TeamGantt Review: Introduction
Over the past 10 years several attempts have been made to provide an online, SaaS based, Gantt chart project management suite. TeamGANTT is one of these attempts, and definitely among the best.
Putting Gantt chart limitations aside (most people simply don’t like it), TeamGANTT provides a good user experience over a relatively old-fashioned method. While the Gantt interface is limited as you may expect, the user experience provided by TeamGANTT eases the pain.
Other than a good user interface, there is no big news here. Using a Gantt comes with a set of pros and cons. It is accurate and enables all kinds of task hierarchies and task networks, but at the end of the day it still comes back to a long unreadable chart that people like to avoid.
TeamGANTT improves the experience by giving the SaaS environment a more familiar feel from other SaaS applications like Liquidplanner. It enables drag and drop over the Gantt bars, note pinning (and commenting) on individual tasks, and list and calendar views (which go a long way in getting around the unwieldy Gantt chart!).
Pro Tip: Make good use of the “Team Availability” function when assigning tasks to team members. It is an “at a glance” report of who is working on what and when, and it is invaluable in managing workflow.
TeamGantt features a “My Tasks” view, which brings up the relevant tasks from the Gantt chart for the team member. Here is where you will find the notes and comments feature that we mentioned above; this fosters communication, but it ties the communication within the task. When someone wants to comment on multiple tasks, for example, this can end up with a communication breakdown.
TeamGANTT isn’t really tuned for task management. Gantt charts are built big, and meant to visually represent different tasks across teams for projects. Using TeamGANTT for managing tasks is like driving an SUV at a go-Kart track – it can be done, but it will inevitably frustrate you with your inability to use most of the tools at your disposal. The task management within the software feels like a way to keep the chart updated, more than a tool for productivity.
Pro Tip: Make sure the team keeps those progress bars updated (and has a good method to measure progress) – the overall Gantt chart depends on those percentages!
Project Portfolio Management
TeamGANTT has limited communication built in to the system. You can write notes, and comment on them, and these notes and comments get aggregated to a “Discussions” tab. That is a poor substitute for actual real time communication – it feels like entering a chat room portal. For a project manager, the “Team Availability” function is a great tool for assigning tasks, but between the report generated about team member’s workflow and the “Discussions” tab is a wide gulf of silence. Managing projects is more than assigning tasks effectively!
TeamGANTT also offers a time tracking tool to advanced users, which can monitor employee work times and provide a “real time” view of productivity. With real time reporting, you can see which projects are taking longer than planned. This is a useful tool, although it relies on employees constantly updating it. This seems somewhat counter-intuitive; if employees need to do a task to tell you about the tasks they are doing, it decreases overall productivity.
Pro Tip: The “Summary” report, under the “More” drop down menu, can give a project manager a good birds’ eye view of what is going on in real time. It tells you what has been changed, progress updates, discussions and comments, files shared, etc. It is a good tool, and it is a shame it is buried under “More” instead of somewhere more intuitive to find.
Ease of Use and Clarity
TeamGANTT is as easy to use as a Gantt chart-based system can really get. The controls are intuitive, and clearly marked. If you are the point person for the project’s chart, this software will make your life much easier! The way the system can allow for multiple inputs to quickly and accurately update the chart is invaluable for the top level view a Gantt chart provides. For team members, the clunky communication controls and lack of a centralized communication channel may keep people locked in on tasks, and away from the overall clarity the top level view of a Gantt chart is meant to provide.
Pro Tip: TeamGANTT allows for sharing with Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook. This is located under the “options” drop down menu next to the project name on the “My Projects” screen.
For a team with clearly defined tasks, run in a “spoke and hub” type manner by the project manager, TeamGANTT is a great way to keep people on task and the Gantt chart updating in real time. Tasks are presented to people working on them, the communication channel is task-based, and there is a file sharing capability in the app. For the project manager, the “Team Availability” function shows how many tasks are assigned to which team members, and how many tasks are unassigned. It also shows you what those tasks are, at a click.
For more agile project management teams, this software can very much stifle the process. The system is based on a Gantt chart, and retains the rigidity of the Gantt approach. So much of the system goes into keeping the chart updated, and keeping people on task. Shifting goals and changing priorities can be clunky and difficult with TeamGANTT.
Pro Tip: You can change your Gantt chart view to only show your tasks on it – on the Gantt view, select “everyone” and choose whose tasks on the chart you want to see. While the availability tool tells you who is working on what and when, this lets you see that visually – which is helpful!