I contract with a few different companies at a time. I have email addresses with several of them. Each have their own clients who want to share assets - things like comps, artwork, wireframes and so forth. I've played with a variety of ways of sharing these assets. You can attach them to tickets in your ticketing system, but you may not want your client to be in the ticketing system. I've also had clients that were savvy enough to use a repository like GIT or SVN - but that is fairly rare. In comes Dropbox. Dropbox synchronizes and version controls on drag and drop. Almost any client can wrap their heads around that concept.
This works fabulously for one dropbox. However, if you are in a situation where you need (want) multiple boxes, things get a little squirrelly. Dropbox does not support this. Luckily, if you are a mac user, a little script in your terminal window will fix this lickety split, allowing you to have as many drop-boxes as email addresses you work with.
Relatively recently, at Drupalcamp Colorado, it was suggested that I lead a session on project management and the tools those in our community might use. This seemed like a segue from a series of interesting conversations that were started at Drupalcon Chicago. You see, the general feeling is, there is no silver bullet. There is no grail of a tool that does everything a single Web Producer, Project Manager, Product Manager, or Content Manager might need or want. There is clearly a gap that is filled with a series of different products. This walked hand in hand with a desire to review processes at work and engage in course corrections. It is an excellent habit to follow - look what you are doing with a critical eye, analyse why you are doing it, and make changes as needed. I have worked across four different shops with a wide variety of different ways of practicing project management. I have used these methodologies and tools across ~ 50 different Drupal projects and another 25 or so custom PHP MySQL projects.
The next trick is to take all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together in a sensible way that allows the team to work together virtually. Working in a virtual team is a lot of work - you have to take quite a bit of effort to make sure you are always in synch with one another. With a cadre of tools having been outlined in Toolbox, I'm going to work through a process that is fairly general.
COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY
The tools in your tool box really break down into four kinds. You need time tracking and ticketing tools, you need communication tools, you need accounting and invoicing tools, and document and code management. For the most part, you can acquire adequate tools for free online. In some cases, you may have to pay for something in your tool box if you want hosted revision control or more robust tools.
Tracking and Ticketing
Ticketing and Tracking are the basis from which you are able to bill your clients, track your efficacy, share tasks, and organize sprints. I have used a ton of different ticketing systems over the last 15 years or so. They are more or less good depending on your specific needs.
Spreadsheets - Some have had good luck using spreadsheets for ticketing. If you take this route, it really is a good idea to use something like Google Docs so that the spreadsheet can be shared. That said, spreadsheets are not really very good ticket tracking tools. They do do a great job as estimating tools.
Skype is a terrific tool. It is a software based phone that allows VoIP calls anywhere in the world. If you place a Skype call between computers--your computer and the computer of the person on the other end--the call is free. It costs pennies a minute to call to a cell phone or land line.
Skype will allow you to do video calling, share documents, and IM others on the Skype network.
How can a nonprofit use Skype? I think it can be particularly useful when working on collaborative projects. These projects could be technology based or not.
I have have been playing with Blinksale.com for invoicing recently. It is an online invoicing PO system that allows you to track invoices that are due, past due, and so forth. It also allows you to send thank-you's after a payment is made. It is designed to allow you to print an invoice that has been sent to you. You can set payment terms and repeat invoices automatically.
If you work in a very small nonprofit and are looking for a simple but powerful invoicing system, I would check it out. It is free to use lightly--3 invoices a month and has reasonable rates if you need to go beyond that.
It was bound to happen.Ã‚Â Since sites like YouTube, Revver, and Flickr started providing API access allowing reasonably easy embedding of functionality and content into other sites, we have seen some amazing mashups.Ã‚Â With a little programming know-how, some pretty sophisticated systems can be built at a fraction of the cost.