Celoxis offers a comprehensive solution that can be a good fit for the right size, focus, and complexity of organization. In this review, we look at the strengths and weaknesses of Celoxis project management software and evaluate it against criteria used commonly in this market. We also take a holistic look – and prognosticate where Celoxis might fit strategically against its competitors.
Project Management Software Overview
There are many PM software providers, Celoxis PM software included, with common and overlapping features, but also with notable differentiation, including strengths and weaknesses in functionality offered, platform support, ease of use and level of skill required, industries and types of companies supported, project size and complexity, portfolio size and characteristics, and other capabilities.
There is, however, a comprehensive superset of features offered in varying degrees across the PM software spectrum. From this full spectrum perspective, different from other Celoxis reviews, we endeavor to evaluate where Celoxis sits, hopefully uncovering its most notable features as well as its shortcomings.
What is this comprehensive superset of features for project management software? For that, we are referencing the Gartner approach. Gartner is very highly regarded for its comprehensive and deep analysis for evaluating software across most major application domains.
The project management function leverages two major approaches, or methodologies, waterfall and agile, with most projects using a combination, or hybrid, approach. Based on that observation, we are using a combined approach and will leverage the structure provided in the Gartner Magic Quadrants for Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) and Enterprise Agile Planning tools. You can find details in the TeamGantt PM software review, or can just see the structure of the analysis below.
Celoxis Project Management Software Overview
Celoxis touts itself as the best alternative to MS Project because it claims it gets rid of the unnecessary frills of MS Project to make it more practical, useful, and easy to use, and because it goes beyond MS Project in a number of important areas.
Here are the key features of Celoxis PM software:
- Project Request Tracking – Manage a requested project through approval process.
- Project Planning – Leverage scheduling functions, with tasks, milestones, assignments.
- Resource Management – Assign people to tasks, record time spent, manage individual workloads on and across projects.
- Project Accounting – Shows revenue and cost numbers for project financial management.
- Portfolio Management – A listing of all projects, with customized high level metrics and direct access to drill down.
- Team and Client Collaboration – Share files and links, and participate in collaborative discussions.
Celoxis does seem to cover all aspects of project management, as it claims. Let’s look a little more closely to ascertain what it does well, where it might fall short, and situations where it is most suitable.
Celoxis Project Management Software Review
First, let’s take a look the capabilities of Celoxis vs the superset of capabilities outlined in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) and Agile project management. From there we can outline the pros, cons, and Celoxis pricing.
Celoxis PPM Capabilities Analysis
- Project demand management – Celoxis allows the flexibility to add statuses, including review stage statuses for proposed projects. However, there is no forcing function for linking directly back to strategy or individual strategic drivers.
- Project planning and management – Celoxis provides a full feature set, including scheduling, collaborative discussions, and document sharing.
- Time management – A robust system for budgeting time and charging actuals is included.
- Resource management – Resources can be added and removed, and visibility into resource status is readily available.
- Resource capacity planning – Resources can be shared across projects and managed for overall work load.
- Project portfolio management – While you can use Celoxis for project demand management, you can take it a step further and devise a portfolio management workflow driven by custom statuses and a customized rating system that enable managers to collaborate. However, other than through a subjective rating, there is not a clear linkage back to strategy.
- Project collaboration – Strong and intuitive document sharing and online discussions are available. Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities are notably missing and would need to be supplemented from another product.
- Program management – I did not see any feature for managing programs – just projects. It is possible that you could group some projects together, but it was not apparent.
- Reporting services – Extensive reporting is available and can be customized.
- Security and user management – A robust, very granular system of access control is available to give users access to only what they need.
- Integration – Celoxis has straightforward integration capabilities to a number of different platforms, including JIRA, QuickBooks, Salesforce, MS Project, and potentially other applications using Zapier.
- Usability – The interface is intuitive, but not necessarily simplistic. The ability to customize or personalize your interface is there, but it may take some work to master and implement that. More complex customization will probably take a specialist designated within your organization.
Celoxis Agile Capabilities Analysis
- Monthly, weekly and even daily incremental value delivery based on business outcomes – There is a Kanban board view available out of the box. There is also the ability to develop custom reports for any duration of time, and to follow work product development in near real time via notifications. In general, this is accomplished by how you set up the project. Setting up a scrum project in Celoxis is totally supported.
- Support for enterprise agile frameworks like Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) – There is no apparent rigorous support for tight adherence to SAFe, but you could probably still implement the SAFe framework and use the Celoxis PM software.
- Product road mapping – This would be a capability of strategic agility that does not appear to be present.
- Increased visibility into the flow of work – The ability to create workflows, and provide good user visibility into status, is strong.
- Management of work backlogs – Through the Board View, managers can see the backlog and assign accordingly. However, this process can appear to be mixed with scheduling, financial, and other metrics (which can be custom removed) that could confound agile practice.
- Collaboration capabilities for individuals and teams – This is very strong, with discussion threads, sharing of files, subscribing and notifications, but I did not see an instant messaging capability. IM may need to be supplemented with an external tool.
- Management of cross-team dependencies – Sharing of resources is well-supported, and individuals can be assigned to multiple projects with clear view into total workloads.
- Release planning and forecasting – Each sprint is a task in Celoxis. You can then add sub-tasks to the task in the form of User Stories, groom the backlog, and manage from there, based upon what the team can accomplish in each sprint.
- Visibility into the financial aspects of the work being done – This is a strong feature, as each activity or task is associated with cost, billing, and value added.
Based on the above analysis, here are the pros and cons for Celoxis PM software.
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- Ability for various project teams to work using a waterfall, agile, or hybrid approach
- Deep and immediate insights into work, as per user preferences and within access control constraints
- High degree of customization across full range of project management issue realms, and customization appears to generally be low code/no code
- It seems to have notable strengths for project oriented organizations – those that execute projects for revenue, rather than to support the business. Support for financial aspects is strong.
- Not necessarily the best tool for every aspect of project management, but certainly a strong one
- Geared for larger teams with many projects
- Not oriented to programs and achievement of strategic program objectives; purely project focused
- May require substantial degree of customization, requiring resources
I think the pros and cons are true tradeoffs. It depends on the requirements of your situation and the types of things you need to prioritize.
Celoxis pricing is very simple, and differentiated only by whether it is cloud based or on premises. The only stipulation is that there must be a 5 user minimum.
- Cloud – free continuing support, free clients and virtual users
- $25/user/mon billed monthly
- $22.50/user/mon billed yearly (10% discount)
- $21.25/user/mon billed every 2 years (15% discount)
- $20.00.user.mon billed every 3 years (20% discount)
- On premises – free support for one year only, free clients and virtual users, includes all upgrades
- $450 billed once
With the 5 user minimum, Celoxis makes it clear it is not targeting the one and two person shops, or casual users, but only serious and medium size users or larger.
Strategic Perspective on Celoxis PM Software
Where might Celoxis fit into the Gartner Magic Quadrant chart at the right. Celoxis is not included in the official Gartner charts for either PPM Capabilities Analysis or Agile Capabilities Analysis.
The Celoxis strategy clearly seems to be to cover the full breadth of functionality in the PPM and Agile capabilities realm. The PM software market is very competitive, and there are surely some other players that can also claim to offer the full breadth of these capabilities.
Let’s consider where Celoxis PM software fits in this competitive landscape, and where it might fit in the Gartner Magic Quadrant chart.
- Noting Celoxis’ exclusion from the Gartner chart, it could be partly due to size (# of licenses), but may also relate to the range of customers served. While it has the breadth of capabilities, it may not have the depth for each of the capabilities, as I have noted with agile/scrum functionality.
- Celoxis project management software distinctly looks advantageous to consulting and related types of professional businesses that execute projects for a fee. This would include many medium-sized businesses.
- Celoxis specifically claims itself as a challenger to MS Project. MS Project is a leader on the Gartner Magic Quadrant, and has more capabilities than just the Windows-based scheduling software. Celoxis’ strength against Microsoft is that it has an integrated whole that is not tied to many legacy features. It is fresher, newer, and more tightly integrated from scratch than MS Project.
- Because it is full-featured, I would position it in the direction of the Leaders. I don’t think it is exactly Visionary, as it does not provide what I would consider to be a disruptive breakthrough. I do see it as somewhat of a Challenger, but also a strong Niche player in the professional services for small to medium businesses (SMB) niche.
- I would position Celoxis PM software either in the upper right of the Niche Players quadrant, or lower right of the Challengers quadrant. It is more a Niche Player in terms of the markets it serves, and more of a Challenger in terms of the breadth of the functionality it offers.
Celoxis makes it easy to get up and running for free for a month. However, since its license terms specify that pricing starts with a minimum of five (5) licenses, if you do not foresee needing at least that number of licenses from the beginning, it might be better to move on to something more accommodating to a small user base, such as TeamGantt.
If you are looking for a tool for a medium to large size organization where project management is a service to the organization, consider carefully your requirements, and evaluate how well Celoxis measures up to your specific needs.
If you are looking for PM software support for a medium to large consulting or other project oriented environment, I would strongly consider Celoxis project management software, especially for its financial orientation and integration. It seems ideal in this niche.
If you want to learn more, simply sign up for the 30- day free trial and create your own Celoxis login.