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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.

Podio's mobile apps share the same slick design as the Web version, making them easy to use, though the setup work is still better done on a desktop, or at least a device with a bigger screen.

Podio is free for up to five team members, while the Premium account, which allows for unlimited team members, is priced at $9 per user per month.

LiquidPlanner

LiquidPlanner is as much a time management tool as it a project manager. And that makes a lot of sense, as you can't get your work done without managing your time.

LiquidPlanner can be a bit overwhelming at first, thanks in large part to its all-business, text-heavy interface. It uses a structure somewhat similar to email tools like Outlook, with columns that let you drill down into each item for more information. LiquidPlanner lets you add projects, with sub-categories and task lists, as well as packages, which are items that don't necessarily fit into a project, but that you want to organize or prioritize.

Helping you prioritize tasks is what LiquidPlanner really is all about. When you enter a task, you estimate how long it will take to complete, and you do so by entering a range. LiquidPlanner thinks of this as a best-case and worst-case scenario, and it calculates a range of dates for your project, based on how long you think it will take to complete. This allows you to plan your time and your deadlines accordingly, and it's surprisingly helpful. Rather than simply setting a deadline and forcing your employees to meet it, LiquidPlanner creates a realistic goal.

I like LiquidPlanner's timeline view, which shows you how your schedule looks based on the estimates you set for your projects. I do wish the online version were a little less text-heavy, which would make it easier on the eyes. With that in mind, I had low expectations for the mobile apps (Android and iOS), but was pleasantly surprised to see their neat and clean designs.

LiquidPlanner isn't cheap: after a free 30-day trial, it costs $29 per user per month. That's far more than some of its rivals. But if time management is just as important to you as project management, LiquidPlanner will be worth the price.

 

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