Online Project Management Tools Price Comparison (Part One)
Back in May 2012, we posted about pricing on-line project management software in an effort to document and inform you about everything we have seen (to date) about pm tools pricing. That post was the groundwork to help us develop and construct a pricing matrix... so that visitors to this Website can search or query prices based on a number of criteria (number of users, projects, storage space, etc.). We even tweeted about the idea:
Discussing internally, we concluded that the pricing matrix could be useful as long as we are comparing apples-to-apples. Otherwise some online project management tools will always be the most expensive ones while others will always be the less expensive ones. We needed to come up with some sort of classification so that you (and we) know that the price comparisons are accurate. Ultimately you want to review prices from comparable online project management tools.
Think for instance about cars: if you need to make a purchase decision, first you need to establish what you need: compact, mid-sized, sports, family car, etc... Only then you can start comparing prices. I bet you that you will never compare the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 versus the Toyota Yaris… If you do so, price-wise the Toyota Yaris will always be cheaper… but if you are willing to pay more to get more horsepower, better looks and more performance then Shelby GT500 is the way to go... Our point here: you can not compare things that are not in the same category. If you do then you may be choosing the cheaper option for the wrong reasons.
The same applies to online project management software tools. Each one belongs to a category, niche or even industry... but we do not want to break our heads by defining hundreds of categories. We want to be practical so you (and we) get information fast, easy and to the point. So we will divide the PM tool market into 2 categories: Project Management Comprehensive tools and Project Management Collaboration tools.
In line with our thoughts, we received a comment from Dhan, co-founder of Zilicus on-line project management:
Dhan even went further in his comments describing that collaboration tools provide functionality mainly to accommodate short term duration activities while comprehensive tools provide functionality that can properly track projects with an overall duration of more than 6 months. Thanks Dhan and Zilicus for their feedback!
Conclusions: If you are comparing pricing for various SaaS project management tools make sure you understand the categories as you may be willing to pay the extra money for the additional feature difference. Moving forward all of our software comparisons will take into account these 2 categories:
Online Project Management Comprehensive tools: They include the following feature set: Project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Project Planning and Gantt Chart, Resource Management and Scheduling, Task Management, Time Sheets and Expenses, Risk Management and Document Management.
Online Project Management Collaboration tools: They include the following feature set: To Do Lists, Task Management, Activity Stream, Discussion Boards and Forums.
Mind you, there are some collaboration tools options that may fit in the middle as well, providing some light support for Document and Risk Management. So, even though we are trying to categorize vendors, there is no a clear cut in the market.
And by the way: online = web-based = hosted = SaaS = in the cloud = on-demand.
Expect to see some pricing comparisons coming soon in the second part of these series. Just keep in mind that pricing is just another variable in your buying process, and it definitely should not be the driving factor of your decision.
Posted on July 16, 2012