Why we use PMS

One thing is in Project Management for sure: a good project management software is no guarantee for a successful project. I’ve learned this the hard way. Throughout my record I have used Basecamp & Teambox and even these simple tools were hard to effectively coordinate within customer projects. Getting people to use these softwares properly was impossible. While I was struggling with the limited functions, others were completely overcharged by our online office.

But first things first: what software am I exactly referring to? This question is interesting, because we had a little intern discussion about what is a collaborative software and what is a pms. Does Google Drive count as a pms? Is Joomla or Typo3 a pms? We came to the conclusion, that there had to be at least the opportunity to build to-do-lists, an online-storage for documents and a somehow rudimentary calendar for coordinating deadlines.
Since we’ve cleared that out, why did we even use PMS in the first place? First of all, we’re a group of young people and we are always looking for a new toy.

But of course we have also got professional reasons. Since our team is spread out all around europe, we are forced to work decentralized, but a simple file-directory on server doesn’t fit our claims for a fast and effective workflow. Additionally, we claimed access from our mobile devices, making traditional systems inefficient and circuitous. PMS offered us templates to increase process speed. 
Despite that, we were struggling with the project documentation, just like any other project team. PMS allowed us to exactly track our task closures subsequently. This had the wonderful benefit of providing an easy-to-catch-up log of the recent project developments for every team member. Overall, a working documentation gives an important overview on the current project situation and coherences. 
At last, we think the representation of done tasks is super motivating, especially in long projects.

But of course, PMS has its downsides. Whatever way you look at it you are always giving up your most valuable and sensible data to a complete stranger. We have discussed this a lot and came to the conclusion that this argument was valid but not at all helpful since we didn’t find an alternative other than building our own software. 
Second of all, smaller PMS don’t offer flexible access authorizations. This feature came handy a couple times during past projects.

And there are some persistent features we’ve never used in PMS:

  1. GANTT charts - Agile methods ftw. Stop wasting time in plans your customer will change anyway two days from now.

  2. Calendar app - A good idea, but since everyone is using his own calendar with his private appointments to coordinate, we’ve never really used it.

  3. Discussion platforms - If you have to label an area for discussions, that will definitely don’t work. People discuss where they want to and whether you like it or not. Deal with it.

For Framsteg, we have decided to use the most extensive tool we could get to get the most out of it and eventually detect useful niche features. Considering teamlab and others, we stumbled across Podio. I got in contact with the kind people over there and requested a non-profit license for our Think Tank. I was quite surprised as my request passed.
They asked for a testimonial on our blog in return. The text goes like the following:
With the power of Podio, our free online CRM tool our team can effectively work together from anywhere, to escape email overload, alleviate document chaos and much more. Get structured with Podio's easily modified workspaces and apps, so you and your team can work the way you want to.

It’s a good image text without a doubt but I think it’s a little to generic. In my opinion, Podio is more like a sandbox and has a lot more to offer than a simple CRM. And that’s exactly what I like about it and what Podio is good at. Making your own apps is an opportunity to save a lot of administration effort which would otherwise had to be spended on work-arounds. Although I would definitely not suggest it to inexperienced users.
Finally, the app is just completely awesome. Thank you guys!

Tristan Poetzsch

Computer aided cognition and AI specialist, currently working at Nexgen Business Consultants.