Podio is a highly regarded project management platform that offers a lot of tools for collaboration and communication with your team. It is versatile, too, with many templates and integrations available. In this Podio review, you’ll find out whether its capabilities match your needs.
Podio launched in Denmark in 2009 as an independent product, but was bought by American software giant Citrix in 2012. It has gone from strength to strength since, with over 500,000 teams using the platform.
You’re in good company if you choose to let it handle your business. Podio boast a range of well-known clients, including Sony, Volvo and the NFL (check out our article on watching the NFL online)..
We’re taking a look to see how it compares to the competition. The tl;dr is that we liked Podio a lot. It has unique features, but lacks things that other platforms have. For some businesses it will be a great fit and, unless you need a specific feature it doesn’t include, is well worth checking out.
Alternatives for Podio
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Powerful template customization system
- Excellent UI
- Unlimited file storage
- No subtasks or dependencies
- Takes time to figure out
Podio is built around workspaces, which include projects and apps. These can be heavily customized, allowing you to create templates tuned to doing what you need.
The default project includes a field to assign a responsible team member, which you can rename whatever you want, and you can add team member fields.
You can do that with any type of field, from text fields to various kinds of statistics and files.
There are also calculation fields, allowing you to tally data. That is a powerful feature that lets you use variables it automatically creates from other fields. It gives you a lot of useful suggestions as you type, which takes some of the guesswork out of the process, too.
We didn’t explore the feature as fully as we would’ve liked because of its complexity, but those working with Podio will be able to use calculations to go beyond the offerings of many other tools. It did have limitations, though. We weren’t able to add or subtract dates, for example, but there is a learning curve with such a feature.
The ability to highly customize what you are doing reminded us of monday.com which is also good at that. Check out our monday.com review for more.
If you want to connect to other services, you have a dozen options available out of the box, including Evernote, Dropbox and Office 365. Read our Evernote review and Dropbox review if you’d like to know more about them.
To expand on its feature set further, there are plenty of extensions available to customize Podio, though most charge an additional fee.
Podio offers unlimited storage, even in its free version, which makes it an excellent way to share files between team members. There is a maximum file size of 100MB, but if you have large files you can use another service to get around the limit.
Take a look at our cloud storage comparison if you are looking for another service to use with Podio.
Podio Task Management
Its task management doesn’t match the features of some platforms because dependency management and subtasks aren’t available. It does have workflows, though, which allow you to set up cause and effect relationships between events, so you can use those to structure your projects.
If you need dependency management, take a look at our Wrike review for an excellent alternative.
Podio gives you a lot of flexibility to control how tasks are assigned, so works well as a shared-task manager. You can get notifications when tasks are due, too. For example, it can send you an email 24 hours in advance of your deadline.
A handy chat sidebar is included. Click the icon in the top right of the screen and the sidebar slides into view, letting you exchange messages easily with everyone on your team. You can send invites from the chat area, too, allowing you to expand your pool of contacts.
To learn about another project management platform that makes chatting with coworkers easy, read our Basecamp review.
Podio also has a calendar that shows what you have to do in the days or weeks ahead and apps for Android and iOS so you can use it on the go.
If your business is software-based or large enough to have its own developers, Podio has APIs for several programming languages as well as SDKs for mobile platforms, so you can build apps that work with it easily. Most users won’t need that, but it is a powerful feature for those that who to extend the platform further.
Podio has interesting features, but lacks a few things some will want to have. We’re giving it high marks here because we figure it will be a great match for some users, but you should try it to make sure it fits your needs before signing up for a paid plan.
Podio Features Overview
- Dependency management: No
- Subtasks: No
- Custom backgrounds: No
- Other customization options: Versatile templates
- Team size limit: Unlimited
- Storage space: Unlimited GB
- Free Trial
- Payment: Credit Card
- Accepts cryptocurrency: No
- Mobile OS support: iOS, Android
- Two-factor authentication: Only via ShareFile
- Encryption: AES-256
- SOC certification: No
- Ticket-based support
- Live chat: No
- Phone support: No
Signing up is simple. After filling in your details you are sent through a brief welcome process explaining the basics of Podio. It is organized around “workspaces.” They can include various apps of their own. When you start, three workspaces are set up for you with different apps, so you can play with them and see what they have to offer.
Apps allow you to arrange items, which can be projects, meetings, contacts or whatever else you like. They essentially function as templates, so calling them apps is a little misleading. There are many available across a wide selection of categories, giving you a huge amount of pre-defined functionality to choose from.
The intro leads you to a new project screen where you can get started creating something of your own.
You can give each project a deadline and assign people to be responsible for it. There is a status to show you what has been started and finished, as well as tags to let you sort your projects.
You can add tasks to projects and view a list of what you have left to do. In addition to using the standard task creation screen, you can create tasks at any time by pressing “T,” which is handy to know.
Tasks can be assigned to a particular team member, as well as given a due date. Files can be attached and labels can be used to sort tasks into groups. Tasks can also be assigned to different workspaces after being created, allowing you to rearrange things easily if you need to do so later.
Podio Private Tasks
Most project management software makes everything visible to all team members, but Podio allows you to create private tasks that only you can see. That’s useful if you are arranging a birthday party or don’t want your boss to know exactly what you are up to.
You can even add private labels to public tasks if you want. Perhaps you want to assign a day to everything, but don’t need to share that with everyone else, for example.
It can also help keep everyone from having to wade through the details of what others are doing, enabling them to focus on their own tasks, as well as those that are shared throughout the group.
Tasks can be set to repeat, so things you need to do regularly can be assigned automatically. If you have a revolving door of things that need to be done, that could save you huge amounts of time.
You can also add files from your computer and storage services, such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote and half a dozen others (read our Google Drive review). To see how those services can help your business and learn which is most suited to yours, have a look at our best online storage for teams article.
The tutorial sends you to the project customization system next, guiding you through the simple process of adding your own text field. After that, it leaves you to get started on your own.
Looking around Podio, you’ll see that the interface is tidy and professional looking. Text and icons are small but readable and there is plenty of pop-up text explaining what things do.
More often than not, help appears when you use a feature for the first time. The pop-ups give you a brief explanation of what to do, as well as useful pointers, such as keyboard shortcuts.
The top screen has several tabs that let you view projects, activity, deliverables and meetings as well as access the various menus and options on offer.
User interface elements are clear and laid out well, and Podio offers you plenty of guidance. It was nice to see tips in the sidebar giving us extra information. The info presented was generally useful, making it a good way to learn on the go.
You can figure out what most of it does without too much difficulty. Everything worked on the first try and we didn’t encounter major bugs when we used it. We did notice a slight delay while some drop-down menus populated, but the UI was responsive and fast most of the time.
We did lose information we entered into a form once when we clicked something and moved to a different screen. It would be nice to get a warning in such cases.
Though its individual screens are good, it isn’t always obvious how everything fits together, so, while you can do things easily, working out when you should do what takes more time. Much of the help it gives you is fine, but we found too many sample projects were created in the beginning, which made it hard to locate our work when getting started.
For a good example of a simple-to-use project management application, read our Asana review. You may also want to take a look at our Trello beginner’s guide if you are looking for something straightforward that lets you view your whole workflow at a glance.
Podio is powerful without being overwhelming and manages to offer plenty of features while remaining user-friendly. It presents itself well and offers you help when needed. Its UI is intuitive without being patronizing. It scores well in this area.
We recommend Podio if you want something with a lot of potential that isn’t too hard to get up and running.
Podio is an excellent choice if you don’t want to spend much. Its free plan lets you try it and includes up to five team members. Paid plans range from $9 to $24 per user per month which beats many of its rivals. If you pay annually you can shave a few dollars a month off the listed prices, too.
The free plan lets you take advantage of the apps, workspaces and task management features. Podio is good at those, so it is easy to dip your toe in the water and get a feel for the basics.
The Basic paid plan allows you to add unlimited external users to the website, so, if you have a lot of people who only need to view information, it could save you a ton of money. It also lifts restrictions on items and adds user management features. At the Plus level, you can set up workflows, giving you another level of organization.
Finally, at the Premium level, you gain visual reports and contact syncing. You also get the cool-looking interactive sales dashboards, allowing you to see how close you are to your daily and monthly sales targets.
We had to contact support to find out what payment methods Podio accepts because we couldn’t find the information on its website. Having done so, we can tell you it only takes credit cards.
Podio scores well on cost because of its reasonable prices and unlimited external users.
Security & Privacy
According to its security whitepaper, Podio uses AES 256-bit encryption for storage, which will keep your files safe. All connections to it require SSL, so you get protection when using it over the web. For more about SSL, read our article on website security.
Backup requires a paid extension, which isn’t ideal. If protecting your data is important to you — and it should be — take a look at our best online backup services for tips.
Two-factor authentication is not available by default, but you can use its ShareFile integration to get it. For more on why it is good to have, read our two-factor authentication guide. You might also want to look at the best 2FA apps to see what options you have if you need the feature.
For example, it says it doesn’t sell or disclose your data except as described, then goes on to describe the ways it does over 11 bullet points that cover almost every base we can think of. It states that it shares your personal data with its joint marketing and sales partners, for instance.
It mentions the General Data Protection Regulation, EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield, but the sections are full of legalese that seems to be more about limiting its obligations than stating that it does everything it can to protect your data. We didn’t find evidence of SOC certification, either.
If you’re looking to keep your information away from corporations and governments, read our online privacy guide for good advice.
Despite those issues, we didn’t find a history of breaches. It gets a decent score for that, but there is room for improvement.
Service & Support
If you need to submit a support request, there is a simple form for doing so. Phone and email support aren’t offered.
There is a forum, but we saw lots of unanswered questions and complaints about slow response times from support. The support team responded to our direct query quickly, but its sales team didn’t get back to us regarding available payment methods.
There are 19 good tutorial videos that teach you how to use Podio’s features. Webinars are promised, but, while videos of older ones are available, the most recent one was in 2016, so don’t hold your breath if you want to participate in these.
There is a FAQ, too, but it doesn’t include many questions, so good luck finding the answers you need there.
We fired off a test question to check Podio’s response time. Our query regarding the lack of built-in backup options got a response in about two hours and offered a few suggestions for ways to backup data ourselves. Another question about payment options got a quick response, but the answer wasn’t that helpful.
Overall, we felt support wasn’t bad but there is nothing outstanding about it, either. It gets an above average mark because of its fast responses to our support queries.
Podio allows you to create powerful templates for managing your data. We consider it one of the strongest tools we’ve used because it lets you customize how your information is presented. To see how it compares to other platforms, take a look at our best project management software roundup.
There are a few gaps in terms of features we’d like to see and the support could be improved, but it is an impressive platform overall.
If you’re looking for something that can be fine-tuned and offers advanced customization features, Podio is a great choice. The ability to add code-driven fields to its templates is a standout feature for us, allowing you to use it in ways that would be impossible in tools that only offer you bespoke fields.
If you’ve taken Podio for a quick spin or taken advantage of its advanced features, let us know about your experience in the comments. Thanks for reading.