The title here says software but what I actually mean is an online ‘cloud’ service. My day job has seen me looking into this to see if there’s a more user friendly and easy to manage way of logging department jobs and how long they take. All I want really as a core is…
- Details of the job (description, who requested it and the category)
- How long it took in hours (free type field)
- Reporting built in or exportable to allow me to do my own.
There are a lot of options out there but very few actually capture these three things well. The problem being that I’m not managing a project here. I just want to track a list of ongoing tasks. The other end / alternative is to look at work log software which goes down completely the wrong route. As soon as you say work log, you end up with services such as Toggl which, in my opinion, take up too much time to use. They are not high level enough and are aimed at people who need to track time spent for billing purposes. I don’t need quite that level of granularity because it does not offer the useful features the other do and the work the department does simply doesn’t lend itself to this type of rigid time logging.
What I thought I’d do here is simply list out the options that I have found. Maybe it will save you the digging and you’ll have a good list to start from. I’ll only comment if something stood out to me as being unsuitable.
Bitrix24 – Undoubtedly a great service but it’s far to complete for my needs. The dashboard is rammed full of all sorts of billing options and intricate logging. This service could be the backbone of your operation if you used it from scratch but this was just too much.
Redbooth – Nice. Didn’t offer the labeling / tagging options I need.
Todoist – This is personal task management but it can work for teams. This is actually really nicely designed. Very simple and a pleasure to use. It’s reasonably priced too. There is absolutely no reporting function though. All the support entries about this simply point to the fact that you can print a page with tasks on. Who cares!? That’s not reporting. It’s a printed page.
Wedoist – Similar to above but for project management groups. Guess what? Still no reporting as far as I could tell.
Asana – I had a quick look at this. It’s a nice solution. I couldn’t group my tasks in the way I wanted but I do feel like taking a second look at this and seeing if I missed something. It possibly suffers from the same failings as Bitrix24…i.e. it’s trying to be a bit too much for my needs.
Trigger – This one is too project management based for my needs. There’s a push on charging for time and chargeable projects etc. and it’s full of milestone features which is just not suitable for my work which usually has a few day turnaround at most.
Twproject – No comments here as I’m yet to try it.
Wrike – This has a good reputation but I found the folder structure irritating. There is no such thing as labels and tags. In order to tag something, they suggest you put it jointly in a second folder which is named to match the tag you would have used. It could work but I found it clunky.
Tick Tick – No comments yet.
Producteev – This is way out in front so far. It is great to use with a clean interface and fairly logical design and functionality. Projects are projects but they can equally be treated purely as types of jobs or used to track the different parts of the business asking for work (as I am). Team collaboration is easy and the iOS application is actually extremely good. It lacks any time tracking but there are workarounds as you could add a label when closing a task to flag the number of hours or you can add a note. It allows exporting of data to csv. It’s not amazing but at least it’s there. I ask the team at Producteev to add an extra field where I can enter the number of hours for a job. This would make this a superb option for me. It’s not to simple, not too complex and flexible enough to suit many working habits.
The one things that strikes me about all these services is the lack of reporting capability. I would have thought that this would be crucial to the people using these services. If you are tracking ongoing jobs, tasks and projects within a team, you surely need to report this back to someone who may not be using the system or want the level of detail the system may offer.
I’m not sure yet if I’ll go with any of these. It has to be used religiously to make it any use at all. If you have a big team of people doing 1 job, you can force this to be a part of what they do. We are a team of skilled and flexible individuals adapting continuously to work on what the business needs. Constantly stopping mid-flow to log a job or update a job can be tricky.