There are many cost-effective solutions to project management for startups. Each solution offers various functionality, features, and pricing. For cash strapped startups with few employees/interns, a free solution, such as a Google account, may be a good place to begin to organize projects and track them initially.

The free Google account offers basic productivity applications that can be extended with templates and add-ons to customize a project management tool that can facilitate collaboration and feedback between in-house and remote teams.

Google productivity applications include: Drive, Gmail, Calendar, Docs, and Sheets.

Choosing this free solution, initially, will allow teams to set up a flexible workflow that is agreeable to all working styles and that can be tested in real time.

Google Drive provides up to 15 GB of cloud storage to keep documents and files related to each project that can be shared with the team through various levels of permissions that allow individuals the ability to view, edit, and comment. 

Calendar can be used to collaborate on projects by creating a separate calendar for each project that can be shared with the team and clients. Projects in Calendar are searchable through keywords and hashtags for easy review of project work.

Project tasks can be turned into detailed project timelines with an agenda view that will give a clear overview of pending deadlines. Static progress reports can be exported to PDF version to view a summary of work completed and lists of future tasks to be done.

Docs and Sheets provide templates for time tracking, customer relationship management, and Gantt charts.  Each of these productivity applications can be further customized with Google Apps Script programming.

Once the team is comfortable with the workflow setup in the free version of Google applications, and when more projects and employees/interns are added to the team, there can be a seamless transition to G Suite

G Suite is a collection of Google applications that offer essential services, beyond the free productivity applications, to help businesses succeed. G Suite costs between $5 and $25 per user/month, offering increasing levels of storage, advanced controls and capabilities.

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