|App Market offers a phenomenal amount of features||User interface difficult to understand at times|
|Simple to invite others||System is slightly sluggish|
Podio is an extremely modular project management system that is driven by its “App Market”. This market allows project managers decide exactly which functions and project management tools they wish to incorporate into their workspaces.
A prominent benefit of using Podio is the fact that it is so easy to invite co-workers. Once signed up, you can connect your Gmail, vCard, or Outlook address books and then invite people from there. It pulls all this information from the respective programs and presents it to you in the system, and all you have to do is select the users which you wish to invite. Of course, it also offers the ability to manually type in extra email addresses and create a message to send through to each person.
While the interface looks quite appealing, color variances are minimal and this can cause slight issues with navigating the page many sections of the layout are not clearly defined. While this can be considered to make the layout look more fluid, it may confuse some users and slow them down. In a project setting, speed is important, due to deadlines. On the plus side, the main screen of the user interface presents project managers and users with a good overview of many important aspects within a project. These include a list of workspaces, activity stream, employee directory, tasks, calendar, marketplace apps and employee network files.
(Above) Podio main screen
Some sections could use a bit more detail, for example, the tasks sections seems a bit simple. While you can click into a selected task for more detail, project managers often like to have a solid overview of details of tasks within a project to gain a greater understanding of their status and how they will affect the entire project’s progression.
(Above) Podio task listing
One of the most unique features of Podio is the fact that it provides an App Market for project managers to utilize in order to add functionality to their project management environment. There is a vast array of different apps, and we will list a few below to give some idea as to what is on offer.
- Post new bugs and view the status of currently active bugs.
- Allows project managers to define concrete deliverables. Specify the duration and budget. This will link directly with the Timesheets app to allow a project manager to be able to effectively manage the budget by seeing exactly where the funds are going and how much of the budget is remaining.
- Track and record how much time is being spent on each deliverable and milestone to gain a greater understanding on how much deliverable will be costing. Input the hourly rate for the company’s time and these numbers will be reflected in the budget when reports are run.
- This app is used to aid project managers in clearly defining the responsibilities of employees so each person knows which section they are looking after, and also provides the positive benefit of the project manager being able to easily find the right people for specialized types of jobs and work packages.
(Above) Recommended Podio apps
(Above) Podio apps
On the performance scale (in relation to alternative online project management systems), Podio comes somewhere in the middle. Page loads are typically around 2.0 – 2.5 seconds, quick enough to not worry too much about the time that it takes to load. While most aspects of the system are around this average mark, during our testing we found that other aspects of the system were slower, up to 4 seconds of loading time. Again, like with many online project management systems, this wait time is important and significant when accumulated over a period of time; however, the positive experience from the rest of the system is more than enough to negate the slowness.
Ease of Use
While the App Market may seem daunting at first, it quickly becomes evident that the modularization of functions actually increases the ease of use factor. Why? A couple of reasons. First of all, project managers can add apps gradually, thus ensuring that the learning curve stays nice and gentle, as they can fully learn about each function as they add it, rather than logging into an online project management system that throws an overwhelming plethora of functions and tools and expects them to know everything like the back of their hand.
When first signing up for Podio and loading the system for the very first time, it is fairly empty and you may wonder what you signed up for. However, once you visit the App Market, your thoughts will be exactly the opposite – you will be sure you landed in a positive place. Right in front of you will be more apps than you can poke a stick at you and you will begin installing all the apps that you will require for your project(s). Just try not to go overboard! As for the system in general (once fully loaded with apps) is highly functional and appropriate for almost every sort of project. This compatibility with most project types is largely due to the fact that the App Market offers such diversity in the various features within.