Simple and intuitive. Great design. Board/kanban view, Gantt chart view. Integrated calendar. Free account available.
No PDF or image markup tools.
- Bottom Line
With wonderful usability and features, Teamwork Projects is one of the best places to manage projects.
By Jill Duffy
Project management is so complex that you can sink two years into getting a master's degree in it. With Teamwork Projects, it doesn't feel that complicated, fortunately. Teamwork Projects is one of the best project management apps around. This excellent online platform eases many of the pains of project management by giving team members a self-explanatory interface that comes with all the tools needed to manage projects, keep an eye on people's time, bill clients, and more. It's an Editors' Choice.
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Though Teamwork Projects deserves high praise, it's worth noting that Zoho Projects is our other top pick in this category, and it may be better for some businesses. Teamwork Projects has raised its prices recently, for instance, making it less attractive than it had been for small businesses on a budget. LiquidPlanner is also an Editors' Choice, although it's better for larger organizations that have time to spend learning a complex system, as it straddles both project management and scheduling.
Pricing and Plans
Teamwork Projects used to offer two extremely low-cost options at just $12 and $49 per month, which were incredible deals for microbusinesses and very small businesses. The company has changed its options, however, and it is not quite the steal it once was. Still, it spreads its various plans across a number of price points, starting with a free level of service. The Forever Free plan is only advertised in smaller print and isn't immediately apparent from Teamwork Project's pricing page.
If you try out any plan for 30 days and decide not to become a paying subscriber, your account automatically reverts to a Forever Free plan. All Teamwork Projects plans, including the free one, support unlimited users (hooray!). The big limitations with the free plan are that you can only manage two projects, and you get just 100MB of storage space. You also don't get two of the newest features, Triggers and Webhooks (more on those in a bit).
When you sign up for a trial, the company doesn't even ask for your credit card details until your month is nearly up, which I applaud. No one likes worrying about whether they have to cancel subscription software before they've even decided whether to commit to using it.
Among the paid plans, Teamwork Projects offers three basic tiers of service, plus an Enterprise option. The first is called Small Office, and it costs $69 per month. This plan lets you manage 50 projects and gives you 20GB of online storage space. As mentioned, there are no limits on the number of users, nor any per-user fees. This flat billing structure is especially good for small businesses with fluctuating staffing needs. Additionally, if you pay annually as opposed to monthly—and this is true for all paid plans—you get a slight discount.
The next tier of service is the Professional plan, which costs $169 per month. The Professional plan includes support for 150 projects and provides 100GB of storage space. After that is the Business grade plan, which costs $269 per month, supports up to 300 projects, and includes 400GB of space. Organizations in need of an Enterprise plan can contact the company for a price estimate based on the number of users.
Zoho Projects offers comparable plans, but it charges less. An Express plan, for instance, costs just $25 per month for unlimited users, the ability to manage 20 projects, and 10GB of space. Zoho Project Premium is similar to Teamwork's Small Office plan, except that it costs just $50 per month to manage 50 projects using 100GB of space. That's the same number of projects and five times as much storage for nearly $20 less per month.
Also similar to Teamwork Projects, Zoho Projects has a free level of service, although you can only manage one project, as opposed to Teamwork's two, and you get only 10MB of storage, as opposed to Teamwork's 100MB.
Many other project management platforms also have a range of plans and prices, but they tend to charge per person per month rather than the flat rates of Teamwork Projects. Those plans usually appeal more to medium and large organizations. One of my favorite project- and work-management apps of that caliber is LiquidPlanner, which has a $39.99-per-user-per-month Professional plan (billed annually). LiquidPlanner also now offers a low-cost option for small teams that costs only $9.99 per user per month (also billed annually).
Other project management apps with low-cost options include Wrike and TeamGantt. They both charge less than $10 per user per month.
Features and Interface
Teamwork Projects has a fresh and smart design. It's perky while still being serious, with strong solid colors that you can customize, assertive fonts, and good use of space. Visually oriented people will like the color coding that differentiates tasks (pink), file attachments (blue), comments (green), and milestones (brown) in the Activity stream. Likewise, in that same stream, activity from the current day is labeled with an orange Today tag.
Project managers will find all the core project management functionality available at their fingertips. Teamwork Projects makes it easy to create a project, generate tasks and milestones related to it, and assign some of those tasks to other team members.
Switching between views, such as a milestone overview and activity summary, is simple, with a top-line navigation showing Dashboard, Everything, Projects, Calendar, Statuses, and People. A sub-navigation bar in the Dashboard helps you drill down into one particular project to see an Overview, Tasks, Milestones, Messages, Files, Time, Notebooks, Risks, Links, Billing, and People.
I'm surprised how simple project management feels in Teamwork Projects. Assigning roles and changing users' permission levels is straightforward—easy to find what you need and easy to do.
When creating tasks, you can add subtasks, create task dependencies, mark the level of priority of the task, define the due date or span of time for the task, and assign the task to one or more people. The site is both responsive and intuitive.
One reason Teamwork Projects probably feels so simple is that Gantt charts, which I find a little intimidating, don't appear until you go out of your way to open them. From within any project, you can access Gantt Charts from the Tasks view. A link along the left side opens them. Even if you find Gantt Charts intimidating, too, Teamwork Projects at least makes them fairly easy to edit on the fly. Click on any of the intuitive icons associated with a task, and you can log progress made on that task (e.g., 40 percent complete), reassign it to someone else, change the priority level, and so forth.
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If you love Gantt charts and are deep into time management and time tracking, LiquidPlanner is worth investigating. It offers online project management seen through the eyes of someone who's very focused on time, and it's quite unlike other project management platforms. It includes a lot of integrated features for team scheduling, so that you can see how someone's unexpected absence or planned leave affects the entire team and all the projects in process. Comindware Projects has many similar features, but doesn't put time-management at the fore as much as LiquidPlanner does.
Billing is included in Teamwork Projects. As long as team members or a project lead keeps track of billable and non-billable hours, you can use Teamwork Projects to manage expenses and invoice clients. Timesheets are also included, so you can always see how team members are spending their time and how much time tasks actually take to complete. There's even a timer that you can use when you start work on a task to keep track of the time spent on it.
What's New in Teamwork Projects?
Teamwork Projects has kept pace with the world of project management by adding a Board view to its app. The Board view lets you and your teammates manage and visualize work using a kanban-style approach.
Kanban is a method of managing work. It's usually shown as a board, containing a series of columns with cards. Each card is a task, and each column is a state of work (think: to do, doing, done). You can label the columns however you like and come up with your own rules for moving a card from left to right across the columns as it advances along the workflow.
Teamwork Projects' implementation of the Board view works well with its existing structure. Once you create a board, you can switch back to a more-traditional list view of all the tasks contained in the cards. Additionally, while in the Board view, you can add attributes to cards that you would normally associate with any Teamwork Project task, such as start dates, due dates, assignees, and time logs for billing. When you open the full view of a card, there is a timer button at the top for keeping track of time spent on task.
Within the Board view, Teamwork Projects has a feature called Triggers. Triggers are little automations you can create. For example, let's say we have columns for To Do, Doing, and Done. We could create a Trigger such that any time a card is moved to the Done column, it is automatically marked complete. Or, let's say we had columns labeled Build, Revise, QA, Launch. We might set up a Trigger so that any time someone moves a card into the QA column, that task automatically gets assigned to the quality assurance team lead. As mentioned, Triggers are not available in Forever Free plans.
Another fairly new feature, called Webhooks, lets you create automations with services outside Teamwork Projects. For example, you could create a Webhook that sends an email to the executive team anytime a milestone is marked complete in Teamwork Projects. Webhooks offer a clear path to collecting customized information about your team's use of Teamwork Projects as well. You can, for example, develop a Webhook that logs the time, date, and user whenever someone downloads a file from your team's account.
Projects can't happen without team collaboration. Some project management platforms, including Zoho Projects, are moving toward a Facebook-style feed of activity as the primary focal point when you first log in. The social feed arrangement mirrors the setup of other workplace productivity platforms, such as Podio and Microsoft Yammer. Teamwork Projects does have an activity view, but it doesn't show the content of messages right on the page. To read and participate in discussions, you either have to open a message or navigate to the Messages section.
Teamwork does offer a free chat app that connects to your team account, but it appears in a second browser tab, not the same one where you're working. In other words, it isn't an integrated chat app. You have to bounce between tabs to have a chat conversation with your teammates while referring to your tasks and workload.
A few other project management services have more fully incorporated instant messaging or chat so that team members can have quick conversations without leaving their primary workspace when needed. As mentioned, Zoho Projects includes a built-in chat function, as does ProofHub, but ProofHub only includes it in plans that cost $70 per month or more, not at the lower levels.
I like that when files are uploaded to Teamwork Projects, you can preview them right in the app, and even make comments on them while looking at them. Some project management apps require you to download files just to see what they are. The way Teamwork Projects handles it is much more efficient. It's not the best I've seen, however. A few project management apps offer markup tools, and if your team discusses a lot of visual material, you probably will want them.
Markup tools, meaning digital pens and highlighters for PDFs and images, facilitate discussion better than text alone. If you want to open a file right in your browser and not only type a comment about it but also draw on it, consider Volerro.
Another app that offers similar tools is Igloo Software, which is more of a workplace collaboration space than a cut-and-dried project management platform. It also has PDF markup tools as well as a star-ratings option for all uploaded files, letting you easily see which files your teammates liked more than others.
Apps and Integrations
Teamwork Projects offers mobile apps for iOS and Android to help keep teams connected to the progress of their projects, no matter where they are.
Teamwork Projects also supports plenty of integrated services, including ZenDesk, FreshBooks, and Harvest, as well as apps supported by Zapier, allowing users to create quick "if this, then that" scenarios between services they use. For example, you can use Zapier to set up integration between Teamwork Projects and Outlook or Salesforce. If there is a predefined activity in one of those services, Zapier will make sure it's ported over or sends an alert (or whatever action you want) to the other service.
Project Management Made Simple
Teamwork Projects provides excellent project management support, with a host of tools, an easy-to-use design, and solid features. It doesn't offer the same bargains it once did, but it still sells an excellent product at a fair price, regardless of the number of people who use the account. It easily deserves high praise and remains a PCMag Editors' Choice.
PCMag has two other Editors' Choices in the project management category: Zoho Projects, which continues to appeal to small businesses on a budget, and LiquidPlanner, which is ideal for larger organizations that are willing to put in the time to learn an incredibly rich system.
If you do choose Teamwork Projects, see 7 Ways to Simplify Project Management in Teamwork Projects to help you get started.
Jill Duffy is a contributing editor, specializing in productivity apps and software, as well as technologies for health and fitness. She writes the weekly Get Organized column, with tips on how to lead a better digital life. Her first book, Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life is available for Kindle, iPad, and other digital formats. She is also the creator and author of ProductivityReport.org. Before joining PCMag.com, she was senior editor at the Association for Computing Machinery, a non-profit membership organization for… More »
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