I run a small web development company in Australia looking for a project management system. We've been looking for a while and haven't really found any that cover issues mentioned below.

I'd like to ask if anyone had any recommendations.

I looked at:

  • Basecamp
  • Mavenlink
  • Clarizen
  • Liquid Planner
  • Worketc
  • Goplan
  • Teambox

and quite a few others.

We manage a number of projects, and each project may have a number of different contractors, and the client, all of whom are spread around the globe. We want do the following

  1. Restrict access for certain contractors to only certain projects
  2. Restrict contractor access to parts of the project, e.g. financials
  3. Restrict contractor access to be able to only view tasks assigned to them and perhaps the project outline and certain documents
  4. Provide client access to the project area to submit their own issues, bug reports, and tasks etc – these are not visible to the contractor until assigned to them.
  5. Assign client bug reports, tasks etc to contractors
  6. Restrict client access to see only certain parts of the project eg tasks assigned to them, documents etc

So as we work with certain contractors and a client.

Contractor A can't see contractor B’s tasks or client tasks.

Contractor B can't see contractor A's tasks or the clients tasks.

Client can't see contractor As tasks or Contractor B tasks.

Please let me know what you'd suggest re:above requirements

As we are just about to sink beneath the surface managing stuff with outlook!


13 Answers 13


JIRA can be configured pretty extensively, including rights to access specific areas and items, and I believe it should cover all scenarios you mention.

  • Is that right? I didn't know that Jira gave the ability for multiple contractors within the same project to have a hidden ability to not see other's work. Maybe I just missed that... or haven't used Jira to it's full potential. Cool stuff if you can May 5, 2011 at 17:27
  • 1
    Yeah, JIRA can do that. You can have Permission Schemes defined per project (which define common permissions) and also Security Schemes defined per project (which define permissions to issues visibility per group/role/user and combinations of those). Some time ago I configured our company's JIRA instance and it definitely can do that! May 5, 2011 at 18:15
  • @Agile - it depends of version - I used the top one (the most expensive) a few years ago and we were able to limit visibility to specific parts of project to different groups of users. In this case contractor A and B and the client can be treated as a separate group with separate permissions. BTW: back then highly customizable security features was exactly the thing we chose JIRA for and it looks like Kym has a similar puzzle to solve. May 5, 2011 at 19:28
  • It can do all of that, but it takes some times to get it all configured right. The number of options and possibilities are sometimes confusing. Jul 16, 2012 at 7:27
  • I find JIRA to be overly complex.
    – Kriem
    Oct 22, 2012 at 7:53

Have you looked at Basecamp? Several web design companies I've worked with use it for managing their projects. You can create separate instances for each client, and only allow users you created for each specific instance to log in and see how things are going.

It is lightweight and easy to setup, but on the downside it isn't particularly good for handling complex task workflows. It may not do everything you want, but it is definitely worth a look.

  • hi thanks yep looked at basecamp, didnt have the ability to keep certain tasks hidden from clients, tasks that say i assign to my programmers that i dont want the client to be able to see...
    – Kym Gilham
    May 5, 2011 at 16:45
  • Makes sense. Thank you for updating the question with products you've investigated- good luck finding the right one.
    – Rain
    May 6, 2011 at 16:01
  • You should probably change to the new Basecamp.
    – Kriem
    Oct 22, 2012 at 7:54

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Best of all it's free to use.


Have you tried the following:-

Rule.fm - web based service

activeCollab -- web based, self hosted, open source

From my experience I would like to add that each company needs are different -- the above are more like project management systems, not business management systems, so if you look for something that will help you run your business you may think of custom built system if you have the resources and the time.


Yes basecamp is great. I have used it before. It's simple and easy to use. You can restrict people of projects - like you can group them to which projects or groups they can access.

There are also other great software packages aside from basecamp. You can check the list of project management software here. There is a short description of the list of software packages in the link and also you can open the spreadsheet for more detailed information. Hope this helps!


Latitude (http://www.latibiz.com/) - customizable project management software package with CRM and billing.

It can track clients and their information, manage projects and documents, and can create invoices and user timesheets can be exported to accounting software for payrolls.

You can restrict access to some data and can assign which users can access it.


A project management software I'd recommend for your specific needs is Projecturf: http://projecturf.com

It allows you to set restrictions for users by section and they also have Bug Tracking. Data added can be marked private as well. Permissions can be set on each file, task, etc. They have a lot of extra features as well.

Another option I've used which is already included above is Basecamp: http://basecamphq.com

It lets you create separate permissions for an outside company. Maybe not to the same level as Projecturf, but there is a decent amount of control.


Did you just look over the WORKetc website or have you tried out the software?

WORKetc allows you to invite an unlimited amount of clients to use the WORKetc system to check on correspondence, support tickets, project updates, paid invoices, etc. What a client or contractor sees and does is entirely up to the permissions you set. You can also invite contractors to use the system, and their abilities are defined by permissions.

I think the main reason WORKetc is popular amongst the web dev community is it's integration. Instead of going with 3-4 apps to take care of CRM, project management, collaboration, time tracking, billing, and other needs - WORKetc consolidates alll of this into one.

I suggest checking out the 14 day trial to get more accurate insight into how the system works if you haven't already.


I have tried Basecamp and Unfuddle and reviewed most of the rest and have settled on http://assembla.com. I find it configurable to various types of projects, it has some nice features such as a Kanban-like cardwall, it is easy to encourage team members to start using, and it is under active development.

Looking at your list of requirements, I think it fits the bill.


Open Atrium: http://openatrium.com/

Customizable and runs on Drupal; an open source CMS. Self-hosting as well.


Good to see LiquidPlanner in your list, I think it should be able to meet all of your needs re: permissions & privacy, and also give you an excellent task management & collaboration solution at the same time. LiquidPlanner just launched version 3.0 so I definitely recommend checking it out. (www.liquidplanner.com)


We use Assembla for SVN/Trac hosting, and Asana for general project management.


I've interviewed more than 80 software consulting companies while building my own solution, PMRobot, with very similar requirements to the ones you've listed above.

The most popular web-based tools for consultant developers are currently:

  1. Basecamp
  2. Pivotal Tracker
  3. Microsoft Project
  4. (Spreadsheets)

PMRobot has the concept of 'internal' tickets that are hidden from clients, but we don't allow a way to hide a developer ticket from another developer.

In just about any tool I know of, you'd need to break the project down into multiple sub-projects to have that sort of control.

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