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Project management apps: Zoho, Podio, LiquidPlanner tackle tasks in unique ways

Liane Cassavoy | Nov. 19, 2014
Projects and people differ, and so should project management apps. Compared to the biggest project management apps available, these three are lesser known but well worth trying.

Projects and people differ, and so should project management apps. Compared to the biggest project management apps available, these three are lesser known but well worth trying.

Zoho Projects

Zoho is one of the pioneers in the world of web-based office suites, offering a collection of cloud-hosted applications for business and personal users. Its titles are worth checking out, even though they haven't gained the market share or name recognition of bigger competitors like Google Docs.

Zoho Projects, a Web-based and mobile (Android and iOS) tool, helps you manage projects by creating tasks and task lists, viewing items on a calendar, assigning them to others, and more. I like how you can quickly upload files as attachments, and the activity feed, which lets you comment and see other user's comments, much like you do on social networks like Facebook.

I do wish Zoho Projects were a little easier to use at the beginning. You have to devote some time to learning its features if you want to get the most out of it. That burden isn't helped by its somewhat confusing labels: It's not immediately apparent what you should classify as a task, a task list, or a milestone. But Zoho Projects is neatly laid out, and its mobile apps work well with the Web-based version.

Zoho Projects is free for an unlimited number of users managing one project. Paid versions start at $20 per month for managing 20 projects. An especially nice touch: Zoho's pricing includes customizable options that let you pay for the add-ons you need, such as extra project pages. It makes it easier to get the most out of these useful project management tool without breaking the bank.

Podio

When it comes to customization, few apps can compete with Podio. Available as an online service and a mobile (Android and iOS) app, Podio offers project management and collaboration tools that can be completely customized to meet your needs. That makes Podio incredibly useful, but it also requires a bigger time investment if you want to get the most out of it.

Luckily, Podio offers plenty of guidance. After you sign up, Podio asks you a few brief questions about your work and provides a high-level overview of Podio's features before you get started. Users logging in can view an activity stream for all their projects. Here you can share and view status updates, files, and questions with fellow workers.

From there, Podio lets you organize by creating Workspaces, which can be used in a variety of ways. They can also integrate with Podio's Apps — the pre-built ones Podio offers are almost like templates for managing your business needs. You can also create your own. Doing so comes with a bit of a learning curve, but the time you invest will result in a truly individual tool for managing your project or task.

 

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