TeamWork Project Management Software

Why I chose Teamwork over Basecamp

I’ve been using Teamwork.com since September 2011 and even though I have tried a few alternatives I am completely hooked on this fantastic project management software.

Up until 2011 all projects I was involved in were managed by email and Skype, looking back I am amazed how we managed to keep our tasks and projects on track … we were forever searching emails and Skype messages for missing notes and had to continually have telephone conferences to see where everyone was on their tasks.

Shared documents were a major problem, we had so many copies of the same documents circulating that some people in the team were working from old copies and some from newer copies, by the time we realised what was happening we had wasted a shed load of time.

Email was ridiculous, with everyone CC’ing everyone into nearly every email being sent, steping out of the office for a few hours would mean returning to virtually hundreds of emails, most of which was not even relevant to my part in the project.

We were running in a very unproductive team, costing the business money, looking unorganised to our clients and causing ourselves a ton of stress and sleepless nights.

Time for a change …

As I was the CTO within the company I made it my top priority to sort out this mess, I’d already moved our accountancy and invoicing systems to the cloud so decided to look for a cloud based solution to better manage our projects, team collaboration and reduce repetitive communication by streamlining how we worked.

After some research and much Googling I thought I’d try one of the most popular solutions on the market, Basecamp by 37signals.

My first impressions were good and if I am honest I thought I had struck lucky and found the right solution straight away, I spent about a week playing with Basecamp and was about ready to present the software to the rest of the team, but just before I did I decided to run a Google search for Basecamp alternatives and up popped Teamwork.

Finding the love of my life

Straight away Teamwork had the edge due to the fact they were based in Ireland, I have always preferred dealing with companies closer to home and in my own time zone as this can have a huge impact when needing support.

Team Work Project ManagementI signed up for a trial and instantly saw some similarities between Teamwork and Basecamp but unfortunately for Basecamp, Teamwork had the edge, their software was more intuitive, sleeker in design and had functionality that was missing from Basecamp.

When taking a look at Basecamps forums I found that missing functionality was one of the major grievances their clients had back then.

Cost Factor

Another major selling point was that Teamwork was cheaper than Basecamp, plus they made in very easy to switch between plans and had no long term commitments …

Referral Program

The last factor in my decision to choose Teamwork was that they offered a referral program, this meant that whenever I recommended their solution to other associates and business partners I could receive a small kick back for my time.

Conclusion

This post isn’t a review of Teamwork but the story of how I come to use them, it’s been 6 years since I started using their Project Management solution and I have never looked back.

My next post will cover us moving to Teamwork, the setup process and the bespoke integrations we made to our other cloud based software, a separate post will then follow with a full review.

You can signup for a FREE no obligation trial of Teamwork by clicking here

Don’t miss out on the next posts in the series….

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Teamwork Projects

What is DMARC?

DMARC, which stands for “Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance”, is an email authentication protocol. It builds on the widely deployed SPF and DKIM protocols, adding a reporting function that allows senders and receivers to improve and monitor protection of the domain from fraudulent email.

confused with email deliveryAbove is the official explanation of what DMARC is but if you are not familiar with DNS, it probably makes no sense at all.

So I will try my best to explain, unfortunately it’s quite hard not to be technical as this is a very technical subject.

So what is DMARC?

DMARC is an email-validation system designed to detect and prevent email spoofing, it’s quite straightforward to set-up and can help you stop anyone sending spoofed emails from your domain, it can also help you detect problem areas with your own email delivery for both transactional messages and marketing emails.

Before I explain how DMARC works I need to explain about DKIM and SPF records first.

(DKIM ) – DomainKeys Identified Mail

dkimDKIM allows an organization to take responsibility for transmitting a message in a way that can be verified by mailbox providers. This verification is made possible through cryptographic authentication.

Basics of how DKIM works

  1. Before sending the email, that email is encrypted using a private key.
  2.  After the encryption process is complete, the email is sent.
  3. The email provider receiving the email sees that it has a DKIM signature, which reveals which “domain/selector” combination signed the encryption process. To validate the signature, the mailbox provider will run a DNS query to find the public key for that domain/selector combination.
  4. If the public key and private key pair then the message passes the DKIM check

Why it matters: Email providers who validate DKIM signatures can use information about the signer as part of a program to limit spam, spoofing, and phishing, although DKIM does not tell receivers to take any specific actions. Depending on the implementation, DKIM can also ensure that the message has not been modified or tampered with in transit.

How do I set this up?

Most email service providers will more than likely DKIM sign your outbound emails with their own key or give you guidance on how to setup DKIM on your DNS and activate it before sending.  More details on DKIM can be found on the offical DKIM website.

(SPF) – Sender Policy Framework

spfAn SPF record is a type of Domain Name Service (DNS) record that identifies which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of your domain. You use SPF records help identify spammers sending messages with forged envelope senders (the address used during the SMTP MAIL FROM command) on behalf of your domain.

It is a simple email-validation system designed to detect email spoofing by providing a mechanism to allow receiving mail exchangers to check that incoming mail from a domain comes from a host authorized by that domain’s administrators. The list of authorized sending hosts for a domain is published in the Domain Name System (DNS) records for that domain in the form of a specially formatted TXT record. Email spam and phishing often use forged “from” addresses, so publishing and checking SPF records can be considered anti-spam techniques.

A typical SPF record would look like:

v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all

The above example is telling the world two things

_spf.google.com

This part is authorising Google to send emails on your behalf, a very popular record for those who use Google Apps for Work.

The 2nd part

~all

is what should happen to the email should it fail the SPF check.

 ~all

=  SOFTFAIL – a debugging aid between NEUTRAL and FAIL. Typically, messages that return a SOFTFAIL are accepted but tagged

-all

= FAIL, the mail should be rejected

There are other variants, more information can be found on the SPF website

How do I set this up?

Speak to your email service provider who will give you guidence.

Now Back to DMARC

DMARC is built on top of two existing mechanisms listed above, Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). It allows the sender of an email to publish a policy on which mechanism (DKIM, SPF or both) is employed when sending email and how the receiver should deal with failures. Additionally, it provides a reporting mechanism of actions performed under those policies. It thus coordinates the results of DKIM and SPF and specifies under which circumstances the From: header field, which is often visible to end users, should be considered legitimate.

how does dmarc work

Example DMARC Record

"v=DMARC1;p=none;sp=quarantine;pct=100;rua=mailto:dmarcreports@example.com"

Don’t panic, it’s not as complicated as it looks …check out the link below which will guide you through the creation of your own DMARC record .. it’s free and easy to use.

Create your DMARC record using this great free wizard

unlock the inbox

Use this DMARC creation wizard from unlock the inbox

 

Looking for more help?

(DKIM ) – DomainKeys Identified Mail

Official website – http://www.dkim.org

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DomainKeys_Identified_Mail

(SPF) – Sender Policy Framework

Official website – http://www.openspf.org

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework

(DMARC) – Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance

Official website – https://dmarc.org

Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMARC

Questions

If you have a quick question then please feel free to add a comment to this post and I will try and reply as best I can.