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Hive review: The project manager that likes a chat

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £9.80
(Teams plan, inc VAT)

Hive is a board-focused tool that helps teams communicate on projects


  • Generous free plan
  • Great onboarding for new users
  • Built-in chat facility


  • Non-board views disappoint
  • Subtasks can vanish down black holes

Hive is a relatively new and very interesting project-management tool that offers a great start for newbies. There’s a lot to like here, including integrated chat, but it has a few flaws that leave it trailing the best project management software.

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Hive review: What do you get for the money?

Hive has three plans that scale according to your team’s needs. The first is the free plan, which won’t cost you a penny for up to ten users. Though this limit may sting, a team of that size can do almost anything with Hive as the free plan offers all the core functionality, only limiting storage and barring access to some doodads.

If you need more than ten users and want to make use of Hive’s generous unlimited storage, you will have to sign up for the Teams plan, which costs £9.80 per user per month (price calculated using the exchange rates at time of writing). It also includes time-tracking abilities, as well as integrations with apps such as Slack and Zoom. 

In all honesty, for £9.80 I was expecting more. Smartsheet offers roughly the same package for half that money, and for only a few quid more you could sign up to and get a far wider feature set.

Finally, there’s the Enterprise plan, which comes with a custom price and allows advanced functionality, such as enhanced security controls and access to the API.

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Hive review: What’s it like to use?

Hive is a doddle to use, though it’s something of a one-trick pony, focusing hard on different kinds of boards and leaving other views as an afterthought.

Hive starts off well, offering a very pleasant sign-up process that has you answering a series of questions about how large your organisation is, what you will be doing, and so forth. You’re then dropped into your first project, with a nice tutorial that has you interacting directly with the program. 

Though a tutorial to-do list won’t be very popular amongst project-management veterans, I have a feeling people new to such software will like it. It’s pretty thorough and gets you started in a hands-on way. It can be dismissed with a single click if you find it cloying.

Besides this tutorial, there’s also the Hive University, which serves as both a knowledge base and training centre. It contains a lot of articles, often accompanied with videos and small assignments you can perform. More experienced users may want to skip these and focus on getting stuck in. That shouldn’t be a problem, as the interface layout is intuitive and you can find everything you need fairly quickly.

Hive has included many sample projects for you to check out. Though I feel it may be a few too many, most of them are very good and give you an idea of what the software can do. In fact, I liked the samples so much, I used them for my screenshots for this article. For example, this is how Hive could be used as a scrum board for Agile teams.


Though it won’t be driving Jira into bankruptcy any time soon, it’s a nice addendum for a company that has a small team working with Agile, while the rest work under a different project-management methodology.

Hive has also prepared a small editorial calendar to show off its superb kanban board. Though it’s no Trello, Hive does a good job of giving you a lot of information at a glance without becoming overwhelming. 

The board is Hive’s main focus. Most of its views are different kinds of board, and the ones that aren’t are underwhelming. For example, the Gantt chart doesn’t let you see dependencies or subtasks.

This brings me to another problem I have with Hive, namely managing subtasks. Like other project-management software, you can only see them by clicking on a task to open its details. If you don’t, you will only know there are subtasks, not what they are. I prefer the system that Wrike uses, where subtasks are separate from, but attached to, their parent task.

What makes it worse is that subtasks can have subtasks, potentially creating a black hole of never-ending dependencies. If you know what you’re doing, you likely won’t fall into the trap of having subtask upon subtask (upon subtask), but I feel it behoves software to protect inexperienced users from themselves.

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Hive review: Are there other useful features?

Besides project management, Hive also fancies itself as a communications app, offering chat functions as well as letting you integrate directly with Slack and the like. Though I didn’t play around with it too much, the chat function seems better than that offered by most other project-management tools (looking at you, Basecamp), and I like how you don’t need to change apps to merely ask a colleague a question.

Aside from chat, Hive also offers unlimited storage space in the Teams plan, which is great value, as well as offering integrations with most major cloud storage providers. Keeping files around won’t be a problem with Hive.

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Hive review: Should I sign up?

Hive has a great free plan, which is easy to recommend for smaller teams. However, the paid plan feels thin, considering you’re getting little more than a cool kanban board with built-in chat.

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