5pm has a far more robust platform than Basecamp, with many more features. Although the interface is a little too cluttered for my taste, it comes with a few neat keyboard shortcuts and a thoroughly documented FAQ system, including easy-to-understand instructional videos.

5pm’s strength lies in its task and progress-management capabilities. Once a task is entered, anybody can add a progress note or a comment on the task. For example, if my task is to secure a location for an upcoming event, I can indicate in the task's progress note that I first must contact ten vendors, and that I'm waiting to hear back from my top three choices. Even if the task hasn’t been completed yet, this feature gives my team members a picture of the work that has been done.

Additionally, you can connect tasks to one another, and indicate dependencies by creating subtasks that must be completed before the parent task can be completed. The Timeline feature in 5pm is a Gantt-like interactive chart that provides a visual representation of the subprojects and subtasks in a project, allowing team members to identify mission critical tasks and task dependencies at a glance.

One of my biggest concerns about using a project management program is how often it requires me to log in to the web application. Much of my daily traffic comes through email. Because of that, if the program doesn’t have stellar email integration, i it doesn't let me assign tasks and comment on progress updates without going to the application’s website for instance, then chances are good that I’ll never use the program.

Luckily, 5pm, like competitors Cohuman and Asana, excels in this department. You can create projects and tasks, and respond to existing tasks and progress updates, all within your email inbox. You can also use email to attach files to an existing task, or to update the progress on a task. You can even use the subject line of your email message to specify details about the task, such as its start date and deadlines.


Turn to 5pm if you are looking for a full featured program, and you have a dedicated project manager who can help identify and log in task dependencies. Also, use 5pm if you have a small group. Large groups will find that it makes more sense, cost and features-wise, to try Cohuman.