Posts Tagged ‘app’

A post on the Force.com blog has alerted me to Action Plans, a new, free add-on for Salesforce.com.  Action Plans allows you to create reusable “task templates” for Salesforce.  What exactly is a task template?  Let’s say that, for every new lead that comes into Salesforce, you have more than one task that needs to be completed for that lead.  You might have multiple tasks that are requires for each new lead.  Different people might be responsible for those tasks and some of those tasks might be dependent on the completion of other tasks.  That’s where task templates come in.  They allow you to set up multiple tasks for a lead (or other Salesforce objects) which can be assigned to different users and can be set to activate at specific times or when other dependent tasks are completed.  In this way, Action Plans can promote best practices.

Here’s a video that shows how Action Plans works.

The product is free, so go check it out in the App Exchange.

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[Note (Jan 7, 2011): This is in need of an update as this is a year old now. There has been an explosion of apps on the AppExchange and we have had client engagements to evaluate some of the new project management tools. We’re also working on an Agile tool on force.com, so more news on these fronts soon. If you need more current info before then or would like to collaborate in producing the post, please contact us. Thanks!]

I find the appexchange can be overwhelming with Apps, so we’ve started to chew threw some of the content there to make it more useful for us and our clients, as well as the public. In this first public review of salesforce.com apps, here’s a run-down of Project Management apps. Note that your opinion of these may vary greatly depending on how you think about project management! Hopefully it gives you the high-level overview in one place that will save you time in evaluating them. If you find this type of information helpful, I’d invite you to sign up for ifPeople’s newsletter.

Before jumping into the content, two trends for me and ifPeople I reflect on as I polish up this list of brief reviews:

1. Every few years (seems to be accelerating lately, though), I review project management apps. I’m a process junkie, and this is a little food for thought for me. Mostly, what’s out there is garbage and I’m big into productivity, collaboration and making it easier for people to do their jobs. (in case you’re curious, nothing on this list is very exciting in this regard…I got motivated to do this one for client needs as well as a business need to integrate hours logs with salesforce).

2. The two systems we use frequently with clients (Plone and salesforce.com) both have a huge range of products available. Our institutional knowledge of what works and doesn’t is very important to our clients (yet not something that needs to be locked up!) and we’ve been working to make that flow better internally as well. One thing worse than wasting our own time to get mostly useless info is having others have to suffer through the same thing. Certainly there’s a lot of trial-error with these systems and I sincerely hope everyone in the community will share what they learn to help save time for everyone!

Ok, without further ado…

Free Project Management Tools

  • ProjectForce (v1.2) (view on AppExch): A Free app from the great folks at Force.com Labs and also being run as an open source project! Nice job. Fairly clear picture of what the app is and does can be understood from the collaboration site, which also shows a fair bit of recent activity. It seems fairly basic in terms of functionality (objects include projects, milestones, tasks) and doesn’t seem to integate with existing objects (ie Opportunities) or offer features like hours tracking, invoicing/costs associated with projects. Big problem though is the Test Drive is broken off app exchange :(. I filed a big for it, so hopefully it will get fixed soon.
  • Project and Issue Management (view on AppExch): Another contribution (and free) from Force.com, though much older. Adds Projects and Project Team objects and seems to leverage default Issues also.  Tracks project stage, status, start/end dates and associated tickets. Tickets have status and priority.  Supposedly calculates resource usage expectancy, but not clear how this works (no useful data in test drive for it).
  • Services Project Manager (view on AppExch): Another contribution (and free) from Force.com, though much older. Focused more on the skills of people who get involved in the project. Also includes time and expense reporting. Seems an interesting proof of concept but very focused on a salesforce-like model (ie the projects are delivering salesforce licenses and the data model very set around that, including requirements, workflow of tasks, etc). More interesting is how it manages assignment of people (resources) to a project, including an acceptance process and also tracking cap on hours. Schedules/availability of people by project is also tracked, as well as expense sheets and time cards. One downside to the time tracking is that a separate time card needs to be filled out by project. Useful dashboard of hours burned by project, by person as well as the percentage of time a person has to work scheduled per week.
  • Professional Services Automation (view on AppExch): Yet another older free app from Force.com Labs. This one also has a non-working Test Drive.  Appears to track expenses, time and bill rates as well as skill profiles of people. Assignments match people with projects.

Paid Project Management Tools

  • Agile-PMO (view on AppExch): Very cheap app ($100/year) that adds some Agile process to salesforce project management. Functionality sounds interesting, but yet another app with broken Test Drive login.
  • Timetrack PSA (view on AppExch): From Saaspoint, this tool gets pretty high marks in reviews, is supported and has been around a couple years now. On lower priced end of the non-free apps spectrum ($12/m according to “special rate”), it reportedly tracks customers, people, projects, and time and expenses and produces timesheets and expense reports, invoices, and project updates and key statistics. I found this one to be a more well-though-out UI and data model for time tracking. It doesn’t really do project management for you (that might be nice), just lets you track some high level info on a project and then attach all team, hours, expense data (though the names on several fields are very confusing).
  • Projector PSA (view on AppExch): paid app, a bit lighter than DreamTeam and half the price (but with a $150/m minimum). No test drive. I watched the video but can’t remember anything remarkable about this one…other than the pretty graphics to sell it.
  • DreamTeam (view on AppExch): An app in an entirely different league, this is our first paid app, and most expensive at that ($40/m/user). It has a lot of features and supported by some nice intro videos that will help you get started. This project management tool relies on a Gantt-chart driven process, so if that’s not your organization’s approach (ie you are Agile, Scrum, or other not-so-linear approaches), this probably isn’t for you. Also may be overkill for many organizations (watch the part of video on generating reports for hours to see how crazy flexible and cool the report engine is, but perhaps unnecessarily so for most of us…).
  • Appirio Professional Services Enterprise (view on AppExch): This app is the heavy-weight of all, both in complexity of the app (from my quick review) and the price ($45/m and targeted at 100+ users).  Doesn’t appear to facilitate project management process (and what it does seems very calendar/gantt driven), but does include scheduling, timesheets, and talent tracking. Wants to be a full system for managing everything about PSA companies. Shows orientation towards largest of consulting companies with the “people request” management (off opportunities, request what talent you need and someone tries to match it up for you). No test drive available, but demo and screenshots at

Related Apps / Also of Interest:

  • Teamspaces: Though I didn’t see a listing on the AppExchange, this open source project has info available on Google Code. Is more about the collaboration process than the billing/time tracking. It includes a wiki, blog, forum, and link sharing feature.  It has tasks that map to a Ganntt chart and integrate with salesforce activities. Each team has a dashboard page also.
  • Time Tracking (view on AppExch): Another free Force.com Labs product, this one is about tracking hours on support contracts. Kind of useful idea (generates report to compare contract hours to hours logged).
  • CA was featured at Dreamforce for an Agile project management app they are developing on force.com. It looked very slick in the keynote, but there isn’t anything available yet and no real sign as to when it will be…
  • Accorto Time and Expense: Seems much heavier on the expense side than time (ex. you log all hours for an entire week on a project with only 1 (optional) description line).
  • Saas TEa: another time and expense tool…yet another app with non-working Test Drive.

Feedback welcome!

Was this helpful? Do you have another app you’d recommend that works in salesforce? Are you publishing an app and want some feedback? We welcome your comments below!

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