Friday, June 17, 2011

Binfire: Project Management & Collaboration Tools

This is a review of Binfire, a hosted web solution for Project Management and Collaboration. Binfire offers a free solution to anyone who needs to get a grip on very simple projects. Very simple projects are, to my experience, the most common projects. So I do hope Binfire is successful on they're effort to support Project Management on an easy and intuitive tool.

This is the first review on Ah-Ha-Moments so some additional information is necessary in order to understand how I've reviewed Binfire's software. This took me a really long time (sorry for that) but I wanted to get a classification matrix where I could map any piece of software. And this matrix had to have the ability to grow (as I'm sure the needs I feel now will be different from the needs I'll feel in 6 months) and still be able to compare the software's reach. So in the matrix I put anything I could remember it could be useful - from really necessary things like a Work Breakdown Structure to a Monte Carlo simulation which I've never needed in my own projects.
Bottom line is that I really liked Binfire's approach although it's meant for small and simple projects. But I do think some basic functionality is missing - like a Work Breakdown Structure, for instance - that I hope they will include on future versions. But hey, I've heard some basic functionality is also missing from Microsoft Project which I believe is the most used Project Management software tool! This is an important statement to make because the audience for this software is an important thing to keep in mind. The fact that some functionality is missing doesn't mean that the software is worth less. It just means that its target audience is different.

Thumbs up for
Anyway, I really liked this software. First of all, they have a free version that has some limitations but not linked to functionality. Then they have a really simple and intuitive way of dealing with things that's really cool. And finally they were really helpful each time I contacted them about some issue I found with the software. Thumbs up for Binfire.

Some of the things that were really cool about it are listed bellow:
  • Selecting just one person responsible for each task
  • Clever (and different) way of defining milestones
  • All changes are logged
  • Every time I contacted Binfire I had a great professional response: they corrected a bug I detected on the fly and they explained to me how things worked when I expected some other behavior from the software

    Thumbs down for
    Sometimes the things we're used to get in the way of the intuitive approach Binfire has. Just to give an example, a milestone for Binfire's software is more like a set of tasks. Although it's listed on the "thumbs up" section, I did have to struggle a bit to understand how they were implemented. But these were not problems with the software.
    The problems I found were all related to the fact that the software is meant to support basic Project Management activities - but very basic indeed.
    • No graphic display of the tasks sequence as task predecessors - come on, not even a Gantt chart? 
    • There's nothing in the software to support costs: not variable costs, not fixed costs, and not EVM
    • There's no way to set vacations and holidays
    • Lack of reporting
    • Lack of importing and exporting functionality
    If you're looking for some support for your Projects and if you have very basic needs, you'll probably be happy with Binfire. I know I enjoyed playing around with it. But if you need something more, even if it's just some place to register costs associated to tasks, you better move on.

    PS - Additional comment from Binfire
    Binfire's development team works to improve the application daily and make it a more productive collaboration tool. Coming soon, we will be releasing a new version with a work breakdown structure in place of the current task and milestone implementation. Also a Gantt chart with the capability of dynamically modifying tasks & milestone is included. Subsequent releases will add a project calendar & time tracking, along with many other features.
    Follow Binfire on Twitter for updates @Binfire_info.

    Posted by


    Frank said...

    Nice review. Good one for your first one.

    I'll check Binfire out.

    Luis Seabra Coelho said...

    Thank you Frank, I appreciate that.
    Is there something in particular you'd like to see covered on a software review?
    I'm asking because I have one more coming up.
    Thanks again.


    David's blog said...

    The new version of Binfire released in September, 2011 includes interactive Gantt chart and better task management tools. The late October release will add import from basecamp and MS project and any application which exports in CSV format. In addition files could be tagged and searched and tasks and comments could have files attached to them.
    Visit the best online Project collaboration tool in the market.
    David Robins
    Binfire Corp

    John said...

    Great Review!

    Could you possibly review BrightWork pmPoint?

    My company is interested in purchasing this software.

    Cillian said...

    Could you review BrightWork,and Primavera?