Basecamp not for you? Check out Wrike.
Written by Greg of Wisebread.
Basecamp is a great tool for managing projects and sharing information with clients, but it has its limitations. Because it was built specifically for the workflow of a Web design project -- long 2-3 month project time frame, start and end dates, client interaction -- it doesn't work well as an internal project management tool.
At Wise Bread, there is a small 3-person team handling the backend system. We needed a task management system that was more traditional. We needed the ability to create a ton of tasks under many different projects. Basecamp's division of content via project silos didn't fit our internal workflow.
This is where Wrike shines. You can think of Wrike as an anti-Basecamp. I want to point out 3 key differences between Basecamp and Wrike:
1. Wrike charges per user, not per project.
2. Wrike has a two-way email interface.
3. Wrike is functional but still being actively developed.
1. Wrike charges per user, not per project
A one-person business (or a personal user) pays only $3.99 per month. Each additional user adds another $3.99. This pricing structure is great for our 3 person team because we have a ton of different projects but few users. Regardless of the number of projects we create, we pay less than $12 per month for our team's project management.
Where Basecamp charged you for adding new top-level categories (ie., Projects), Wrike allows an unlimited number of "folders". Wrike's folders can be used for projects or departments. This system makes it easy to organize thousands of action items, notes, and deadlines across hundreds of projects.
There is a 30-day trial so you can check it out for free. (There is a free version, but you're limited to creating 20 tasks which isn't very useful for businesses.)
2. Wrike has great email integration
Wrike can email you a daily todo list and deadline reminders. Better than that, you can email Wrike to create a new task. Instead of logging onto Wrike every time you need to add an action item, just email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Next time you go into your account, using the same email address you used to send the task creation email, the task will be there.
You can even include the due date and category of the task in the email's subject line. Another nifty feature is adding other users to this task by putting their email address in the CC field.
This create-by-email feature is great when processing my email inbox each morning. I can quickly add items to my todo list and assign tasks to coworkers by forwarding emails. This is my favorite feature of Wrike.
3. Wrike is still rough around the edges
The good news is new features are being added every month. The developers are actively listening to their users. You can see the evolution at the Wrike blog. You can add your feedback and get tips from other members at the just-launched user forums.
The bad news is that they're still building out the system so other tools will have more features. The site felt slow when I started using it 8 months ago, but it has improved significantly since then.
Worth a look
Wrike's way of doing things fits nicely with the requirement of a small Web based team. If you're a Web designer, Basecamp is the best tool for the job. For all other Web workers, Wrike might be a better fit for you.
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