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Is HiTask thee Online Task Management solution?

Introduction

HiTask is another online task management system that is vying for this burgeoning market. If harnessed properly, online systems could have a huge advantage over local task management systems especially for dispersed collaborative teams. Has HiTask implemented a killer task management system and is it right for your team? Let’s review…

 

User Interface

The user interface for HiTask is quite simple and everything is placed logically. The screen is divided into 3 sections,

Left, Calendar and day view for tasks

  • Middle, Task entry and overview
  • Right, Collaborative area with team mates and communication

 

The task entry section has several tabs corresponding to calendar views, project views my view etc. Rather self explanatory and simple to use.

Hotkeys are available for several functions but for someone coming from a hotkey centric app such as Abstractspoon todolist the interface can sometimes be slower and more cumbersome to use with clicking on several buttons to achieve the desired effect. One example of this is copying a task which requires 3 mouse clicks to achieve. Likewise, to add any additional information to a task requires the user to open the task, then click modify and then update the information. My personal preference would be to cut out some of those steps by having the task information as one of the permanently open screen sections.

Screenshot

 

 Features and Functionality

Task Entry and Manipulation

This is quick and easy. Type straight into the dialog box and hit enter for a task to be added. The tasks can then be dragged around between different projects and entered also as a child task of other activities forming a 2 level hierarchy. Additional levels can be added which is very welcome to help to avoid clutter by grouping the tasks by sub-project and collapsing as necessary. So, overall task entry is quick and I like the drag and drop manipulation. Only two things that I see could be improved here,

  •  I can live without the confirmation to make a child task – an unnecessary step
  • It is not possible to select multiple tasks at once

Additional data can be added to any task as would be expected, such as dates, priorities, tags and assignees. The option to upload files is clearly visible but I would also like the option for linking local files which avoids uploading/downloading time and enables a single copy to be edited by the different team members. The hotline for Hitask also told me it is possible to add links to local files but this feature does not seem apparent.

 

Collaboration

Quite a simple, elegant approach from Hitask. Simply invite team members by entering their email address. They receive an invitation to work on the project and have then access to that list. Communication is possible with any or all team members, comments can be left for tasks etc. Task allocation is also quite simple with a drag and drop approach onto the team member. Task visibility by team member is excellent. I miss one feature here though which is possible in other platforms – current task in progress. This is a nice to have to see what any of the team members is currently engaged with and for some task management systems is important to know.

 

Reporting

Another good feature of this app is the reporting function. Reporting is an essential feature for project updates, tracking progress etc. and to have this front and centre on the app is addressing that need. Reports can be generated in html or pdf format for the following areas,

  • Time report
  • Assignment report
  • Progress report

 

Project Functionality

With the ability to import large numbers of tasks, collaborate with team members and automated report generation HiTask is positioning itself nicely for larger scale projects. However, some useful views are missing from this, notably Gantt charts. And, as mentioned earlier, with larger numbers of tasks more efficient manipulation of many tasks is necessary such as the ability to select and manipulate multiple tasks simultaneously.

 

Interoperability

HiTask clearly recognizes the importance of being able to import and export tasks and this is reflected in this product. csv import and export of tasks is possible which means if you want to utilize another tool then you can. In my case I prefer to sketch out project plans with MS Project before importing them into task lists and chunking them out with smaller actionable tasks. So, this feature is very welcome for such scenarios.

Syncing is also possible to MS Outlook and Google Calendars. I also tried out the IOS app for Hitask. For quick task viewing and marking for completion the interface is probably better than the web based interface. However, I completely miss the drag and drop for tasks which is really critical in my opinion. So, bit of an oversight there!

 

Pricing

For personal usage having up to 10 projects HiTask is free. To have unlimited projects it will sting you $4.17 per month and for small teams of up to 5 team members it is $16 per month. The price scales with additional team members.

 

Wrap up

HiTask address many key points for not only personal task management but the needs of business users. I like many aspects of what it is offering – csv import/export, collaboration, reasonable task manipulation, reporting etc. It is certainly moving in the right direction. However, I also see some disadvantages of the current offering. Web based task systems are still in their infancy and some key functionality is missing such as advanced project management and integration and ability to manipulate multiple tasks. Additionally, issues with latency of remote systems can be an issue if you are accustomed with the immediate satisfaction of local instantaneous systems. Also, in my case I suffered a system outage with HiTask where no access to the task list was possible. This is a major problem for any enterprise that depends on a single system like this for their team. So, to sum up, HiTask is promising and for many a good solution especially distributed teams. For local team collaboration though, where quick and efficient usage is more important a shareable app based approach may be more applicable.

 

Brendan Toner

Let me welcome you to this alcove of the internet. In this little productivity blog, I detail the trials and tribulations of trying to use my time more effectively utilising the latest productivity tools and techniques. I hope you enjoy the articles, cheers! Brendan Toner, author of Done Before Brekky

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