After a less than successful Post-It™ scavenger hunt, I can feel my heart throbbing. Unable to locate the proverbial showstopper task deadline, I am forced to waste more time, which is of course not billable, scanning endless emails in an attempt to locate the information I need. Eventually, I find the task facts but have wasted what would have been an income-generating twenty minutes. Of course, overall I feel better now because I’ve been able to continue working and forget about the need for a better way to manage my projects . . . until the NEXT time!
It is the fear of the “next time” along with being fortunate to work for a busy, detail-oriented digital agency that starts the conversation around Project Management. As many are aware, this term can represent a whole host of different ways to keep tabs on a project, with the hopes that all goals are met, and on time. Obviously, scratch paper, notepads, whiteboards, and emails can add confusion, duplication, and ultimately inconsistency to any project. Here at Solstice Digital, we knew we had a need for a Project Management Tool however, comprehending the endless choices would be something we would come to understand during the research process.
Keeping in mind we are a boutique digital agency that works on both intimate and expansive projects, I started comparing the more widely recognized tools as well as the lesser-known options. While I took many for a spin, a few that stood out in their own right were TeamworkPM™, Birdview Projects™, Paprika™, and Basecamp™. While TeamworkPM™ provided lists, assignments, billing, and Google™ & Dropbox™ integration, it was not very visual and was set up similarly to MS Project, which are characteristics that would not work for us. Birdview Projects™ had a nice watercooler feature which would have been helpful to us as we have some remote employees and partners however, there were not enough strong points for us to choose this tool. Interestingly while those tools were on the simple side of the spectrum, Paprika™ and Basecamp™ seemed to be geared more toward a larger firm and user base. While some options would have been a match, both tools were cumbersome and too complicated for our needs. While there were some interesting features within the various tools, none of them truly included an overall project solution which included time capture, project steps or tasks, milestones, internal & external communication capability, timeline and reporting. Just as I was wishing there was one solution which took a little from here and a little from there and combined it with a lot from over there, I stumbled upon Intervals™.
Intervals™, not only provides our company a unique URL and customizable dashboard, but it also gives you the majority of the bells and whistles a large platform would while keeping it at a manageable level for small businesses. I quickly began loading clients, projects, tasks and milestones for each. As Tamara Robb and I became more familiar with using the tool by entering all of our clients, it was apparent to us this was going to be a positive addition to Solstice Digital. Soon, I worked to develop training for our employees and contractors, held webinars where the user could gain a hands-on feel for the new tool, and ultimately established a launch date for the Agency. While it may sound like it’s been strictly smooth sailing that is not the case. Intervals™ has proven to be a vital web-based project management option for larger clients with more in-depth projects however, the jury here at Solstice Digital is still out in terms of efficiency when using with our smaller projects. Only time will tell as we grow our knowledge and usage of the tool if, in fact, it will be the end-all, be-all Project Management Tool for Solstice Digital Agency so keep your eyes open for a fully-integrated usage update in the coming months!