambox

Teambox is a Twitter-like project collaboration tool that allows you to share tasks, messages, and files. You can also get notified by email. Teambox is real group collaboration for your projects!

Pros: open source, 1-minute setup, secure, evolving, inbox-driven

Cons: need knowledge and experience with Ruby on Rails if installing on server and UNIX as well.

Is there another that you prefer and actively use? Please share as we seek to establish open and effective communication within and outside the ministry walls.

Brad HussToday’s post was written by Brad Huss. Brad works for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association serving as Computer Graphics Specialist/ Photographer. He also owns and operates BigHype Media LLC , a full service domain hosting company. Brad enjoys engaging with churches and consulting their website needs. You can follow him on Twitter @bradhuss.

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  1. SR (Reply) on June 11th, 2010

    I havent used any of the above except basecamp – which is good. it lacks depth in features, but it is a good project management tool. I also like box.net and dropbox. Have heard that socialtext is good as well.

    I think the question really is how different are these from Google wave? Is it worth paying for a collaboration tool with Google wave offering most of the features for free?

    I think it is better to go for a tool like teamspace from sococo.com, as they already have document sharing capabilities. If they can integrate storing features, that would be perfect.

  2. matt adams (Reply) on June 11th, 2010

    we have tried all of the above at our small firm, and really like manymoon. Its connected in well with our google apps, and is pretty lightning fast to use, manage and report on.

  3. Sahil Parikh (Reply) on June 14th, 2010

    Hey Brad,
    Thanks for mentioning and recommending DeskAway!

  4. Casey (Reply) on June 15th, 2010

    I have been using Mavenlink instead of BaseCamp recently and I love it. Easy to use, they keep adding new features such as working with Google Apps, and they have a setup with PayPal so I get paid easily and for a cheaper discount.

    The Google Apps Marketplace is awesome by the way. That is how I found Mavenlink.

  5. online storage (Reply) on August 13th, 2010

    These seem like great softwares, thanks for sharing this with us!

    -jack


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