Notion Pros and Cons
Notion is a flexible productivity tool designed for individuals and teams that want to create notes, manage tasks, and store files in one workspace. While Notion is not a conventional example of project management software, it boasts a broad variety of project views, including Kanban, Calendar, and Gallery views. Teams can also use Notion to edit collaboratively, hold discussions and give feedback, and brainstorm and organize ideas, making it a powerful, versatile tool. Notion also integrates with third-party applications such as Slack, Google Drive, and Mailchimp.
Notion does not have in-built and time-tracking and budgeting features, though third-party integrations such as Clockify can make up for this. Notion is best used for small to mid-sized companies looking for a project management tool that can manage projects and enhance team collaboration.
In this Notion review, we will explore project management features, pricing, ease of use, add-ons, and more.
What is Notion?
Founded by Ivan Zhao and Simon Last, Notion is a collaborative work platform valued at close to $2 billion in 2020. Zhao and Last built Notion on a simple philosophy: Give non-techies the ability to make their own tools without writing code. To this day, Notion is used in fields such as HR, software development, education, and design.
The company has over 4 million users and its customers include Typeform, Blinkist, Duolingo, and Apploi.
Facts and Figures
|Founder||Ivan Zhao, Simon Last|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, USA|
Notion Project Management Features
Notion is a great collaborative platform that can be used by small and big teams to engage and work on projects. It allows project managers to create tasks and obtain multiple, top-level views of projects such as Kanban, Table, and List views. Besides brainstorming ideas and taking notes, team members can also customize pre-built templates, hold discussions, and share pages and files with external collaborators. Notion also integrates with a broad spectrum of applications such Clockify, an add-on that ensures that time spent on tasks is appropriately logged.
Notion helps teams get started on projects by providing them one workspace where they can create and assign tasks, schedule timelines, add files and documents, and more. Some of Notion’s project planning features include an in-built editor that supports markdown formatting, various data views such as Kanban, List, and Gallery views, and customizable templates. Teams using Notion can plan, organize, and store project information in a single, centralized location.
Notion’s board view delivers an efficient and powerful overview of tasks within a project. Like a classic Kanban board, teams can rename and reorder columns and cards to set up a workflow specific to their projects. Clicking on a card opens up a page where project managers can add in task details such as task description, due date, and priority status. Moving cards is as easy as dragging and dropping.
Notion also allows project managers to customize cards by setting up new properties and field types such as attachments, media, numbers, and more.
In addition to the Kanban view, teams can view project data in other ways, such as a table, a list, a calendar, and a gallery. The Table view lists tasks and work items in the format of a grid-like database, whereas tasks in Calendar view are connected to dates and are displayed in a calendar format. The List view shows work items as a list of tasks. The Gallery view is the best way to display projects with visual components, such as mood boards, photoshoots, and more. Teams can toggle between project views as they like.
Teams can filter tasks by properties and view tasks only assigned to them. However, the option to create sub-tasks is currently unavailable.
Teams can use Notion for idea management as it is a great tool for organizing and storing ideas. Users can create pages, link them in a database, and add images, videos, files, and more. Notion also supports real-time collaborative editing, ensuring that teams can share content and illustrate complex ideas no matter where they go.
Notion’s rich collection of templates is also a great resource for brainstorming and storing ideas. They range from product wikis to meeting notes to travel planning.
Communication & Collaboration
Teams using Notion can work together no matter where they are. Notion’s collaboration tools allow teams to discuss work on any page, comment and annotate text, and take meeting notes. Notion does not impose a limit on the number of people who can view and edit a page at the same time, ensuring that teams can collaborate with external partners simultaneously. Notion can also be used as a file-sharing tool as it supports a broad diversity of file formats.
Teams using Notion can upload files in three ways: by creating a file block, dragging and dropping, and uploading them to a database to link them with projects. Team members can also color-code files to label them and add captions and comments. Users on the Free plans have up to 5MB of file storage, whereas teams on paid plans can enjoy unlimited uploads.
Notion has a guest access feature, enabling team members to collaborate with clients outside of the team or company. External collaborators can only view and edit individual pages or tasks assigned to them by a project manager. Project managers also have full control of guest permissions and can customize the level of access granted to an external collaborator. On the free Personal plan, admins can add up to five guests, whereas admins can add an unlimited number of guests on paid plans.
Notion makes it easy for teams to collaborate and give feedback via the comments feature. Teams can hover at the top of any page and click “Add a Discussion” or add a mini chat room in form of a page comment. Mentioning team members with the @ symbol brings their attention to the current discussion. When a user is mentioned, they immediately receive a notification in their “All Updates” tab in the sidebar.
Users can also edit and delete comments, or highlight a text snippet by adding a comment next to it. All new content and comments are updated and synced in real-time.
Teams can add a variety of content in Notion, such as text, images, videos, code blocks, and math equations. Every piece of content is a single building block that can be rearranged by dragging and dropping. For example, users can turn a table of contents into a calendar. Teams can also view and restore any Notion page going back 30 days if they are on a Personal or Team Plan.
Notion supports the markdown format and in-built text styling, including changing fonts and font sizes, adding text colors, and more. Additionally, Notion has a web clipper browser extension that allows users to save parts of a webpage into the workspace to read or edit later. This is useful for collecting references for research or sending information to another team member.
Resource Allocation & Planning
Though not typically used for resource allocation, Notion offers users some lightweight resource planning features. Teams can download a third-party integration to keep track of time spent on tasks and review timesheets. Notion also provides users with basic budgeting templates that can help them log and calculate expenses.
Notion does not have an in-built time management feature but the browser extension Clockify allows Notion users track time. To get started, users can click on the “Start Timer” button that appears at the top of all Notion’s pages and the app automatically logs the number of hours a user has spent on a task.
Team members can also log into their Clockify account and edit past entries, analyze time, review timesheets, and export reports.
Notion offers budget templates that enable project managers to keep track of expenses. However, these budget templates are limited in scope as they do not feature advanced project budgeting tools such as setting hourly rates for freelancers and external contractors. Notion also does not have a third-party integration that supports this feature.
Notion offers a free plan and three value for money paid plans: Personal, Personal Pro, Team, and Enterprise. Users have access to unlimited pages and blocks, five guest users, 5MB of file uploads, link-sharing, and real-time collaboration on the free Personal plan. For $5 per month, users can also upgrade their subscriptions to the Personal Pro plan, which includes unlimited file uploads, unlimited guest access, version history, and API access.
On the Team plan, teams enjoy advanced permissions, advanced security controls, and priority support. The Team plan also features a free trial with a 1000-block limit. The Enterprise plan unlocks benefits such as a dedicated customer success manager, custom contract and invoicing, and early access to new features.
Visit Notion’s pricing page for more details.
Notion ensures that all of its customer data is secure and protected using industry standard security practices. Notion is GDPR compliant and is self-certified under the EU-US Privacy Shield and the Swiss-US Privacy Shield. It also utilizes SSL technology within the data center and out. All data is encrypted at rest and in transit, and is hosted on Amazon Web Services within a virtual private network that can only be accessed via Notion’s public-facing proxy servers.
If there is a security breach, Notion informs its users within 72 hours of the breach. All employees of Notion receive regular security training and the company performs quarterly independent security checks using established security firms.
All customer data is stored in the cloud and Notion keeps per-minute backups on their servers. Customers can also regularly export their workspaces as HTML, Markdown, CSV, or PDF as a security measure. Teams on the Enterprise plan can also set up SAML SSO that only enables logins via a single authentication source like Okta.
Notion’s native capabilities are expanded when paired with a third-party integration. They include:
- Google Drive
As a note-taking app, Notion’s user interface is easy and uncomplicated to use. On the left, there is a sidebar that navigates to essential elements of the workspace. It also features a dropdown menu, allowing the user to view several pages at one go.
Within Notion’s text editor, teams can utilize the Markdown style (for example, ** is to bold) and use keyboard shortcuts to perform operations. The slash (/) command brings up a full menu of content blocks that can be inserted within the text. With this command, users can add a range of content, from images to templates and mathematical equations.
Notion also features a dark mode designed for users who prefer a better screen contrast. On mobile, this option is found at the bottom of the sidebar.
Overall, there is no learning curve required to use Notion. The workspace is clean, intuitive, and user-friendly.
In addition to a desktop app, Notion also supports mobile apps for iOS and Android devices. The Notion app enables team members to add notes, images, tasks, and drag and drop elements to change a page’s structure. Notion’s mobile apps work even without an internet connection. All content syncs across all devices once an internet connection is established, so users do not have to worry about losing information as they move from one device to another.
Teams that use Notion can enjoy several types of customer support options:
Knowledge base: All teams and users have access to Notion’s self-help knowledge base that includes FAQs, written tutorials, and video tutorials.
Direct support: Notion also assists users via live chat, email, and Twitter. Notion’s usual response time is one working day.
Priority support: Priority support is also available to teams on the Personal Pro, Team, and Enterprise plans, though having a dedicated manager and a custom contract and invoicing are features only available to teams on the Enterprise plan.
Notion works well as a collaborative workspace, though companies who require advanced advanced project management tools should consider:
Notion is a versatile project management tool that allows users to build and customize their own workflows via different data views such as Kanban and Calendar views. Teams can use Notion for creating and assigning tasks, note-taking, brainstorming ideas, storing files and documents, and more. It also boasts features like discussions, collaborative editing, and customizable templates, ensuring that teams can complete projects and tasks successfully.
On the other hand, Notion has no in-app time-tracking tool nor advanced project budgeting tools, though these shortcomings can be compensated for with third-party integrations. Notion is most suitable for small to mid-sized companies that want a robust and lightweight work management tool.