Project Management Software
I was wondering if anyone out in the COWmmunity (sorry couldn't resist) had any positive experiences with project management software.
In particular I am interested in something that schedules and has some times based alerts. Something that at a quick glance allows me to see whats outstanding, the current status of each job etc. Most importantly I'm interested in simple elegant interfaces. I looked into dozens of programs now which would probably be good on a macro level (i.e. Company with 100s of employees) but for my few staff and I need something a little less.
Just like everyone else here on the forums I too salivate over new software features from the likes of Adobe and Apple which help to improve workflow, but realisitically nothing is going to save me more than better time management in the way I approach my project management.
I hope to hear from you guys soon.
We've been researching this stuff a bit, and right now the best bang for the buck I've seen is from StudioSuite8.
Are you talking about analysis of ongoing studio resources or project-based workflow? For individual productions, I still use Microsoft Project. Yes, it's a "left brain" type of program and the interface isn't pretty, but it can parse and present the data in ways that my clients can easily understand.
Of course, I work with clients that live and breathe Gantt charts...
On the plus side, it's incredibly deep and there's a wealth of training available. On the negative side, you need the training if you are going to get the most benefit out of it.
I've heard a LOT of great things about Studio Suite 8, but that program will cost you a pretty penny.
If you are looking for a very cost-effective way to track your projects, I've found that iCal, MacMail, and the Address Book (in conjunction with quickbooks) is all we really need to have a networked calendar in which we can track equipment, shoots, post-schedules, A/R, and A/P. It's works great for us, and we're a small shop.
Entourage works just as well if you are using PC.
ECG Productions - Atlanta
HD Production and Post
thanks for all your input. I had a look at studio suite 8 and agree it looks good, although I believe it would be a bit of overkill for us at the moment.
Essentially we were just looking at a piece of software that at a glance lists all open projects, possibly list any required action underneath the listed project (e.g. add chapter menu points at time xxx and xyx) and a basic scheduler that has some sort of alert function. So for example If a client gives us feedback and we need to perform some minor re-editing it would be great to schedule that in on a specific day and time (let's say wednesday at 10:00am for example) and then have an alert come up at that time to let us know it has been scheduled.
Essentially we don't really need to have much more functionality than this. Using something like iCal or entourage is an option certainly, but are probably just that little bit short of the mark. I thought there might be something else like some kind of widget that does this a little better.
Once again guys I really appreciate all the help.
Have you looked at Final Cut Server? It is a project management application that will allow you to track the progress of projects, automate certain workflow processes and manage media/projects/files/etc. It can do as little or as much as you want and not a bad price.
Check out my blog - http://media317.com
This is going to seem counterintuitive; it did to us in the beginning... But bear with me.
This year we did a massive push on our web side. New web site, AND we wanted to provide a secure comfy environment for clients to trade preview files back and forth, and maybe leave comments...
Our web development people, a GREAT company called GoMedia, designed a smoking new website for us, and turned us on to a web based solution for the client side called Project Pier.
We were shocked and delighted to discover that Project Pier was phenomenal project management software too. It exists as a web based tool. You basically create new projects and add contacts relevent to that project. It has very elegant web tools for trading files, having a project based blog and forum interface, mass messaging, etc. It also schedules and tracks milestones robustly, sends alerts, and syncs all that information with iCal and entourage. Clients LOVE it because they can see the results of the team communicating, they can communicate well, and EVERYTHING is in one place for EVERYBODY. If you have off site contractors they have access to the files, to scheduling tools, to contacts, etc. All this comes with permissions controls that are super.
I really encourage EVERYBODY to check this out. http://www.projectpier.org
It was a total surprise to our studio. It has become totally the core of all communication and organization on projects now. You can even skin the damn thing to look like a branded software tool, or like an alien GUI... whatever. I never ceased to be shocked by it's power. I have personnel on tour, on cruise ships, in cities all over the planet, and this keeps everybody organized, in sync, and with access to everything, from any web browser.
We had wrestled with this question for a long time as well...
Contributing Editor, Entertainment Design Magazine
Contributing Editor, Creative COW Magazine
Art of the Edit Forum Leader
Live & Stage Event Forum Leader
HD Forum Leader