Power.ME Offers Tasking for Individuals, Less So for Businesses

Power.ME handles personal needs well but falls short at the office door.

Task management for individuals is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Because it's very much a self-driven process, what works well for one person may not be as effective for a person with different attitudes and motivations. But there are common threads to task management, no matter what business is involved. AppTime's Power.ME and Power.ME HD do a good job of providing a framework for individuals and ad hoc workgroups wanting to take advantage of more discipline than is available from a to-do list jotted on a cocktail napkin.

What Power.ME and Power.ME HD offer is a project and task management tool that allows users to maintain data synchronization across a range of mobile devices. Currently, iOS devices from Apple are supported, with Android support coming soon, according to the company; a Web client allows the sharing of tasks with other users.

Check out eWEEK Labs' slideshow of Power.ME in action.

What they don't offer-yet, anyway-is easy and straightforward integration with the rest of the business. If your need is for something that easily ties into Microsoft Exchange or a CalDAV-based system, keep looking, because Power.ME is not for you.

As many other project management tools do, Power.ME allows one to create projects and tasks, and arrange those projects and tasks inside folders as well as other projects and tasks. These can take advantage of existing documents, presentations and spreadsheets to provide a rich experience and keep reference materials for the project or task close at hand.

Users of the iPhone can download Power.ME from the iTunes App Store-iPad users will find Power.ME HD more appropriate for their devices-and get started right away. By registering, users have access to 30 days of free use of the Power.ME synchronization servers; thereafter, the sync service costs $39.99 per month.

Don't let the release numbering of the Power.ME applications fool you; even though I tested release 10.12.1 of Power.ME HD, the numbering starts with release 10.10.1-according to AppTime, this corresponds to year, month and subrelease. The application felt and performed like the 1.2.1 release that it is in reality.

Although there are some questionable aspects of Power.ME, it's useful as a tool for personal organization. It's easy to create tasks, projects and folders, and to associate them as needed; the synchronization of these with the Power.ME service is impressively seamless. In comparison, the non-standard behavior of the user interface-which doesn't take advantage of the default edit and delete controls seen in most iOS applications-is more of a nuisance than anything else.

If one wants to use it as a workgroup tool, there are some gotchas. For example, when User A assigns a task to User B, the status of that task as received by User B is "none," rather than the expected "Assigned." Tasks that are assigned to a project appear in the Team Room view on their own, as well as part of the project, and tasks can be assigned with due dates that fall outside the scope of the parent project. Most disturbingly, the assignee of a task can change the due date without the owner of that task giving permission or even being made aware of the change.

I don't want to damn PowerME with faint praise; for what its makers set it to be, it does well. But the thing about personal tools is that all too often, they are brought into the workplace and asked to perform functions they were never designed to do.