Clarizen, an online project management tool that can be used as a’software-as-a-service’ service, integrates with other desktop applications. It’s aimed at small and medium sized companies that can’t justify the investment in all-singing-all-dancing project management software, which costs a lot to implement in hardware, licences and training. Clarizen does not charge hosting fees. Your monthly license starts at $21.95 per month if you sign up for 2 years in advance. I don’t know much about SaaS. If you are using it for a long time, it is cheaper to host it yourself. You can’t purchase online either. You will need to print the.pdf file and fax it. It is possible to buy it if you are really interested.
The interface is easy to use and includes logical keyboard shortcuts. You will have seen my reviews on Viewpath, Easy Projects.NET. I know that I would be interested in scheduling tasks that take less time than one day. Clarizen makes it possible. Unfortunately, you can only link two tasks at once. You can’t create ‘chain’ dependencies.
Highlights is a great feature because it provides a complete audit trail of who changed what and when. It’s also web-based, so you can click on any item to see it in action within the project. It will inform you if tasks were completed on time, but not comment on if this has changed your critical path. This tool is not for project managers so critical path analysis may not be as important for them.
Management by email is a great option. Clarizen users no longer need to visit Clarizen. The system can be prompted for an email asking for status updates. There are three options available to the recipient.
My progress is as expected (the plan is at the end of each email so you can see what my promises to do).
Manually update my progress
Log in to your account
Users may click the first option every time. This is not different from asking someone for their opinion, and getting them to tell you that the activity is 80% complete. Personalizing the email with your logo will make it feel more professional. You can also customize the interface. You can change the date display to either dd/mm/yy. You can choose how long Highlights are kept, and whether they will be included in email notifications. You will be able to make the best decisions if you have an administrator who has a good understanding about how the system works in your company.
Many pre-formatted reports are available. Individuals can view all their ‘work tasks’. This page has many filtering options. It is particularly helpful to be able to filter by “tasks currently in the works”, which includes upcoming, current, and draft tasks.
Draft tasks will be beneficial to a package that relies on email communication. It would be a bad idea to have hundreds upon hundreds of emails bouncing around trying to figure out the order in which things should be placed. Because I only had one resource, my test didn’t make full use of the email feature. Clarizen offers the Outlook add-in. It allows for greater integration of email.
The software looks great on the monitor. It was responsive quickly, didn’t open unnecessary windows, and was very easy to use. It seems that the more time you spend with it, the better it will become. Many features activate as you use them more. I didn’t get the chance to test them. This product has more features than any other I have seen this month. It also offers more customization options. Its price reflects this.
Clarizen CEO Avinaom Nogrodski was also interviewed. This interview will be available here.