Project Management

Five cloud-based PM tools to suit a wide range of projects

Learn about Zoho Projects, Planbox, ProWorkflow, Basecamp, and Milestone Planner to determine if one of the project management tools might be the right fit for your client.

ProWorkflow

If you are into reporting, ProWorkflow is well worth a look. The basic task-based metaphor feeds a text-heavy UI that is reminiscent of a home-grown DB query dashboard; admin tools let you simplify the look a bit by dropping columns and such. A ton of reporting options come built-in, along with invoicing and time-tracking features in most subscription models.

ProWorkflow is a report junkie's dream, with built-in queries ranging from resource utilization to basic milestone tracking. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Pricing is based on a per-seat model, starting at $10 per user per month for the standard version. This package does not allow clients to access your projects, so it will be of limited use unless you want to dig in on your internal metrics. It's $20 a seat per month for a package that includes client access, file storage, and a mobile app. Invoicing and quote management are an additional $10 per seat per month.

Basecamp

I first used Basecamp while working with a remote design shop, and have since used it to help manage an editorial team and work on a non-profit Board of Directors. A hardcore project manager might say Basecamp is not truly a PM tool - it certainly does not have granular resource tracking, and you sure won't find a Gantt chart in there. But that seeming weakness is also its greatest strength - it is an absolutely great tool for tracking communication and assets, like specs and mock-ups, for non-technical stakeholders.

Basecamp offers the typical set of tasks and scheduling tools, but you won't find a Gantt chart anywhere in the interface -- which can actually be a good thing, depending on your project. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Basecamp's Central UI is based around discussions, which most closely resemble blog posts with attachments in the comments section. You add events to what can best be described as a calendar view, not unlike Outlook or other common messaging applications. There are to-do lists, an activity log, and other very basic reporting, but again, Basecamp's real strength is in controlling fragmented communication, which is death to any project.

Pricing is based on number of projects and storage, with 10 projects and 3 GB of file storage running $20 a month, up to $150 a month for unlimited use.

Milestone Planner

Milestone Planner is a fairly simple tool that does what it says - it focuses on setting and tracking milestones in a visual, Gantt-like interface. Sure, you can download a spreadsheet to do the same, but the advantage of managing your timeline in the cloud is that you can maintain a "single version of the truth." Spreadsheets and email fork about 15 seconds after you press Send - there's no way to avoid it.

Milestone Planner's visual UI makes it easy to create clear timelines that are not as daunting as enormous Gantt charts can be to non-technical stakeholders. (Click the image to enlarge.)

The visual interface in Milestone Planner is completely intuitive, right down to a nifty mouse-over spinner for setting task status. You can add multiple workstreams for projects, so the net result is not as daunting as an overarching Gantt chart can become. And of course you can export a plan to CSV format.

The Professional version, which runs about $8.50 per user a month, offers RSS feeds and calendar program export, as well as full SSL encryption and PDF export. Read about all of Milestone Planner's pricing plans.

About

Ken Hardin is a freelance writer and business analyst with more than two decades in technology media and product development. Before founding his own consultancy, Clarity Answers LLC, Ken was a member of the start-up team and an executive with TechRe...

13 comments
Bakist
Bakist

I was using BaseCamp but its lack of a decent Note-taking feature made me move to Beesy. me, which is more a less the same software but with a focus on Notes (especially meeting notes) and with a level of process automation that is really time-saving. (if you want to know more about it: http://www.beesapps.com/beesy-me-online-platform/ )

pivotstack
pivotstack

Great list.  Another one to consider is PIVOTSTACK's Workflow (http://www.pivotstack.com).  It has lots of great cloud-based PM tools for any sized organization and project.

ProWorkflow
ProWorkflow

We've updated the $10 a month plan and renamed it SOLO, this is designed for freelancers and is now fully featured - including those client logins! Very excited to bring this to the market!   http://www.proworkflow.com/pricing/

spencerstan66
spencerstan66

I don’t see proofhub which is a SAAS PM tool. Has anyone had any experience with proofhub?

lemarchala
lemarchala

You've obviously put a lot of hard work and effort into this blog post. Kudos! There are some apps on here I'm really keen to check out like basecamp which I've heard some great things about. You might also like a simple project management software called proofhub - a tool for the freelancers amongst you!

Hal Incandenza
Hal Incandenza

Another great tool is WorkZone project management software. My company used to be big believers in Microsoft Project, but have found WorkZone to be a more simple alternative that is much more practical in some ways.

kkubova
kkubova

I miss Redmine and its fork [b] Easy Redmine [/b] here (www.easyredmine.com). Easy Redmine is web based project management software, very smart and cheap. Moreover, it has many extensions like Resource Management, Budget Plugin, etc.

Stormy7777
Stormy7777

This article is a nice touchpoint into the world of Online PM tools. I have previously used ACE and like the look and feel of some of these especially Planbox and teamworkPM. Could anyone recommend a similar feature rich Toolset for Change Management or a PM tool that contains intuitive functionality for CM?

David Meyers
David Meyers

I also recommend you task management software from Comindware. Easy & useful product with a lot of flexible notifications and reporting features. Nice solution

fongamanda
fongamanda

Thanks for writing a review about Planbox! We are continuously improving our product, so your feedback about the file attachments being a tad bit hidden has already been logged into our workflow. I'd just like to add that Planbox has an open API, which makes it easy for users to integrate 3rd party applications. My favorite is being integrated with ZenDesk, that way, we get feedback live from users and get to add comments directly into our work! If anyone having read this article has decided to give Planbox a try, please let me know. I'd love to hear from you! I'm the new community manager at Planbox. :)

John Czerwonka
John Czerwonka

I had used Basecamp for a while but I found its strive toward simplicity left too many important features off the table. TeamworkPM (http://www.teamworkpm.net/) is a great alternative if you're looking for a more full featured product. And the developers are very responsive...they release new features every month. Pricing is similar to Basecamp, free for 1 or 2 projects with reasonably priced packages as you scale up your usage. I have no affiliation with the product other than being a customer...and a big fan!

allytut
allytut

Nice roundup, Ken. Eclipse PPM (http://www.eclipseppm.com) is another example of good PPM software - it's easy to use and has a very clean interface.

TeamLab
TeamLab

Really good collection of PM tools. You may also check TeamLab ;)

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