Overall, I like ActiveCollab, but I want to so bad love it more. There is a lot of potential with AC and room for improvement, and I really hope they listen to people's suggestions and needs! Either way, I do highly recommend ActiveCollab, especially if you're a web designer like me who manages hundreds of sites.
Before I decided to go with ActiveCollab a few years ago, I researched and tried all the project management softwares I could find. I ended up going with ActiveCollab for a number of reasons.
One, their interface is simple, practical, and easy on the eye. I found other project management softwares trying to hard and it essentially complicated simple things. Also, I loved how my projects can be displayed and searched. I know this sounds trivial, but when you manage hundreds of projects (websites), I need an interface that works for me. Their interface works perfectly for someone with my needs. I constantly have to go back and forth on so many notes for projects and ActiveCollab has made it user-friendly for me to do this.
Second, ActiveCollab had awesome customer service when I had any issues or questions. This was a big plus because I then knew I was in good hands.
Third, they had some add-ons other softwares didn't have so it was nice to have features I wanted to use all in one place, like time tracking and invoicing.
Fourth, it was reasonably priced.
While I went with ActiveCollab, I am still frustrated with some of their features:
One, I use notes A LOT. Their notes interface design looks like something from the 90's.
Two, while they have the invoicing option available, it's sub-par. There are a lot of things they can improve with their invoicing. I wish I could use it, but it's just very limited. An example of a limitation is that you can't even enter or send an invoice without "inviting" the client to join ActiveCollab. I tried testing an invoice by putting an email manually because they claimed you could, but nothing gets sent, unless I "invite" someone into my account. This is silly. Another issue I have with the invoicing is that it shows "Active Collab" as the sender and you do NOT have the option to change this. Kinda stupid.
Three, you only have a measly 3 ways to categorize or filter projects: Client, Category, and Label. This can be very limiting depending on what you're doing.
Diversity of features. It covers calendar integration, task management, expense and time tracking, client estimates and invoicing is integrated, discussions with clients are threaded and neatly organized at all times, file uploads that act as a mini-Dropbox for yourself and your clients, notes, facebook-style timeline of the activity within each project... And I haven't even touched on the level of customization, multitude of extensions (Zapier included), scalability (with self-hosted options!), and the iOS app that works with either cloud or self-hosted versions (our clients LOVE the app).
We love ActiveCollab because of it's diversity. That's the one reason that in our opinion, it's simply irreplaceable. Having to replace it would be like adding tripling the administrative work on our plates. It replaces the need for multiple separate services that do each of those things separately. Who wants that when you can have one single login to one single system that can rule them all? ;)
The iOS and Android apps needs some work. They don't do as much as the desktop version, so they feel limited. They don't really take advantage of features like gestures or multi-touch, which every smartphone has.
We'd really like to be able to upload more than just pictures from the camera roll; some kind of file picking, or option to upload to ActiveCollab from another app (share sheets) would go a LONG way. Optimization for tablet-size screens would be sweet too, along with the simple ability to make text in the app bigger or smaller, so it's easier to read.
The calendar allows for syndication via subscription links, but stopping there feels premature. It would help a lot to be able to integrate to Calendar apps (via CalDAV), since the calendar isn't available on the mobile app either. It would be really nice so that we can add or edit events from our native calendar apps of choice.
Support is fantastic, and extremely knowledgeable. We run a self-hosted installation, which is more economical for us, but we don't have pros running our server environment. That task falls on us, teaching ourselves as we go, and it feels like support will drop clues about what an issue is, instead of going the distance and going in themselves to help fix the problem. Granted, that's more of a problem with /us/, since we're business administrators and not experts in server management. But support will not abandon you. They've always got your back, no matter how tough the problem!
ActiveCollab keeps us organized and on task. It's a great snapshot of our client work at any given point. We have many moving parts, and ActiveCollab allows us to really stay on target with our goals and on task with our clients.
I own and operate a company that specializes in creative strategy and marketing/PR services and this is a good fit for us. I spent many months and went through quite a few trials researching a software that had as many features combined that we were looking for. We settled on ActiveCollab and we're very happy with them. It's a great option without the price tag and disorganization the later versions that Basecamp brings. I like the customization features as well as the billable categories for tracking and reports. We work with contractors in our business and we like the ability to assign tasks and hide back office items from the client. Their customer service has been very responsive and helpful throughout our set up and we're overall very happy with the product and functionality for our needs. Overall good UX / UI.
We're finding the reports options are a little bit limited, however it hasn't been a huge issue. We're getting most of the data we need. We really wish we could assign tasks to multiple people, but that seems to be a common theme among these software options. I don't understand why as we have many tasks that are worked on by multiple people. This carries over into the time tracking app. If you aren't assigned a task, it won't show up in the time tracking app for you to track against. However the work around is you can add a time report in the desktop version after the fact to any task regardless of who it assigned to. The budget feature per project is nice, however, we wish we could break it down further by task list. Their great customer service has passed this along to the management and dev team for consideration so fingers crossed it will be coming in an update at some point.
Highly focussed team members. Remote work flexibility. Collaboration. Time Management. Quality Management. Data Management. Targeted and SMART Goals. Internal Motivation. Trust.
The platform makes communicating with team members a breeze. We have a multitude of projects and tasks within the three departments - A/C helps keep everything organized and on track. LOVE the landing screen "My Work". The calendar view is awesome for our morning meetings. It is great that we can filter by person or project on the calendar. It's a robust feature that other platforms did not have. Really enjoy the notifications when I mention a team member. The robust area within a project including Tasks List, Discussions, Files, notes, Time, Expenses, Activity is great. Not only does it encourage collaboration it fully supports remote work. On the task list, we can drag/drop tasks. Filter by assignees, tasks lists, due dates, or completed tasks. You can also review the overall project progress. A/C has some great reporting features. I like how we can star projects. Simple features like that are NOT overlooked in the A/C platform.
Time tracking, invoicing, and estimates functions look great. We haven't used them yet but we will eventually. I appreciate the pricing. The customer support is quick and responsive. Our team has embraced the platform and I feel we will continue to use it for years to come. I would recommend the platform to others.
Disclaimer: We use it a bit outside of its intended purpose. Our group is Marketing, Web Development, and IT. Although there are a ton of project-based objectives within the departments there are some marketing functions that are not project based. This is the biggest thing I've got it's not a deal breaker. Maybe extend the software to include flexible user accounts or setup different types of project areas. That isn't necessarily project oriented.
Recurring tasks are a bit of a pain to setup the first time
Multiple different calendars confuse people sometimes and they end up creating a calendar for themselves.
Maybe we could setup tasks requiring a sign-off? Maybe this is already a feature and I don't know how to do it yet?
My team is spread across the country and Active Collab allows us to work together on projects seamlessly. Our outside partners are also able to work with us easily.
Great tool for managing complex projects with multiple stakeholders
Pretty robust feature set
Simple to access and easy to invite collaborators in & out of my company
Upgrades have been a bit buggy and while the team are responsive, they don't always believe that they've broken something
It organizes my life every day.
Solid options for organization and streamlining processes that even clients can be taught to use. As a creative agency selling our time it's important to communicate quickly and efficiently with our clients. A big part of that happens at the beginning of every project when they fill out a creative brief. We've used ActiveCollab to set up standard brief templates so AC asks all the questions and they go down the list and fill it out. The time tracker works great and is a painless way to keep track of time. Email notifications are great, especially being able to respond to comments VIA email really speeds things up. Support staff is great. Always available and helpful.
The invoicing functionality is great but is missing major sorting and display capabilities. For example, if I wanted to show each time entry with its note about what that entry was for organized by project, I cannot do that. My wife has also complained about the App not having a lot of functionality, but I have not used it much personally. I also think the 'Notes' 'Files' and 'Discussions' tabs are kind of random. Haven't found a good place for those in our workflows and they're confusing for clients. I realize it's a big thing to ask, but I'd also like to see some way of incorporating something like Slack into Active Collab, so we can move away from Skype completely.
Our overall experience is absolutely positive. We get to plan out our projects, go through them daily, track everything, and at the end exactly know what to invoice the client. It really covers all the basis that we need in our process and we love it for that.
I really appreciate the simplicity and the power behind the features it delivers. On the surface, it offers just a list of tasks me and my team manage throughout our design and development process, but under the hood it offers task dependencies, estimates, time tracking and many other cool things that make it deceptively powerful.
Probably the speed of the app on some larger projects. It's lightning fast for everything small to medium, but on larger projects it can take a while to load everything.
It helps me organize a great number of projects as one-man business without losing more time than necessary.
It's amazing how flexible AC can be depending on a project's needs. It can serve as a simple reminder list with great speed and simplicity but also get fully blown up for projects involving production teams and clients at once. Compared to its competition it never feels like its dictating you to use it in a certain way, it just hands you a great bunch of options and lets you use them without interference. I use other products like dropbox and dropbox paper too and it all goes together really nicely.
One thing to note is a personal and genuinely helpful customer service, there have been issues and bugs here and there (not many) and in 90% of the cases they were solved within short time.
I think AC is great for freelancers and small project groups working remotely I switched from Basecamp and it was one of a relief.
I personally don't like the free limitations of users. I know there's a business model behind it but I hate to delete other clients/team members just to make room for someone else.
The team is immediate to help, and pleasant to deal with. Also, truly they release updates like monthly, the product is always getting better which is AWESOME.
This software includes all of the features of the leading brands and more in most cases. I compared ActiveCollab to every system out there and tried demos and trials of each as well. It combines robust options with ease of use, and is more affordable than most other options. We can use kan-ban, calendar or list views, and can organize almost everything to our own preference. They also are continuously upgrading the system and adding features. I also like that they have a roadmap on their website so you know what they will be working on next. Top quality product and service.
We used to be able to change the colors and design options but now we are limited to one set of colors and 4 or 5 different background images. I know it is probably only the designers who care, but as a design company, it drives me crazy. It's not ugly, per se, and it is definitely not hard to read or use, but it is not how I would like it to look, so, it's my least favorite thing about it.
Increased project efficiency, improved client satisfaction through better scheduling, better communication, and giving clients open access to interact with us on project tasks (while easily limiting them from internal discussions they don't need to see).
Saved time on recording project data and improvements/lessons learned, saved time invoicing thanks to time tracking and integration with accounting software, and have a centralised document store for internal use (apart from client projects) without needing to manage a duplicate access permission system.
Lots of detailed helpful features which don't complicate the interface but are great when you start using them. Customer support has pointed some out when I put in what we thought was a feature request... but it already existed and I'd missed it.
Actively developed and continually updated without annoyingly changing things unnecessarily or 'fixing' anything that isn't broken.
Using Elastic Search as the only available search feature is limiting, as it's difficult to host and especially so in a shared hosting environment. Without Elastic Search, there's not even a simple text search available for project/task/comment description.
There's a couple glitches that pop up from time to time but customer support has been responsive about them and some of our suggestions have been included as feature requests.
Active Collab is efficient, friendly, and structured just right for our team's work. The reporting, activity stream, project, task, and subtask organization are all well-calibrated for daily use to organize work and to report on projects.
I wish AC integrated with Jira. Our development unit uses Jira, but the complexity means it's a no-go for our unit's daily use. The lack of integration means that sometimes members of our team have to ping-pong between both products, or fail to understand what's happening there. A preview of a Jira ticket in AC would be totally sufficient.
Control of project operations
In such a complex world, where the time and control factor in operations makes a difference, it is vital to have a platform that allows access to many tasks that, otherwise, would involve and coordinate many people, this type of tools allows us to save costs and reduce involuntary human errors, in everything that refers to the necessary coordination between all the members of the project. The calendar allows to have all the tasks, meetings, and filter the tasks by projects, and if that were not enough, all this can be complemented with the participation of the members remotely, so that it is possible to follow the general state of the proyects. In case of any problem, the support team is attentive to clarify your doubts, there are still elements that we have not had the opportunity to explore, but that, surely, according to our needs we will be using them to solve the growing demands of our organizations.
As with many platforms, the versions that are used in tables or smart devices show some limitations, in relation to those that are handled by PC, it would be very important to preserve and maximize the benefits when you have other devices and not limit the functions that, After all, knowledge or traditional devices for solving problems are not always available.
ActiveCollab is very easy to use. With just a few clicks, you can have a new project created right away. Time tracking, invoicing, payment processing and many other features add an already large depth of features.
Support is quite bad, at least for the self-hosted release of the application. There is no ticketing support system, and instead you have to chat with staff through the activecollab.com site to be able to get issues logged. You never get professional assistance through chat. They copy and paste your chat into their internal support system. You're then at their mercy to reply back via email. If and when they do write you back to your email address, be prepared for long followups to your replies.
When features are broken in ActiveCollab, if a fix is not on their roadmap to get the problem resolved, it will take a long time, if ever, to get the problem fixed.
Elastic Search is not a great feature for self-hosted AC builds. However, search has always been horrible with AC since it's early days.
Overall ActiveCollab makes my life easier.
Active Collaboration is super intuitive and affordable. Before switching to Active Collaboration a few years ago we used WorkFront and it was an absolute nightmare. After 10 months of getting templates set up and trying to learn how to use them our team was so frustrated that I knew that I wouldn't be renewing that tool for another year. Active Collaboration is so easy to use, it literally takes 10 minutes for me to walk a new team member through the tool when coming onboard. I've learned over the years of project managing that if someone doesn't understand how to use something or its too complicated to input a simple request or comment in, they aren't going use so it, they will default to email or drive-byes. I just don't have that problem with Active Collaboration. I highly recommend it.
I wish there was a feature that if you change a task date there's an option to move out all the dates at one time.
Activecollab are great, we were previously using 3 different Basecamp accounts for our sister companies. Basecamp was becoming a nightmare, it's ugly and the support is bad. We frequently have projects running over as an example, usually as we are waiting on information so we need to manually update every task deadline (Slow and painful) Activecollab allows selecting the project and bulk updating the deadline on the tasks, or in a list view one by one which is quick and easy.
We opted for the self hosted version and use an amazon AWS Elastic Search Service for searching. this is so much cheaper than what Basecamp was costing and so much more user friendly. Anyone big plus factor is, we were able to customise the software a bit (Against their guidelines) to give it some branding for our company by including an additional CSS file, we have to add this after every update but it's worth it.
Lack of built in customisation
Email sending is limited in regards to daily reports etc
Requires Elastic Search which is on another server/service, whilst not a huge deal it would have been nice to have a local native search and a high performance option using Elastic Search.
Our team manages all of our projects through ActiveCollab, and that includes budgeting, tasks, and time management. Without it, we'd be lost in a sea of emails and Slack messages.
ActiveCollab is quite feature rich. We were able to consolidate multiple pieces of software into one.
Some of the menus are hard to find and I'd really like to see a comprehensive calendar approach to tasks, vs just per project.
Over the past 10 years I worked with several online project management, collaboration and accounting tools, including Basecamp, Harvest/Forecast, Freshbooks, Trello, Asana, Teamwork, Podio, Wrike, etc. Two years ago we started working with Active Collab, and it is the most comprehensive tool so far. Not everything is perfect yet, but compared to all other tools out there, it does the best job in modelling your business, enabling collab workflows and being on top of all projects developments. And it has a nice UX, which is very important if you work 8+ hours a day with an app/software/tool.
Covers almost everything you need for team workflow and managing (digital) project, nice UX, rich features, moderate price
Lacks a dashboard/cockpit, reports should be more flexible and easier to use, design of estimates and documents should be more flexible, billing options should be more flexible
Not reactive interface. Terrible iOS app.
We've been using ActiveCollab since version 1. We needed more features and flexibility than other project management systems provided and we also were looking for an invoicing system. ActiveCollab provided all of that in one package and we could buy a license to run on our own server instead of paying monthly fees. This pricing model was very attractive for us along with the extra features to make the system fit our project management workflow, made ActiveCollab an easy choice.
The mobile app isn't the best. For those who heavily rely on using their project management system on mobile, this might be something to consider. I'm not a fan of the themes in the theme option, but if using the self hosted version, then you could potentially adjust styling to fit your business better.
Overall, I really like ActiveCollab as a project management tool. We have been able to onboard folks to it quickly and again, I like to have one place that I can go and see all my active projects and current tasks. You are also able to see past projects and tasks.
I like that I can go one place and see all my tasks for the projects I am a part of. It is easy to tag people and the software is pretty intuitive. It allows many people to be part of the big picture and stay up to date on the progress of projects. It also cuts down on the number of emails I need to send because I can follow up on items within the program and tag people.
The customer support often leaves something to be desired. When issues arise it is not usually a quick fix and when Active Collab is down, our project management comes to a halt because this is the key to our success. The everyday support for quick answers is fine, but when major issues arise the solutions are not always quick.
More efficient project management. More time spent on work, less time searching for files or waiting on emails.
It has the sophistication we need and remains very easy to use. I have tried nearly every other project management software out there, and this one makes the most sense to me. It allows us to effectively collaborate with clients, and it gives us complete control over what can be seen and accessed. We use it for time tracking as well. It connects with a number of other services including Quickbooks. They really seem to listen to their users. I have asked for things and have seen them implemented. Overall, it is a great solution for us, and I do recommend it to anyone looking to better manage their projects.
I did like a little more flexibility in the license levels. It would be nice to pay by the user when we need extra users rather than have to bump up to a level that many more users than we currently need.
Flexible, robust project management with great support.
While some project management systems try to force their own project management paradigms, ActiveCollab allows you the freedom to decide how you will manage your projects. Kanban? Click a button. Gannt? Click a button.
You can easily manage milestones, tasks, files, discussions, time-tracking et al. however needed and have every feature you'll need or want available.
Their support and development has been amazing. Quick replies, quick changes to the core product for quality-of-life requests.
Rich text could use some work as adding formatted content will sometimes yield awful results.
Needs a better way to sort/view items in "My Work" based on tags and deadlines e.g., view all tasks due that week or all view all time based on job types.
A responsive design and more fluid UI would also be a welcome change.
- Simple, clean UI
- Easy to learn
- Clear structure (teams, projects, categorized task lists) that works well for us
- Ability to sort things in the My Work list, so I can arrange my priorities for the week and then easily reorder things as tasks are completed.
- Integrates well with Dropbox
- Powerful customizable reports (ex. can easily see what got done in the past week on project A, or can get a clear portrait of what employee B did for the last month)
Also, when you're in the middle of writing something (ex. a comment or a note) and get interrupted, it *retains* what you wrote (even if you didn't submit it and no one else can see it). This has saved me so much effort, since it's hard to juggle doing things with documenting them.
- The Asana importer didn't work for me. This resulted in a huge amount of effort migrating projects and tasks by hand.
- AC emails you every time you're added to a project, and you need to be part of a project to see what's going on in it - we use this for workplace transparency, so there are a lot of projects and the notifications are irritating
- Can't easily transform a task into a project
- The My Work interface doesn't automatically refresh when there's an update on one of my projects, so I can be in AC all day and still miss some notifications (unless I enable email notifications, which I dislike).
It is our primary task tracker that we use for each and every project we work on.
1. Nice and easy-to-use interface. No issues with using it for several hours a day.
2. Several nice feeds: global (across all projects), project-wide and personal.
3. Ability to estimate and then track time for a given task.
4. We are an agency and our clients are REALLY NOT eager to use various task-trackers that different agencies push onto them. Thankfully, you can respond to any ActiveCollab comment via email so our clients do not even need to open ActiveCollab to collaborate with us. Meanwhile, we have all messages and comment in a nice and clean order, all inside our comfy ActiveCollab interface.
At some point we decided to move to a self-hosted version of ActiveCollab. By that point we've been using ActiveCollab for a while and our database (including all the files) was about 150GB. Unfortunately, it took about 6 weeks (from 16/10/2017 to 30/11/2017) for the guys over at ActiveCollab to provide us with a link to download our data.
Ease and speed of use, ability to tag co-workers, review discussions easily and keep track of tasks.
I love the fact that it's linked to my email account, so if there is a new post I know about it quickly! It's also great that I can reply to threads directly from my email, that feature is so helpful.
I like that the threads within ActiveCollab are easy to keep track of, so no more wading through emails trying to find a reference to something!
The interface is quick and easy to use, and it's great being able to tag co-workers in threads to grab their attention.
There isn't much to be honest, but I suppose I would like it if the software took me directly to recent activity, as when there are a lot of projects sometimes I find it hard to navigate my way to the thread I'm looking for. But that's a minor quibble!
Other than that, I really enjoy using the software.