Planscope — The Project Management App Where Time is Money

Project Management apps ceased to be a brand-new thing years ago. There’s dozens of them vying for your attention, with flashy interfaces (or extremely minimalist interfaces, as tastes change) and Google Adsense targeting you when you’re searching for a new app. But there’s only one sure way to know if an app will actually do the job it’s designed for, and that’s to take it for a test drive. After all, no amount of eye candy can make an unusable app more usable.

In my quest for the best project management app, I came across Planscope. Its gorgeous interface caught my eye, but is beauty only skin deep?

The Workflow

A New Project

A New Project

I’m used to see either a help wizard or a redirect to an empty dashboard after logging into a new project management app. As a welcome change, Planscope asked me to integrate my time tracking app, and all popular apps were listed in the page. After integrating with a time tracking tool, as you work in Planscope your timesheets will be sent over automatically for inclusion in your next invoice. A nice feature indeed, but I don’t use a time tracker and I just skipped this step.

Planscope lets you create a project as an estimate or an active one. This way, you can use the standard hourly charge of yours to keep track of time and invoicing.

Tasks and Milestones

Tasks and Milestones

Immediately after creating a project, I started looking around for milestones. Sadly, I couldn’t find any. So I picked the next obvious choice – creating tasks. Well, what do you know? The option to create milestones was hidden in there. Not a smart choice IMHO. From here, it’s the standard drill – create milestones, add tasks, group tasks into lists, assign it to your team and so on.

Time estimate and budget for tasks is bound to be a useful addition. And, tasks can be quickly moved around milestones by simple drag and drop.

Working on a Project

Besides a fabulous interface, the built in timer is another USP of Planscope. Did I say timer? Scratch that, you can activate the timer for each and every task and keep them all running simultaneously. As the timers start ticking, the duration determines the overall progress and budget expenditure of a project. Instead of clicking every single timer, the option to select multiple ones at the same time would be a welcome addition.

Progress Bars

Progress Bars

It’s extremely productive to have the progress bar to the right side pane. It saves a jump to another page or tab in the app. To update a client on the progress, just click on the status update button and they’ll be sent an update. It’s great that the app lets you pick the tasks you want the client to stay updated on, instead of sending them all away.

To assign tasks to your team or to create related sub tasks, access the respective tasks from the list. If you are working with a team, the activity feed is the go to place to stay on top of who did what exactly on a project.

Pricing

Planscope - Plans and Pricing

Planscope – Plans and Pricing

There isn’t much to talk about the pricing plans. You get unlimited projects for an affordable price across all plans and the size of your team will determine your monthly bill. Unfortunately, there isn’t a free plan and there is just a free 14 day trial period. That’s totally justified, and I’m with team Planscope for keeping zombie accounts off their servers. But, it’s rather annoying that they ask you to put down your credit card details for the free trial. A risk free trial period is still a nice thing to have these days, isn’t it?

Final Thoughts

When you create a new project, Planscope redirects you to a bland screen built with Twitter Bootstrap. It makes me wonder why is there such a deviation from the design scheme when the rest of the app is in a near perfect shape.

Also, I tried a lot, but I couldn’t find a way to add minutes or hours manually to a task. Often, one might forget to start the timer before starting the work and it might not go down well with the client when a status update email is sent with fewer minutes. The app relies very much on time tracking and, not every professional has the need to track time diligently. That limits the app to a niche.

A simple user interface coupled with an even simpler workflow makes Planscope an ideal tool for freelancers and professionals who consider time is money!


Summary

Planscope is a project management app that lets track time and manage projects.

8

Responses

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  • Hi Justin, thanks for the awesome review! You are able to easily add arbitrary amounts of time without a timer, or edit/delete time logs. Here’s a quick vid I just put together on how to do that: http://planscope-1.wistia.com/medias/qfkc8b1lj5

    Cheers,
    Brennan

  • Most of the reviews on here are fairly thorough and comprehensive, but I must say, I’m taken aback at just how superficial this review is. To say you “missed the point” would be an understatement.

    Planscope is a powerful client collaboration tool that gives your client granular insight into the progress of your tasks and project as a whole, but also allows them to set the priority of tasks and manipulate a bid or project as it goes depending on the deliverables they find most important or to stay within their budget. You completely skipped the most valuable and unique features of Planscope, instead focusing on the mundane elements that all project management tools share.

    I’m not posting this response just to defend Planscope, but also to reiterate that your standard of review has to be higher if your viewership is to be able to trust your analysis. If I hadn’t already had experience with Planscope, I would have chalked it up as just another project management app.

    To make matters worse, you erroneously claimed features were missing that weren’t (such as manual time entry). Given your issue finding “milestones” it also seems like you refused to read any of the help dialogues that were front and center on the very page you were to create the tasks on.

    Submitting a task doesn’t just “update the clients” – it’s a full deliverable review system that allows them to approve the deliverable, or make comments if the deliverable doesn’t work as they’d like. It’s a full feature approval workflow that allows you to track feedback on a task by task level. The items also won’t be billed until after approval. The integration with Freshbooks is also on a team member level if you have the appropriate Freshbooks account. You can bill out separately for different members of your team, and at different rates.

    Not only was this review (and thus the score of 8) tainted by your own predilections, you failed to even consider the most valuable elements of this service. I’m typically reticent to be so harsh, but this article is patently irresponsible, and does not provide an accurate appraisal of Planscope or its feature set. Bad information is worse than no information.

    ..and no, if you don’t want to keep track of your time, you can still use Planscope successfully as a client communication and project management tool. You just…don’t keep track of time. Simple.

    • You didn’t need to go any further than here: https://planscope.io/features to get some insight into the features that I’m referring to. Also, planscope will give you feedback over time as to how accurate your estimates are. Beyond my clients actually actively wanting to use Planscope, I get insight into my own agency as well.