Trello and QuickBase 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
Track your workload in Trello by organizing it into:
Workspaces > Boards > Lists > Cards
- Workspaces: A container for all the Boards in your team. You can create multiple Workspaces to classify your work further.
- Boards: A simple Kanban board interface to view task progress within a Workplace.
- List: A series of tasks (Cards) at the same progress stage. For example, To-do List, Doing list, Done List, etc.
- Cards: The smallest component of the board with all the actionable aspects of the project.
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.
Trello provides seven project views, namely:
- Boards: View your tasks on a Kanban board. It’s the simplest way to go from idea to action, plan projects, and track tasks.
- Timeline: Stay on top of project timelines, sprints, and goals. It’s great for adjusting dates on the fly and spotting potential gaps.
- Calendar: Perfect for managing schedules or to-dos; plus, you can sync it with third-party calendars.
- Dashboard: Offers a bird’s-eye view of projects and processes, helping you manage workloads and spot bottlenecks before they start.
- Map: Ideal for location-based data. Great for tracking properties, planning events, or organizing fieldwork.
- Workspace: Manage work across multiple Boards. Create custom overviews for detailed tracking of both minor tasks and large projects.
- Table: See your work like a spreadsheet. Sort and filter to focus on what matters.
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
3. Tasks & Subtasks
Manage tasks, goals, or anything that needs to get done via cards on Board.
Your cards can hold a variety of useful information, like:
- Members who are responsible for the task
- Due dates
- Custom Fields
You can also track and monitor task progress via a Checklist of smaller to-dos within the task.
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.
Move cards to specific lists that indicate the workflow stage they’re in. Customize these lists to suit your workflow.
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.
Add multiple checklists to a single card. @mention team members in checklist items to notify them.
You can also track checklist completion with the help of a progress bar at the top that shows the completion percentage.
Finally, turn checklist items into cards to move them to the main board.
To create a checklist for tasks in Quickbase, you’ll need to create a field with a checkbox for each checklist item.
6. Task Templates
Trello allows you to create a default Card Template. You can do this from a blank or new card, where you can:
- Format the description
- Add custom fields
- Copy over checklists, and more.
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.
Assign a Card by going to the Members icon and selecting a member or multiple people from the dropdown.
Set assignees for tasks using a user field.
Use the custom fields functionality to add a Priority field to each Card.
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.
Trello’s automation features include:
- Card and board buttons: Adds buttons to automate the next step in a workflow
- Rules: Set triggers to automate actions
- Scheduled automations: Set up recurring actions
- Due date automations: Trigger actions when a task reaches its due date
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.
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
Trello lets you add and edit start dates, due dates, and due date reminders in a card.
Set due dates and any other significant project dates simply using a date field.
2. Time Estimates
Trello doesn’t have a dedicated time estimates feature. However, you can create a custom field to note a time estimate for working on a card.
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”).
3. Time Tracking
Trello doesn’t offer any native time-tracking features.
Quickbase doesn’t include a native time-tracking feature.
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
Browse the Trello template library for templates to help you set and track goals. For example, you can clearly define project goals and track milestones with the OKR (objectives and key results) template.
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.
Trello keeps it simple and user-friendly, so its reporting mainly consists of the Dashboard View — a bird’s-eye perspective on your projects and how much work needs to be done.
You can add bar or pie charts in tiles that tabulate the number of cards (tasks) per list, due date, member, and label.
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.
3. Gantt Charts
Trello doesn’t have any native Gantt chart capabilities. However, it does offer a timeline view that provides a visual representation of project interconnections and deadlines.
It allows you to:
- Adjust start and end dates for issues
- View by day, week, month, or quarter
- Group by member, list, and label
- View unscheduled cards
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.
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
Trello doesn’t let you create custom user groups with different permission levels.
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.
2. Permission Levels
Set different permission levels for all team members. Choose who can comment, react, invite, or remove members on your Trello boards.
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.
3. Guest Users
Invite guest users to one or multiple Boards to view and edit Cards.
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.
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
Click any card to open the comments section and leave a comment. Add attachments in them and @mention team members to collaborate on tasks.
Edit your comments to keep them up to date with the latest information. Or delete them to avoid miscommunication.
Right-click the timestamp to get a share link. Share these comments with others to invite more people to view and comment on the cards.
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.
2. File Management
Attach files to cards to offer more insight into the task.
Trello automatically makes it the Card cover if it’s an image file.
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
Send and receive notifications for various actions such as adding cards, being mentioned on them, changing due dates, moving cards, and more.
Change how and when you receive these notifications.
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)
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
- Atlassian University: Product training and certification for Jira, Confluence, Trello, and more
- Atlassian Playbook: Free workshop resources to address common team challenges
- Atlassian Documentation: Help to administer Atlassian products
- Developer Resources: Build, deploy, and manage your apps while Atlassian takes care of security, computing, and storage
- Atlassian Community: Ask questions to product experts
- Atlassian Support: Resources for users and administrators
- Migration Program: Cloud migration support for all teams
- Enterprise Services: Support for enterprise teams
- Support: Email/Help Desk, Chat, 24/7 Live rep, Phone
- 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
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: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge
- Desktop: Mac, Windows
- Mobile: iOS, Android
- Browser: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox
- Desktop: Windows, MacOS, Chrome OS,
- 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.
Trello’s four pricing plans are as follows:
- Free: Up to 10 boards, 250 workspace commands a month
- Standard ($6/user/month): Everything in Free plus unlimited board, 1,000 Workspace commands a month
- Premium ($12.50/user/month): Everything in Standard plus extra views, Unlimited Workspace command
- Enterprise ($17.50/user/month): Everything in Premium plus unlimited workspaces, public board management, SSO and user provisioning
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.
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.
Trello is an exceptionally user-friendly and intuitive PM tool. It focuses heavily on visualizing work, especially on Kanban boards (though other views are available in higher-paid tiers). And its customization features make your workspaces visually engaging to make work more fun.
These factors make Trello perfectly suited to PM beginners, startups, and SMEs with relatively simple processes and small teams.
It’s also great for personal productivity and project management — E.g., if you’re a freelancer or you’re planning a big party.
The tradeoff for simplicity is, of course, limited complexity. Trello isn’t the best choice if you want to manage big projects with lots of simultaneous tasks, team members, and moving parts.
For example, Trello’s commenting functionalities are quite linear and not well-suited to multiple conversation threads at once.
There are extensive options to expand the app’s functionality with account upgrades, integrations, and power-ups. However, these will also cost extra money and time.
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.