QuickBase and Paymo 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.
Keep your work organized with Paymo’s hierarchy:
Client > Project > Task list > Task > Subtask
- Client: All the work for each client is grouped together
- Project: All projects belonging to one client
- Task list: A collection of tasks that need to be done to complete a project
- Task: Individual work items within the task list
- Subtask: Tasks broken down into smaller steps
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
Paymo enables you to visualize your projects in five different ways:
- List: For each project, you see a list of tasks with a brief overview of their details (E.g., due date, assignees, etc.)
- Table: A more detailed view of tasks with information fields in columns
- Board: A Kanban board view of tasks grouped by status
- Calendar: Displays tasks on a calendar, showing their start and due dates
- Gantt: A timeline of tasks depicting start and due dates, dependencies, and milestones
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.
Break tasks into granular subtasks to indicate the steps needed to complete a task.
Fill out the details on tasks to provide assignees with all the information they’ll require, such as:
- Task name and description
- List of subtasks
- Link to the project and task list
- Start and due dates
- Billing type
- Time estimate
- Billing estimate
- Invoice status
- Time budget alerts
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.
Paymo includes the following default task statuses:
You can create custom statuses in the company settings menu, which apply globally.
Additionally, Paymo allows you to set up workflows for specific projects. The default workflow contains To Do, In Progress, and Complete. From the company settings, you can establish new workflows with custom statuses.
To create a checklist for tasks in Quickbase, you’ll need to create a field with a checkbox for each checklist item.
Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for adding checklists to tasks and subtasks.
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.
Paymo offers project templates, which are useful when multiple projects share the same task lists and structure.
However, you can’t templatize individual tasks on Paymo.
Set assignees for tasks using a user field.
Add assignees to projects, task lists, and tasks.
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.
Indicate the urgency of a task by setting the priority to one of the default statuses — low, normal, high, or critical. Paymo doesn’t offer custom priority statuses.
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.
Paymo doesn’t include a native feature for setting up automation rules.
However, it does have some time-saving automation features, including:
- Automatic recurring tasks
- Automatic time tracking
- Auto-scheduling (to adjust dependent tasks when dates change)
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.
Set task due dates and time budgets and set up alerts for when you’re approaching deadlines.
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”).
Set time estimates for tasks. Additionally, if the billing type is time-based, you can set a billable rate and calculate the estimated billable amount.
3. Time Tracking
Quickbase doesn’t include a native time-tracking feature.
Paymo offers six different avenues for tracking time:
- Web timer: Select the project and task you’re working on and use a timer to track time in the web app.
- Manual: Add time directly to tasks by inputting a duration or time interval of work.
- Bulk function: Input time entries for an entire week on a timesheet.
- Desktop Widget: Track time or manually add time from the Paymo tracking widget for desktop.
- PaymoPlus: Receive an automatic record of your activities for the day, and map them onto time entries at the end of the day to sync them with Paymo.
- Mobile app: Track time or add it manually via the Paymo mobile app.
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.
On Paymo, you can set milestones that are dates by which you want the associated tasklist to be resolved. You can also set reminders for upcoming milestones.
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.
The Paymo dashboard displays real-time graphs and information from across clients, projects, and tasks.
You can customize the dashboard by activating, deactivating, and reordering various plugins, which include:
- Finance plugin: A graph of sent vs paid invoices for a period
- Time plugin: Displays time tracked by you, the whole company, or team members you manage, depending on your company role
- Billable vs non-billable plugin: Shows a pie chart of billable vs non-billable hours tracked
- Milestones plugin: Displays upcoming and overdue project milestones
- Active timers plugin: Shows which team members are working and what they’re working on in real time
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.
Paymo automatically displays all tasks that have a start and end date in the Gantt chart view, where you can:
- Drag to adjust dates and duration
- Change the view to show days, weeks, months, or years
- Create dependencies between tasks
- Click on tasks to see an overview of details
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.
Paymo doesn’t offer any native features for creating user groups or teams.
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.
Paymo offers the following user privilege levels:
- Admin: Has access to financial information, client data, company settings, company-wide time data, team scheduling, and PTO
- Project manager: Can add, manage, and view time entries, time reports, and schedules for the projects they’re assigned to
- Regular user: Can add tasks for themselves, view task details, and discuss tasks they are assigned to
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.
You can invite external people to view a project on Paymo as a guest user.
They will be able to:
- View projects, tasks, time reports, invoices, and estimates you share with them
- See upcoming milestones
- Contribute to discussions on shared tasks
- Add tasks (If granted the user privilege by an admin)
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.
Comment on tasks and assign comments to notify specific users on Paymo.
Alternatively, you can comment at the project level by adding a discussion in the Discussion tab.
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
You can upload files to tasks from your device or Google Drive. You can also add files in comments on tasks.
All files for a project will be available in the Files tab.
The maximum file size is 2GB, and the following file formats are allowed:
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)
Paymo can send in-app and email notifications to assignees for activities on their projects and tasks.
Each user can change their email notification settings to select which activities they want to be notified about.
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 collection of written tutorials about how to use Paymo
- Customer Support: Fill in a support request form to get help via 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: Firefox, Chrome (Desktop and Android), Safari
- Desktop: Mac, Windows, Linux
- 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.
Paymo’s pricing plans are structured as follows:
- Free: Unlimited users, five clients, 10 projects, and 1GB storage.
- Starter ($9.90/user/month): Everything in Free, plus unlimited clients and projects, calendar and Kanban views, and 5GB storage.
- Small Office ($15.90/user/month): Everything in Starter, plus recurring tasks, project templates, and 50GB storage.
- Business ($23.90/user/month): Everything in Small Office, plus Gantt chart view, employee scheduling, priority support, and 500GB storage.
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.
Paymo presents a modern and user-friendly interface with a solid set of project management features, offering a comprehensive solution for users.
However, it’s missing some features that are industry staples, like automation rules, task checklists, user groups, and task templates.
Also, some important views and tools are only available in the higher-priced plans. For example, the Gantt view is only in the Business plan, and project templates are not available in the free and starter plans.
In the end, Paymo could do with some advanced and unique features that would make it stand out from the big names in the project management space. However, it covers the essentials for effective project management and provides a free plan, making it worth a try.