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What Works Well

The purpose of this article is to help you decide which application will work best for you. Obviously, the best way to figure that out is to try them; they all have fully featured free accounts. However, the harsh reality is that most of these tools are designed to help smaller teams work more effectively. Obviously, what works best for each team will depend on the team, but size is one important consideration.

For most of these products, a team of 2–5 people is good, 10–25 is fine, 100-plus is probably a bit much. Not that it’s impossible, and large teams are using some of these applications. But each of these applications is designed to simplify communication—and the reality is that the larger your team, the more difficult it is to communicate.

Also, note that most of these applications are not designed to integrate well with other tools. Some, such as CalendarHub, have importing/exporting capabilities, but none of them are going to get tightly integrated into your existing toolset.

The ideal market for each of these tools really is smaller teams that need to get simple things done in a simple way—teams that need the software to get out of the way and let them set up tasks and milestones, share files, build calendars, create and share documents, etc. If you need big, bad features, these little startups are not the place to look.

At the same time, though, it’s difficult to argue with the price point. The most expensive applications are Basecamp, which will part you with $99/month in exchange for unlimited projects for unlimited people and more than a gigabyte of shared storage, and Central Desktop, which can run up to $249/month for 50 workspaces and more than 3GB of storage. Most businesses will sit in the $24/month range at Basecamp, $25/month with Central Desktop, or will spend even less on the other tools.

Remember, these are not expensive tools. In fact, once you find the tool that’s right for you, you’ll likely part with your $25/month easily, since you won’t be able to figure out how you used to live without that tool.

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