There are many tools out there, from Jira at one end of the complexity spectrum, to Asana and similar tools at the other. Most are focused only on task management, and lack the other tools corporations need, including employee directories, wikis, document repositories, messaging, workflow, invoicing etc.
We are currently trialing Bitrix24. Its main focus is CRM, but it also has pretty decent project management features, including subtasks. It is also far cheaper than the competition ($40/m for 25 users). Compare this with Jira + confluence + various needed plugins = > $40/m per user.
NOTE: we only use the “cloud” version. If you install and maintain bitrix on your own servers, at significantly higher cost, more customisation is possible.
Rather than go into detail about what it can do, below are the limitations we faced:
- No custom fields for users. E.g. we use telegram, wechat, discord and github across our geographically diverse teams. We want every user to put his telegram ID, wechat ID, github ID etc. in their profile, as maintaining these lists is difficult. Unfortunately, Bitrix is limited to skype, twitter, facebook, linked in and xing only. There is no option to add additional fields or social networks/tools.
- Custom fields cannot be added to all tasks for all projects. Bitrix tasks are missing some key fields such as priority (which could be a number from 1 to 5, or a string such as “high” “medium” or “low”). It is easy to add a custom field such as priority to a single task, but this is of little use. There is no concept of adding fields to tasks for all projects, or for specific projects. There is an option “set field set to all users”. This has the rather unfortunate side effect of:
- Erasing any custom field anyone else has created.
- Applying this field to every task in the system, including peoples private tasks, workflow tasks, workgroup tasks, i.e. tasks outside of the project management system.
- If the person who created the custom task fields leaves the company, noone can maintain the custom tasks. Another admin will need to create a similar set, and apply this to everyone. We have not tested what happens to the existing fields in this case.
- Custom fields cannot be made mandatory.
- There is the concept of task templates, but again, if you add a custom field to a task template, you need to overwrite every other list of custom fields.
- Invoicing only works for physical products, not services. You can only have products which are measured in “m”, “l” “g”, “kg” and “pcs”. E.g. you cant bill for a specific number of days or hours at a specified rate. As most of my clients only bill for consultancy, this is a significant limitation.
- Tasks do not have levels of priority, only “high priority” or not. At minimum we would need “critical”, “high”, “medium”, “low” and, ideally, “nice to have”. There is no usable way to add this. If adding custom fields via task templates was a tenable solution, the task search and sort system doesn’t support custom fields. Without the ability to search/report/sort based on priority levels, even using custom fields is not a solution.