I love checklists and tools that help you manage your workload. I feel a good tool helps you “punch above your weight” by keeping you organized, focused and productive. I think some of the strongest tools like this that you can find are Basecamp, Nozbe, Evernote. I use all three every day. One (or two) of those might be headed for the sidelines because there is a new kid on the block, at least new in my awareness. Trello was introduced in September 2011. How have I missed hearing about it till now?
The concept behind Trello is a marker board on which you track your project planning, research, tasks, issues, etc. You would likely have a board for each project. The board contains lists on which you plan your work. These default to three lists named TO-DO, DOING, DONE; but you can change the names and add as many lists as you want.
The lists are made up of cards. Again, as many as you want. I could see the cards having phase names like schematics, design development, etc. You might have other cards that span phases for things like building code, zoning, specs, cost estimate, special permits, etc. So far this isn't earth shattering stuff. The real magic lies “inside” these cards. This inside-card view lets you view activity on the card, add comments, create multiple checklists, write a description, add attachments (generous limits), assign people to the work, and more. This is very powerful stuff, especially the collaboration aspect which equals what you can do with Basecamp, Nozbe, Evernote - only free.
Some of the features that make Trello worth a look are:
This is a surprisingly powerful and feature-rich app. I think Fog Creek Software has a real winner.
Since writing this back in 2013, I have developed my thoughts on using Trello™ into an e-book describing the process in detail. See a SAMPLE.