First Impressions of 7 Project Management Systems

When email just isn’t structured enough anymore, the common solution is a SAAS project management system (PMS).  A few basic features include task delegation, file sharing, communication (whether through a wiki, chatroom, tickets or good old-fashioned BBS) and scheduling.  Some services have extras like invoicing and mobile apps.  While SAAS is a double-edged sword, the end product is often very high quality.  But which is the right one?

Teambox

Very cluttered interface. “Might get used to it” isn’t good enough

Free for the first five users, $5/user/month after that.

Wrike

A very heavy focus on scheduling of tasks to the point of annoyance; it’s all on a timeline. A task can have a dependency and a task can be set to also be a prerequisite for another task. A good interface with good hierarchy. Over-dependence on the ‘flat’ look can lead to confusion. Some things feel like “magic” and not a result of user input. Lots of integrations.

Free for the first five users, up to $200 for 50 users.

Goodwerp

Neat design, I like the interface, good hierarchy at first look, which is important for staying organized. With a focus on service/client work; I appreciate that it has an invoice feature. When I try to make an invoice and it says “server error”. All tasks are organized in “task lists”. Can’t have a task outside of a task list. Files can only be added through Dropbox. Overall, with bugs and rough edges, it feels very beta and the developers focused more on style than functionality out of the gate. Someone said “Goodwerp isn’t good”.
I think it has a lot of potential that’s not realized yet. Check it out again in a year or two.

Pricing starts at $20, up to $70.

Siasto

Great interface, not trying too hard to be trendy. Familiar to social media people. Due dates for tasks added to calendar, but doesn’t get in the way. Plenty of useful integrations, especially with Google Calendar. Files added to conversations can be seen in one place. More good integrations for adding files from different services like Dropbox, but you’re not forced to. I wish it had some way to monitor the workload of team members.

Free for the first 3 users, up to $8/person/month

Basecamp

37signals’ Basecamp was the big cheese to beat a couple years ago. Looking at it again makes it seem cluttered and dated. Everything is dumped onto one page. When the goal of a PMS is to keep data structured, I’m not seeing how it adds much value over regular Google Docs. Tasks are automatically added to the calendar, but it doesn’t seem to have integrations into Google Calendar. A very good bulletin board and task manager, but not a project manager.

Starts at $20/month up to $3000/year for unlimited everything.

Blimp

Main project page reminiscent of Github. Like Goodwerp, Tasks are organized in lists or “Goals”. Tasks can be set and a team-mate can claim it, but there’s no comments for individual goals or tasks. Someone can be assigned a task just fine and someone can view their assigned tasks. All communication is in a separate “Discussions” tab, which is essentially a bulletin board. Same for file uploads. Be prepared for 15 emails a minute, though. It’s very minimal, which explains the pricing.

Free for one project, up to $20 for unlimited everything.

Casual.pm

Very clever. More than a a To-Do list, Casual forces you to plan the order of what’s to be done. As usual, each task can be assigned and has comments. Comments and discussion aren’t broken out into a separate section, however. There’s also no calendar. Keep an eye out for this one.

All of us here agree that there’s one clear winner: Siasto. And to think I’ve never heard of it.

PS: Trello doesn’t count because it’s basically Evernote.

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