Easy Projects focuses on project management for large organizations. It has a few tools designed for businesses that can tap a large pool of talent to manage multiple projects at once. Its moderate price tag also makes it more attractive to larger businesses rather than small startups. Easy Projects is a solid project management platform, even though it isn’t the speediest web app you’ve ever seen. It’s similar to Editors’ Choice LiquidPlanner, but not nearly as sophisticated at scheduling and reports.
Smaller organizations prefer apps they can try out extensively before buying, with prices better suited to small and growing teams. Editors’ Choices Zoho Projects and Teamwork Project are better than Easy Projects in that regard.
Note: Easy Projects is owned by Logic Software, Inc., and uses a .net web address. There is a similarly named product, Easy Project (singular) by Easy Software, Ltd., with a .com address. I note the distinction here to eliminate any confusion.
Price and Plans
Easy Projects offers two types of accounts, Pro and Enterprise. Both accounts are more suited to midsize and large organizations rather than to small or micro businesses. Easy Projects doesn’t offer a fully free account, but you can request a free trial by providing some information about yourself, consenting to receive emails about the product, and signing up for a demo. While a credit card is not required, which I appreciate, the signup process requires you to jump through a heck of a lot more hoops than you do to get trials of other project management apps. Access to Easy Projects is pretty well gated. In fact, for a Pro account with more than 10 users, a training and implementation session is mandatory.
Easy Projects Pro costs $24 per person per month. That’s a moderate price compared with what you pay for other project management apps designed for midsize to large organizations. The Pro account includes 50GB of storage space. You can invite as many guest users as you want to join the account at no extra charge. Guest users have limited access to the project management app and are usually third parties, such as clients and contractors. The Pro account limits you to creating up to 200 custom fields and 60 portfolios—limits any small business would be unlikely to hit.
Missing from the Pro account are a few features that larger organizations would probably want, such as time log approvals, payroll reporting, and enhanced security. Those are included in the Enterprise account. If you choose Easy Projects Enterprise, you have to contact the company for custom pricing, and you have to arrange a required training and implementation session.
The price range for project management apps is broad. Most services designed for large organizations charge a per-person-per-month fee, while those better suited to small businesses charge a flat rate per month for as many users as you need or for a set number of users, for example, up to 10 people.
To give you a sense of the range, Comindware charges roughly $9.99 per person per month (you have to get in touch with the company for a quote, but that’s the average), and TeamGantt charges $9.95 per person per month, although you have to meet a minimum of five people.
On the other side of the spectrum are apps like LiquidPlanner and Workfront, which are for bigger organizations and cost a lot more. LiquidPlanner Professional costs $39 per person per month with a minimum of 10 people, and Workfront costs about $30 per person per month on average. While those project management apps are more expensive, LiquidPlanner in particular is especially powerful and quite impressive in its ability to manage large projects, resources, and scheduling.
For small organizations, the project management apps that charge a flat monthly fee for a set number of users are more attractive. Zoho Projects has a Premium plan for $50 per month that supports as many users as you need and lets you manage up to 50 projects. That’s a great value for small businesses. Teamwork Projects has a similar high value in its $69-per-month Small Business plan, which also includes support for 50 projects and as many people as you need.
AceProject, which is not as advanced as its competitors, costs just $19.99 per month for up to 10 people. The more capable ProofHub has a plan that costs $150 per month for as many users as you need.
I mentioned that Easy Projects makes you jump through some hoops to get a free trial, which isn’t ideal for small and nimble organizations that like to experiment with a free tool for a while before deciding whether to upgrade. You can get a free version with Zoho Projects, Teamwork Projects, Wrike, TeamGantt, and Volerro. Those are all great options for teams that like to muck around in software for a while before committing to it.
Features and Interface
Project management leaders get all the core tools they need in Easy Project. The app has Gantt charts, task dependencies, and automated rescheduling for dependent tasks when one task’s deadline shifts. You can create and save project templates so that you don’t need to set up every new project from scratch. It has time-tracking tools, places to add comments to tasks and projects, file-sharing, and more.
In Easy Projects, I like that you can see a good amount of information about each task in the primary Activity Center view, such as who’s working on it, whether it’s open or on hold, the percent completion, and so forth. Each task can be tagged, flagged as urgent, commented upon, and discussed. You don’t see the full extent of the communication, however, without opening a new window with all the task details.
Gantt charts, a project calendar, and reporting tools are all included, as well. Some very good billing options are rolled in, letting the project lead establish a budget and designate tasks as billable or non-billable.
One special feature in Easy Projects is Portfolios. Portfolios essentially comprise projects, so you can have sets of projects and can assign someone to manage an entire Portfolio. The manager can create, delete, or edit existing portfolios and all the objects or tasks within the Portfolio. Easy Projects also lets you add custom fields to a Portfolio (for example, a cost code), in case your business has a special way of keeping track of work.
You won’t find an integrated chat box in Easy Project, a feature that other project management apps have begun adopting to facilitate real-time, instant communication. Easy Projects does have messaging features, but they are more like message boards than a chat app. You can add comments to tasks and projects to collaboratively discuss the work at hand, but you cannot open a chat box in the app to instantly connect with another team member. Having a way to chat instantly makes a big difference to team members who work at the same time, rather than teams who are spread out over multiple time zones. And chat is better than messaging tools for asking questions that are important, but don’t need to be broadcasted to everyone on the team and clutter up the messaging space.
That said, if you’re already using a team messaging app, such as Slack and HipChat, your team probably doesn’t need or want yet another chat app in yet other tool. When employees spend most of their time working in a project management app, however, it can be preferable for the chat app to be right inside the same window as their other work. If you’re shopping for a project management app and want a chat app, try Zoho Projects, Clarizen, or Volerro.
Time tracking is included in Easy Projects, too, with a few different ways employees can log time. There’s a built-in stopwatch style timer people can use to track their time. There’s also a manual entry sheet for single entries or weekly updates. For Enterprise accounts, the time tracking data can be locked down so that no one can change or delete it, and it can also be used for payroll reports.
In terms of features, Easy Projects is well rounded and up to date. For looks and speed, it’s not the most impressive project management app on the market. Everything is highly functional, it’s just a little stodgy. The need to open new pages and windows frequently to see more information or access additional buttons can slow down your productivity. It’s not painfully slow, but it’s not cutting-edge either.
One special feature in Easy Projects that’s for Enterprise users only is called Resource Loading Simulation. It’s a feature you use before starting a new project to see if you’ll have the resources you need to do a project during the time frame you want.
You start by entering the start and end dates of the project. Then you select the resources you need by either selecting individuals who must be on the project or skills from a dropdown menu. These skills must already be associated with people in the organization. For example, the skills might just be job titles, like programmer, designer, writer, or something more specific, like C++, Java, and so forth. Maybe the project requires Maria Gonzalez, Derek Lamar, two programmers, and one designer. You can also set the percent of time each person needs to commit to this new project, which might be 100 percent, or it could be part-time, meaning they can still work on other projects in tandem. Easy Project looks at everyone’s availability to tell you the best people available for the job. With this information, you can plan better.
Another Enterprise-only feature in Easy Projects worth noting is Critical Path. When you use Critical Path, which relies on setting up task dependencies, Easy Projects highlights all the tasks that affect the deadline. The Resource Loading Simulation essentially lets you run “what if” simulations on your project. For example, “What if the lead programmer is out all next week? What happens to the project schedule?”
Apps and Integrations
Easy Projects has mobile apps for iOS and Android to help keep people connected to their teams and the progress of projects when they are on the go. Otherwise, you access Easy Projects in any web browser. That’s typical for most project management apps.
When it comes to integrating with other services, Easy Projects is a mixed bag. It has more native integration options than it did two years ago, but it still doesn’t support a ton of apps that businesses use. You can easily connect to QuickBooks, Toggl, Zendesk, Evernote, Gmail, and Outlook, and you can import existing projects from Excel and Microsoft Project. There are no options to connect to storage services such as Dropbox, Box, OneDrive, and so forth.
The good news, however, is that Easy Projects is in the Zapier network. Zapier is a system that helps people who don’t have any programming expertise connect apps that don’t normally talk to one another. For those savvy with code, Easy Projects has an API, so they can set up their own custom integrations.
Better for Bigger Businesses
Easy Projects is a serviceable online project management app, with features and a price tag that suggest it’s better for large organizations than small businesses. It does have a few helpful tools for planning projects, scheduling tasks, and identifying the resources that are available to your team. In many ways, it’s comparable to LiquidPlanner, but LiquidPlanner is much more impressive. If you’re going to invest a lot of time and money setting up and learning to use a heavy-duty tool for planning and scheduling, Editors’ Choice LiquidPlanner is a preferable choice. But if you want something a touch less intense and slightly easier to learn, Easy Projects is a fine option.