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Sneak Preview: New Project Management

A huge part of the current release we’re working on is a new and enhanced project management module. The tricky thing about developing project management software is that everyone wants practical usability within a business. Every feature request, every great idea propels the product forward, but also ads layers of complexity and what may work for one customer, may not work or even hinder another.

So, a few months ago I started this process we use of downloading our store of project management requests, weeding out duplicates, sorting by priority and relevance to the greatest number of customers and finally arriving at a semi-final plan. I use the phrase semi-final as what looks good in print doesn’t always work as planned in code.

Simon has since been belting out some demon code and together we’re getting close to a public beta – something we’re really pumped about. The project component of WORK[etc] is just so important to so many of our customers now and so important to our business – we have always used WORK[etc] to manage the WORK[etc] business.

This is a screenshot of the new streamlined interface:

This screeshot doesn’t do justice to the nuts and bolts sitting behind and doesn’t show the level of interaction now possible. For example, you can drag and drop tasks, click and create dependant tasks and click and enter detailed settings. There is a lot going on, but from the design I think we’ve managed to keep it looking simple and intuitive.

In a later post I’ll include a list of all changes (there’s a lot!) but for now here is a brief overview of the top four enhancements coming:

  • Rapid project structures. Quickly set up a new sub project or task by just typing in a new column. Previously you would need to work through a detailed set up screen, but with this version you can tab through lines creating a project structure and then if you need to, view the detailed setting screens later.
  • Dependent sub projects and tasks. This is probably the most requested feature request we’ve received. With this next release, projects or task can be set as dependent on the completion of another project. And when that project is complete, the members of dependant project will receive an alert that they can start work.
  • Streamlined Gantt charts. As you can see, the design above is slick and allows for richer display of information. It also allows for dates such as weekends to be hidden, smooth horizontal scrolling through date ranges and a “pop-to-full-screen” viewing option.
  • Different data views. The current projects simply allows for a page and timeline view of activities.This next release includes tabs that allow you to instantly switch between different project perspectives:
    • Progress view which shows visually how much is complete on each subproject or task.
    • People view which shows which people are scheduled in where. This provides a project manager with a view of which employees are over utilised and which have available time.
    • Budget view which shows recorded work hours and rates against the estimated project budget.

And as with all the WORK[etc] modules, you can use make as little or as much use of these advanced tools.

If anyone has specific questions around projects or wants to find out if their feature is included, let’s talk about it over at this forum.

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