Hi Luis. I have used and enjoyed Trello for at least 4 years now, for projects personal and work-related, solo and team-based. Those with MS Office 365 have Teams available (if your IT department supports it) which is very similar. Dropbox is essential for me and my collaborators too. I've used Slack occasionally when other people invite me to their team on that.Nice to learn about other tools out there from this discussion. Onward!
We have been implanting Microsoft Teams into some projects to better track project progress. That way we can easily set intermediate deadlines for individual tasks to keep the project moving, opposed to just submittal dates. It's helped to keep everyone on the same page and prevent cramming to do all the work within the last couple weeks before submittal. Additionally it helps us track who is working on what so that it's easier to know who to talk to about specific questions and who to inform about changes that may impact their work. It also allows you to share project information within the group. Like Brett said, it's free with Microsoft Office 365 which helps. Furthermore it can tap into your outlook calendar when you go to set meetings, etc. For it to be most effective, however, you need to get everyone using it properly. It looks more like Facebook with posts, but the newest is at the bottom.More basic, but I keep a very detail calendar with Microsoft Outlook. Internally I have it set to viewable so others can see if I'm free and if not, whether I'm in the office or across town or further. It has a lot of tools to help you further organize appointments with reminders and customizable color labels to help prioritize your schedule and make sure you don't forget anything. You can put things as "Busy" (in office meetings, webinar, etc.), "Out of Office" (Doctor's appointment, out of office meeting, etc.), "Free" (reminder to contact client, deadline, etc.), or even "Tentative" (may have to miss meeting). Sharing it with team members makes planning meetings and coordinating communication a lot easier. We also coordinate things like vacation time sending a meeting invite as "Free" to a regional "vacation" calendar, and to any supervisors. It's pretty standard practice to use the calendar, but a lot of people don't make the most of it. Lastly, and most importantly, have this sync'd up with your phone so you can see it on the go.I have also used Microsoft Note. Also free if you already have Microsoft Office 365. It give you a lot of control to make a "book" and add tabs and sub pages that give you a lot of control. If you can establish an internal best practice it's a great way to keep track of work and assign tasks. This level of control can also be it's downfall as it can be easy to "mess up" with so much going on. It works much more like a Google Doc so multiple people can edit at once, which is good but sometimes troublesome. I've used this before and found it great early on in a project to get project information, but as time went on it became a little tedious to update.I have spent less time actively tracking budgets, but at a previous firm we use BST10 for timesheets, but found that to be very effective at managing project budgets. I'm sure there's lot of similar software, like previously mentioned that can also fill this role.Lastly, we use Bluebeam Revu for our PDF reader and edit tool. Where it really shines are the Studio tools that allow users to collaborate on a project. Everyone can work on a PDF at the same time. Allowing reviewers to make comments, and design teams to address them on the fly. You can use their comment tool to reply to comments and set their status as complete, rejected, canceled, and more as the options can be customized. This also cuts back on duplicate comments in multiple place, waiting to mark-up a document after another is finished, massive file size PDFs from having to scan documents. The amount of control it gives you over a document is vastly superior to products like Adobe, which can make it a little hard to pick up. I think of as Lenox versus Mac. More control/cheaper/harder to use versus less control/more expensive/easier to use. Learning it is worthwhile, though. Lots of State Department of Transportations are starting to use it because it coordinates so well with ProjectWise and MicroStation. Another bonus feature, is that the reader mode is free, and if you're invited to collaborate on a project you don't need the paid version to edit the documents in Studio. That way clients without the software can still collaborate on a project and add comments.
A good friend of mine who went on his own as I did really likes Asana for managing tasks that he delegates out. Unlike me, he aspires to hire employees soon and is already experimenting with different project and task management software and has found that Asana is the best of the ones he's tried.
The tasks and flag reminders in Microsoft Outlook are tools I've been using for a few years and cannot live without. Tracking tasks sent out via email has never been easier. You can even track the email for the recipient, also. I highly recommend these tools.
As far as Bluebeam vs. Adobe, I'm more used to the Adobe feel even though Bluebeam has a lot of advantages for working with engineering plans in PDF. Bluebeam CAD version is basically CAD and Adobe meshed into one and is often preferred by users that aren't good at CAD but like making drawing exhibits from the tools within the program.
I hope this helped. Good luck!
Dave Ureña, P.E.
3104 N. Armenia Ave
Tampa, FL 33607
One last thing: I've worked at two companies that have used Ajera for timesheet and billing software.
Ajera was, by far, my favorite when it came to running a timekeeping/billing software for a medium or large company. Since I'm a solo practitioner and I'm only accountable to myself, I use a powerful timekeeping software called Clockify which costs less than Ajera and is more user-friendly (there's a free version if you ever want to try it out).
I don't use Clockify for billing since it cannot assign more than one billing rate to one person (e.g., I perform engineering, CAD services, and administrative tasks but I bill higher as an engineer than a CAD tech and higher as a CAD tech than an admin personnel). I simply take the time reports from Clockify and manually assign billing rates to each aggregate task when I generate an invoice for time/materials billing. For lump sum projects (which are most of what I do), Clockify reports keep me honest for measuring the time it takes me to do tasks against the time I allotted for them in my lump sum fee calculator.
I hope this helps. Good luck and happy timekeeping!