Over the last decades, productivity has been the subject of intense discussions. People have been wondering what impacts our efficiency. Bookshelves in stores are filled up with self-help literature, and the Internet deluges us with new articles on productivity. Love it or hate it but you have to admit, productivity is omnipresent.
Recently, this subject has permeated to the business world to such an extent, that employers and managers try to do everything they can to improve employees’ productivity. One of the ways to do so is by implementing the right software that would help optimize and automate work. The most common are tools for project and task management, communication and collaboration, and time tracking or activity monitoring.
But trying to use all at once can be challenging. Controlling all the tools may be physically impossible. But using just one is not enough. So why not use all-in-one?
Hive may be the right solution! What is Hive? How does it work? How can it help you grow your business? Let’s check it out!
What is Hive?
Hive was founded in 2015. As every SaaS, it’s been evolving ever since and Hive team works every day on the software’s development.
Hive is “built by the users, for the users” and it’s being improved based on customer feedback and their needs. The team’s goal is to “improve workplace productivity for companies of all types and sizes.”
Hive is a project management and collaboration software for anybody who needs a centralized workflow management system that can help them operate and understand their team and different processes that are an integral part of company’s activity.
The software has two pricing plans:
- Professional plan – $12 per user per month billed annually or monthly (but if you choose a monthly plan, you pay $16 per user per month.). This plan comes with the most essential features: unlimited projects and messages, standard integrations, desktop, and mobile apps, request forms, time tracking, company homepage, action templates, data export.
- Enterprise plan – available on request, billed annually. You get all the features of professional and rollout support, custom integrations, Hive analytics, Hive analytics upgrades, external users, access to Hive API, availability for on-premise installation.
How to use Hive?
If you’re familiar with software such as Asana, Basecamp or Trello, you’ll find it easy to use Hive. But let’s see how Hive looks like, what it offers and what you can do with all the features.
Setting up the account is always easy and looks almost the same for every software. In Hive, there are eight steps you need to go through:
- In Hive, you can sign in with Google, Slack or in the traditional way by providing your first and last name, phone, email, and password.
- Then, you create a workspace and add the name of your organization and its size – 1-10, 11-100, 100+.
- The next step is to add example projects. You can choose from Content Calendar, New hire onboarding, Product roadmap, Agile development, Strategic plan, and Client project. You can, of course, choose as many as you want, but I think it’s best to start from one or two options to get to know Hive well.
- After that, you can choose how you’d like to message your team. You can use Hive messaging or the app you and your team are already using.
- Create your first project
- Write three actions that will be added to your project
- Invite your colleagues (or do it later)
- Connect your file storage to Hive – Google Drive, Box, Dropbox or One Drive (or you can do it later)
Now your account is ready. You can freely use Hive.
At first, Hive may seem a little complicated with all the windows, tabs, and details. But to make it easier Hive provides you with a guided checklist, “Hive mastery,” to help you understand how everything works. You can follow the checklist at the start of using Hive or do it in the process; the items will check off the list automatically.
Let’s focus on the main view. From this level, you can access everything, which is particularly helpful if you don’t like switching between all the tabs and windows. There are five joint components:
- Messaging Panel – access to group conversations or direct messages
- Messaging Board – for a conversation with a selected group
- Project Panel – the overview of all the projects
- Your Board – here you can view the project or summary view that you have chosen. You can also check out your “my actions” list that shows all the actions that are assigned to you.
- Top Panel
All that makes Hive a compact project management software. You have access to everything in just one place without the need of switching between many different levels as it is in most of the tools of this type.
So that’s the general overview of Hive. It’s vital that you understand it to be able to use the software to its fullest.
Now, let’s go through all the five components.
1. Messaging Panel
This panel is where you can access everything relating to messaging. It’s really easy-in-use and looks like a simplified version of Slack’s panel with all the groups and team members.
Here’s what you can do in the Messaging Panel:
- Set your status
- Create new groups
- Access all team members
- Invite new team members via email; you can also send an email invitation to groups and/or projects
2. Messaging Board
Messaging Board is connected to Messaging Panel. You can keep it visible or hide it to have more space for Project Panel (3) and Your Board (4).
This board shows the private or group conversation you select. Similarly to Slack, you can add reactions to messages, share files and invite people. You can also turn notifications on/off, edit, and delete group. But the real fun is the ability to turn part of your conversation into a task with the drag-and-drop feature.
Messaging Board and Messaging Panel are simple and intuitive and they help to maintain effective communication.
3. Project Panel
Now here’s where all the big stuff happens. This panel gives you a detailed insight into all projects and tasks. While being able to access everything from one level is great, at first I find it quite difficult to navigate through this panel in Hive. There are so many details that I don’t know what to start from.
But let’s try to analyze it step by step. My advice is to hide the Messaging Board and focus only on the Project Panel to get a better overview of all the projects, tasks, and features.
There are four sections with different types of projects which categorize every project based on its stage:
- Now – current projects
- Future – snoozed projects
- Assigned by me – projects which you can delegate to other people
To every project, you can add as many tasks (actions) as you want. Additionally, tasks have many practical subfeatures:
- type of template
- adding files
- marking task as private (to the assignees)
- marking tasks as urgent
- marking tasks as milestone
- adding emojis
- copying actions
- copying actions
- sharing actions via link or in chat, printing, snoozing, and archiving
- following actions
These features help to take control over every detail of project and make sure there are no mistakes.
Moreover, in Project Panel above the list of projects, there are four icons. The first one is the List view which is the main view of the list by default with all your projects.
The second one is the Kanban view. And the Kanban view allows you to outline your projects in the ways as you need. It can either be super detailed with many phases or as simple as two or three phases. You can juggle it all as you want! In the Kanban view, you can filter the actions by time category – Today, This week, This month, Overdue, No due date or None.
The third icon is filtering actions by time category. And in the last one, you can sort actions by due date, priority, and last updated; group by project or none; and export to PNG.
“What needs to be done?” section is a fast way of adding another action.
To sum up, Project Panel is the most important part of Hive project management software. It’s the main dashboard for all activities of your team where you can see everything at a glance.
4. Your board
This panel has three important parts. They are visible on the white bar above the Project Panel.
The first part is Project Navigator, the place where you can easily access all your projects. There are four categories of Projects: Active Projects, Archived Projects, Summary views, Templates.
In Project Navigator, you have a list of projects with their names and team members who participate in the projects. You can also add people to projects, add new project, and pin or unpin it from the bar.
New project can be created from scratch or you can copy it from the existing templates. Adding new project has three steps:
- Choosing project name, its color, dates, labels, description, attachments, parent projects, and phases
- Set privacy: private, for specific people, for everyone in the team, or make it public to the entire organization
- Choose project layout (this can be changed later): Status View, Team View, Calendar, Label View, Gantt View, Table View
Summary views section allows you to see actions from more than one project at the same time.
The next part of Project Panel is My actions. It displays all your projects (which I described in part 4. Project Panel).
Next to My actions, you have all your projects. You can quickly find them by their names and colors and add new ones. It’s worth to take a look at this section. Note that if you unpinned your project from the bar, you won’t be able to see or access it here.
And so by accessing the project from this area, you can see everything about it, including all the previously mentioned features. You can also create custom fields as you need.
5. Top Panel
I decided to start reviewing Hive from going through each of the panels step by step. I also decided to follow their Getting Started section in “Hive help.” But I don’t recommend doing so as it got me more confused. What I recommend starting from is actually the Top Panel. That’s because it will make it easier for you to learn some basics.
So let’s see why I think it’s a better idea to begin your journey with Hive with this panel.
First of all, if you need any help, there’s the big question mark on the right top where you can find answers to your questions about the software, tips and tricks.
Then, you can access the most basic settings:
- My profile: you can update info about you, change password, set notifications, and deactivate your account
- Workspace: manage all the features of your workspace, including appearance, team members, labels or templates
- Adding actions: import tasks from Trello, Asana, Basecamp or import CSV file
- Enable apps, for example, time tracking, resourcing, forms, messaging or dependencies. NOTE that without these apps you won’t be able to use Hive fully.
- Analytics, which gives you detailed insight into your team’s performance such as productivity, projects completed, etc. It can be downloaded in the form of a PDF file or printed.
- Sign up for a subscription
There’s also “files panel” where you can see all the latest files from your file storage. That’s convenient if you use virtual drive.
For notifications, there’s a bell icon so you can be sure you’re always up-to-date with all projects. The next two items allow you to invite team members and add new action for your team.
Top panel is also where the time tracker is located so you can see how much time you’re spending on tasks.
How can Hive help your business – use cases
Hive can substantially help any type of business. The level to which the software will impact work depends on the type of your business, how long you’ve been operating it and what’s its level of development, number of employees, and many other factors.
If you have a team that needs a unified system for managing tasks and projects, here are some examples ho Hive can help your business:
- If you’re a startup or a small business which has just entered the market, the beginning of your business journey may be easy. But with time, you’ll be hiring more and more people. Being connected with all of them will become more difficult as you’re all not able to follow each other’s work progress. With Hive, you can easily create centralized system of communication and collaboration where everyone can see what’s happening in the organization, stay updated with the latest changes, and adjust their work to what’s happening around.
- There are many great apps aimed at optimizing work. But using different tools for communication, collaboration, task, and project management can be challenging. Hive enables you to have it all in one place and replace many apps with one thanks to its detailed features.
- Hive is an excellent solution for teams who work on complex projects divided into many tasks. With all the features Hive offers, you can quickly organize every action and attribute different preferences to it – assignee, date, budget, add files, etc. Additionally, you can visualize projects thanks to multiple projects layouts – Kanban view, Gantt chart, Calendar, and others.
Integrations enable you to connect the software to other tools for a better experience. You can effortlessly automate work for your entire team.
And if you’re a fan of flexibility, use mobile app to access Hive from any place in the world.
Altogether, the five panels create a unified system which allows you to monitor your team’s work in one place without the need of switching between different apps. Hive is a very condensed project management and collaboration software which allows you to access all the information about your team and their work conveniently.
Hive helps to automate work and optimize processes related to communication and collaboration, task and project management.
If you think about it, Hive really is a hive where all the busy bees meet to discuss their commitments, take a look at the progress of work and contribute to the creation of something meaningful. Hive is where work happens. Compared to other project management software, Hive looks really good. It’s innovative and fancy software.
It might be easy to get confused at the beginning with all the elements – tabs, windows, tasks. And the deeper you dive into Hive, the more functionalities you discover. It’s a good way to play with the tool before you and your team fully implement it. Create sample projects and see how everything works.
My first thought after signing up for Hive was rather negative and it seemed that there are too many elements. To fully discover everything Hive offers, I recommend going through their Help section. Not everything is clear right after you start using the app. And that is a drawback which I found quite serious.
As a user, I am looking for an intuitive tool. And having access to all components in one place is a fantastic thing which makes work much easier. But… I have the feeling that Hive creators are trying too hard to include all the possible features without rethinking how it would impact user experience.
For that reason I found it challenging to cover all the most important aspects of Hive. I still feel that Hive holds a lot of secrets for me to discover. But on the other hand, maybe it’s a good thing!
Nevertheless, after analyzing Hive, I can honestly say that it’s worth trying. It really is all-in-one project management and collaboration software.
Also, it’s not suitable for a single user. It’s best to use it as a team to make the full use of all the possibilities it offers.
To give you the final overview, here are the most important features:
- Unlimited projects
- Flexibility in adjusting tasks
- Customizable features
- Time tracking
- Different layouts
- Native messaging (you don’t have to buy it as an extra feature)
- Analytics and reporting to measure productivity of your team
- Desktop and mobile app
- Importing tasks from other project management software
Features you can expect in the future (first quarter of 2019):
- Proofing & approvals
- Forms with dynamic fields and conditional logic
- Project landing pages that provide a quick overview of any project with all the need-to-know project details
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