Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Review: Mangotasks - Task Management for Teams

Intro to MangoTasks

MangoTasks is a web based social collaborative task manager that is target at teams of any size.

MangoTasks is a small but important part of Mangosprings larger business application and collaboration suite "MangoSuite". In this regard it is similar to complete web app suites such as Zoho or the 37signals apps around basecamp. MangoTasks can be used as stand-alone version as well.

While seems very similar to the bantam task management tool (which we are currently using for our todo management) - MangoTasks has some features that make it more interesting for any team that collaborates on tasks and projects. Especially if you combine it with some of MangoApps other features such as MangoProject.

task management mangotasks screen

Feature Set: Small but Effective?

  • tasks and their properties
    • assign to co-worker
    • due date: today, tomorrow, sometime soon, specific date
    • visibility: team, project members (if MangoProjects is part of your suite), specific people
    • assign to project
  • activity stream (microblog)
    • tasks, status updates (similar to twitter), etc. are shown in a dashboard and can be commented on
    • you can create a task from a status updates
  • task overview
    • sorted by pending, completed and "assigned by me"
  • team chat
    • you can start chatting with coworkers directly within the MangoSuite - the design is very similar to the current facebook chat
  • email notification
    • you can have your daily tasks emailed to you

Lack of Task Management Flow

Overall the feature set is compact and not bloated. However it seems, similar to bantam, that there has been little thought put into how tasks and task management really works. At least from our perspective.

A major focus lies on the social aspect - microblogging, commenting, assigning tasks. However there is no real flow to either solve tasks or manage tasks. You cannot create subtasks, assign a task to several people, tag a task, set it's importance. When showing the tasks in a list - sorting functions are very limited. This way you always see a overwhelming list of tasks. This way you are not likely to create and in the end complete tasks.

Feature Rating: 3/5

Design and Usability: Solid but slow

The overall design is solid and presentable. Due to a lot of features and cross-features it is a little more bloated than your average todo or task manager would be. Items on the page could be better wheighed and pro- or demoted. This would certainly give the interface a clearer flow and make it more usable.

Slow Response Time: Not Desktop-App Like

One definite drawback is the slow response time. Most interactions either happen on a new page (reload) or as pop-up which both costs the user quite some time. Current Ajax technologies should enable you to control everything on one page without any time-consuming reloads. This way the web app would seem to respond more like a real desktop application.

Design Rating: 2/5

Pricing: Targeted for Business

If you plan on using MangoApps as a standalone you have invest $9.95 for 3 users up to $100 for 40 users per month. If you want to use the whole MangoSuite you pay between $49.95 for 3 and $500 for 40 users per month.

For either private or even business use this seems to be a little to much, considering the feature set and design being somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Price Rating: 2/5

There is no free plan. However you get a 30 day trial for which you still have to enter your credit card details, which I found quite annoying.

Overall Impression: Social is Good but Not Enough

Even though the whole idea between social collaboration is really interesting and even productive, it is not enough to make a tool useful. If you are looking for a tool that helps you get things done, MangoApps will probably not help you that much.

The application is more of a paper solution put to the web and social features added.

Overall Rating: 2/5


If you are interested in the complete MangoSuite here is 7 Minute video walk-through: