Software review: TeamworkPM [2011]

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General information

Name: TeamworkPM

Vendor: Digital Crew Application Developers

Hosting options: Web hosted version only

Cost and plans: 30 day free trial. From $12pm for a personal plan to $149pm for enterprise plan.

Languages: 24 languages including Norwegian and Indonesian.

Currency: Has a long list of standard currencies.

Teamwork PM logoBasic features: building projects

Creating a new project in TeamworkPM is easy. You can create your first project by clicking on the big green link on the first page you see after creating your account. Creating more projects can be done from the Dashboard/Add Project menu.

Start by creating milestones. Enter in your fixed dates for milestones and then you can create a task list and link that list to the milestone. Once you have a task list set up, you can then add tasks to it. Tasks can have resources, dates and priorities.

Graphical user interface, showing Teamwork PM software
TeamworkPM: Project overview tab

The missing Gantt chart feature

One of the key things for me for any project management software is the ability to display tasks graphically in a Gantt chart. TeamworkPM doesn’t do this. You can’t link tasks to milestones. You also can’t create tasks with a duration of more than one day which is very strange, given that you can create dependencies.

You can link tasks to each other to create dependencies. It’s not immediately obvious how to do this, but there is an option to ‘show more’ when you create a task and one of the extra options is setting up predecessors.

There is a sort of Gantt chart option which is enabled from the Dashboard once you have more than one project with start and end dates. But it is so basic that you couldn’t use it for anything more than to show your manager what was currently on the go.

TeamworkPM screenshot
Project Chart View

You can, however, export the information from TeamworkPM into a format that is compatible for importing into MS Project. Why you would want both products is not clear. The only advantage would be because MS Project has far better scheduling capability than TeamworkPM. MS Project is not as user friendly as TeamworkPM, but the project managers in the team, who need a good scheduling tool and the ability to stay in touch with their team members through messaging, file sharing and task allocation, would then need to use both. They would have to tweak the schedule in MS Project and then manually change all the dates in TeamworkPM. Still, the option of exporting is there if you want to work like that.

Calendars and people

There is a calendar view which shows you what is happening on each day, and there is the option to switch between the corporate calendar and your own personal calendar, which is useful.

It is easy to add people to tasks. You can give people individual photos and they can set their own status. Used at enterprise level it could be confusing if you have to scroll through a long list of users to find the people you want to add to this project.

I thought it was interesting that TeamworkPM makes a distinction between ‘Resources’ and ‘People’. It’s nice that People are not lumped together in the same bucket as GoogleDocs or the projector.

Time-tracking and billing

Web-based project management software developers are seeing integrated time tracking as a good additional feature, and TeamworkPM has it too. You can start a timer, track your time and decide if it is billable time or not. I like the option to do this but during my time using it I failed to remember to do it at all. You really have to be disciplined to make this clocking in and clocking out approach work.

Once time is tracked you can then add it to invoices, along with expenses. The software is not designed to replace your own invoicing application, but it does allow you to export invoice information into FreshBooks or other accounting software.

This is a good feature to show the team how much time they are adding up on the project and how this equates to money. You can set rates for either the project or an individual, so if you have people who are charged out at different rates you might want to keep this information private.

Graphical user interface of Teamwork PM showing billable time
Time tracking in TeamworkPM

TeamworkPM will send out email reminders to team members, and it also has integrated messaging. It stores the history of messages related to the project in the Project information, so you can track the evolution of conversations.

Reporting features

The reporting features are not that great. There are task reports but they are basic. The time reporting page allows you to export time tracking data, but again, it’s basic.

I wonder if the reporting features of TeamworkPM (and ApolloHQ) are so light because you are expected to use the Dashboard instead of formal reporting. Reports are only useful if you have something to do with them and maybe the manufacturers believe the information in web-based systems is all there for everyone in a user-friendly format, so reports are unnecessary.

In summary…

It’s well designed and continually updated, as you can see from the product roadmap page. I like TeamworkPM. It’s like a more fully-featured version of ApolloHQ. I would still like to see even a basic Gantt chart view for tasks. I think that using TeamworkPM for large companies could be tricky, but it’s a medium-priced option for medium needs.

I review software often. Check out my reviews of project management tools.

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