by Stephanie Miles
Published on 17 March 2014
Workfront Review - A work management solution that makes it easier for teams to stay on track when juggling multiple projects
All big tasks and milestones may be accounted for in project management systems, but what about the smaller duties that come up at random while staffers chat at the water cooler or when they run into each other in the hallway? Most project management systems fail to take ad-hoc work into account, and as a result it's these small, but plentiful, ad-hoc tasks that generally derail projects that would otherwise be running on time. Workfront (formerly known as AtTask) is a next-generation platform offering enterprise work management tools that have been specially designed to encompass the entire work lifecycle.
In this Workfront review, I plan on delving into the application's most innovative features, including those that were just recently released. After evaluating the user interface (UI), document sharing, report building tools, agile enhancements, and new Gantt charts, I hope to be able to offer my recommendation as to whether Workfront is a platform that Enterprise organizations should consider checking out.
Workfront embraces the notion that work is bigger than just projects. Although well-known for its suite of portfolio and task management tools, Workfront is experiencing its most rapid growth among enterprise teams looking for work execution. What that means is that Workfront doesn't just track specific tasks and projects. Large businesses are increasingly relying on Workfront to help get work done in the broadest sense of the word. The platform gives complete visibility across all systems, with no duty being too small to list in the platform.
Today, Workfront has a particular focus on IT and marketing teams, including traditional project management, new product development, creative services, and production management, all of which have found the platform to be exceptionally useful for their unique needs.
Workfront manages the entire lifecycle of a project, allowing businesses to do-it-all with just one tool. As more and more teams move to Agile workflows, it's becoming more important for project management platforms to provide the right support, particularly when some projects need to be accomplished in Agile, while others are better suited for a traditional Waterfall approach (think software development versus an infrastructure project). Workfront offers the next generation of Agile, enabling teams to use a mixture of methodologies to fit specific jobs, prioritize work across multiple projects, and collaborate in the context of work. For example, by communicating within Workfront, regardless of the project management methodology being used, employees can prevent losing work in email and cut down on the costs associated with frequent in-person status meetings.
Users can also rely on Workfront for internal and external requests, approvals, and help desk controls. The platform's centralized request management system places all of a team's requests in one spot, allowing key players to compare those requests and prioritize them based on what needs to be accomplished before anything else.
Another impressive Workfront feature, rolled out in the summer of 2013, is the platform's calendar. Workfront provides its users with a dynamic, consistent, and meaningful calendar that they can use to see what is really happening within their organizations in real-time.
Sharing documents via email can slow teams down and open them up to security challenges. Workfront has found a way around this, by providing a robust document management system that also connects with popular services like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive and WebDAM. By uploading documents to Workfront, users can strategically share digital assets with team members and securely archive documents using customized tags. Workfront stands apart from competitors by allowing its users to collaborate with both internal and external stakeholders, and by keeping all discussions secure within the context of a document.
Workfront has undergone a host of recent updates, almost all of which have been aimed at making the platform more streamlined and functional for enterprise organizations. In particular, most users will find that its UI is easier to use than competing platforms. Workfront has worked to develop a UI that is both simplified and strategic. It's easy to find any button or link, with a streamlined interface that includes a vertical navigational pane on the left-hand side of the screen.
Reporting is another area where Workfront shines. It ships with 100 canned reports. However, with the new UI, users can build their own custom reports as well. Everything that a user needs to build a new report is located in a window box, making it much easier for technology novices to interact with the platform. The benefit of this streamlined approach to reporting is better visibility at every level of an organization across every kind of work, from tasks to portfolios.
Finally, organizations that frequently share digital assets will find that Workfront can make the process of distributing, collaborating, and approving documents much easier. Documents are stored in a centralized location, whether they're associated with a particular project or with a company as a whole. All related artifacts are included in the Documents area, and users can add approvals or review previous versions of any file without stepping out into a separate platform.
Ultimately, Workfront provides an easy-to-use, single system for all work, not just projects. It connects people to work processes by managing everything in one place, eliminating the need for multiple point solutions, and providing collaboration in the context of work.
Workfront addresses the personas of each person on your team. Click on an individual person to review the platform from his or her perspective.
Get an executive overview from the dashboard, complete with data on the total spend by business unit, total spend by request category, planned vs. actual costs, planned vs. estimated actual hours, and an earned value summary.
Click on the Documents tab to see what documents your team has uploaded and add a few of your own. Documents can be filtered for easy sorting, or you can add your own customized tags.
Within Workfront's robust Help Center, you will find the answers to virtually any question about using the platform. Review detailed articles with information about getting started, adding people, or creating reports. You can also search through frequently asked questions and Workfront's knowledge base, which offers documentation about all integrations, as well as product release details.
Workfront starts at $30 per user, per month for the Work license. However, businesses are encouraged to contact Workfront directly for custom price quotes.
Workfront is stepping in to fill the void being left by inadequate project management systems, and, for organizations that rely on Agile methodology especially, the platform is doing a stellar job of this. It looks beyond individual projects, and instead focuses on the entire work lifecycle. By doing this, Workfront ensures that ad-hoc duties don't fall through the cracks. Ultimately, Workfront makes it easier for teams to stay on track when juggling multiple projects and ensures that its users have every chance possible to be right on target when hitting key milestones.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 4/5
This article was updated on 27/02/2015 to reflect AtTask's rebranding as Workfront.