CommonPlaces is dedicated to the success of our clients' projects. To make sure everything is running smoothly, we require a project management system to assign tasks, efficiently use resources, track time, pull reports both internally and for clients, store files, allow clients to issue support tickets and more.

We've recently been looking into using a new system that would provide greater functionality and ease of use. Using the selection criteria identified at the bottom of this post, our team narrowed our choices down to two finalists: Unfuddle and Active Collab.

We had already been using Unfuddle for some projects. Overall, we found that time tracking was painful in this system. To work around that; our internal team built a time-entry tool and a front end for pulling hour reports by date, projects and person.

We found the benefits of Unfuddle to be the following:

  • Low learning curve and very fast adoption
  • Fast & Flexible; can be used any way needed in order to get the job done
  • Customers can log in and immediately understand what they are seeing
  • The Drupal Feedback Module is already in place
  • Our internal team can build what we need with API
  • GIT integration

Conversely, we have identified the following concerns with using Unfuddle:

  • Storage limitations
  • Limited permission levels
  • Somewhat free form
  • Single resource on a task
  • No Gantt Chart for scheduling
  • No resource management, just lists

In looking at Active Collab, we found it to be a more robust project management system with available plug-ins. Additionally, because the system is installed on our own server, there are no limitations in regards to storage.

We found the benefits of Active Collab to be as follows:

  • Robust feature set
  • Powerful and reasonably priced add-ons
  • Available widgets and gadgets
  • Housekeeping service makes it SaaS-like
  • System is hosted internally, so users are not limited to storage restrictions, nor are there storage fees. Internal hosting also provides added security.
  • Email integration is slick
  • Seems that any oversights or flaws are covered by low cost plug-ins

The following are a list of concerns with Active Collab:

  • Medium learning curve - this system will take some time to learn
  • Having to learn a new workflow will slow migration and adoption
  • Flexibility of workflows
  • Resource Management

Sample Feature Comparison

CommonPlace's feature wish list is below. Every company's wish list is unique to their processes and use cases. Below is a sample of the features CommonPlaces used to evaluate Unfuddle vs. Active Collab:

PM system comparison

Based on the above criteria, we've made our selection. But we're interested in what you think. What system would you choose to best fit the needs of your organization? Does your team use a different system that you've found to fit your list of requirements for a project management system? Let us know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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