≡ Menu
Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Teamness Review

The last software review here, on Software Project Management, was for people looking for flexible and mature yet expensive solution (Jira) to support project management tasks. Today I have the application from the other end of scale – Teamness.

Overview

Teamness is simple, free (to some point), web-based tool which aims to improve collaboration in projects. The list of features is pretty short yet: task management, milestones which allow preparing a simple schedule and shared whiteboards which enable collaborative work on documents. As one of creators – Paul Marculescu – states the thing which differentiates Teamness from similar applications is full support for Romanian language. I take his word for it.

Range of features makes Teamness an application for small teams at the moment but I hope to see more functionality in the future.

The application is still in beta version.

Strengths

Learning curve

Users should get how to play with Teamness pretty quick. Actually they should be able to work with the application from the very first moment after login. Nice videos introducing each feature available in the app look unnecessary.

Intuitive GUI

This one corresponds with the previous point. GUI is intuitive – usually things you look for are exactly in the first place you can think of. Design is clean and nice. One thing I’d change is the way of entering edit mode (clicking on “edit” link instead of more natural clicking on the title of the record).


Speed

For a web application Teamness is quick and responsive. The only glitch is a control form for whiteboards (the one which allows rich text formatting). It loads significantly slower than other screens. I hope the responsiveness and speed will keep current standards even when user base will grow.

Whiteboards

Whiteboards enable collaborative work on notes. There is versioning here and you can compare two different versions of each document. That’s a very nice idea which helps much to do some creative work in remote teams. I believe it’s quite an uncommon feature to see in project management software.

Weaknesses

Range of features

Teamness still lacks a set of basic features: bug tracking, scheduling enhanced at least a bit, better reporting and filtering. And of course my personal favorite: a history for each record. As far as you work in micro-sized team (a couple of people) and you trust each other it’s easy to leave aside issues connected with changes in records (who changed what and why). Unfortunately that breed is rare. Anyway, current range of features is probably the biggest weakness of the application.

Issues with IE7

I’ve tested Teamness against Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7 and while I had no issues with the former there’s some more work to do with the latter. I got a couple of error messages while accessing whiteboards or task list.

A list of small glitches

That’s my standard rant, I know. There’s a list of small issues you can live with, but when they cumulate you’re left frustrated. Navigation is screwed: clicking back on your browser sometimes brings you to surprising places. Tab order doesn’t work perfectly: after hitting the Tab button it happens that you lose focus somewhere instead of going to another edit box. I got some problems with event feeds: I received feed not found error. Whiteboards comparison needs some improvements: it doesn’t see format changes there and it deals poorly with bulleted lists. Although basic functions works fine additional polishing of the application would be a good idea.


Summary

At the moment Teamness is a tool for small teams. Personally I’d prefer to see all needed functionality in one application (bug tracking please!) but if you like Teamness you can find an alternative for lacking features. Bigger teams which need advanced security model or collaboration with customers should look for more mature tools.

I can’t advise you whether the application is expensive since except of free plan there’s no information about the prices on the Teamness site. Free plan itself looks appealing in terms of resources you get and limitations it brings. I don’t know what’s beyond that.

I hope to see some additional features and at least a part of small issues cleaned soon. That’s the direction Teamness should be pushed now.

in: project management

4 comments… add one

  • Paul Marculescu January 27, 2009, 2:16 pm

    Pawel, thank you for the review and the valuable advices.

    We started to work on Teamness in order to collaborate among ourselves, with the “eat your own dog food” concept in mind. It doesn’t have specific project management features since we didn’t need them. But we’re open to suggestions.

    The pricing plans are missing for now since we wanted to first build a solid product, so we’re focusing on feedback, like the rich one you provided in this post. After a couple of iterations, when Teamness will get mature enough, we’ll add a couple of pricing plans. There is a GetSatisfaction account which we set up to make it as easy as possible for the users to give us their opinions or issues and also share them with other users.

    We also find small glitches annoying, so we’ll definitely work on fixing the ones you pointed out.

    The bug tracking feature you would like is a bit beyond the purpose of the project, since it mainly refers to software development. However, we’re planning on adding ticketing in the future, which is similar, but with a broader range of uses.

    Please let us know what errors you experienced in IE7. We’re doing our best to test each feature or change with the most used browsers, including Firefox 2 and 3 and IE 6 and 7, but sometimes bugs slip. :-/

  • Pawel Brodzinski January 28, 2009, 12:42 am

    I understand bug tracking is out of socpe of the work you’ve planned but do consider adding it. The reason is simple – most of the time project work is connected with working on some software (by the way you develop your product too). Now having two tools: one for tasks and collaboration and another for bug tracking isn’t very convenient. I’d strongly prefer one application to rule them all.

    If you work on ticketing, which in the concept is pretty similar to tasks, I have a great idea for you: add some user-defined attributes to ticket/task. Then you’ll allow users to define dictionaries with version or priority. Basically task, ticket or bug is the same logical object with different parameters. Workflow, responsible person or deadline works the same in each case.

    If you have some spare time take a look at Jira, which works on that concept – their objects are all the same but are also highly configurable. When you implement Jira you end up cunfiguring tasks, tickets, bugs, requirements etc from the same basic object.

  • john January 29, 2009, 9:47 pm

    You may also want to check out Intervals, a web-based project management tool that aims to fill the void between “simple” apps and bloated enterprise solutions.

  • Pawel Brodzinski January 30, 2009, 1:23 am

    Thanks for letting me know. I’ll take a look.

Leave a Comment