When working in a team, what tools do you need? You want a task management solution to keep track of what’s to be done, what’s being done and what’s been done. Of course, you also need a project management space to keep track of the broader goals and teams. And some sort of system to analyse all of this. A calendar would be nice to group all of those important dates in one place. How about a section to share important notes? Obviously, you’ll need a cloud storage account to put important files in, which everyone can access, and some data encryption to keep it safe. Plus, if you have all these things, it just makes sense to chat with your colleagues easily.
Meet Strikebase, your one-stop solution for all your team management needs. And for some reason, it’s eerily similar in design to Facebook. There’s the left sidebar that expands upon scrollover, and even that top bar with notifications and search — both in a colour that seems like an FB-ripoff.
The first thing to do, of course, is to set up a new project. You can classify it as Proposed, In-Progress, Classified or Completed. Then, just add teammates to it and you can start collaborating.
The free account lets you create only one project at a time, but paid accounts (starting at $20/month and going up to $250 per month) will give you from 10 to unlimited projects.
Of course, project management is all about the people and it was great that Strikebase made this process a little easier by letting the user import his Google Contacts. But then, it’s weird that only Google Contacts are allowed and not a manual upload of a CSV file — what about Outlook or Thunderbird users? This is meant for work teams, and unless you’re a Google Apps user, you can’t get your work contacts in. Silly!
The people you add will show up as little contact cards, and their profile pics will appear in lots of places, so it’d be best to suggest to them to add one if they aren’t already using their Google account.
Once you have created your project, it’s time to manage the tasks. Strikebase has a simple Kanban board of three columns: To Do, Doing and Done. You can add a task, set a deadline, and assign it to people. Tasks can also have attachments, checklists, and labels. Project members have the ability to comment on any task item too.
Overall, it’s the perfect management board and if you like Kanban systems, you’ll love it.
You obviously want to keep a track of time and effort going into any task and Reports will give you all of that data as long as your team is diligently updating the system. You can set a custom date and check the progress of users, tasks, projects or comparatives like tasks created vs tasks completed.
What Strikebase doesn’t do, however, is incentivise the users to update the system on time. If they don’t do it, you won’t get an accurate report. So what’s the employee’s motivation in always keeping Strikebase up-to-date and honest?
Projects and tasks mean deadlines, meetings and important dates, so it’s important to have a central calendar that anyone can refer to at any point for updates. Strikebase has done well here to keep it simple and easy, and allows for the option to tag certain people in an event too. And yeah, you can create multiple calendars too, with custom colours.
Seeing 16GB of collaborative space will get anyone excited, but that’s only till you start actually using it. While cloud storage is great, it still needs to work properly. Strikebase is happy to let you add Google calendars and contacts, but you can’t upload files directly off Google Drive or Dropbox — it’s hard drive only. Ridiculous, in this day and age.
But the killer blow is that you can’t download files in bulk. So if I were to upload 25 different design files about a project, my designer would need to download each of them individually, wasting precious time and energy on menial labour.
You get 100MB of file storage in the free account, and paid accounts take that from 4GB up to 150GB. In short, don’t get rid of your group Dropbox yet.
Cool note-making tools with built-in rich multimedia and collaboration? Sold! Any member can edit the Notes section, which is great to make a few standard rules and write some important notes for ready reference. And you can even paste the URL of a YouTube video for it to be auto-embedded.
That said, there isn’t a proper collaborative document space, so you will still have to rely on a third-party solution like Google Docs or Office 365 for that. Sigh, what’s the point of a project management suite that doesn’t let you work on documents together?
The best teams rely on loads of communication and so you probably need a robust chat solution in your project management system. And Strikebase is as good as it gets. There’s a dedicated Chat space where you can participate in group chats or talk with people one-on-one. It looks neat, you can send attachments and works just as you’d want to. Plus, it’s persistent, so anyone can look through the chat logs at any time, even if they weren’t logged in.
What’s really cool, though, is the floating chat window, docked in the bottom of the screen just like in Facebook. It’ll even open separate chat pop-ups for each of your conversations. Neat!
Personally, I loved Strikebase, despite its flaws. The design is great and it’s functional for the pure team and project management parts — projects, tasks, reports, calendar, chat.
However, the inability to do good file management and the missing collaborative document feature can be deal-breakers for many.