Easy Projects Review
- Good customer support
- Customizable feature set
- Low learning curve
- Outdated user interface
- Expensive monthly cost
Designed in 2003 by Logic Software Inc. of Toronto, Easy Projects was originally created with no intention of wide commercial release. Like many similar project management programs, this software was born out of pure necessity. For years, Logic Software had tried to implement other project management solutions with limited success. More a product of desperation than a desire to innovate, Easy Projects began as a simple internal solution to the company’s own unmet needs. However, according to Logic Software:
Although we initially created the product for our own needs, Easy Projects soon gained popularity among Logic Software’s existing customers, who in turn asked us to sell them our project management software so they could use it both internally and with their external customers. Thus began Easy Projects’ launch into the commercial market.
Easy Projects was introduced to the public in early 2004. It quickly gained popularity and is now supported in eight languages (English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Polish, and Slovenian) and used in over 50 countries. Easy Projects is the choice of organizations from almost every business sector, including the health care, marketing, higher education, and customer service industries. Currently, Sanford Health, Good Year, UPS, Toshiba, and Reuters number among the software’s big-name clients. The program is used on every continent but Antarctica, with over two million tasks created and nearly as many time entries.
Table of Contents
Web-Based (SaaS) Or On-Premise
Easy Projects provides both SaaS and on-premise options.
The pricing system of Easy Projects is somewhat complex, and costs vary a bit between on-premise and cloud-based subscriptions. The price of Easy Projects can also fluctuate depending on how many people will be using the software or how far ahead you choose to pay your subscription. The more you pre-pay, and the larger your organization, the cheaper your “per/user” price will be.
The SaaS option is the most popular (and the most cost-effective, all things considered). It is priced as follows:
- $24/user/month for 1-19 users
- Contact for 50+ user pricing
- Unlimited projects/tasks
- 50 GB storage
- 60 portfolios
- 200 custom fields
- Full Implementation training
- Contact for pricing
- Unlimited projects/tasks
- 500 GB storage
- Unlimited portfolios
- Unlimited custom fields
- Resource loading simulation
- Payroll report
- Enhanced security
The folks at Easy Project claim their product will pay for itself within a year based on the amount of time it will save you. They have a nifty calculator where you can input your team size and their average salary and it figures the average time saved per person using Easy Project. Obviously, this isn’t a concrete “you will also save this exact amount of money” guarantee, but it can give you a good picture of the potential value of your purchase.
There is an on-premise option; for the pricing on that, you will need to contact the team at Easy Projects.
Regular plans (SaaS or on-premise) have a 30-day money back guarantee. However, if you purchase a “Path to Success” implementation package (ranging in price from $878-$2,999), you can get a 90-day money back guarantee.
Easy Projects also offers onboarding services, designed to get your team using the application as smoothly as possible. This process is not free and comes in several packages, ranging from just under $1000 to nearly $10,000. It is great to see such attention given to onboarding since so few companies show this kind of care to their customers. Well done, Easy Projects!
Ease Of Use
When I opened my trial copy of Easy Projects, I was pleased to see a feature I now find indispensable: a sample project. I love it when companies give new users an example of how to use their product! It really makes it easier to learn how everything works.
I would call Easy Project’s interface…unique. And I am not sure if that is in a good way. While it is very straightforward to create new projects, tasks, subtasks, and the rest, it is a little more difficult to figure out what to do from there. The physical arrangement of the interface is not organized in the most intuitive manner, and that really hurts the usability of the program. For example, when you click on a project, it opens in a central pane of the UI. On the left, though, is the list of tasks and sub-tasks from the project itself. It would make things much easier if you could see all the tasks within the project pane. As it is now, it feels like you open the project and there is nothing there.
That isn’t to say Easy Projects isn’t easy to use…just that there are some things that don’t make much sense from a visual, organizational perspective. Actually operating the application is a breeze, once you get over the idea that things aren’t where you might expect them to be.
Customer Service & Support
This software is characterized by a thorough and well-designed customer support network. Overall, I am very impressed with the amount of educational information available through the Easy Projects website. There are many ways to find answers and solve problems other than actually picking up the phone to speak with a service rep (which is also effective, don’t get me wrong). The primary Easy Projects support options are as follows:
- Direct Customer Service: All plans come with free email and phone support, which I think is an ethical way to handle customer service. Some companies basically hold you hostage, not supporting their product until you pay dearly. Easy Projects has a refreshingly democratic solution. You can reach customer support, toll-free, by phone at 1-888-261-9878. Written questions and concerns may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Knowledge Base: This tool enables you to browse through the Easy Projects database for information related to any topic. Simply type in keywords, and the knowledge base provides help guides, articles, video tutorials, etc. It is also available in-app, which is a handy feature.
- Help Tickets: Support tickets may be submitted directly to Easy Projects, bypassing the need to speak to someone in person or wait for an email reply. You just need to input your account information, specify the nature of problem, and attach any relevant files.
- Easy Projects Online Help: This site acts like an intermediary between Easy Projects and their users, divulging anything you might need to know about the set-up of this software, how to use it, and how it works. Go there for links to videos, written explanations, definitions of common terms, and more.
- Video Tutorials: Available here on the Easy Projects website are a plethora of short educational videos, explaining everything from inviting new users to exporting data from Excel. While brief, I have found that these videos are effective, especially if you tend to learn visually or by example.
- User Community: Easy Projects provides a user forum where you can post and vote on new ideas you would like to see added to the program. They keep the site current and update each submission with “proposed,” “under consideration,” “planned,” “in progress,” “completed,” or “denied” labels. It is great to see a company committed to listening to the needs and wants of their users.
- Social Media Engagement: The Easy Projects Facebook site is good if you’re looking for general information or articles, but there does not seem to be a whole lot of customer interaction involved. The Twitter feed is similar but appears to be updated more frequently and more focused on customer relations.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The biggest complaint about Easy Projects over the last 12 months (and there are not many) is that it isn’t, well…easy. I found several scathing reviews by frustrated customers who griped about poor UI design, a cumbersome time tracker (one user claimed it takes so much time to use this feature that it’s unfeasible to actually do so), and a lack of user customization (specifically, one user was irritated she could not change her maiden name to her married name). For a company claiming to save so much time for their customers that the product pays for itself in a year, this is definitely a concern.
While my own experience with Easy Projects somewhat substantiates the complaints about the UI, I have to disagree with those who insinuate that a complex UI is a reason to not use the program. As minorly irritating as it may be at first, it seems like the kind of thing you would forget to be bothered by about after a week or so of use. Personally, I didn’t experience any deal-breaking problems with Easy Projects.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Most people are generally pleased with Easy Projects and find many things to praise, such as:
- Simplicity: For most functions, Easy Projects requires no initial training period. There is a slight learning curve, as I mentioned, but for the most part, Easy Projects is self-explanatory and intuitively laid out.
- Custom Design: This software allows you to personalize several of its features (fields and reports, most significantly) to meet your own specifications.
- Improved Client Relations: Many users say that Easy Projects has revolutionized the way their businesses interact with clients. Good client relationships are based on solid communication, and this software provides a way to keep clients in the loop without sacrificing time or privacy.
- Better Communication: With ever-increasing technology, it has become necessary to streamline communication, especially across long distances. Easy Projects makes it, well, easy to boost communication between different departments and even different office locations.
- Whole Package System: Easy Projects is mostly a project management tool, to be sure, but it does come with useful accounting and reporting tools as well. If you’re trying to save money or simplify your business practices, it’s handy to have everything in one place.
- Excellent support: People are unanimous in their praise of the Easy Projects support team, which is prompt, courteous, and professional. I ran across several users who were deeply impressed by the speedy responses they had received to their questions.
- Inexpensiveness: Cheapness is relative, of course, but the general consensus is that Easy Projects packs a punch for your dollar, especially compared with other, full-package systems.
The following are excerpts from customer reviews of Easy Projects:
Easy Projects is a simple to use but powerful tool for tracking projects of all types. I’m tracking Software Development projects, but EP could be used equally well for all types of projects. The web interface is the key. My development team can see their outstanding tasks, log time, receive notifications, and raise project requests and bugs from any computer connected to our intranet.
Easy Projects has increased our productivity and saved us our most valuable resources, time and money.
I’m writing to simply share what a great support experience I’ve had. Tasked with migrating our EP install to a new platform, I had some basic technical and process questions. I took a chance on the online chat and was very surprised at the speed and efficiency of the response. My numerous clarifying questions were received well and professionally answered. Well done, I think your support organization should serve as a model in any industry.
In using it (Easy Projects), we have not been disappointed, it has genuinely made a significant contribution towards solving our problems in cross-border communication on high-value projects. The integration of timesheets and billing has in particular been useful. When we have had issues, the support has been exemplary. I have no hesitation in recommending Easy Projects.NET!
Apart from standard features like email integration, automatic notifications, and task management, Easy Projects comes with a few much-appreciated additions to the standard project management tool belt:
- Portfolio Management: Project portfolio management is about deciding which projects are best for your business, keeping track of which projects are working well, and which are viable options for the future. In Easy Projects, you can appoint a specific project member as your portfolio manager. This person is able to edit and create new portfolios (from scratch or from existing projects) and may view current portfolios with a variety of filters. Ordinary team members can even request approval from the manager as they complete tasks.
- Custom Fields: This is a nice way to tailor your account to personal business specifications. You may choose from eight different types of custom fields: Text, Number, Date, Yes/No, List, Text Area, Text Area (Rich Formatting), and Hyperlink.
- Custom Forms: The Easy Projects custom forms module allows you to do anything from processing job applicants to creating survey tools or issue tracking software. You can create custom forms for any department, including HR and IT, and share them with whomever you want. These forms may be accessed through a public URL or kept completely internal, depending on your needs.
- Time Tracking: Managing work is simple with the Easy Projects built-in time tracker, basically a stopwatch that logs any time tracked (over one minute) into your logs. The timer may be paused and resumed at any moment; hours are only logged officially after the timer is stopped. Time is recorded in five-minute increments and will be rounded to the nearest five minute period. Logged time can be added to a specific task or project, and marked as billable if applicable. If you don’t want to use the timer or cannot access it for some reason, you may manually enter time on a daily or even weekly basis.
- Reporting: Easy Projects provides almost a dozen different kinds of pre-built project reports, including Project Summaries, Detailed Time Sheets, Activity Lists, Activities Due, and Delayed Tasks. Additionally, there are over thirty ready-to-use report templates, and an almost limitless ability to create your own custom reports using data from projects, tasks, or time logs. Reports are easily exported and can be printed as PDF or Excel files. As if that was not enough, I heard from Easy Projects’ VP of sales that some changes are coming soon to the reporting section, at least for Enterprise subscribers. Easy Projects recently switched to Microsoft’s Power BI. This creates very slick, very intuitive reports. If you want more information, click here for a webinar Easy Projects recently ran on the subject.
- Calendars: The Easy Projects calendar appears very similar to a standard MS Project calendar, and may be exported to any kind of iCal application (such as Outlook or Google Calendar). You can filter your personal calendar view as you see fit, and different components of your calendar are automatically color-coded for better visibility: blue for activities, green for events, orange for milestones, and light gray or dark gray for personal or company vacation days, respectively. It’s nice to have an obvious, visual representation of your schedule, and I think Easy Projects deploys their calendar feature quite well.
- Budgeting: Easy Projects has budgeting tools coming out of the woodwork! Projects, Tasks, and subtasks all have built-in budgeting tools, both for funding and for time. Not only that, but there are internal and external billing rates you can set, as well as planned vs. actual expense reports.
- Audit Log: This log provides a meticulous, detailed view of all your work (projects, tasks, documents, other assignees, and anything else you would ever want to know). Easy Projects explains this feature best, saying that “the audit trail log acts as a ‘black box,’ recording every event or change occurring in a project’s lifetime, in fully automatic mode.” This is a handy tool for any business, but especially useful for those you need to keep a close eye on every aspect of company operations.
- Baselining: Use this feature to help you keep track of your goals for each project. Basically, you enter information assuming your project has been finished under ideal conditions. Then, when you actually finish the project, you compare the baseline with the actual result. Personally, I don’t feel like this particular method is the best for setting and keeping goals, but it is probably better than nothing.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Easy Projects has increased their integration count since we last reviewed them, especially when you consider the Zapier integration, which itself allows for more than 500 extra integrations. Here are some of the applications Easy Projects integrates with:
- MS Project
Easy Projects also has an open API for those of you who want to design your own add-ons. You can find more information on that here.
With Easy Projects, your data and personal information is protected in the following ways:
- Secure Servers: Easy Projects software is hosted on secured ISO/IEC 27001:2005-certified servers, which are regularly backed-up and constantly monitored.
- Physical Protection: The physical location of the servers is guarded by 24/7 video surveillance, key-card access, and locks.
- Fire Suppression System
- Environmental Controls
- Backups: According to Easy Projects, “all client databases are mirrored to a second physical server in real-time.” Data is backed up on a daily basis, with an additional 5-month off-site backup, just in case.
Easy Projects is simple, effective software, but the value of this product does not lie in its design. Many other programs perform the same functions, some of them with more finesse. Easy Projects’ trump card is their swift, uncompromising customer service. A company like this, that takes care of its non-paying users, can be trusted to provide an all-around quality product.
Frankly, Easy Projects doesn’t give me a whole lot to complain about, except that the user interface is not as elegant as it could be. It takes too many mouse clicks to access some of the functions, in my opinion. It’s not exactly cheap, either, so if you just need a basic project management solution, you’d be better off with a bare-bones program like Basecamp. It is fairly inexpensive for a high-functioning software package, though, so if bang for your buck is what you’re looking for, you will be hard-pressed to find a better value than Easy Projects.
When it comes down to it, my two cents is this: businesses with sophisticated software requirements may want to give Easy Projects a pass. But, if you need a simple, full-package program at a cheap price, this is the software for you. And if you value customer service and anticipate that you will be requiring support on a frequent basis, look no further. Easy Projects will have your back.