Posted on July 4, 2013 · Posted in Reviews

At the risk of sounding like a grouch, this review of ProofHub really wore on me. Out of a possible 450 points it only earned 58, giving it a failing grade. Many of the standard project management tools you expect to have (resource managment/forecasting, gantt charts, good task and project management, etc) just isn’t there. Many of the functions you expect to find in good cloud software (customizable interfaces, more than dinky-basic access control, etc) didn’t show up for the game.

So, what is ProofHub good for?

It’s got a pretty cool proofing tool built in, whereby graphic designers can upload a graphic and then allow decision makers/influencers view the graphic and collaboratively comment on the graphic. It’s pretty sweet. It still has some minor bugs, but if you’re a design firm that needs some basic project management software than this may be a good tool for you.

Deployment Options:

  • Online – Yes
  • On-premise – No

Pricing:

  • First User – Starts at $15/month unlimited users
  • Additional Users – unlimited users
  • Free Plan? – Yes. 1 project only, unlimited users.

Well suited for:

  • Small Biz – Yes, if you do a lot of graphic design (not traditional PM software, but good for designers)
  • Med Biz – No
  • Ent Biz – No, no imports from other programs, little integration with other tools, not very customizable, no different front-end for lower level users.

Features

  • Task Management – 5/10
    • Gets a 5 because they are somewhat confusing and not very polished yet:
      • you can’t add one off tasks (that aren’t bound to a project)
      • you can add tasks to a “to-do” list as well as a milestone which can be confusing because both parent items must be added to a project and thus you have multiple task lists living in a single project. Aside from tasks living under a project, there are also “quick tasks” that live under their own section and aren’t assigned to a project. Confusing.
        ProofHub Task Management

        Tasks live in one of three different places, and are all a little different from each other. Just a tad on the confusing side.

      • If you don’t put an expiration date on a task it shows a “null” alongside the task in the milestone view… kind of weird little bug that makes the software look like it’s still in beta.
      • Task list items can’t be marked as complete unless you also add a comment. This feature would be valuable for team projects where judicious note keeping should be required, but not for personal task lists where you don’t necessarily need notes for yourself. This is the case on tasks created under the “to-do” list but not under the milestone lists, which doesn’t really make sense as milestones would tend to be of a more collaborative and shared nature whereas to-do’s are often of a more personal nature. You’d think that the more personal nature task type wouldn’t force notes being left and milestones would.
  • Project Management – 6/10
    • This only gets a 4 because it’s still buggy enough to not be considered a complete solution to me. It also lacks more powerful tools that a power user would need.
      ProofHub Task Create Failure

      ProofHub still has enough little bugs to make it seem like a beta product

    • One HUGE bug is that the ‘standard user’ account type cannot see any projects unless he is manually added to them. And an even BIGGER bug is that you can’t add any new users to a project if the project was created before the user was. Sadly, the only other user type is an ‘admin user.’ So, you either choose a role for them to see no projects (except what they’re manually added to) or to see everything and have all power. UPDATE – Nevermind about not being able to add users to projects. This has to be done with the “Manage” option on the project itself. I was trying to do this by clicking the “Manage” under the “topics” item on the projects tab, and also by clicking on the + sign to add a user. This is my bad. Hard to find but at least it’s there. I originally gave Project Management 4/10 but I’ve updated it to 6/10 because this bug isn’t really a bug.
    • The standard user also cannot create their own projects. This is overly restrictive and I don’t see too many organizations that don’t want their people to be creating projects.
  • Issue Tracking – 0/10
    • Issue tracking is in name only. You can change the type of “to-do list” to a bug/issue tracking list but that’s it. It doesn’t add any extra functionality that would be used in issue tracking. It doesn’t tie into any bug/issue tracking tools. It doesn’t even allow you to upload screenshots that may have been used in troubleshooting.
  • Request Management – 4/10
    • No tool in place to do this. Ultimately you could do a workaround with templates. Create a template for a regular request and then people that need to request from you could use that template and fill in the comments of each task to give the fulfiller needed info. Then you could re-assign the to-do list to the party you’re asking to fulfill.
    • Of course, this wouldn’t tie into resource management functionality (also non-existent). It also doesn’t provide a way to link uploaded files to tasks… so you’d need to specify files to use by location and it could be tough to find files as your organizational uploads increase in frequency.
  • Budgeting – 0/10
    • No functionality here. In the time tracking tool it doesn’t even allow you to add cost per hour for labor spent or any other financial recording.
  • Risk Analysis – 0/10
    • No functionality to analyze risk of any given projects
  • Reporting – 1/10
    • Except for the time log that you can download in the time tracker there are no downloadable reports. There are no options for emailing reports one time or on a schedule.
    • The only report like item in the tool is the dashboard which displays projects and then tasks/files/comments/topics within each project. This view works okay with simple projects but for complex ones with moving parts I imagine the view would become unwieldy.
    ProofHub Dashboard Report View

    The dashboard gives you a quick glimpse into what’s going on in your organization’s project management.

  • Interactive Gantt Charts – 0/10
    • No Gantt Charts at all
  • Advanced Inter-Dependencies – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Custom Fields – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Baseline Comparisons – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Critical Path Method– 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Invoicing– 0/10
    • No functionality here

Resource Management

  • Capacity Planning– 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Time Tracking – 5/10
    • Time tracking is only given a 5 because it is quite basic and lacks even basic functionality we’ve come to expect in time tracking.
      ProofHub Time Tracking

      Not as good as actual invoicing and time tracking tools, like Zoho Invoice, but it’s better than a sticky note.

    • You can assign hours worked to projects and notes to each of those hours
    • You cannot, however, start a timer while you’re working (like you can in Zoho Invoice and most other time tracking tools) and just let it run until you stop it upon completion.
    • You cannot add a billable rate to your hours you’re working.
  • Scheduling – 4/10
    • Only given a 4 because while it does allow you to set deadlines and email reminders on task deadlines, it doesn’t allow you to line up any kind of schedules based on gantt charts, resources available, etc.
  • Document Management – 3/10
    • You can upload files but can’t really manage them. There is no way to move them from one project to another or even get a link that you can send to a colleague. Because of the very limited functionality we’re only giving this a 3.
  • Expense/Timesheet Alerts– 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Asset Management– 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Resource Roll Up Views – 0/10
    • No functionality here

Collaboration

  • Customizable Alerts – 4/10
    • No way to limit the frequency of alerts. Very annoying as it emails you every time someone comments on or changes any files/tasks/lists/projects that you are also on. If your team is using ProofHub like they should be then you’d be receiving tens if not hundreds of these emails each day.
    • UPDATE: After submitting a question to ProofHub about whether or not I could toggle alerts on/off they wrote the following back to me:
      • Thanks for writing in. In the current version of ProofHub the only emails alerts that you can stop are the project topics and proofing. To do so go to your project, click on the topic and click on “Unsubscribe”. I know it can be a pain to go into every project and topic to do so and that’s why we are about to launch the new version of ProofHub within a couple of weeks that solves this problem along with a lot of other user experience items. So the version comes with brand new design, new features and much more.
    • Because the company is releasing some new functionality here in the coming weeks, and because there is the possibility to at least turn off some alerts, I’ve given this a 4 rating.
  • Report Viewing – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Document Collaboration – 10/10
    • While it only works for graphical files (jpg, gif, png, or bmp) it’s pretty powerful for such an affordable “project management” tool. This is where ProofHub really makes sense. If you’re a design agency you can drop images into this Proofing tool and then clients can go in and leave notes, draw on the file, etc. It’s not collaborative in the sense that changes can be made to the actual file but the notes and drawings you can place in the proofing tool are awesome. If I was a designer on a budget I’d surely use this.
  • Issue Tracking/Submission – 0/10
    • The file management, aside from collaborating on graphic files (which is spectacular) is very weak and tracking issues to the file submission level is non-existent.
    • Aside from graphics, you cannot comment inside of files and make collaborative edits like we’ve all come to expect with Google Docs.
  • Read Only Options – 0/10
    • Everything is read only, so it’s halfway there. The fact that there are no controls for turning on different collaboration allowances (edit/view only) means this gets a zero.
  • Time Zone Conversions – 0/10
    • No functionality here

Ease of Use

  • Customizable Dashboard – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Customizable Menus – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Project Templates – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Copy/Clone Projects – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Recurring Tasks – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Drag/Drop Use – 0/10
    • No functionality here
  • Importing Options – 0/10
    • Adding new users was a pain to find. It’s under contacts. Yes, contacts that would normally be a place where you store details for individuals you work with. You click “Add Contact” to create a user. Confusing.
  • Options for Receiving Help – 3/10
    • They have a feedback option in the tool that takes you to a Google Form where you can input any questions/concerns/bugs you have. I submitted a request (how to limit email alerts question) and did receive an answer the next day, so that’s something at least!
  • Navigation – 2/10
    • Confusing at best. Not customizable, so you have to see all the menu items that are native. Annoying.

Security

  • Access Control – 3/10
    • Adding new users was a pain to find. It’s under contacts. Yes, contacts that would normally be a place where you store details for individuals you work with. You click “Add Contact” to create a user. Confusing.
    • One HUGE bug is that the ‘standard user’ account type cannot see any projects unless he is manually added to them. And an even BIGGER bug is that you can’t add any new users to a project if the project was created before the user was. Sadly, the only other user type is an ‘admin user.’ So, you either choose a role for them to see no projects (except what they’re manually added to) or to see everything and have all power.
    • Doesn’t give you an option to set a password when setting up an account. Instead it emails them the password. Slightly annoying.
    • You can’t limit navigation menu types based on user type.
    ProofHub Limited Access Controls

    Very limited access controls. Not customizable, and only two user types: one is God-mode and the other is Wimp-mode. No in-between.

  • Data Security Levels – 0/10
    • No different levels really. Their standard/admin split locks down standard way too much. Levels not customizable.

Integrations

  • Outlook – 0/10
    • Not available
  • Google Apps – 0/10
    • Not available
  • MS Project – 0/10
    • Not available
  • Mobile Versions – 8/10
    • Pretty good actually. I was surprised how fluid it was and how responsive it was, even when on my cellular connection instead of wifi. It is limited to a degree in functionality. For example, the files, time tracking, settings management and dashboard tabs aren’t there or are overly simplified.
    • Does work on all mobile platforms though as it’s just using dynamically resizing HTML.
  • API Available? – 0/10
    • Not available
  • Accounting Software – 0/10
    • Not available
  • Salesforce – 0/10
    • Not available

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