Detailed Review of TaskRay Salesforce App

TaskRay is a post-sales onboarding task management tool. It has a very clean and intuitive user interface, as well as, lots of task view options: Kanban board, Gantt, Calendar, etc. It is well-suited for this very narrow use case, but it is lacking key functionality to serve as a professional services administration (PSA) tool or a general project management tool.

TaskRay is reviewed against 200+ project management software requirements on a downloadable spreadsheet. TaskRay is scored overall and for each of the ten project management processes. This post provides a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses for each of the processes.

TaskRay Summary of Findings

TaskRay is more of a task management tool than a scheduling or project management tool. It supports start up tasks once a project has been sold by a professional services firm. This is the same functionality found in many PSA tools. However, TaskRay lacks much of the functionality found in the leading PSA tools (Kantata, Certinina, etc.).

When compared to the project management process as defined in the PMBOK, TaskRay has a coverage of 34% with complete gaps in cost, procurement and risk management. It basically has two main areas of functionality: task scheduling and time reporting. It seems odd that given its purpose as an onboarding tool, it doesn’t have the ability to translate actual reported hours into costs or customer invoices. The table below shows the coverage of each process as a percentage basis compared to full coverage.

WARNING: This is a review of the Premium version of TaskRay. The other versions of TaskRay have limited resource management capabilities (see pricing section).

TaskRay
Total Score34%
Communications Management14%
Cost Management9%
Integration Management29%
Procurement Management0%
Quality Management17%
Resource Management57%
Risk Management0%
Schedule Management58%
Scope Management6%
Stakeholder Management17%

Download TaskRay Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to add the TaskRay Excel spreadsheet to your basket and continue reading. Visit the basket page to complete the download.

TaskRay Pricing

TaskRay has three packages with different levels of pricing. The premium package is required for resource management functionality which is a core feature of PSA tools. TaskRay’s pricing for the premium package is high when compared with other PSA tools.

Just keep in mind that anyone who will edit or view any project data will require a license. This will include anyone who will view or complete a TaskRay task or any manager who wants to view a project status. This user count can add up quickly.

  • Starter – The lowest price option is $25/user/month. There is also reference to a site license option, as well as, a 10 person starter pack.
  • Standard – Median price of $40/user/month. Adds the following functionality:
    • Dashboards
    • External collaboration (i.e. communities)
    • Time tracking
  • Premium – Highest price of $60/user/month. Adds the following functionality:
    • Resource management
    • Advanced work management controls for task weighting and ongoing progress, and putting projects on hold

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 which you can use to perform your own analysis. 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 spreadsheet to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

  • Yes – As Is – Meaning, the requirement is met with out-of-the-box functionality. This rating is awarded four points.
  • Yes – With Configuration – Meaning the requirement can be met with minimal configuration or no-code updates. Since, Salesforce is highly configurable I used this rating for simple things like changing picklist values, adding a field to an existing data object, creating a report, etc. This rating is awarded two points.
  • No – Not Available or Requires Customization – Meaning the requirement cannot be met without significant investment of time or money. I assigned this rating if custom coding would be required, or a new custom data object, or a new custom flow. This rating is awarded zero points.

Finally, the scoring spreadsheet totaled the ratings by process to show how the apps compare by process. Therefore, you can assess the apps based on which processes are the most important to you. You can confirm my scoring using the TaskRay test drive or by installing the free trial into a sandbox.

WARNING: I was only able to load the standard TaskRay package in my sandbox to evaluate it. The additional resource management functionality available with the premium version had to be assessed using demos and documentation. The resource management functionality in the premium version, was acquired by purchasing Flux Capacity.

Here are some links to help you research the app:

Download TaskRay Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to download the TaskRay Excel spreadsheet.

Communications Management

TaskRay (TR) is not intended to be used for change management and therefore, has little communication functionality. It does support Chatter for collaboration on the project. It also supports basic project status reporting which can be easily enhanced by adding fields to the project object.

Cost Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any cost management functionality. As an onboarding tool, it is similar to a PSA tool, but it lacks any ability to track costs or to generate invoices based on hours worked. This is strange since it does capture actual hours and whether they are billable. However, it doesn’t have the ability to record rates to turn hours into billable dollars. It also doesn’t have any ability to capture and bill expenses.

Integration Management

Integration Management is the process of coordinating the overall project and the different project management processes. TaskRay has limited functionality in this area.

Strength: Confidential Projects

Confidential projects can be created where only project team members have access to the project. You can even control the level of access each team member has to the project: read or read/write.

Strength: Assigned Task Notification

TaskRay sends the owner of a task an email notification when they are assigned a new task.

Strength: Multiple Schedule Views

TaskRay supports a whopping five views of project tasks: Kanban Board, Calendar, Gantt Chart, Spreadsheet and Row. The Kanban Board columns can be customized to match your Agile approach.

Gantt view in TaskRay Salesforce app

Weakness: No Programs or Portfolios

TaskRay doesn’t support grouping projects under larger programs or portfolios. This wouldn’t be needed for post-sales onboarding but is a main requirement if it is going to be used for general project management.

Weakness: Risks and Issues

TaskRay does not support documenting project risk or issues.

Procurement Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any procurement management functionality.

Quality Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any of the testing functionality you would need for a software development project. You could use the tasks as user stories and add an acceptance criteria field to the task.

Resource Management

TaskRay has basic resource management capabilities that should suffice for very simple projects. It does not have the robust resource management capabilities a professional services firm is going to need, and that is typically found in a PSA tool.

Strengths: Defining Project Team

TaskRay has a clean and intuitive interface for defining the project team. It also supports customizing the level of project access by individual team member.

A very helpful feature is that you can build project templates where tasks are assigned to a role. Once the project is created from the template you can assign an individual to the role, and all the related tasks will be automatically updated. This avoids having to update hundreds of tasks with resource assignments.

Weakness: Lacks Resource Allocation Time Series Reports

TaskRay lacks the ability to view resource allocations and availability across a time series (i.e. day, week, month). In other words, most PSA tools have a grid view with days, weeks or months as the columns and a resources as the rows. This allows the project manager to see over allocations over a certain time period. TaskRay only offers reports where you can view this information for a single month or day.

Weakness: Lacks Skill Assignments

TaskRay lacks the ability to define skills and assign multiple skills to a person. You can assign a single role to a resource. This is not going to be sufficient for software development teams where you need to plan resources based on specific technical skills.

Risk Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any functionality to record and mitigate project risks.

Schedule Management

Schedule Management is TaskRay’s greatest strength. It supports five views of the task schedule (see above) and the user interface is very clean and intuitive. The Gantt chart functionality is on par with the other Salesforce scheduling apps. Unfortunately it has three gaps which limit it to only very simple projects:

  • One level of work breakdown structure
  • Doesn’t reschedule based on actual completion dates
  • No critical path

Strength: Multiple Schedule Views

TaskRay supports a whopping five views of project tasks: Kanban Board, Calendar, Gantt Chart, Spreadsheet and Row. The Kanban Board columns can be customized to match your Agile approach.

Strength: Project Templates

New projects can be created from standard templates. If you know how to build Salesforce Flows, you can also build a custom flow to automatically create projects when an opportunity closes. It also has a nice feature where you can assign a person to a template role and all tasks with that role will be updated with the specific person as owner of the tasks.

Strength: Task Predecessors

TaskRay supports all predecessor types: Finish-Finish, Start-Start, Start-Finish and Finish-Start. Multiple predecessors can be assigned to a single task with lags.

The project manager can even assign a task from another project as a predecessor. The caveat is that the succeeding tasks will not be rescheduled based on this external project predecessor. But, it does allow the project manager to note external project dependencies.

One gap in the predecessors, is that succeeding tasks are only rescheduled when the preceding task’s estimated end date changes. If the preceding task’s actual end date varies from the scheduled date, the downstream tasks are not rescheduled.

Another gap is that it doesn’t support display the standard task predecessor notation in the Gantt View. For example: “10.1FS+1d”.

Strength: Assign Tasks to External Contacts

TaskRay can assign tasks to external contacts. The external contact will receive an email notifying them of the assigned task and can even mark the task as complete by clicking a link in the email.

Strength: Baselines

TaskRay has a very easy to use baseline feature. You can take multiple snapshots of the schedule and then select which baseline is displayed in the Gantt Chart view.

Weakness: One Level Work Breakdown Structure

TaskRay only allows one level of work breakdown structure. This means you can create a task group and then tasks within that group. You can’t indent any task to create a new group as you can in Microsoft Project. This means you could not create the following hierarchy: Release 1/Financial Interface/Task 1. In large, complex projects it is not unusual to have a work breakdown structure with at least four or five levels.

Weakness: Doesn’t Reschedule Based on Actual Completion Dates

You can setup predecessors and it will reschedule downstream tasks based on the preceding task’s estimated start or finish date. However, when you start/complete a task, it doesn’t reschedule the downstream tasks based upon the actual start/finish date. You can work around this by also updating the estimated date to match the actual start/finish date.

Weakness: No Critical Path

TaskRay does not calculate a critical path. I find this very useful in large complex projects, because it tells me where I need to focus my efforts to ensure the project completes on schedule.

Scope Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any functionality to record the project scope or to issue change orders for approval when the scope changes.

Stakeholder Management

TaskRay doesn’t have any significant stakeholder or change management capabilities. You can use the role feature to assign people the roles of ‘Stakeholder’ or ‘Steering Committee Member’, but this is about it.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a simple-to-use scheduling tool, TaskRay may suit your needs. However, if you are looking for a PSA tool or general Salesforce project management (PMO/PPM) tool you should consider other options.

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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