by Michele Nachum
Published on 7 November 2011
A few months ago, I reviewed AceProject - and in the review, I wrote how much I liked the solution as it has everything a small to mid-sized business (SMB) would need to adequately organize, delegate, budget and manage a project.
Now I am taking another look as the team at AceProject has updated several features. Will I like it as much the second time around?
The good news is, AceProject is still a very good solution and what I like about it is that it is affordable and even free at some subscription levels. Compared with other online project planning software, it is a good buy as the solution does not skimp on features for its smaller clients - you still get an enormous amount tools even at the free level. Many tech companies these days will offer a limited "light" version of their apps at the free or lower priced levels, but AceProject manages to provide all subscribers with a complete product to help them manage projects - - even complicated ones - at all of their subscription levels.
AceProject is very affordable with subscription rates starting at the "free" level which allows you to manage up to five projects and work with five colleagues. The next level is at $24 per month with 10 projects and then there a few more price points before it tops out at $99 a month for an unlimited amount of projects and users.
Here are some of the features AceProject.com has revamped in this version:
Multi-project tabs that let you open as many projects as you want.
A global search box that lets you search among all tasks (that you have permission to access)
Updated mobile attributes which allow you to edit and make comments from your smartphone
Enhanced overall speed and more functional screens
Expense tracking and approval apps
What Does It Look Like?
The AceProject user interface is well designed and comes off friendly, colorful and very easy to navigate. When you sign up you are given a dashboard that will help you start up a project or task, invite colleagues to your project, view project momentum, budgets, time sheets and more. The new design is really refreshing - the older version was good but the new design makes it more intuitive to navigate through the solution.
It is very important to first set up your company profile and add in employees and other inportant company information in the admin tab. This way, when you go to add tasks and assign your colleagues - their names will show up automatically, enabling you to merely click on the box next to their name if you want them assigned to that task.
Starting a project:
Starting up a new project is as easy as clicking on the tab that says "Add Project." When creating a project in AceProject, two options are available to you: starting from scratch or copying a project from a template. If you start from scratch, you'll create a brand new, blank project. On the other hand, if you copy a project from a template, you'll create a new project based on another's structure. If you are new to AceProject, you may want to work off an existing template before attempting to create your own template. Should you brave the "create your own template" aspect, AceProject does a nice job of explaining how things are done in their Help section.
Once you have a project started, you can begin the process of adding in the tasks. You can easily do this by clicking on the "Add Tasks" tab and when you do so, you will be asked a number of questions such as the title and description of the task, as well as due dates, hours assigned, expenses and other information. You can also assign people to the task as mentioned above.
You can label your tasks as critical, urgent, low - if you so choose. This might be a great way to light a fire under your less enthusiastic project team members (if need be). If you have several tasks, labeling is also a great way to help prioritize which tasks must be completed right away. In anycase, tasks are given a time period so everyone on the team is aware of the due dates.
You can also add in Task Dependencies - which is a very cool tool especially if your project is very complex and has lots of tasks associated with it. Task dependencies at allows you to set up rules for tasks. For instance, you might stipulate that Task A must be completed before Task B is implemented. This function will help create a project flow that will keep you and your team on track.
Other features of the Task tab is the ability to attach documents so that your team can view more information about the tasks. And because AceProject is such a complete a solution, it will ask you to assign a version number, description and other factors to help you keep track of all the documents you are delivering to your team. For those of us who are habitual attacher of documents to emails, this will come as a blessing…
Time tracking is an excellent way to monitor a team's time management as well as to cap the number of hours an employee is allowed to work on a project (especially if you are billing a client by the hour). AceProject allows you do this manually through the time sheet module or automatically through their nifty time clock module which works like a stop watch. If you are like me and can't ever figure out how much time you actually spend doing anything, the timeclock will automatically start when you click on the icon and as soon as you click off - the time clock will cease. AceProject records your time in the system so you can monitor how many hours your team has spent on the task.
AceProject has updated several of its features including the option to approve expenses - something that was not in the early iteration of the solution, but now available thanks to customers asking for it. Not only does AceProject allow you to approve/reject expenses, but it will also conduct expense tracking to help keep your budget on track.
Mobile Phone Version:
For those of us who do not go anywhere without our smart phones, AceProject has implemented a very "easy to view" mobile version of the solution that you can maneuver right from your phone. You input comments in the task fields as well as post comments in the discussion and notepad sections as well. See the graphic below - the dashboard is very user and mobile friendly - allowing you to do nearly everything that you can do on a PC.
Is it for You?
I agree with my first review a few months back - AceProject is a very complete online project management softwareand with this new version, even more so. The team at AceProject have truly listened to their customers and made changes accordingly. The solution is easy to navigate and the user interface is attractive. If you are part of a team or company that implements several projects, then using AceProject will probably make your life a lot easier. The solution really automates many of the steps you might otherwise decide to do on a notepad or in Excel.
Ratings: ease of use 4/5, features 5/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 5/5