QuickBase and Nifty are two of the most popular project management tools available today.
But how do they stack up against each other?
Which one manages tasks better?
Which one helps you allocate resources more effectively?
Which one is more affordable?
Discover all the answers in our detailed comparison guide.
A. Project and Task Management
Get. Things. Done.
You and every project manager likely live by those words.
It’s also the heart and soul of any project management software.
This is why, before anything else, you must evaluate a tool’s ability to help you manage your tasks and projects.
Features to look out for:
- Project structure: A simple, intuitive way to organize work and toggle through multiple projects, tasks, boards, etc.
- Views: Board, list, timeline, Gantt, and other types of views that let you visualize various types of information within each project.
- Tasks & subtasks: Dedicated spaces offering the ability to drill down to the smallest level of actionable detail about each project item.
- Statuses: Effortless ways to communicate the exact progress of each task, board, project, etc.
- Checklists: Quick to-do lists for each task so things don’t fall through the cracks
- Task templates: Easy-to-copy templates to create identical tasks at scale across multiple projects.
- Assignees: The ability to assign tasks, boards, or projects to individual team members, groups, or even teams.
- Priorities: A way to communicate the urgency level of each task, subtask, or project.
- Automations: Trigger-based (if X happens then do Y); ways to automate repetitive actions such as notifications, comments, status updates, etc.
1. Project Structure / Hierarchy
In Quickbase, the general hierarchy of information is as follows:
Apps > Tables > Records > Fields
- Apps: Quickbase aims to let you build or customize your own project management apps, which are collections of tables, dashboards, and reports summarizing projects and tasks.
- Tables: Tables are like spreadsheets or databases for capturing project and task information, which you can then use to create dashboards and reports.
- Records: A record is a row on a table. In a project management app, it represents an individual project or task.
- Fields: Fields are table columns that contain a type of information (E.g., project name, assignee, due date, etc.)
Tables can also be tied together using table-to-table relationships. For example, a table listing your projects can include a field that collects information from a table of tasks. A formula could summarize the number of tasks in each project or the number in each task status.
Find everything on Nifty by navigating this easy-to-understand hierarchy:
Workspace > Portfolios > Projects > Milestones > Tasks > Subtasks
- Workspace: A place for all your work on Nifty
- Portfolios: A collection of projects grouped by teams, departments, etc.
- Projects: Designated spaces to manage and collaborate over Milestones, Tasks, docs, etc.
- Milestones: High-level objectives in a project comprising several Tasks
- Tasks: Single to-dos that can be assigned to individuals or multiple team members
- Subtasks: A breakdown of Tasks into smaller to-dos that comprise them
When you open a table in a Quickbase app, the default homepage view will display all fields and records as a table. But you can create reports that function as different views. You can also set any report as the table home page.
Report types include:
- Tables: Create a focused table, selecting columns to show, sorting and filtering records, and adding formulae.
- Kanban: Group tasks by stage and select the fields, filters, and sorting you want to apply.
- Grid edit: This function makes the entire table editable at once so you can add, modify, or delete multiple records easily.
- Summary: Create field summaries with calculations like percentages, counts, averages, etc.
- Map: Display addresses and locations from your table in a map.
- Calendar: Use a date field (E.g., start dates or due dates) to create a task calendar and choose what information you want to display for each calendar item.
- Timeline: Select start and end date fields to display tasks on a timeline.
- Stacked Bar
- Horizontal Bar
- Horizontal Stacked Bar
- Line and bar
Work on these six views on Nifty:
Nifty allows you to see your work with these 11 views:
- List: Shows all Tasks one after the other in a simple list.
- Timeline: Track the overall progress of a Project by mapping it from Milestone to Milestone.
- Calendar: A master view showcasing all Task volumes and due dates.
- Kanban: A view to move Tasks (represented as cards) easily and facilitate an easy drag-and-drop working style.
- Swimlane: A Kanban-style display that showcases Tasks across multiple Milestones, allowing you to move them around with drag-and-drop motions.
- Custom: Apply various filters to sort Tasks and save the particular view for future reference.
3. Tasks & Subtasks
You can set up tasks as records using fields to include specific details.
Quickbase offers 27 different field types, all of which are multipurpose (E.g., you can use a date field for start dates, due dates, and more). They include:
- Single and multi-line text
- Dates and Times
- Phone Numbers
- File attachments
Quickbase doesn’t offer a native way to create and organize subtasks.
Tasks are the individual objectives within a project that live inside Task Lists and can be assigned to single to multiple assignees.
Completing Tasks contributes towards completing Milestones.
Edit a task with details like:
- And more
Further split a Task into Subtasks, each with its own level of detailing as a Task. Each Subtask has its own set of descriptions, comments, assignees, etc. Completing Subtasks doesn’t contribute to Milestone completion.
While Quickbase doesn’t offer a dedicated status field, you can easily create one using the dropdown field type and inputting your desired task stages.
Nifty offers four default Statuses: To Do, In Progress, Review, and Completed — displayed on all Boards. You can change the Statuses for each Task or Milestone to reflect these. Besides these, users can customize their Board and add more statuses or change their colors.
Moreover, you can use custom statuses to visualize Project-level status too.
To create a checklist for tasks in Quickbase, you’ll need to create a field with a checkbox for each checklist item.
Nifty lets you add multiple Checklists to each Task and Subtask. Marking items on the Checklist reflections completion percentage on a progress bar for each list.
6. Task Templates
Creating a task in Quickbase is, by nature, templatized. When you create a new table, Quickbase automatically creates a form that users can fill in to add new records. Each record in a table will include the same fields each time.
Additionally, Quickbase Exchange provides a collection of prebuilt apps, many of which are already populated with tables, forms, sample data, and reports. These can serve as customizable table and record templates.
Save the layout of any Task or Milestone as a Template that you can reuse and apply to other Tasks or Milestones.
Each template contains fields for:
- Start / Due Date offsets
- Custom Fields
Once saved, you can customize it further.
Set assignees for tasks using a user field.
Nifty lets you assign Tasks, Subtasks, and Portfolios to single or multiple team members. Assigning a Task to a team member will automatically assign its Subtasks to them, too.
Quickbase doesn’t provide a ready-made priority field. However, you can create one using the dropdown field type and inputting your desired priority levels.
Nifty offers four default Priority tags: High, Medium, Low, and Blocked. Besides these, you can create and edit any number of custom Priority tags.
Automations in Quickbase are called pipelines or workflows. The pipelines designer provides a flow chart-style visual space to craft automations composed of trigger events, actions, and loops.
Nifty lets you create the following automations:
- Custom If/Then Workflow Automations
- Automated Progress Reporting with Milestones
- Automated Task Assignments based on Task Status
- Automated Task Grouping
B. Time Management
Time is money for a reason.
The right software can be the difference between pinching pennies and raking in the big bucks.
Effective project management software offers effortless time management features to help you befriend the clock.
With the right one, expect to keep all your tasks running as scheduled and meet your deadlines with ease.
Features to look out for include:
- Due dates: Communicate expected delivery dates.
- Time estimates: Make capacity decisions based on how much time each task or project is expected to take.
- Time tracking: Measure productivity with accurate time consumption data for each team member.
1. Due Dates
Set due dates and any other significant project dates simply using a date field.
When you set due dates for your Tasks, Nifty will automatically calculate the due date for Milestone based on the duration for all Tasks that comprise it.
Moreover, Tasks Dependent on each other have cascading due dates. This means that when you change the due date for one Task, Nifty automatically changes them correspondingly for the other Dependent Tasks.
2. Time Estimates
Add time estimates to tasks by including a duration field. This field type allows you to format durations as seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and smart units (E.g., “120 mins” formats as “2 days”).
Nifty allows you to add Story Points to each Task. Based on them, it automatically sets time estimates for Milestones. Typically 1 point accounts for roughly 1 day of work.
3. Time Tracking
Quickbase doesn’t include a native time-tracking feature.
Use Nifty’s native Time Tracker to track time for each individual Task. You can easily edit this tracked time information or add manual entries of the time you worked on each Task.
Users can access detailed Logs of all their recorded time on Nifty.
What you can’t measure, you can’t improve.
Reporting and analytics features can help you track real-time progress, monitor key metrics, and sniff out bottlenecks like a detective.
Armed with these insights, your team can stay ahead of the curve no matter the situation.
Expect better resource management, superior deadline compliance, and a more focused and decisive team.
Features to look out for include:
- Goals and milestones: Record targets for the whole team to see and work towards.
- Dashboards: Visualize data from all corners of the team into a user-friendly, interactive interface.
- Gantt charts: Keep your plans flexible with Gantt charts that allow you to adjust timelines based on changing resource availability and task completion ratio.
1. Goals & Milestones
Quickbase doesn’t offer a goal-setting feature, but it does have native date-based milestones. You can set these up by creating a checkbox field in a table, naming it “Milestone”, then navigating to a timeline report and choosing your milestone field from the milestone dropdown.
These will display as diamonds on the timeline view, representing the end dates of tasks you checked in the table.
A Milestone in Nifty refers to a collection of Tasks that form a high-level objective in a Project. Which is why they’re also referred to as ‘Task Lists.’ Each Milestone is auto-updated as and when you move around the Tasks that comprise it.
You can even create Dependencies between various Milestones within a Project. This blocks the Tasks in Dependent Milestones until the preceding Milestone is achieved.
A step further than this is a Goal. A Nifty Goal lets you track progress across Projects and Portfolios. To set a Goal, you need to select:
- Progress Source: The Tasks and Lists (Milestones) that make up the Goal
- Track Metric: Whether the Goal depends on the number of Tasks completed, time tracked, Story Points, or any other Custom Field you decide
- Target: Whether the Track Metric will dynamically update itself or will need a static (predefined) target
Goals progress as the Tasks within them progress.
With Quickbase, you can create a dashboard for apps using reports as widgets. From the customization settings of your app homepage, you can drag and drop widgets anywhere on the page. Here, you can select reports and charts you have made for any of your tables to display on the dashboard.
Additionally, you can create distinct or duplicate apps for different teams and display a different app dashboard for each. This way the right people see the right data on their front page.
For example, a manager dashboard might display information about overdue tasks and table changes while regular employees see a Kanban report.
A Nifty Project Dashboard uses widgets to display the status of Roadmaps, Tasks, Discussions, Docs, and Files in a particular Project.
3. Gantt Charts
Quickbase’s Gantt feature enables you to:
- View the dates from a table in a timeline format.
- Drag to move start and end dates.
- Visualize dependencies.
- Conduct what-if analysis (The “Critical Paths” feature allows you to make experimental changes without affecting the tables to see how it will affect the timelines).
- Compare actual project dates to original baselines.
- Trigger actions in pipelines.
Milestones — or a List of Tasks that form a high-level objective in Nifty — can be displayed as a Gantt chart.
This timeline-style view lets you see the selected Task’s name, due date, and assignees in the sidebar, while the main view gives you a complete overview of where the Task stands in the Milestone.
D. User Management
Software, features, and other tech things aside, the real heroes of any project are your team members. So make sure to pick the kind of project management software that puts them front and center!
How do you do this?
Look for software that knows what different team members need and helps you deliver the right experience.
Features to look out for include:
- User groups: Create internal teams representing various departments, functions, or projects.
- Permission levels: Grant different access levels depending on the users’ information requirements and the company’s security concerns.
- Guest users: Invite team members from other companies/teams to collaborate with your team without compromising on confidential data.
1. User Groups
Create user roles by entering an app’s settings and clicking “New” next to Roles. Here, you can name and describe the user group, then select the permissions you want it to have for all of your tables.
The permissions include whether users can:
- Invite users to the app
- Edit the app’s structure and permissions
- View a table
- Modify a table
- Add and delete information in a table
- Edit fields in a table
You can also set a homepage for a specific user group with their own dashboard and crucial reports. Their homepage will also only display links to tables you’ve set as visible to the group.
Besides the four default user roles, you can create Custom Roles on Nifty and tailor every bit of access they get.
Plus, you can add Custom User Tags to a user’s profile to indicate things like their geography, work shifts, departments, etc. This will help you sort and filter users via tags.
2. Permission Levels
Quickbase includes the following built-in administrator permission levels:
- Realm admin: Manages security and billing settings. Most realm admins are also account admins.
- Full management account admin: Hold far-reaching permissions for managing users, roles, apps, account plan, and pipelines.
- Support-level account admin: Similar to full management admins but with limitations on changing the account plan, transferring or removing apps, and setting apps to public.
- App admin: Can make changes to app structure, including modifying tables, forms, and fields.
- App manager: A single user with app admin privileges and the ability to transfer or delete apps.
Non-admin user permissions will be determined by their role settings.
Nifty offers four default types of user roles:
- Owner: In charge of billing
- Admins: Can create Portfolios and Projects, invite other Team Members and Guests, and promote them as Admins
- Team Members: Can create Projects and invite other Team Members and Guests to Nifty
- Guests: Can join only by invite and cannot access anything not shared with them
Barring a few core functionalities, such as those related to the creation of realms and inviting/removing members, most other permissions are shared across all users on Nifty.
Team Members predominantly have edit and invite/remove access only to their Projects.
3. Guest Users
In Quickbase, a “guest user” is one that an admin of the appropriate level has neither approved nor denied from entering a realm.
This status allows guests to enter a realm but limits them from viewing any apps marked for approved users only. They can also only view apps that an app manager has invited them to.
Guest users on Nifty get access only to the specific Projects shared with them.
In project management, collaboration and communication are like a ballroom dance — if everyone isn’t in sync, you’re just stepping on each other’s toes!
A project manager should encourage their team to be on the same page regarding everything happening on the project. This could involve regular meetings, periodic status updates, shared checklists, etc.
But things can get tricky when you add different team structures (remote, hybrid, distributed, etc.).
The trick is to balance ‘informing everyone’ with ‘over-communicating.’
The solution is to forge a shared space where the whole team can contribute without hampering individual productivity. Picking a suitable project management software is the first step toward achieving this goal.
Features to look for include:
- Comments: Simple ways to send feedback or discuss a task or project.
- Threads: Keep all relevant comments in a single thread.
- Tagging/@mention: Mention a team member on a task, in comments, or in any shared space to notify them.
- Sharing tasks: Share tasks with relevant team members for efficient collaboration.
- File management: Attach and store files, create and annotate documents, etc., for ready access to project documentation.
- Notifications: Customize how team members receive notifications.
1. Comments, Threads, & Tagging
Aside from using a text field to leave a note on a table record, Quickbase has no native features for hosting threaded discussions or tagging users in a conversation.
Team Members can have project-specific discussions on dedicated channels for each Project in Nifty. Here, they can post a message in text, emoji, or GIFs and even react to each other’s messages.
Nifty discussion channels let you create threads and pin messages too.
2. File Management
The file attachment field allows you to include attachments in various formats.
The field settings include:
- Setting the field as required or not
- Open links in a new window or not
- Allow link access without signing in or not
- Display links with the filename or a custom anchor text
- Show image thumbnails or filenames
- Set text wrapping
- Limit field access by role
- Include or exclude the field in searches, reports, and filters
- Save entries for reuse in other records or not
- Add a help icon and text explaining the field’s purpose
Nifty’s Files tool lets you upload and manage all relevant files with ease. You can even comment on them directly in Nifty to keep your feedback organized and accessible.
Quickbase doesn’t send or display notifications in-app. You can set up trigger conditions in pipelines to automate notifications when a record is added, modified, or deleted.
Furthermore, you can set up subscriptions (reports sent daily, weekly, or monthly) and reminders (emails sent a set number of days before a date in a field).
When creating notification triggers, you can choose to send notifications (via email or other channels) to an individual user, a group (role), or a list of users.
Its main notification channel is email, but it can send via channels like:
- Microsoft Teams
- Twilio (SMS)
Nifty currently offers support for browser push notifications across Chrome. Firefox, Internet Explorer 11, and Microsoft Edge.
You can change your Nifty notifications to pick and choose what you get notified for.
F. Customer Support
Individual users in smaller teams often face a steep learning curve with most project management software.
In their case, having access to responsive support executives and a wealth of helpful resources can make a significant difference, turning a frustrating experience into a positive one.
However, customer support is just as crucial for larger teams.
Even if these teams initially received thorough onboarding and training, their needs and use cases tend to evolve over time. Continuous and adaptable customer support becomes essential to address these changing needs effectively.
With adequate customer support, you can:
- Derive maximum value from the app with the help of professional guidance whenever required
- Ensure your team is making full use of all the features you’re paying for
- Learn from case studies of other teams using the same software
- Expand your use cases with time
- Learn about the features your team uses the most and avoid spending on those you don’t need
- Solve minor issues on your end by going through help resources
- Get hands-on support when you get stuck
- Keep a record of all your complaints and feedback for the platform to aid future buying decisions
- Send feedback to the app’s developers so they can design the features you most desire
Features to look for include:
- Detailed knowledge bases and documentation to aid DIY solutions to common issues
- Case studies, templates, guides, and other resources
- Easy access to resources for all types of users — free or paid
- Async support executives to cover for the time difference
- Live agents who can respond via chat or phone
- Screenshots and recordings to display how the tool works
- Translations to resources in other languages, if needed
- Quickbase University: Course with video guides to developing your first app
- Help Center: Written and video guides to Quickbase’s main processes and features
- Qrew: Community support forums
- Office Hours: A weekly webinar where you can ask an expert questions
- Customer Support: Contact support to receive a response within one business day
- Video Demos: A collection of short video tutorials
- Resource Center: A selection of blog posts, ebooks, on-demand webinars, and case studies
- Training: A center for live training sessions, self-training videos, and certification courses
- Help Center: A single source for all tool-related questions
- Change logs: An updated list of all newly released features and updates
- Support: Live chat and email
G. Platforms Supported
Distributed and field teams might not always be armed with laptops or computers.
But that doesn’t mean productivity has to stop.
With a mobile-friendly project management tool, the workflow keeps humming along, turning those smartphones into mighty workflow tools.
More reason to look into this?
If your company follows a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach, your team members need the freedom to switch between various devices.
With support for all types of apps, you can:
- Ensure uniform access irrespective of device type
- Save on the cost of buying the same types of devices for the whole team
- Give all team members a chance to log work from anywhere, anytime
Features to look for include:
- App support for the latest Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android versions.
- Maximum coverage for all key features across devices
- Browser: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox
- Desktop: Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS,
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge
- Desktop: Mac, Windows
- Mobile: iOS, Android
Whether you have deep pockets or shoestring budgets, there’s project management software out there for every kind of organization.
But the confusing combination of features and numbers on pricing pages can make it difficult to choose.
Here are some easy tips for starters.
If you plan on buying the software subscription for just yourself or a small team that’s not likely to grow rapidly anytime soon — stick to the free plan as long as possible. Or pick the cheapest monthly subscription possible. These should cover most of your feature requirements comfortably in most cases.
However, if you expect to hire rapidly and grow to a sizable number, go for a plan that grows with you — ideally with a per-user rate that doesn’t add up exponentially.
Finally, most software offers flexible enterprise plans that let you cherry-pick your favorite features into a custom package. If you’re part of such a team, it’s best to contact the sales team and get the best deal possible.
Quickbase has the following pricing plans:
- Free trial: 30-day free trial
- Team ($35/user/month billed annually): 20+ users, access to templates and personalized dashboards
- Business ($55/user/month billed annually): 40+ users, access to everything in Team plus custom branding, Gantt charts, and SAML SSO
- Enterprise (Contact sales for pricing): Everything in Business plus advanced data encryption and security.
Nifty offers a 14-day free trial, without any credit card. Post this, you can choose from the following pricing plans:
- Free forever: Unlimited Members, 100 MB storage, up to 2 Projects, along with all Core features
- Starter ($49 per month): 10 Members, 100 GB storage, 40 Projects, Unlimited Guests and Clients.
- Pro ($99 per month): 20 Members, 500 GB, Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Guests and Clients.
- Business ($149 per month): 50 Members, 1 TB storage, Unlimited Projects, Unlimited Guests and Clients.
- Unlimited ($499 per month): Unlimited Members, storage, Projects, Guests, and Clients.
I. Best Suited To
Picking the right project management tool is like finding the perfect pair of shoes. They must be a snug fit but also leave you some wiggle room to get comfortable!
In other words, the tool you pick must fit all your current needs and grow alongside your future requirements, too.
So make sure you’ve covered all bases in your research when picking project management software for your team.
One way to do this is to check what types of teams your choice serves best.
For instance, what works for a small software development team might not suit a large marketing agency.
When hunting for a PM solution, it’s vital to match the tool’s features and use cases with your team’s workflow. Tailor your search to find a tool with all the necessary features to manage your tasks and boost productivity.
Quickbase feels more like using spreadsheets or databases, familiar to people comfortable with software like Excel or Access.
Its versatility shines through its tables and fields, which can be used to host and manage a wide array of data and project types.
However, its drawbacks are notable.
Quickbase presents a steep learning curve and an unintuitive interface. It lacks native communication and collaboration features to discuss work in context. Its notification system feels archaic, relying heavily on manual setup and email, which can be a recipe for a chaotic inbox and scattered communication.
Then there’s the cost — It’s extremely pricey compared to many of its industry counterparts. At the lowest tier and minimum user count, it’ll run you $8,400 a year (more if you pay monthly).
So, we don’t recommend Quickbase if you’re looking for a modern interface, automated in-app notifications, and organized collaborative discussions. It’s also not ideal for small teams.
That said, if you’re used to old-school software and want to switch to the cloud to expand your team across locations, Quickbase might suit you.
This is especially true if you need visibility into work but don’t require a lot of discussion to complete tasks (i.e., your team members work fairly independently). For example, at a construction or manufacturing company, crucial discussion often happen on site and teams mainly need a way to document work items and progress.
Nifty lives up to its name in more ways than one.
It’s a fantastic project management tool with a comprehensive feature set that covers most basic to intermediate use cases. A tool for many trades, Nifty packs quite the punch — starting with its multiple views.
Besides the standard List and Calendar views, a Nifty user can view their tasks in the Swimlane view that pulls information from multiple Milestones/Lists simultaneously. This unique twist on a traditional view allows you to compare progress and multitask like never before!
And then there’s the ability to add multiple Checklists within Tasks, letting you add every intricate detail to each to-do. Finally, users can create as many custom Priority tags as they need.
A few sore points stick out, though.
For example, many users find the lack of resource allocation, cost-tracking, and visual ideation (mind mapping or whiteboards) features jarring. Moreover, its free plan — allowing just two projects — is extremely limiting to all but the smallest scale of operations.
However, despite these limitations, features like interactive Gantt charts, time estimates in Story Points, Milestones, and more endear Nifty to Scrum Masters and Agile project managers.
This is why Nifty remains a versatile project management software that offers tough competition to market leaders.