Web 2.0 for Project Management – OneHub

Imagine this scenario. Your project team is spread out across several organizations. You need a place to put files and share a task list, a calendar and maybe a wiki. Sound familiar? OneHub might be what you’re looking for.

The home page makes a simple, straightforward claim: “Secure, fast and easy-to-use file sharing for any size business. Manage projects, share files and collaborate with others.” Open it up and you will find a site that does just that, no more and no less. In fact it offers most of the basic functionality that a SharePoint project site would have. The big difference is the almost completely effortless setup required to get a secure, customizable workspaces for collaboration and document sharing.

The entry level set-up is free. In about about 5 minutes you can build a virtual workspace with 2 GB of storage and a range of functions that you select from a series of pre-built widgets in the site template provided. Select your own colour scheme, add a logo to dress it up and there it is, ready to use. From the administration dashboard you are now ready to issue email invitations for people to join your Hub (and also set permissions for what they can do when they get there). There is no limit on the number of people who can use a hub.

So how does OneHub stack up in our evaluation? The user interface is easy to read, and intuitive to navigate. The available widgets include the kinds of things you would expect to find in a collaboration workspace:

  • Document Management
  • Task List
  • Calendar
  • Discussions
  • Wiki
  • Activity Tracker

Document management functions are strong with an easy one-click upload function, built-in version control and the ability to organize files into folders.

The task list can be used to assign work to team members, and they will receive email notices when the work is assigned and again when it’s due. Linking the calendar to the task list provides an informal way to do scheduling.

If you want to maintaining an Issue List or a Risk Register as part of your project documentation then you will probably have to do that in a document and upload it to the site. Alternately, you could make use of the Wiki page, which a great place for teams who are spread out to work on a document together.

OneHub was built for collaboration, not for formal, structured communication so it’s not very surprising to see some weaknesses there. For example, the task list enables assignment to a team member but the only progress report available is marking it complete. Ability to track issues and risks is also absent, although either the document management functions, the Comments widget or the Wiki could be adapted for that purpose. Although the task list and calendar provide some basic scheduling capability the ability to do formal schedules (e.g., Gantt charts) is absent. Time reporting is also absent, as is the ability to roll up to a high level view of what’s happening across an entire portfolio of projects. Although it is very easy to upload office documents to a OneHub site, there is no direct integration to any desktop applications.

Cost depends on how many projects are in your portfolio. OneHub offers a variety of price plans to choose from depending on the number of hubs and the amount of file storage space you need. At $99 per month the “Team” plan gives the capability to create 25 workspaces and 25 GB of file space for an unlimited number of users.

Overall OneHub looks like good value and well worth a close look for anyone looking for a way to improve project team communication. Based in Bellevue WA, the company is in its fifth year of operation claiming over 100,000 users for the site and over 700 paying customers. Financing looks respectable for the long haul http://onehub.com/about/news/pr-20091029 . OneHub has all appearances of a “small and steady” kind of company that plans to be around for a while to take care of their customers.

Overall Rating
(out of 4 )
Team Collaboration
Transactional
Project Communication
Getting Started  
Customize Look and Feel
Ongoing Cost
Features
Can’t Do It
Custom (Major)
Custom
(Minor)
No Problem
Announcements X
Shared Calendar X
Shared Task List X
Team Discussion X
Assign Project Tasks X
Email Notification X
Syndication X
Progress Reporting X
Track Issues X
Track Risks X
Time Entry X
Track Earned Value X
Multi Projects in 1 site X
Roll-up multi projects X
MS Project Interface X
Word, Excel Interface X

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