Project Management is probably one of the more demanding tasks whichever field you may be. This involves a lot of hands on guidance as well as a lot of patience when dealing with the myriad of issues a project manager will commonly encounter. With that in mind, it will be a great help if there exists tools that will assist the project manager in that aspect. Fortunately, there are lots of tools for that — and with the onset of cloud computing, web-based applications of this kind will have the advantage of being able to manage things whenever you may be. One of these is the Celoxis Project Management Tool. What difference does Celoxis have in store for us? How will this tool help project managers from the mundane to the highly important tasks? Let’s find out.
Like most project management software, Celoxis tries to integrate most of the wanted features into a single package without having to look cluttered or overly complicated. Here are some of the key features that Celoxis offers:
- Reports – This tool allows the users to easily generate reports regarding any aspect of the project and has a wide selection of views as well as filters to apply.
- Multi-Location & Multi-Time Zone Scheduling – For projects that comprise of members scattered across the globe, this introduces great flexibility that can be easily setup to cater the various time zones each member can be. Celoxis is one of the very few solutions that offer this capability.
- Exception Scheduling – This takes care of scenarios where resources go outside the bounds of their typical work schedules, this tool allows users to setup this exception and tasks can compensate to fit it.
- Resource Allocation – Overloaded or underloaded resources won’t be an issue much longer since the tool automatically determines if a resource has too much or too little work load assigned to him, thus enabling greater overall productivity.
This is how a project would look like inside Celoxis. From the get go, it is very noticeable that the interface of Celoxis looks a lot ‘friendlier’ than that of the other project management software that we reviewed (i.e. AceProject). But before we get onto the project-interface, let’s look at the general dashboard as the look of it will make it or break it as to whether you’ll be getting this one.
Unlike other project management tools, Celoxis lets you customize the look of the interface to remove those not needed and to highlight the very important ones. As seen here, the main dashbohi bhellard is comprised of the left and right panes. Customizing this allows the said user to set the percentage that each pane will occupy over the width of the whole screen. Also, there are lots of available sub-panes available per each pane that you could place in the main screen of the dashboard. With this, you could easily place the most important information up in front upon initial log in.
Projects & Tasks
Projects are easily created with this tool an it gives an option to select at which particular phase the project is currently in. Projects are either “In Planning”, “In Progress”, “On Hold” or “Archived” — though it would be appreciated if users can generate their own status to tailor-fit the project better, but nonetheless, this functionality is great.
Next we have the Task Worksheet, this is vital to any project management tool as this allows the proper monitoring of tasks and required work to get the job done. The project manager can define tasks, subtasks, allocated hours and resources. It also shows you the progress of the particular task and with just a tick of a checkbox, you can easily set a task as completed. Once tasks are generated, it will automatically appear in the main project window, complete with all the necessary information that the project manager needs.
As mentioned, this tool can determine whether a resource is given too much or too little workload. When assigning tasks to a resource, it displays whether or not the person has enough work load or not. As seen here, it shows the current workload and the projected load if the said task is assigned. If an overload is predicted, the task is then prevented from being saved unless it’s given to another resource or is allocated better. Work distribution is done by assigning percentage per resource. This is one of the few project management tools that actually takes care of resource work load. Celoxis did well in this one.
Flexible Work Calendars
There are instances where resources for a project may be designated on or offshore, depending on the requirements. This may then lead to discrepancies regarding timezones and key dates for tasks. Celoxis handles this discrepancy in a simple yet very effective feature – through Flexible Work Calendars. The concept is this: the project manager can define different work calendars depending on where a resource is located, or whether they have a different working days. For example, a project may be primarily based in the USA yet they have resources located in Asia, which is at the other side of the globe. The project manager can create different work calendars for each location, and as seen in the screenshot above, can even set which days are workdays outside of the usual Monday to Friday schedule. Then of course it takes care of the differences in timezones as each calendar can be configured to a geographical location with a different timezone. Celoxis is one of the very few solutions that offer this capability.
If the Celoxis Project Management Tool has a particular advantage over other similar tools, it is its capability of quick and flexible report generation. It has one of the best reporting engines in the project management market. We get a preview of that with their Task Gantt charts, but these reports are note limited to just tasks.
Everything from processes, to time entries, to expenses and even documents are being capable of generating corresponding reports. Now of course, each project aspect has certain types of reports that the tool can generate. For example, while tasks and expenses can generate tasks and charts, documents on the other hand cannot produce any of the two. Then there are specific types of reports that cater to a specific aspect. An example would be the Utilization Chart for resource assignments. In this kind of report, the manager can clearly see how his/her staff are properly utilized and vice versa.
There are also a wide range of options to choose from in creating your reports. Sorting, filtering and grouping are some of these options. There are also a lot of available data that the report can include, as seen in the following image, there are lots of available columns that are available for tabular data and this is also the case for charts and graphs. Overall, this makes the easy and fast creation of readable data that can be presented easily to clients and other relevant resources.
Aside from the mentioned features, there are other ones that would definitely benefit the project manager, the staff, and the whole project itself. First we’ll tackle the Discussion feature. It’s basically like a forum where team members can post discussion threads about certain topics. Now some might say that this isn’t different from the group chat feature of common instant messaging programs. Well the good thing about this feature is that basically, everything that was talked about is properly documented by the thread itself.
Then the tool also offers two more features under the “Workflow” menu. The addition of this feature is unique and very much appreciated as it allows for faster movement within the project by having automated processes, decreasing errors. By default, the tool is configured to have a ticketing system and bug management for applications, but project managers can easily tailor fit custom workflow processes like change requests and approvals to suit their project needs.
We think that Celoxis has actually did a pretty good job in their Project Management 5.0 release as a web-based project management tool. Setup of projects is pretty straightforward with just the proper familiarization of the tool needed and everything’s set. Then the tool goes one step further by including multiple calendars and timezone that can be tailor-fitted to each resource. This then makes the tool more flexible and can cater to a wider variety of clients. Let’s also not forget that Celoxis did a great job in the included report generation packages. With the capability to easily create and customize reports, charts and graphs, project managers as well as clients can have a better understanding of what’s happening in the project and can easily mitigate problems if they arise.
Celoxis sells this tool in two versions, one for SaaS which costs $14.95/user while the other is an On-premise service that costs as low as a one-time payment of $117/user. This will include all the features you see here and more at their site. Celoxis’ Project Management 5.0 is very effective without being too convoluted and confusing. Given all the features that they’ve included in this nifty package, we can say that every dollar spent on this tool will be worth it.