Comparing Intervals to other Web-based Project Management Services

John Reeve | May 20th, 2008 | , ,

In the realm of web-based services, there are a lot of options being thrown at consumers. Mixed in with all this noise are buzzy catchphrases like “Getting Things Done,” “Web 2.0,” “Social Networking,” and “Project Management.” It can be overwhelming for anyone looking for the right fit for their small business. There are several good options in this space, all of them different. These services are not direct competitors to Intervals, they are alternatives, each one representing one company’s solution to the project management needs required by small businesses. In other words, there is no one solution, just as there is no one way to manage your projects. You have to find the one that works for you. Choosing a web-based project management company can seem overwhelming. Read our comparison as we outline the differences between other companies and Intervals.

Intervals vs. Basecamp

“At the end of the day, the core platform of Basecamp did not focus on time, work flow and reporting, which is where Intervals excels.”
—Joe Cincotta, Pixolut

BasecampBoth Intervals and Basecamp are two different services built to solve common internal struggles faced by their creators. Basecamp is communication centric and does not focus on comprehensive time tracking. Intervals was born from the union of task tracking (with due dates, severity, status, etc.), time tracking, and robust reporting. The focus and intent of the two services is very different. Basecamp is about “communication,” while Intervals is focused on workflow, time tracking, and reporting. The Intervals project activity report, where every minute of time and its cash value is accounted for, best illustrates this difference:

Project Activity Report

Intervals vs. Wrike

WrikeWrike’s two most prevalent features are Gantt charts and robust email integration, encouraging you to work through your inbox. Intervals has intentionally sidestepped these two features, and for good reason. The Gantt chart is a powerful tool, but is less relevant to the agile methodologies typically used by small businesses. And our inboxes, a necessity for communication, are inefficient as a productivity tool. Wrike is a good fit for people who integrate email heavily into their workflow. Intervals gives you time tracking, robust reporting, and the opportunity to close your inbox.

Intervals vs. Central Desktop

Central DesktopCentral Desktop has a more diverse feature set than Intervals, with a focus on sharing and collaboration, and does not include time tracking. Like Basecamp, the emphasis is on communication. However, they’ve taken it to the next level with real-time web & audio conferencing, online documents, calendars, and custom databases. Although Intervals does enable collaboration, it is geared more towards businesses who bill for their time, and focuses on time tracking, task management, and reporting of day-to-day workflow.

Intervals vs. Freshbooks

FreshbooksFreshbooks is an invoicing app, focused on getting paid painlessly. Collecting money owed is a common problem for small business, and one which Freshbooks has succesfully tackled. And Freshbooks is ideal for small businesses who struggle with using Quickbooks. The primary difference is that Freshbooks’ emphasis is on getting paid after the work is done, while Intervals emphasis is on workflow — time tracking, task management, reporting — and includes some lightweight accounting features for billing clients.

Intervals vs. Microsoft Project

Microsoft ProjectMicrosoft Project is primarily a project planning tool. It is very powerful, but is weak when tracking and reporting on projects. If you need resource allocation, resource leveling, and critical paths, use Microsoft Project. If you need more flexibility managing projects, less emphasis on project scheduling, and robust task and time tracking, Intervals is a better fit.

Comparing Microsoft Project to Intervals is difficult because they are so different. It is easier to compare consumer needs. Microsoft Project is best when planning a massive engineering project, with 150 people and the ability to shift project dates if a task takes too long. Intervals is better suited for a small business focused on getting things done, with less than 20 people, a gaggle of details, and a need to track time.

Running your business using web-based project management services is a long term commitment. The important thing to remember when evaluating your options is that one size does not fit all. The options available to you are as diversified and spread out as your needs, so spend time with each one until you find a good fit.

If your needs are tracking and understanding your time, Intervals will be a good fit. Intervals was built to track every minute of time on every task, so you can worry less about getting paid and focus more on your priorities and getting work done.

5 Responses to “Comparing Intervals to other Web-based Project Management Services”

  1. James says:

    Just wanted to point out inaccuracy, that Wrike does actually have time tracking and reports features.

  2. John Reeve says:

    Thanks for the update. I am sure most of these online project management apps have evolved and added new features since this post was published more than two years ago. We’d love to hear more about how each of these has grown.

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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Braden Jones
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Braden is a co-founder and strategist at Pelago. His blog posts draw from his worldwide business travels and forays into the retail apparel industry. Braden loves to surf and recently adopted a Doka named Moose.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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