Another project management platform?
I’m a productivity geek. I like project/task management tools and have used plenty (Producteev, Wunderlist, Asana and Trello to name a few) for various projects and at work throughout the years. The more feature-rich tools tend to be ugly, bloated and complex, while the ones you actually enjoy using (currently Trello) feel too simple for medium-to-large team projects.
I often feel like I’m missing vital features in these platforms, especially when it comes to project management for agencies where you are working on multiple customers in parallell and need a clear overview of what’s to-do and what’s due next. Especially the times when a customer from a year ago want to build something new for the website or app we built for them, hours can be wasted on trying to get a hold of log in details to hosting, database etc. of which the non-technical customer has no idea.
Hence, I decided to take a shot at designing my own project management platform, with agencies in mind.
This is only a design challenge and not a new project of mine.
Some key features I’ve been missing:
- Agency overview: status on the projects we have active right now, what is our monthly cashflow etc.
- Team overview: who is working on which task right now? Easy for project managers to see who’s free.
- (Project) Clear progress indicator: how far are we from completing the (customer) project? When is the given deadline?
- (Project) Optional Scrum board layout: seamlessly switch between normal task list and a board layout, for those who prefer that.
- (Project) Password manager: securely store account details for hosting, database, CMS administrator etc. for easy future access.
- (Project) Contact details to the customer: especially important for small agencies where there is no appointed “customer relations” person.
- (Project) Files and documentation: preferably integrate with Google Drive and Dropbox. Should be easy to write project-specific (technical) documentation. Useful for old customers that want updates to their old website or app, of which you have forgotten the technical details of the solution.
I enjoy sketching my designs before diving into Photoshop, for quick iterations and greater preparatory understanding of what I am to create. I decided to sketch only two views, as this wasn’t a full scaled project. Firstly the “Project details” view, with clearly visible project progress indicators, team status and project accounts. The side menu was later replaced with a tab-menu in the project header, as in the second ‘Tasks’ sketch.
The final mockup
I’m very happy with the result, especially the top bar (which was quite inspired by Trello). I personally believe that the “scrum board” kind of layout is much better for larger projects, since you can clearly see the status of the tasks. I did however include a “List” alternative view, for if one (perhaps in a smaller project) would prefer a normal vertical to-do list kind of layout. For the “List” view, the the boards would collapse into sections, where each task has a “Status” value corresponding to the board name. That way, switching will be seamless and no information needed to be dropped in the switch.