I'd love to get some feedback on tools for staying organized during the design phase of BIG projects. Specifically around 1.) organizing user stories 2.) organizing feedback from design deliverables.
For small projects, it seems like there are an infinite amount of options to stay organized. One can use a simple word doc to define the SOW or create a requirements document during the discovery phase. That document could then become the checklist of what needs to get done during design. You execute the design, have client/stakeholder reviews, collect feedback and use excel or email to communicate and manage the feedback. This works on small projects, but does not scale to big projects.
For big projects you need entirely different strategies to stay organized - projects with many, many stakeholders/product managers, PMs, designers, devs all in different locations working against a giant repository of user stories. Projects where you are designing a large complex software product (not a simple marketing website) and live with it for a long time.
For a recent, massive project I used Pivotal Tracker (http://www.pivotaltracker.com/) to manage all the features to be designed and for managing feedback from the client. After defining the work with the client, we would enter user stories and assign to ux designers. The designer would finish the user story and check it off the list of their tasks. After a design review, the client would give us an excel sheet of consolidated feedback, we would import the feedback to Tracker, assign to designers, go through the same process of finishing the story and check it off the list. If there were issues with a user story, you could have discussions within the user story sometimes involving the client. We could also attach our sketches or ppt decks from the client within the user story to clarify it. All of this helped to centralize all the design related communications about the project.
I've looked at other tools such as Ralley, Basecamp, Jira and activeCollab, however they just don't have the same focus on task management and UI simplicity as Pivotal Tracker. Also, they have a handy iPhone/iPad app. I'd love to hear if anyone has better solutions.