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Scaling from a sole developer or small team to a large project is daunting. The project itself can be divided into more manageable chunks but handling the business tasks and processes become increasingly complex. Collaboration, estimates, task scheduling, SCRUM management, file collections, time-tracking, expenses, approvals, invoicing and reporting affects everyone and eats into the project development time. Issues can be exacerbated when team members:
- have differing levels of project management experience
- are physically separated and/or working in different timezones or languages
- change over time as employees and freelancers are introduced to the project.
Each manager will have their own preferred set of management tools such as email, Google Drive, Zoho, Keep, Trello, Slack, Basecamp, PivotalTracker, Toggl, Freshbooks, Intuit and more. All these options offer benefits but:
- complexity is increased. Everyone must learn how to use every system and manage multiple logins.
- team members will have their own workflow choices which cause confusion. Some may send tasks by email. Others may prefer Trello. Others slap a post-it note on your desk!
- transferring data between applications can be difficult, e.g. from a task scheduler to a time tracker to an invoice system.
- managers may struggle to track progress and costs across disparate systems.
- while individual applications may be inexpensive, the total cost per month can spiral.
Fortunately, Nutcache solves these issues with a single, centralized online tool which helps teams work smarter and faster. Multiple applications can be replaced; there’s one interface and point of reference for all project members.
Sign Up for Nutcache
Click the GET STARTED FOR FREE! button on any Nutcache page for a 30-day free trial of the Enterprise Edition which includes all features with unlimited projects and team members.
Configure Your Organization
After logging in, click the organization menu:
You can change settings such as your logo address, date, time format, currency defaults and invoicing templates.
Choose Manage Members to invite others in your organization:
The Security profile drop-down highlights the features an individual can access. For example, a salesperson may only require client details and sales reports rather than task and time management facilities.
If necessary, you can Manage teams. An individual team member can be working on several different projects and have their timesheets and expenses approved by a team or project leader.
Start a New Project
From the Home or Project screens, click + Project to start a new project:
Enter details such as the project name, the owner, the client, contacts and time estimates. The Members tab allows you to assign a team to the project or mark it as “open” so all members of your organization can access it.
From the project or Collaboration menu you can access Organization boards. These allow you to organize your projects with boards, lists and cards in a very flexible fashion to communicate with other team members. You can even use Kanban or SCRUM methodology rather than unstructured email.
Cards can have descriptions, checklists, tasks, deadlines, time worked, expenses, file attachments and conversations or comments.
Boards update automatically when anyone makes a change. They can also be made public so clients can be issued a URL to view progress even when they don’t have a Nutcache account.
Defining Tasks and Tracking Time
Tasks can be created for an individual or all projects from project’s Task tab:
Time can then be recorded against a task from the project’s Time entries tab. You can either manually enter hours and minutes against a task or start a new timer when you begin work. Any number of timers can be defined, started, paused and stopped — they remain visible across the whole system:
Recorded time can be shown by project, team member or as individual items in the Time tracking menu:
Timesheets and Expenses
A team member can submit their timesheets and expenses for approval from the Timesheets option in the Time tracking menu. In most cases, this can be achieved by locating a specific time period and clicking Submit week:
Submissions can be approved on a team or individual project basis from the Time tracking menu:
Nutcache has a record of all approved times, hourly costs and expenses. Invoicing is simply a matter of choosing an appropriate date range and whether you want tasks to be itemized or grouped:
The invoice can be customized before it is emailed directly to the client or exported to Excel or PDF for further changes. You can also:
- set recurring invoices, perhaps for monthly hosting or support fees
- view overdue invoices
- allow the client to pay via credit card, PayPal, Stripe, and more
- view a summary of previous payments.
I’ll let you in on a secret: project managers often forgive late delivery if they can justify the reasons with pretty charts! Nutcache offers a vast array of attractive data visualizations and reports including:
- project and task analysis
- time tracking by project or team member
- expenses and payment
- sales invoicing, payments, estimates and taxation summaries
- revenues by client, task or product
- financial profit and loss accounts
Nutcache offers an amazing range of features — far too many to describe here. For additional information, refer to Managing projects: a Nutcache journey and the price comparison page which lists all facilities.
The top-of-the-range Nutcache Enterprise plan includes all features, unlimited projects, unlimited members, 100GB of file storage and a guaranteed email response time of one day. The cost: just $12 per user per month. That’s incredibly competitive and significantly less than purchasing individual project management, planning, communication, reporting and accounting tools.
Your first 30 days are free so you have nothing to lose. Register for a Nutcache account today…
Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.
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