Help me find project management software of my dreams?

Okay, I’m in a new job with several different types of work: straight up creative, simple grunt stuff, project management, research/consultation, strategy. My time is at the beck and call of units across the organisation.  I have several different software packages to learn or re-learn.

Here is what I think would be useful in project management software — does it exist? Are there complementary tools that could do the important bits I need? Is there a book you feel I should read?  Please share your project management expertise!  Acrobatic juggler

What I’m looking for in project management software:

  1. Low cost or subscription (or Free)
  2. Needs to add meeting requests/appointments to calendar
  3. Should be able to run independent of internet connection, with ability to synch securely so can work remotely as required
  4. Ability to create Projects, tasks and sub tasks, estimate hours for completion, assign due dates, populate a calendar automatically with the results so that I can see how many hours per day I need to assign
  5. Ability to output results of the calendar to Outlook and fit in the hours needed to complete tasks around my meetings
  6. To have Categories of work- Projects would sit under a Category, tasks can be either stand-alone or project tasks
  7. Ability to easily add emails, documents, multimedia and notes to Projects and tasks.
  8. Would LOVE ability to “phone it in” – if I have a brainstorm or remember something, to be able to send audio message
  9. Contact list where contacts can be connected to projects and tasks – and could be connected to multiple projects and tasks

Standalone tasks are 1 off work with no dependencies. For instance, create a banner for the web site is a task if it is not tied to a larger campaign or body of work.

If creating a banner for the web site were part of the work entailed in “Retail stocktake sale” that involves creating a banner for the web site, another for bulk email, changing prices on store items, updating home page of store, scheduling bulk email, etc. – it would be a sub task of the Project “Retail stocktake sale.”

How I envision it working:

During the course of a morning I get three emails for changes to the web site. 1 urgent, the others not so urgent. I get a new project that entails several different types of work, and a request to consult to a project on online marketing that will require research.

I forward/copy all the emails and their attachments to the project management software, putting tags in the subjects of the emails that the system will recognise.

In my time set aside for project management, I log in, go to the newly added stuff, estimate times required, set due dates, populate the calendar, tweak and send meeting requests to my calendar OR be able to view my calendar within the project management software tool and update it with tasks and requests.

I then get calendar reminders as tasks arise, I click on the appointment and then a link to the file populated with all the materials I need to complete the task including the overview and all materials.

For instance, in the planning phase – I open the task to create a web banner. I’d look at the request, link to the image files I’m likely to need (if I know where to look right away), estimate the work needed to complete it and the due date and go on to the next one. Once I have linked up all the tasks to either the files they need or have made notes about what needs to be done – I would then be able to see a big picture view of all the work I have scheduled EVER – then move the view down to month, week, and day and schedule the new work in accordingly.

There should be a view to view tasks and projects with information on where they are at so that other members of my team can check on them. Work in progress reports that could be based on all work at hand (for reporting to manager), category based to ascertain how my time is being used, project based, requester based.

SIGH  This is sounding more complex than I originally thought it would. But I need something to help me be proactive rather than reactive. Help?