X Marks the Spot

random commentary on life, the universe, and anything

Finding the right collaboration tool (part 1)


I am constantly looking for a software tool that will allow my various working groups/projects to collaborate effectively. CONSTANTLY.

1. Dashboard/Overview – an effective presentation of all projects
2. Project Workspaces – well-designed spaces to organize data, tasks, etc for a single project
3. Email integration – for reminders, status reports
4. Document management, w/ integration to Google Docs, Dropbox, Box
5. Task management, w/ integration with Omnifocus
6. Calendar/event notification, w/ integration with Google Calendar, iCal
7. Knowledge management – such as a wiki

1. Basecamp is widely used, trendy, and has a lot of traction. At $20/month for a 10 project installation, it’s higher than I want to pay (which is nothing). It has Omnifocus integration through Spootnik which is great for me personally since I do use Omnifocus fairly extensively. I love the user interface.
2. TeamLab Office is priced by user (vs by project, like Basecamp). For 1-5 active users, it’s $75/year (or $6.25/month). Of course, I have more than 10 people in my pediatric hospital medicine group alone, and ideally, I’d like to use this for the kids as well as they work on projects. For 6-10 users, the price jumps up substantially to $25/month or $250/year. They have a free version for use by non-profits, but you have to post one of the TeamLab banners to the home page. We have a strict policy of no advertising or product endorsements due to our university affiliation.
3. Teambox is probably the one I like best of the paid plans. There is a free version for up to 5 users and 5 projects, and Google Drive integration. Beyond that, it’s $5/user/month, no limit on projects with Dropbox, Box, and Google Drive integration.
4. Feng Office is also priced by project. It has a basic plan with 20 projects at $20/month, and then rises quickly to 50 projects at $59/month. It’s not my favorite UI design. Feng Office demo site: Epsilon Design Shop
5. Open Atrium is a collaboration tool that I found fairly recently that is built on Drupal 7.x which I really like (both Drupal and Drupal 7) since that is what I use to run the harborpeds.org website. And since it’s built on Drupal – no software cost.

1. I’m already paying for server hosting at Rackspace. And I spent the time to optimize it so might as well use that instead of paying someone to host it for me.
2. Therefore, open source, actively supported/developed.

Going to try Teambox. The website is running version 4, which is not open source. However, Teambox version 3 is available. It’s Ruby on Rails based. Why not give it a try? Nothing to lose except my mind.

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