Best Salesforce Project Management Scheduling Tools

Futuristic steampunk salesforce project management scheduling tool

Thirteen Salesforce project management scheduling apps were evaluated against 200+ requirements, the top three tools are reviewed in detail. The detailed review highlights the key differences between the apps. Additional research can be performed by accessing individual detailed reviews of each app, and downloading the spreadsheet listing the 200+ requirements.

All of these scheduling apps are native Salesforce apps. External non-native scheduling tools can also be integrated with Salesforce. I will do reviews of the non-native options in future posts.

Process Scores

These top three Salesforce scheduling apps were selected based on their schedule management scores. However, I’ve included the scores for the other processes because two of the apps are professional services automation (PSA) tools that have good scheduling capabilities.

CertiniaInspire PlannerKantata SXKlient PSA
Total Score53%46%61%50%
Communications Management9%9%9%9%
Cost Management65%23%78%66%
Integration Management50%52%61%42%
Procurement Management0%13%50%13%
Quality Management17%8%17%8%
Resource Management81%48%93%62%
Risk Management75%92%67%83%
Schedule Management62%72%67%63%
Scope Management13%19%13%6%
Stakeholder Management13%17%17%17%

Schedule Management Key Differentiators

None of these tools have the level of scheduling functionality found in Primavera or Microsoft Project. If you are a construction firm or have very complex schedules you’ll have to look outside of Salesforce for your scheduling solution.

Key DifferentiatorsCertiniaInspire PlannerKantataKlient
Plan releasesGapFitGapGap
Create project from sales funnelFitGapFitGap
Synch with Salesforce tasksGapFitFitGap
Assign a task to a team queueGapFitGapFit
List inter-project dependenciesFitGapGapGap
Rank tasks/user stories in a product backlogGapFitFitGap
Kanban boardGapFitFitFit
Assign checklists to tasksGapFitFitFit
Update task assignments on a project templateGapFitFitGap
Task constraintsGapFitGapGap
Assign task to external usersFitFitFitGap
Fixed-effort task schedulingGapGapGapFit

Plan releases – Only Inspire Planner has the ability to define releases and group tasks by release.

Create project from sales funnel – Since Certinia and Kantata are PSA tools, they have the ability to generate a project from a sales opportunity as part of the client onboarding process.

Synch with Salesforce tasks – I think it is very important that employees can see all of their assigned tasks in one place. Employees are not going to open multiple tools each day to view/work their tasks. If your company works tasks in Salesforce, then you’ll want Kantata or Inspire Planner which synchs their tasks with Salesforce, so employees can work from the Salesforce home page and don’t have to open Kantata or Inspire Planner. If your employees work from an external calendar (i.e. Microsoft Outlook) then this requirement is not relevant, and you can build an interface to the external calendar.

Assign a task to a team queue – Only Inspire Planner and Klient allow a task to be assigned to a team queue, so anyone on the team can see and complete the task.

List inter-project dependencies – Only Certinia will allow you to define dependencies between projects. This usually occurs in large programs and IT projects. For example, another project is upgrading a software tool, so you’re project can’t start your testing until that upgrade is complete.

Rank tasks/user stories in a product backlog – If you want to run Agile projects within your PSA tool, this is critical functionality missing in Certinia and Klient PSA. The product owner needs to maintain a list of user stories and prioritize them within the backlog. I personally, don’t include user stories in my project schedules so this would not be an issue for me.

Kanban board – If you want to run Agile projects within your PSA tool, this is critical functionality missing in Certinia. Overall, Inspire Planner has the best Agile project solution. Klient PSA has a lot of Agile functionality but it has one severe defect: I wasn’t able to re-order tasks on the Kanban board to list them by priority.

Assign checklists to tasks – In order to keep schedules clean, it is useful to be able to associate a detailed checklist to a task rather than having to detail all the steps as tasks in the schedule. Certinia does not offer checklists.

Update task assignments on a project template – If you create new projects from standard templates, you’ll want to assign the template tasks to standard roles and once you create the new project assign an employee to the role. You want to have all the tasks assigned to that role updated at once when the employee is assigned. You don’t want to have to open all one hundred tasks to assign employees. Certinia and Klient PSA don’t support this functionality.

Task constraints – Inspire Planner is the only app that supports the task constraints: Must Finish On and Must Start On. However, it does not support the constraint: As Late as Possible.

Assign tasks to external users – Klient PSA doesn’t support assigning tasks to a non-Salesforce user and then allowing them to complete the task without a Salesforce license.

Fixed-effort task scheduling – Please note that Klient PSA is the only tool to support effort-based scheduling. The rest only use a fixed duration model. Suppose you have a task that takes 40 hours, 5 days and only one person is assigned. You then assign a second person, the duration will remain 5 days on the other tools. It will only automatically adjust to take 2.5 days using Klient PSA.

Pricing

Inspire Planner is the best scheduling tool and also the cheapest. You can only justify the higher cost of Certinia or Kantata if you are going to use their PSA functionality.

CertiniaInspire PlannerKantataKlient
User/Month$40$34$45$24
Minimum LicensesNot Public10Not Public0
Minimum/YearNot Public$4,080Not Public$288

NOTE: Klient PSA lists its pricing as $49/user/month including the Salesforce licenses. I’m assuming they are referring to selling Klient PSA along with a Platform Cloud license to a company without Salesforce. For a company with Salesforce licenses, I’m assuming the price would be the difference without the Platform Cloud licenses ($25/user/month).

Other Considerations

Certinia

Certinia used to be named ‘FinancialForce’ and offers an entire suite of apps which would result in the most comprehensive solution if all the apps were implemented. Here is the list of other available apps:

  • Billings & Receivables
  • ERP Cloud
  • Revenue Management
  • Services CPQ
  • Procurement
  • Services Analytics
  • Order & Inventory Management
  • ERP Analytics & Reporting
  • Subscription & Usage Billing
  • Professional Services Quoting

Inspire Planner

  • Inspire Planner is transitioning from Salesforce Classic to Salesforce Lightning in Spring 2024.
  • A user of Inspire Planner has reported some performance issues with slow response times. You’ll want to test this for yourself.

Scoring Methodology

I’ve been evaluating all of the Salesforce project management software and sharing the results to help others save time in making an informed decision. I started the evaluation as marketing research for the Salesforce project management app I built: Project Lifecycle Pro. I’m doing my best to give a unbiased review, but I’ve attached the detailed Excel spreadsheet for each app I’ve reviewed so you can perform your own analysis. Here is the blog page where you can find the detailed app reviews. Here are detailed instructions on how to use the spreadsheet to weight requirements and compare multiple software packages side-by-side.

I structured the analysis around the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)© project management process. This is outlined in the PM Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)©. First, I listed the project management processes and then the activities within each process. Finally, I developed a list of requirements related to each of the activities. The list of requirements is based upon my thirty years of project management experience and experience evaluating project management tools for clients. When I come across novel functionality in the software I’m evaluating I add it to the requirements list. Of course, I’m sure I missed some requirements and welcome any suggestions.

I gave all processes and requirements equal weights, but you can adjust the scoring weights in the Excel spreadsheets to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

Certinia Scoring Notes

I wasn’t able to install a copy of Certinia to test all of the functionality first hand. I had to rely on demos and documentation.

Kantata Scoring Notes

  • I wasn’t able to install a copy of Kantata to test all of the functionality first hand. I had to rely on demos and documentation.
  • There are two versions of Kantata:
    • SX which is a native Salesforce app.
    • OX is an external applicated which interfaces with Salesforce.
  • I wasn’t able to clearly differentiate the SX vs OX functionality from the demos and documentation. Therefore, you’ll need to work closely with Kantata to determine if you should purchase SX or OX.

Scheduling Tools That Didn’t Make the List

Many of the Salesforce scheduling tools that didn’t make the short list are missing the following key functionality:

  • Don’t allow unlimited task hierarchies to define the work breakdown structures. Put more simply: you can only have a few levels of tasks.
  • Don’t support task dependencies, such as, Start/Finish, Finish/Finish or Start/Start.
  • Don’t provide a critical path.
  • Don’t synch tasks to Salesforce tasks.

The Salesforce Agile Accelerator didn’t make the list because it is a specialized Kanban board tool to support Agile software projects. It doesn’t even have a project Gantt chart. However, it should be considered if you are looking for an alternative to JIRA to support your Agile teams.

Here is a list of the Salesforce scheduling tools that didn’t make the cut, with their schedule management score. You can research these other tools on my comparison page, and then follow links to the individual review posts.

Scheduling ToolSchedule Management Score
Cloud Coach Ultimate56%
Milestone PM51%
Mission Control61%
Neilon Project Mangement1%
Precursive OBX60%
Salesforce Agile Accelerator39%
Salesforce Professional Services Automation19%
TaskRay58%

Conclusion

If you are just looking for a native Salesforce scheduling tool, then you should strongly consider Inspire Planner as it has the best functionality and the second-lowest price.

You should only consider Klient PSA if you need fixed-effort scheduling. But even then, if you need fixed-effort scheduling you’ll probably need the more advanced features you would find in Microsoft Project or Primavera. These more advanced tools will allow you to do resource load leveling where the entire project is rescheduled based on resource allocations. But Project and Primavera are not native Salesforce tools so you’ll be looking at having to implement an integration.

If you are a professional services firm, you should lean towards Kantata as it has the best scheduling solution within the PSA tools. You should consider Certinia for scheduling if you are interested in implementing their entire suite of back-office apps.

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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