Very Simple Project Management software (not for designing software!)

I asked this back in 2011, but I’m at a new company now and my previous company ended up writing their own.

I need something REALLY simple. Barely more than an Excel spreadsheet, I think. Here’s the “What” before getting into the how.

We have a lab of chemists. We have product development projects, e.g. “Modify A-3104 to meet OTC2 requirements” or “Develop a version of XZ-34 that can be used outside down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.” Usually one chemist per project, sometimes more than one.

When I look at project management software, it is usually designed to manage a single big project, such as the development of a new piece of software. So a lot of focus on breaking the project into pieces, dependencies of the pieces to each other, Gant charts of all of the pieces, etc.

I want to have something where I can have an overview of each project - Name, date started, description of the project, target completion date, current status. Then the ability to click on a project and bring up the page(s) for that specific project, where the chemist can update the status, attach documentation, etc. It would be nice to be able to pull up a calendar that shows all of the projects together on the calendar. (one spreadsheet type manager I looked at could do that for pieces of the same project but not multiple projects.)

If I was at all proficient in Excel I might could design this myself; I’m not, so I can’t. But maybe there’s a better simple approach that’s not Excel based. Also I recently decided to move from the big global companies I have worked for in the past to a quite small, family owned company, so cost is a factor.

Ideas? Thanks

Trello my friend. It’s the bees knees.

Yeah, Trello is usually the answer for small scale or personal projects.

I haven’t used it and am not sure of the cost – but Smartsheet might be worth a look?

I’ve used smartsheet (and hated it, but that might have been more related to how the team was using it than the tool itself). Basecamp has a relatively inexpensive tier that might be appropriate too, but I think in general the teams I’ve worked with have preferred Trello’s minimalist approach over Basecamp’s more classic project management approach.

I really like Trello. I use it to organize my personal work stuff too. The organizational paradigm (if you’ll excuse the word) just sings for me.

Me too! I use it for work stuff and space game junkie stuff. It’s SO great.

Trello is the obvious answer.

If you have Office 365 access, Microsoft has a couple of project management tools. Microsoft Planner is the simple planning tool, I believe.

Asana and Basecamp are fairly well-known tools within the PM space.

I’d try Asana’s table view first. Trello’s table view is less flexible as far as showing columns of custom fields and it sounds like you might need that. But Trello is certainly fine software and you might find the default kanban view and calendar powerup gets the job done.

You can try out freedcamp if the other solutions don’t do it for you.

Check out Airtable. It has a Trello like view and a ton of additional things that you can do with it.

There are some project management templates here

Looking at all of these, this one looks like it handles overall project portfolio management fairly well (though I’m struggling to figure out some basics without reading any tutorials, etc. LOL)