In Tron style, if you ever get a chance to explore the mythical Appland, you’ll bump into either invoicing or project management apps every step of the way. There’s just so many of them! True, most of them are much more functional and feature rich than their native competitors, but in most cases they’re all the same.
There is, however, something different with Apollo. Apollo is project and contact management done right. Read on to find how it differs from the rest of its competitors.
Apollo is built to get things done. It’s not just a project management app; it can also handle events, tasks, people, companies and calendars in a neatly integrated package. With Apollo you’ll always know where your projects, your contacts and your life are at and you’ll feel on top of everything — regardless of how hectic your schedule is. Apollo is all about getting things done quickly and efficiently.
The web app is in private beta and is free until further notice. Visit their sign up page and follow their instructions to get an invitation code. From my experience they respond to requests pretty quickly. After getting the invite code, signing up is very simple and you’ll get your own sub domain to manage all your stuff.
What’s really noteworthy of Apollo which led us to write this review, knowing full well we might get comments like “Another PM app? Doh!” from our beloved readers, is its user interface. I wouldn’t say it’s clutter free and minimalistic because it isn’t. They have features and links packed wall to wall, yet somehow the interface is so refreshing and drives you to take it for a spin.
Project management apps tend to be real snoozers, design and presentation either too bland or too professional. Where Apollo succeeds is in the way all your data is presented; the fonts, layouts, sections and the like.
Projects & Teams
A project can be created with just a name and immediately a workspace is created in a separate tab. Tabs in Apollo work just like tabs in a browser and you can close them anytime you want. Better yet, you can rearrange them in any order you like!
You can invite people and form teams from the People tab. Send out invitations to whomever you want to be part of your projects and they’ll be added to the list. From this list, you can pick and choose who will work on which project and only those people will have access to the assigned projects.
If you employ remote teams or outsource work to another company, you can create a new group for accommodating them. Once it’s created, you can use those resources the same way you do with your employees.
In addition to having a dedicated overview section to monitor the progress across the board, activity monitors are available for individual projects from the Projects Dashboard.
Tasks & Timers
Adding a task requires less work from the user, which is a really good thing. After entering the task description, all the finer details can be added with clicks and toggles. Tasks can be grouped into Personal, Project or Customer categories.
Keeping track of billable hours is very easy with interactive timers; you can start a timer and keep track of how long you are spending on a particular task.
You’re able to run multiple timers running at the same time if needed.
Calenders & Events
Apollo has one of the best calendar apps I’ve seen so far in a web app (other than Google Calender). Tasks you’ve added automatically find themselves in their deadline dates and with a color code indicating who is responsible for getting it done.
Events can be added just like in Google Calender and be assigned to the calender of a team member.
Apollo has a built in CRM module, which, while not fully featured, is suitable for creating and managing contacts to keep track of leads. Notes about past communications and tasks for future follow up can also be attached to a contact.
You can check all upcoming and overdue tasks on contacts and filter them based on the person assigned to the task. Contacts can either be a person or a company and you have total control over who can view the list of contacts.
The Overview section acts as the centralized dashboard to watch how things are faring with projects and tasks. Two important aspects of a project, overdue and upcoming tasks, are presented clearly at the top of your list.
In the left pane, tasks being performed by employees can be monitored. From calenders, projects to personal tasks, everything can be tracked from here at anytime.
It would have been great if there were some sort of graphical representation, perhaps a progress bar, indicating how far along projects are and how much more is left to be done. Surprisingly, such graphical progress bars are absent at individual project dashboards too! This is one of the features that all project management apps have by default and this might actually be the one thing that Apollo lacks.
Apollo takes boredom out of the equation when dealing with most business tasks and the web app is easy to learn and quick to access. While it’s great that the Apollo team has decided not to charge users during the beta phase, it’s always good to set some sort expectations regarding pricing. If people who’ve been using the app for months find their pricing to be steep it might lead to a backlash. Case in point — Zendesk.
Those looking for a project management app for the first time and those whose subscriptions are going to expire soon might want to test drive Apollo before others and we definitely recommend giving it a try.
Share Your Thoughts!
Do you like the refreshing interface of Apollo? Will you consider making a switch from your existing project management app?