My name is Jacob, I’m a productivity geek. I love tools, apps and technology to increase efficiency. As a project manager, I have tested many tools on the market. activeCollab has withstood many tests and challenges I’ve thrown at it.
We’re a digital agency. Online marketing campaigns and web development are the core of our organization. activeCollab supports these processes really well. Thanks to its flexibility we apply it to all projects we take on, internal and external. Even more important, everyone is on board: clients, suppliers and employees. We all collaborate on one platform.
Ryan Masuga covers some interesting features about AC in his recommendation. My three favorite features are structure, commenting and email.
The concept of activeCollab’s structure: “Project > Milestone > Task > Subtask” offers many advantages. As a user you can apply this structure as you like.
We chose to assign projects to every unique domain name or website we work on. Milestones are groups of services, such as web design and development, inbound marketing, advertising, social media marketing, etc. Tasks & subtasks are created for every aspect of the job: tasks are the overall actions and sub-tasks are supportive actions to a task.
Structuring websites & campaigns with sometimes over 100 tasks, down to the smallest detail works really well for us. I haven’t come across any platform that supports this philosophy that well.
In AC, you can comment on everything: milestones, tasks, files, discussions. I guess that’s where the name Collab comes from. After testing a few other tools, we noticed it’s probably ‘commenting’ that really fires our team collaboration. Everyone is up-to-date on all projects. They know as much as they want to. In particular our business developer and account managers love how they are easily up-to-date on all projects. They create tasks for specialists with questions, research, etc. Based on our flow, specialists re-assign completed tasks for verification to the originator. Nothing falls in between. Stuff gets done.
activeCollab can be heavy on your inbox (if you want to). The emails help me to be on top of many projects at once. I use Google Apps for business, with the powerful Gmail UI. Emails from activeCollab are well structured. This allows me to automatically filter AC-emails from my inbox to designated folders. This flow allows me to dive in, efficiently.
Project managers and other roles with responsibility can set up reports to track time spent on projects, people’s activity, expenses, etc. Roles and permissions are flexible on project level so it’s clear who’s in charge of what.
AC has too many benefits to cover in this recommendation. A final reason why I’m such a big fan of AC is that we’ve got “sales” on board too. They track progress of sales and leads through the funnel. A single project “sales” was set up. Milestones act as stages in the sales pipeline. Tasks are leads or prospects. Sub tasks are all actions to service these prospects.
We continuously have an eye on the funnel, number of leads in every stage. Comments act as a log of all communication. When sales is won, we move a task (which is the lead) to it’s own project and it’s history is never lost. This proves how flexible AC can be set up.