ClickUp is one of the most popular project management tools out there, and for a good reason!
We use the software day in, day out at Tao Digital and have done so for many years – it’s a great way of keeping the team on track and organised.
As we’ve been using its many features for some time now, we thought it was only right to put together a review with our honest thoughts!
What is project management software?
Project management software is exactly what it sounds like – software that allows you to manage your projects, meet deadlines and manage costs. The main aim of them is to help you to save time by automating your workflows and streamlining processes. It isn’t just limited to project managers, though – anyone within a team can use it.
What is ClickUp?
ClickUp is a cloud-based project management tool founded in 2016 with the focus of streamlining your workload, claiming to save you one day per week by helping you to work more efficiently.
You can organise your whole team within the platform, setting up client folders, tasks, deadlines, workflows, processes etc. Its main features are team collaboration and shared task-setting functions, allowing you to see time spent on tasks, the status of the task, comments, links within tasks and more.
What industries would benefit from using ClickUp?
Any industry that carries the majority of their work out online would benefit from using ClickUp – the platform is great for businesses both big and small. It is used by the likes of Nike, Netflix, Google and Airbnb to manage a huge variety of projects.
ClickUp Best Features
There are many features we enjoy within ClickUp, as follows…
Time is tracked via a ‘stopwatch’ on each task, which your team begins or ends when they start/stop a task, or can be added in manually afterwards. This really helps with client reporting and allows you to see easily if you are over or under servicing a client each month.
It can also help you spot if you are running over budget in terms of time – e.g. if you expected a site build to take X amount of hours and it is seriously running over, you may have to review with the team and re-assess the budget for the allocated project.
We love the visual aspect of workload, which provides an at-a-glance view of the team’s workload. This is calculated by adding estimated times to tasks in order to provide an accurate calculation. The workload capacity is represented in a green, orange and red system, showing who is close to capacity or over capacity. This can allow us to see who may be struggling or where workload needs to be distributed more evenly.
You can also click individually within these days to get a full overview of what that team member is working on, including estimated times and the names of the tasks. You can then individually click on these to view status, time tracked, who else may be assigned to the task, any links within the task, etc.
Within tasks you can also see any briefs that were set, the status of it, who is a ‘watcher’ of the task, any comments, links added etc.
Ability to create automated tasks
Are you working on a long and complex project that has a similar process whenever you work on it? Save time and effort by creating an automated process. Simply create a master task, set up your subtasks and save it as a template within ClickUp’s template centre. You’ll need to adjust due dates and possibly assignees each time, but it ensures you don’t miss a step of the process.
ClickUp is very cost effective compared to other project management tools, such as Asana and Trello. ClickUp even has a brilliant free version, which allows you to create an unlimited number of tasks and allows you to use their sprint management tool, which is a great option for those using scrum management within the Agile methodology.
Depending on the number of users you have on the platform, ClickUp price plans range from 0 to $19 per member per month, Asana is 0 to $24.99 and Trello is 0 to $17.50. There are bespoke increased price options for large businesses, but most SMEs won’t need this option.
What are ClickUp automations?
Another feature we really like within ClickUp is their automations feature. This means that you can set certain subtasks to only open once its predecessor is closed, e.g. a task won’t open to approve a piece of content until the content writer has closed the writing task and therefore won’t appear in someone’s workload until this happens.
This saves time as you won’t need to keep rearranging tasks if any become overdue or keep checking in on the main task to see where everyone is up to.
There are so many different ways to automate your tasks – ClickUp operates on a ‘When X, X happens’ feature. Here are some of their official examples below:
You can also automate across integrated apps, such as Calendly, Google Sheets, Dropbox, Slack and much more. We have an automation set up within Slack which alerts the team when a task has been closed for a certain client and reminds us that the client needs to be made aware.
What are Spaces in ClickUp?
Spaces are essentially a way to manage all tasks for the different areas of your business. They are the second level of ‘hierarchy’ within ClickUp, as follows: Workspace, Space, List (within a folder), Task, Subtask and Nested Subtask.
At the top of the hierarchy is the workspace, which contains your entire organisation and all of its work. Most businesses have one workspace per company. You may, however, have several ‘spaces’ – we have one for our retained clients, which contains sub folders of all our clients and individual tasks, one for Tao projects and one for one-off projects/clients.
If you view the above screenshot, you can see our Tao projects space. Within this we have folders of our own projects, within which are lists and tasks we work on.
Pros and Cons of ClickUp
The pros and cons from our personal experience are as follows:
Improves efficiencies: The main pro of ClickUp is that it improves efficiencies for us across the board, as much as 20% as the platform claims. It’s easy for us to make sure our workload is evenly distributed across the team and that no one is over capacity. This then allows us to see when it’s time for a new hire.
Real time reporting of workload: We love the live view of what the team is working on at any one time, as well as the ability to look into tasks and see its current status, when it was last worked on etc. This is much easier to digest than a traditional written task list that doesn’t have real time updates.
Collaborate from anywhere: Our team works from home two days a week and have the freedom to work from anywhere thanks to ClickUp – we can assign them tasks that they could be working on in a different country! We also have some of our freelancers signed up to the platform.
Setting up workflows: As we have discussed, the ability to set up automated workflows has been incredibly helpful to us and has saved us a lot of time. If we’re working on a big yearly campaign that involves a lot of different departments and steps, it saves a lot of time that would have been spent searching through emails/folders to see what steps were taken last time and potentially missing vital tasks, compared to having the process set up waiting for you next year. A little bit of weight off your shoulders!
Time tracking: This really helps with client reporting and allows you to see easily if you are over or under servicing a client. It can also help you to see where extra capacity is needed, or may lie within the team and so can ease the workload off those who may be under additional pressure.
Onboarding can be difficult: As you can see, there are hundreds of different ways to use ClickUp to suit your needs. However, the huge amount of customisation can be a slight downfall when it comes to onboarding as it can be overwhelming and difficult to find where certain options are.
Slow to load: We have been experiencing a number of lagging issues over the past few months while new features have been added, especially when it comes to workload view – this can sometimes take up to a minute to load. In a December 2022 tweet ClickUp replied to a Twitter user who was concerned about the loading speed and said: ‘Our Technical team is currently investigating the slow speeds that you are experiencing. If you have any questions about their investigation, please feel free to reach out to us via chat or email at email@example.com.’
Inability to assign more than one person to comment: One feature that could be improved is the ability to assign people to comments within tasks. Assigning comments means the individual gets both an email notification and an alert within the notifications bar. Although people will be notified if they’re tagged in a comment, it isn’t as prominent as if they are both notified to have been assigned one and that they have to resolve it to clear it from their notifications bar.
Difficulties within the ClickUp app: The ClickUp app can be a little slower than the desktop version and it isn’t as easy to access certain features, such as the workload view. It’s also more difficult to see what folders tasks are in, which can be a limitation when it comes to subtasks that may all have the same name – e.g. research – so you may struggle to know which project/client this is for. Example below:
How Much Does ClickUp Cost?
The price of ClickUp depends on what you want to get out of it. As mentioned earlier, they have a ‘Free Forever’ option. Please note that prices are correct at the time of writing (January 2023).
For the first paid tier, the $9 a month Unlimited option, you will also receive features such as:
- Unlimited automations
- Unlimited dashboards
- Email in ClickUp
For the $19 Business plan, which is their most popular option, you also receive:
- Custom exporting
- Advanced public sharing (great for keeping clients in the loop)
- Workload management (one of our favourite features)
On the Business Plus plan, which is $29 per month and a good option for multiple teams, the extra features include:
- Custom capacity in workload
- Priority support
- Increased automations
There is also an option for ‘Enterprise’, best for many large teams, but the price of this is only found out via contacting the sales team as it is bespoke. This includes everything in the previous packages plus white labelling, a dedicated success manager, live onboarding training and more.
Overall, we believe that ClickUp is an excellent project management tool, and we have been using it for quite a few years now.
We’d give the software 4.5/5 stars. Our only areas of improvement would be the cons we mentioned earlier, mainly loading time. It would be difficult to run an agency which works on so many projects and different clients without a system like the one ClickUp offers!
If you like the sound of the platform and would like to sign up, you can do so by clicking here.