Project management tools revisited

Wedding planning with Backpack

I wrote a couple months ago about some tools Sarai and I are using for wedding project management. We started out using Basecamp but moved to activeCollab shortly after. Now, two months later, we’re finding activeCollab a little heavy for what we’re doing.

In theory aC is pretty nice. The user interface is a little clunky and it lacks coherency, but I can see how it might be useful for a large group of people who have a specific workflow. For two people though, it’s overkill. I tried to come up with a good system for it but it just didn’t fit our needs well. All we really need is a calendar, file storage, checklists, and free-form text entry, and that’s it. Something lightweight and easy to use, without all the stuff we don’t need.

With this minimal list of requirements in hand, we took another look at Backpack, which we both already use for our own stuff. It meets all our stated needs plus includes the added bonus of e-mail reminders. Backpack is meant primarily for single-person use, but we’re making it work by sharing the login and password for a new third account and using an e-mail address for reminders that’s aliased to both of us. While Backpack supports limited collaboration by sharing pages between multiple accounts, we both need full control over any and all content for this project, including the calendar and reminders. Sharing a single new account seemed the way to go.

We’re starting with the Basic plan but may move up to Plus if we hit the page or file storage limit. It’s costs a little bit, while aC was free, but I think it will work a lot better.