TeamWork Project Manager is a new
web-application and I had to give it a try.
The website has great small screenshots which explain bits of the core
functionality in TeamWork. Personally I would probably move the twitter updates
to the bottom but I guess a company has to show of that they are cool and using
So what does the website promise?
- Manage projects. No surprise as it says in the intro it is a project
- Task lists
- Time logging
- File storage
- E-mail integration. Only lists e-mail alerts, reports and reminders – so
seems to be only a one way flow of information
In addition it also has something called a risk register, notebooks
multi-language ability (French and Spanish). I like their feature list which
shows everything visibly and with straight to the point bullet lists. Sounds and
looks interesting enough to sign up for a trial. Let’s click!
A simple one-page signup leads me to inviting my colleagues. I am sad, alone
and have no fellow co-workers so I skip this step. The requisite Web 2.0
dashboard is revealed next with a focus on creating the first project. In the
creation form it is possible to grant access to clients. The initial interface
is well consturcted with examples on how the project overview will look with
Milestones and tasks
My first milestone is ‘first public release’. Unfortunately I am forced to
set a date. I cannot add a task list from this milestone but must click my way
to ‘task-list’, ‘create task-list’ and then assign the task-list to the
milestone which I created. Click, click, click.
The interface uses Ajax in some places but the goal of Ajax is to reduce load
time and to reduce number of clicks. It has as much to do with the application
workflow as it has to do with an actual Ajax XMLHttpRequest.
The interface is also contradicting. Some saves is done with Ajax while
others have a refresh. Some saves result in a notice on top of the screen while
other just display the created data.
In the task list, clicking on a task shows the edit screen. I assumed it
would show me the task with the possibility to add comments. Showing a task is
possible by clicking a button next to the particular task which gives me options
such as; delete, edit, show, log time, set %complete.
I would have preferred a click to view and edit available via this button. Or
maybe showing commands via task mouse-over which saves a click on the button.
Comments are available via expanding the main task list though which is good.
The information also tells me I can attach a file to the task but gives me no
option to do so. Maybe I have to upload the file under ‘files’ first.
I give it a shot but the Flash based uploader does not work. Neither does the
standard which gives me a 500 error. Maybe a beta sticker would be appropriate
for this application?
The time logging tool is simple and basic. Add hour/minutes from a specific
time/date and it will be listed in the log. You can also specify whether the
time used is billable or not. The report sums up total time and billable time
and can be filtered by employee or date range. Data can be exported to an Excel
or a CSV file.
Basically this is a list of potential risks that can occur in your project.
You can register what the risk is and the potential damage it can do. This list
can be downloaded as a PDF report. So far this seems to be the only major
feature that distinguish this application from Basecamp
TeamWork offers a basic free personal plan so you can try it out
yourself without any cost. Business plans start at $24 for 15 active projects
with 4 GB storage and go up to $149 for unlimited projects with 50 GB storage.
All plans have a 30 day free trial and come with unlimited users and clients –
even the free personal plan. The latter means that you can create an account
with a test project and invite as many users as you want to use the full
functionality in a real world scenario.
The GUI looks good, response time is quick and all basic required project
management features are included. You can really see that these guys have done
their homework; defensive design, confirmations after AJAX submits, iCal feeds,
RSS feeds and just overall a slick interface.
However there are a few bugs and a few UI annoyances. It does pretty much
everything Basecamp does and it definitely seems like the developers have more
than caught a glimpse at how Basecamp does
it; it is very similar. But so are many other applications and TeamWork has done
a very good job.
The pricing is also very similar but TeamWork offers more plans. Competition
is great so I am glad to see a good alternative to Basecamp. As this is a new
product I am sure we will see more features to be added as well, something which
37Signals has been criticized (and acclaimed)
for not doing. What really is a difference though is that TeamWork offers you to
host it yourself. While it can be necessary for a few I don’t think most
customers would want to put up their own server when they can put their data in
the cloud and stop worrying about data backup, safety, performance etc.
Contradictory to 37Signals they have a roadmap so while I was about to add the
fact they currently do not offer a API; I see now that it is