SpiraPlan Review – The Good and Bad for 2023
SpiraPlan is an agile project management system designed to help small and mid-sized businesses manage tasks, workflows, projects, and risks from one platform. It includes features like goal setting, budget management, task assignment, customizable workflows, and dashboards. In this review, we break down SpiraPlan’s best features, and the places we felt could use some improvement.
SpiraPlan Compared to the Best Project Portfolio Management Tools
Below, you’ll find our Golden Eggs, the best project portfolio management tools based on all the ones we tried. SpiraPlan didn’t make it onto our list, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be a good fit for you, so don’t count it out before reading this review.
The tools in our list are excellent for project organization, collaboration, and customization. Read our full review to see how we chose our favorites.
Monday.com is our favorite tool because it’s flexible, intuitive, and offers powerful customization across teams. You can get started for free today, no credit card required.
Hive is our top recommendation for teams, thanks to its range of collaboration features, including virtual chat, tagging, and project sharing. You can try Hive free for yourself.
Asana is our top pick for those looking for an easy learning curve and a focus on simplicity that allows you to prioritize specific tasks. You can try their basic plan for free.
SpiraPlan: The Good and the Bad
Project management portfolio tools almost always have task management features, like calendars, tagging, task assignments, and project estimates. However, they don’t all have the same features beyond those basics, and some handle even the basics better than others. We’ve broken down what we think SpiraPlan does best and what could be improved on.
What SpiraPlan Is Good At
SpiraPlan is great when it comes to customization and collaboration features. It allows teams to work together and communicate easily and understands that every project and client is unique. It’s also very easy to learn, according to users, and intuitive when sending project reminders.
Flexible and Customizable Interface: One of the main strengths of SpiraPlan is that it’s easy to use and customize, even for team members that aren’t particularly tech-savvy. All the dashboards and workflows are customizable with drag-and-drop configurations, with no coding or scripting required, making it easier for bigger teams to make changes.
Users frequently cited these features as one of their favorite things about SpiraPlan, saying that the flexible customization made it easier to manage multiple client workflows or projects simultaneously.
Strong Time Management Capabilities: Another strength of SpiraPlan is its time-tracking tools, like task updates and project delivery timeline forecasts. For example, SpiraPlan offers users a centralized view of all projects, making it easy to identify what’s important and which tasks should be prioritized and assigned in a timeline.
Time-tracking is something you would expect from any project management tool, but SpiraPlan users specifically mention that SpiraPlan is more intuitive with how it updates users about deadlines and that the visual tree diagrams for workflows made it easier to stay on track as a team.
Well-supported Collaboration: With tools like an instant chat feature for teams, an internal wiki that’s easy to edit, and straightforward document collaboration, SpiraPlan is easy for teams to use. A planning board feature also breaks up tasks and assigns them to individual team members to help complete projects efficiently.
There’s also a feature called Scrum Task Boards, which gives users a clear view of who has been assigned to which task and how they’re progressing with it. SpiraPlan also can send automatic project updates to users via email and lets teams raise issues or give feedback directly through email or chat.
Detailed Online Tutorials and Support: SpiraPlan is great when it comes to online support and tutorials for new users. Reviews constantly mentioned that they found SpiraPlan easy to set up and intuitive to use, and many credited the FAQ and YouTube tutorials for that.
SpiraPlan also has a support team via email and phone and offers all users one year of free dedicated support when they buy SpiraPlan or any other Inflectra product.
Versatile Device Deployment: Something else that makes SpiraPlan easy to use is that it integrates and can be used on almost any device. Some Project Management platforms are limited to desktops, but SpiraPlan can be used on Cloud, Desktop, iOS, and Android, making it one of the more versatile systems on the market.
What SpiraPlan Is Lacking
SpiraPlan is great in many ways, but a few things could be improved, especially reporting and technical reliability. Here are the places we found SpiraPlan had some room for improvement:
Limited/Complex Reporting Capacity: Reporting generally doesn’t seem to be a strength of SpiraPlan. Some users complained that they would like a deeper level of report customization and that the reports generated lacked detail. This could be because SpiraPlan offers lots of customization options for reporting, some of which are fairly technical, so users might be struggling to work out how to make the reporting work for them. If you’re not super technical but need detailed reports, this is something to keep in mind.
Occasional Technical Glitches: Several users reported that they’d experienced latency issues, especially when trying to load tests or large project workflows. To be fair, glitches like these are common with project management tools where multiple team members or projects are being managed, but it’s still good to be aware of with SpiraPlan.
SpiraPlan Options and Pricing
When it comes to plans and pricing, SpiraPlan does things a little differently than other project management systems. Instead of having different plans with different features, SpiraPlan offers one plan that includes all features, with pricing that goes up based on the number of users. This is great for smaller teams that want access to all the benefits of SpiraPlan but don’t necessarily have the same budget as a large corporation or enterprise.
It’s also important to note that SpiraPlan offers users a 30-day free trial with full access to all features and no credit card requirement to sign up. Unlike other companies we’ve reviewed (like our Golden Eggs) SpiraPlan doesn’t have a free plan, so the trial is a good way for users to see if the investment makes sense for their needs.
Even though SpiraPlan only has one plan with higher pricing for more users, it does have solutions and features targeted toward different industries and uses. Let’s look at some of the industries SpiraPlan caters to and how it’s targeted toward them.
Energy & Industrial
For energy and industrial companies, a lot of the most significant problems users face revolve around testing systems, defining requirements, and ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. SpiraPlan comes with risk management and tracking features designed to help users in this industry stay on schedule with testing and keep clearly defined goals, workflows, and timelines.
SpiraPlan’s bug tracking feature also maintains a secure audit log of all actions made in the system, which is useful when it comes to making compliance reports. This feature includes tracking, bug management, resolution assignment, and defect workflows so teams can identify and resolve issues with detailed reports showing the process. This makes SpiraPlan a powerful system, not just for project management, but for compliance in an industry where it’s so important.
Teams in the financial services industry need to be able to adapt to ongoing changes in technology and consumer needs, so SpiraPlan’s planning and collaboration features are especially important for these users. The instant messaging and dashboards with multiple workflows really come into their own here, because they allow teams to make fast decisions and changes for projects in an industry that requires a lot of innovation.
It’s also worth noting that, like many other industries SpiraPlan is targeted at, risk management through SpiraPlan’s bug-tracking tool is crucial to financial management. What’s great about SpiraPlan is that it comes with over 55 integrations, including 9 for bug and defect tracking. This makes it easy for teams to use SpiraPlan even if they already rely on other defect-tracking tools like Jira or Axosoft.
Healthcare & Life Sciences
Healthcare and life sciences is another industry where compliance is key, and so the same bug tracking and risk management tools that can be used for energy or financial services are valuable here too.
Where SpiraPlan really shines for healthcare and life sciences, though, is with real-time traceability and customization. Users in this industry need to be able to access and customize a dashboard with multiple workflows, as well as make fast changes and updates without disrupting their teams. SpiraPlan even has an email integration feature that ensures all users are notified about changes in the system, making it much easier for teams to adapt quickly to industry regulation changes or bug fixes.
Government & Defense
Government and defense industries face the challenge of delivering secure and effective systems that are easy to use while staying within a budget. One of the main SpiraPlan features that benefit this industry is its planning tools for secure traceability and testing for optimizing IT investments and systems portfolios.
SpiraPlan also has a planning board feature designed to help teams break down projects and make changes based on budget. Its tracking features track where that budget is during a project’s life cycle, and users are updated when expenses are running over or need to be reallocated.
SpiraPlan in Summary
SpiraPlan is considered a solid project portfolio management tool for a reason. It has next to no learning curve, great support, good collaboration options, and is fully customizable.
It also comes with all the usual features you would expect from a project management tool, like budgeting, and makes those available to any plan, not just the top ones. But as great as it is, SpiraPlan isn’t the only project management tool on the market, and if you’re still shopping around for one, there are plenty more fish in the sea.
We still think Monday.com is the best option for businesses that need fast tech and templates, and that Hive is perfect for teams that need collaboration to be a priority. And, as easy as SpiraPlan is, Asana is still our top pick for ease of use and simplicity for new teams and users.
You can read our full article to see what we liked, and didn’t like, about all the other project management portfolio tools we reviewed.