We like QG Software's 5pm, a relatively inexpensive, easy-to-use project management service that can help you prioritise your tasks and manage smaller projects.

Managing and prioritising tasks is key to meeting business obligations. Almost every business professional has a method of managing small projects and effectively collaborating with others to get the job done. But can yours be improved?

There's no excuse for sticking to a paper-based project management system when several simple web services can now do the job so much better. These services also help ensure that all project team members are quickly updated about changing deadlines and new developments.

We like QG Software's 5pm, a relatively inexpensive ($18 per month and up), easy-to-use project management service that can help you prioritise your tasks and manage smaller projects. It sports a good-looking user interface that is more customisable than most other web-based services.

5pm is no Microsoft Project: it can't easily manage large or long-term projects. However, it lets you create and update tasks and projects either on the web or via email. Visually appealing timeline charts let you quickly check your progress. 5pm can also integrate project deadlines with some calendar services.

Overall, 5pm offers a well-rounded array of project management services that should suit the needs of most light-duty users.

No credit card required for trial

Signing up for an account is simple. You don't even need to provide credit card info for the free trial. 5pm supports most popular web browsers, including recent versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

You will need to select your own subdomain (something along the lines of "mycompany.5pmweb.com") in order to log on to the service and to enable email integration. Several short video tutorials provide basic instructions on how to use the service.

After you log on, you'll see four tabs down the left side of the display: Projects, Timeline, Reports, and Profiles. You'll probably spend most of your time working in the Projects tab. Clicking on it shows a list of projects in the left pane. When you click on a project, a list of project details, such as tasks and progress indicators, appear in the right pane. Simply hovering over a project for a couple of seconds will provide more details in a pop-up info window, a nice touch.

We also like the way you can customise the look of 5pm, simply dragging columns to change widths or resort data. 5pm can even integrate with calendars that support iCalendar feeds, such as Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird, so you can check on your project deadlines in the calendar app. Such data synchronisation works with Google Calendar, too, but for some reason (the company blames Google), the process is much slower than it is with the Apple and Mozilla apps.