Project Tracker is a database application aimed squarely at designers working freelance or in a small business. It enables them to track jobs and clients, and to manage factors such as client details, project stages, time sheets, and invoices.
Project Tracker is written using FileMaker Pro, and it previously required that the user has at least FileMaker 5 running on their machine. However, Progressive Edge has just released a FileMaker Pro Runtime version, so it’s now a stand-alone app. There are two related tables in Project Tracker – one
for clients and one for projects.
A client can have a number of projects, each of which can have up to ten stages of creative work, and ten stages of amendments. Thus, work can be divided up according to skill-type, which may be charged at different rates. The database then helps in the compilation of time sheets, reports and final invoices.
Project Manager also allows you to record any expenses incurred.
The Control Panel gives a number of ways of navigating data and searching records, but if you’ve an experienced FileMaker user, then you can always use its query tools to extract customized information. It would be nice if one could also access the database from a Web browser, and manage data remotely, but this is not currently featured.
Project Tracker is a simple application, but it does what it sets out to do well.
It’s been created with an understanding of the needs of freelance designers. However, it lacks forward-planning features. For instance, there’s no way of estimating the time taken for a project.
Project Tracker isn’t a complex project-management tool, but something that
can be up and running within minutes, and for this, it fills a need. It’s also a well-designed demonstration of the suitability of FileMaker to create such custom applications, with a neat user-interface and well thought-out design.