By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2006-10-09 Print this article Print

AtTask 4.02 does a good job of making project management approachable by offering a simplified user interface—in fact, the application feels much more like a personal productivity application than a project management application. The downside, at least compared with eProj-ect PPM 6, is that it takes more clicks to perform certain tasks, but we found the overall organization of the application by functionality to be particularly well-defined.

We liked that when we logged on to the application we could quickly navigate to personal items, such as tasks, or create new items, such as projects. The interface puts links to standard groups of data, such as approvals and recently viewed items, quickly at hand.

Click here to read a review of eProject PPM 6.

AtTasks predefined tool set leans toward IT management and professional services organizations, with a predefined help desk application and time and billing management tools. However, the service is more broadly applicable to work order-oriented businesses, such as those handling facilities management.

AtTasks feature set is defined by tasks, notes, teams, documents, reports and issues. We could define custom data fields and associate them with a given project. These items comprise a project, which can be grouped by category. AtTask organizes elements by tabs, and users have the ability to reorder and add and subtract tabs. Users can set any tab, such as the project overview, as the default view.

While it generally took us a couple of clicks to navigate to an actionable view, we appreciated the iconic interface and the ability to directly edit any data directly from within that view. For example, the task view operates in a worksheet metaphor and presented us with various ways to view and edit task data (such as task, financial and metric worksheets). We also liked that the interface made it easy to reschedule a project plan from both the project and task views. The interface also allowed us to reorder tasks and to make a task a subtask with just a single mouse click for each action.

Wed have liked better reporting in the system in the form of dashboards at a macro level and more static reports at the project level.

The application has a good set of general, systemwide reports. Reports at the project level are just a navigation link to a particular view, however, not a document we could print or e-mail to a user. We did appreciate that we could drill down into any chart to see an underlying list, such as overdue tasks. Any list view provides the ability to export the list and underlying data in CSV (comma-separated values) and PDF formats.

We were able to export AtTask data to Microsofts Office Project 2003 format as well as take any project and create a template. The template interface has a nice design that makes it easy to clear elements such as constraints or remove certain tasks.

AtTask has broad browser and operating system support: It runs on Microsofts Internet Explorer, the Mozilla Foundations Firefox and Apple Computers Safari and supports clients running Windows 2000 or later, Linux and Mac OS X.

Evaluation Shortlist

eProjects eProject PPM 6

Hosted project and portfolio management application designed for cross-project resource sharing (www.eproject.com)

Microsofts Office Project 2003 and Office Project Server 2003

Windows-based client- and server-based tools for team-based project management (www.microsoft.com)

Project.nets Project.net

Commercial open-source project and portfolio management application that is available as a hosted service or as an on-premises application (www.project.net)

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on financial applications and services for the enterprise and small businesses.


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