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Online Project Management Applications

One natural application for the Internet and Web 2.0 is 'Software as a Service', commonly referred to as 'SaaS'.

And one very useful example of SaaS is Online project management.

 Already there is a proliferation of websites offering hosted project management services.

Much of the marketing hype focuses on improved productivity and communication.
For me the benefits are more aligned with ease of use and not having to host your own company wide application on your own IT infrastructure.
Because it is a hosted service, there is no need to buy or install expensive software. And no need to maintain it.


Some of the online collaboration and project management applications have taken significant time and effort to develop.
They are very stable with perhaps too many features for the average user.
Many of the commercially hosted project management applications also offer a'community' or 'enterprise' version limited in functionality, number of users or number of concurrent projects.
The good thing is that they are free. This allows potential customers to try out the applications and if you are a small team you can use the applications for nothing.

There are also many small websites offering hosted project management packages.  And almost all offer a free service as well as a paid service.
Many of them are based on open source platforms.
And, based on the premise that you get what you pay for, you have to expect the free sites to be basic, buggy and not always there.

In large organisations there is usually a company wide business management system that integrates all the major functions of the business, HR, Payroll, Finance, Logistics and Project Management. These'All-purpose' business applications sometimes fail because they cannot cater for all eventualities and even after very severe customisation during the implementation phase, the final results can be difficult to use and so are not used to their full potential.

This is especially true with the'Project Management Module' which is usually a last ditch add-on and because it needs to communicate with all other business functions is especially difficult to integrate.

So, a stand-alone hosted project management monitoring and controlling application on the web can be a much easier way to go.
The project information is available anywhere, anytime there is an internet connection and as a result, is more likely to be used and kept up to date.
And I believe this trend will continue.
From centralised, over ambitious, multi functional, slow, inflexible, enterprise-wide business applications to much easier to use, simple, single purpose applications.

Hosted project management is a clear winner here.

Another benefit of a hosted project management application is that customers and clients can also be given access to the data.

To some project personnel this is too scary to even contemplate but believe me will give more credibility and trust between the project team and the clients project team.

Anyways, we have started a directory of web based online project management products which we will update as we go along.

To start with we have:

Assembla

Unfuddle

and, Vertabase


We ask our Loyal Readers to tell us about their own adventures using online hosted project management packages by adding comments below.

Jeb Riordan

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