I’ve spent a good amount of time toying with and reviewing different project management tools. So much time, in fact, that my website, Zincubate, was created to provide a resource for small businesses looking for tech tools to help them grow.

Project management tools are at the core of what we review on Zincubate, and Basecamp held our full attention for quite some time. My team and I have been using it for years, and it’s done some great things for us.

Now that the market has somewhat matured, there are other players entering with a newer and fresher take on what project management should entail. While I spend a lot of time on Basecamp reviews, I wanted to take readers through a review of Apollo, a newer project management tool.

Apollo Project Management Overview

Apollo is a project and contact management tool that offers small businesses a central place for all things project-related: tasks, messages, contacts, calendars, etc. I’ve come to expect these features from ANY project management tool, but I think Apollo puts a unique spin on some traditional features (which I love).

The Dashboard

I’m a big fan of the Apollo Dashboard. Everything is organized intuitively and everything I need is extremely easy to find. Upon login, you are taken to a screen that displays all users’ latest activity (not seen in the latest version of Basecamp).

Also displayed in the dashboard is a menu bar on the left-hand side that takes me wherever I need to go: Overview (back to the dashboard), My Tasks, Calendar, Projects, Contacts, and Settings.

Apollo 2013 Review: Project Management Tools for Small BusinessesMy favorite features on this menu are the quick-add buttons and the task timer. The quick-add buttons make it easy to create a task, add a calendar invite, or use the timer.

I often find it cumbersome (and slightly annoying) to manually keep track of my time. I suppose I could keep track on my phone, but I really like the fact that Apollo integrates this directly into their main menu. With this timer, you can stop it and link it directly to a specific task. This is, by far, one of my favorite features of Apollo.

Apollo Tasks

Tasks are typically included in any project management tool, and Apollo has all the necessary features. When you look at your tasks, you can use handy tabs to switch between My Active Tasks, My Completed Tasks, and My Time. You also have the option to filter by categories such as due date, who created the task, who is responsible, what type of task (personal, project, contact), and the status.

Time Tracking

I’m the first one to say that time is probably the most important resource for a company and its employees. Apollo does a fantastic job with their time tracking tool. I’ve been using Basecamp for years, and I think Apollo wins hands-down for time tracking effectiveness.

In addition to using the timer on the dashboard, you can also manually add time. Time is time, but with Apollo, you can mark time as not billable, billable, or billed.

Apollo 2013 Review: Project Management Tools for Small Businesses

Apollo Calendar Integration

At first glance, Apollo’s calendar is pretty standard. However, one of my favorite overall features of Apollo is the ability to integrate your Apollo calendar with an external calendar you already use (i.e. Outlook, iCal, Google Calendar). You’re able to export your tasks directly onto that calendar and the integration is absolutely seamless!

Apollo Projects

Apollo’s projects organized by recent activity, messages, task lists, milestones, writeboards, files, time, and time reports. There is a reason this organization is pretty standard among other project management tools – because it works and it makes sense.

A Unique Spin on Project Management Software

For a newer contender in the project management industry, Apollo certainly has a leg up on the competition with its fresh take on some features (my favorites being the timer and the option to integrate calendars). If this is their software after only a few years, then I am definitely looking forward to what they come up with in the future!