If you need simple personal checklists to make sure tasks and to-do items get done, or you need to manage projects and tasks with teams, Ora for PC, Mac and phone, is worth considering.
Ora project and task manager belongs to the same category of tools as Asana, Trello, Zenkit, Wrike, ClickUp and similar services. They aim to help you manage everything from simple tasks for solo workers to complex projects for teams within companies. They can be used online in a web browser on PC, Mac and Linux on the desktop or on iPhone and Android phone.
Here I take a look at Ora using a free account, which is quite good and has almost all features enabled. Only a small number of features are held back for paying subscribers and if you are on a budget, it is a useful free task and project management tool.
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What is Ora?
Ora is a web-based project and task manager that aims to make it easier to manage and track your work. It is aimed at businesses, but it can be used as a personal organizer too. You can put your to-do lists and other tasks in it and see what needs to be started, what is in progress and what has been completed.
Ora can be accessed in a browser on a Windows PC, Apple Mac and Linux at Ora.pm. There are desktop apps for all three operating systems, and there are also apps for the iPhone and for Android phones. Ora apps.
I used it in a browser at the website with a free account and it is a great web app that has plenty of features and functions.
Organize projects with Ora
You create folders and these are used to organize your projects. A personal folder and organization (work) folder are created when you set up your Ora account, and subfolders are created within these to hold projects.
Create a new project in Ora and you are presented with a collection of ready-made templates. They don’t lock you into any particular way of working and they just help with the basic setup, such as the type of view that is best for the project.
For example, there are templates for event planning, freelance working, project management, to-do list, Agile Kanban, marketing management, sales pipeline and more. You can also start with a blank template and add the features you want to suit the way that you work.
Work solo or with teams
A project can be a personal one just for you or you can invite other organization or team members to it as you are setting it up. You can invite or kick members at any time though. The project can be private to your organization or selected team members and anyone interested can see it and join it. A project can also be set to public and accessible by anyone on the web.
Multiple projects can be created in folders, to which different people can be invited. They can be admins with full access, members with the ability to view and edit tasks, or observers who can only view tasks. Observers are only available on paid plans.
There is a strong bias towards teamwork and team features, but there is no reason why you could not use it solo to organize your work and personal projects. It is useful if you need more features than a regular to-do list app provides.
Add tasks to projects in Ora
Open a project and tasks can be added. A description can be added and this can be plain text or you can use markdown to add headings, styling, links and so on. Checklists can be added, files can be attached, and labels added.
Tasks can be assigned to yourself or to other members of your organization or team. A deadline can be set. You, or whoever the task is assigned to, can track the time spent on it and a timer can be started by clicking start/pause/stop buttons, or entered manually.
In addition to this, you can set a deadline for a task and then set the number of hours each day you must spend on it. A schedule is then created.
Tasks have a history showing the changes to it and, if you have a team, others can add comments. Tasks can also be one of several states, like Open, Complete, For Review and Frozen. You can choose to approve or reject a task.
View projects and tasks
The number of ways that projects and tasks can be viewed is good. A project template sets the initial view, but extra views can be added by clicking a button in the project toolbar. There is List, Board, Table, Calendar and Timeline.
Board view is like a Kanban board with tasks in vertical columns like To-do, Doing and Done, or whatever you want to call them. List view lists tasks with checkboxes, so you can mark when they are done, or moved to the next group, Table view is spreadsheet-like with rows and columns.
Calendar shows tasks on a monthly calendar so you can see which tasks you must work on, on which days according to the deadlines. Timeline view is an alternative that shows days across the top and task start and end days below. Milestones can be shown.
Add-ons and integrations
Open a project’s settings and there is an option to enable add-ons and integrations. There were 26 when I last looked and among the add-ons are different views of projects and tasks, custom fields, sprints, milestones. time tracking and more. Integrations include Slack, Zendesk, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, Zapier and several more.
Some alternatives, like Asana and Trello provide even more add-ons and integrations, but it is more important to have the ones you need rather than 100 you don’t. Ora’s add-ons and extensions are adequate for many people.
Ora free vs paid plans
A free Ora account can include up to 10 team or organization members, but there is no limit to the members on the paid plans. Files can be added to tasks and projects, but the 10 MB limit on free accounts is very limiting. Enterprise paid plans have 1 GB of storage space.
In addition to admins and members, paid plans allow observers, so you could give someone permission to view a project even if they are not a member, like a customer or client. Recurring tasks are only in paid plans.
You get a lot of features in a free plan and it is great for you and up to nine other people in your team or organization. Apart from the member and file attachment limits, you can do almost everything.
I like using Ora to manage projects and tasks, and the only irritation I have is that sometimes there isn’t enough contrast between text and background. Grey on white or grey on dark grey can be found in various places and I struggle with it. We don’t all have perfect eyesight and top-of-the-range screens.
The good range of features and the ability to view projects and tasks in different ways is very useful. The add-ons and integrations are useful and are sufficient for me, but some Ora alternatives provide many more and that could sway you in favor of a rival service.
There are many project and task organizers for everyone from solo workers to large teams and some have even more features than Ora. However, it is sufficient for most people and it does the basics well.