The Project Management category in the Google Apps Marketplace offers a broad cross section of cloud-based project management applications that organization can implement to manage individual and team projects. The ability to integrate project management applications with the overall Google Apps suite offers advantages over desktop applications especially with geographically dispersed teams because they offer collaborative access to documents, calendar dates, and tasks.
Project management apps like those in the marketplace also have features that can help foster better communications and collaboration for remote teams that can mean the difference between quick resolutions or dragging simple problems out due to miscommunications that sometimes trouble such teams.
When adding one of the applications to Google Apps your Google Apps administrator needs to grant it access. Figure A shows an example of the app permissions to access Google Apps within your domain:
Adding a project management application requires permission to access Google Apps data.
Do by Salesforce
Do by Salesforce is a popular cloud-based task management application. It’s an ideal tool for a team seeking to centralize the tracking of their project tasks for better collaboration, and communications. You can drag and drop tasks, create projects, and even assign tasks to others. It’s currently free from Salesforce, however, some new freemium features for contacts and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) are due to launch later this fall.
Adding it to your Google Apps domain for task management lets you provision other team member access, attach Google Docs to tasks and projects, and create tasks from email.
While Do.com is strong in its own right, there are some features still marked as available in the future, including adding tasks and projects to Google Calendar, sharing tasks and notes with other team members and contacts, and synchronizing your Do task list with Google Tasks. Figure B shows an example of how tasks for a project appear in Do.com.
Do.com is promising more integration with Google Apps in the future.
Gantter Project is a free application that lets you create and manage Gantt charts. It lets you import Microsoft Project files, which could prove to be helpful if your team is collaborating with others still using Microsoft Project on the desktop.
I recommend this application for teams who want to take project management to the web but still want to use a Gantt chart because it is familiar. Teams who need to export their project management data to Microsoft Project format will also like this app. Not to mention, Gantter Project has some useful View options and integration with Google Drive that could be helpful.
Gantter Project requires read/write access to Google Calendar, Contacts, Docs, and Spreadsheets. Figure C shows a Gantt chart in Gantter Project.
Gantter Project is a web-based Gantt chart with a full range of features.
Considering the online nature of the project management applications available in the Google Apps Marketplace, you would expect to find some agile project management applications. Pivotal Tracker is an agile project management application that requires read/write access to Google Apps in your domain and read-only access for user provisioning.
Pivotal Tracker offers only one view over project data regardless of the user’s position in the company. While I’ve always leaned more towards adjustable views in project management applications to help democratize project management data, the one view of Pivotal Tracker (Figure D) makes sense considering its purpose and lightweight footprint.
Pivotal Tracker offers one view over project data.
This application is streamline enough that users aren’t going to get lost in a maze of extraneous features, which could ease user adoption. It also integrates with popular developer tools like JIRA, Bugzilla, and Zendesk.
Since Pivotal Tracker is free for individuals, non-profits, and public projects, this tool could also be a good choice for teams standardized on Google Apps who want to get started with agile project management.
Podio is a workspace-based project management app that is getting a lot of buzz these days. It’s free for up to five employees and one of the more flexible project management apps in the marketplace.
With Podio, you can invite all the users in your domain as part of the user provisioning process. It requires read/write access to your Google Docs and Contacts. It does require read/write/send access into your email because it extracts email attachments. It also uses email body text to give tasks context, message IDs for linking tasks to email, and subject lines for the default title of tasks.
Out of the box, Podio includes public/private project workspaces, activity streams, and a granular invite tool for inviting your contacts, Google contacts, Outlook contacts, Facebook, and LinkedIn contacts to access the workspace.
The Projects app inside Podio is a simple organizational tool that even lets you attach files from sources outside Google Apps such as Dropbox, Skydrive, Box, and Evernote. There are other workspace tools for timesheets, meetings, and role management.
Podio is a good choice for teams that don’t necessarily want to stick to a Gantt chart, but are looking for a Google Apps friendly project management platform (Figure E) where they can centralize in project information in a secure workspace.
Podio is a workspace based project management app with some solid organizational tools.
A side of project management with your Google Apps
The applications in this post are just a cross section of the Google Apps Marketplace’s Project Management Category. There are apps that fit the requirements of teams of all sizes and enough free and low cost project management applications that it shouldn’t be hard to find one that fits your organization’s requirements.