Generally speaking, a worthwhile project isn’t easy. That said, the process can be made a little easier by using good project management software. EasyProjects.net certainly sounds like a good bet for some PM software that makes things easier, but can it live up to its own moniker?
First thing that isn’t easy: account registration. There’s no indication of what’s required in a long list of fields requiring a lot of information, because it turns out they all are, including some things I’d generally expect to to be optional, like referral information. I soldiered on anyway, hopeful that despite early hurdles, the app itself would be worth the inconvenience and the attempt to get you to sign up for a newsletter immediately following registration.
Once you do receive your activation email, you click a link to get started, which then launches an account creation process that takes between five and seven minutes to generate your EasyProjects.net account. Really? Five to seven minutes? I literally stepped away from the computer, made some tea and came back, and it was still in the process of creating my account. Maybe that’s the price you pay for ease of use?
Usability & Interface
My free demo of EasyProjects.net came with some test data already included, so that’s what I used for the purposes of this review. Oddly, my account picture appeared to be Hugh Grant, which struck me as an odd choice for a generic user account. Quirky, I guess, but considering the actor’s past and reputation, a questionable pick. I’d have preferred John Cusack, for the record.
The nice thing about EasyProjects.net in action is that it gives you a lot of information to work with, and it presents that information in a manner that is relatively easy to digest. Your projects view provides a nice overview of everything that’s currently going on, with a tabled breakdown showing the priority and completion status of each project, in addition to any other pertinent information. You can also sort the information by each column, in either ascending or descending order.
Icons and a relatively clean interface make this a very useful front page for getting a sense of exactly what’s going on at a glance. And a handy collapsible “Quick Panel” provides ample control with only a mouse click.
The project detail view is equally rich, with customizable fields, an in-line text editor for creating a project description and notes, project members, billings and attached files. It’s as comprehensive a project outliner I’ve yet seen from a web app, and perhaps somewhat accounts for the lengthy build time necessary upon first setup. You can easily hide panels, set up custom notification preferences, and export your projects to an MS Project-friendly format.
Each individual member can log their time, automatically creating comprehensive graphs and reports that are easy to read and understand. Entry is a snap, too, so even team members who maybe aren’t used to detailed project management practices should have no trouble ramping up. In addition to billing, available reports include summaries, Gantt charts and project milestone rosters, so even experienced PMs should feel at home with EasyProjects.net.
Pricing & Options
Because they offered a free trial, and because EasyProjects.net seemed like such a fully featured, powerful tool, I was expecting to find that converting to a full account would be quite costly. It turns out that isn’t necessarily true, especially if you’re just looking for a single-user solution. A free hosted license will get you one user with unlimited projects, customer access and tasks/activities, and 100MB of online storage. Upgrading to multi-user accounts will cost you between $11.25 and $24.99, depending on how many other people you want to grant access to. Multi-user accounts also get a full 1GB of storage, SSL encryption, logo customization, API access and more support options.
You can also opt to install EasyProjects.net’s software on your own servers, for which a variety of subscription and one-time licensing fees are available. Whichever way you decide to go, it’s actually priced very reasonably, considering how functional and feature-rich the offering is. It looks like in this case, at least, first impressions definitely weren’t indicative of how good the product would ultimately be.
Have you tried EasyProjects.net? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.