Here is the über-simple solution I have come up with, for the present moment, anyway:
Use Tgethr to create threaded discussions where all the messaging are in one place.
This will allow threaded communications with a very minimum of effort, and maximum of utility.
I chose this over ThreadBox because, on early inspection, Tgethr allows me to create separate groups that I can then invite other people to (via email); whereas, it looks like ThreadBox is more free-form than that (am I wrong?) I want to organize my messaging into distinct bundles based on project.
Use Google Calendar to highlight all major milestones and deliverables–including who owns them, and have group reminders–to the tgethr group–to remind everyone about them. — This will allow maximum of alignment on major milestones, and reminders to reinforce, for everyone, who’s supposed to be doing what, when.
Furthermore, Google Calendar so brilliantly integrates into other calendaring systems, and I can create a project calendar for all active projects, that lets me pull it in to view with my other calendars.
[I think that in order to make the reminders-to-other-people thing work, I am going to have to set up a group email address, that reminders get sent to in GMail, and then filter through that to the other emails. But at least this is something I can figure out. I can make it link with Tgethr, so all reminders are a public thing.]
During fixing phase, Mantis to track bugs. – This will allow utility of managing defects. I used Mantis years ago, and just installed it again. It’s great–super simple, PHP / MySQL-based, and very intuitive.
For the file sharing, I will just ask everyone to usd DropBox — that would totally solve the transfer issue, and where the files were kept. The great thing about this is, it’s so intuitive, that once people get it installed, they just use it.
And then, to enforce some uniformity, I think I’m just going to have to ask people to only upload ZIP-file snapshots, that always include everything. The date of the snapshot will then represent the “time-” or “version-stamp” for that archive.
I can set up sub-folders to house different sections of the site. This is not super-elegant, but I think it will work.
I think this overall system will give me exactly what I want–the bare minimum of features, with ultra-simplicity, but just enough to enforce (along with my own efforts and documentation) the process that I think will really speed things up and improve quality.
I may use Google Sites to pull all this information together. I am just a wee bit reticent to make Google may all-in-one solution. I may also create my own sub-site. (You could create a WordPress theme specifically tailored to being a project page, or hosting project pages … hmmm…)