KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Sep 01 2010

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Project management system—the search continues

Ever in search of the perfect project management system, I have come across another PM service, in the cloud, that I’d like to pass to you. I’ve heard it said that it is not uncommon for one to try out a particular PM system several times before finding the right one or coming back to one that was looked at many months before.

I think what happens is this: As we work with a variety of project management features, we change our opinions about which features we thought were important. One cannot always know, when first signing on to a PM system, if there will be some features that might end up not working as we expected or hoped, once certain features are discovered. In some cases, a super sexy PM feature may make us just lose our heads in excitement and ignore other, less attractive but more important features we should be looking at. You want sex appeal? Check out ProjectTurf. I dare you.

I spoke about Central Desktop in a previous post. I like Central Desktop (CD) very much, but I am moving away from it. Here’s why. I quickly tired of spending $100 per month … makes sense, doesn’t it? I justified it enthusiastically at first but then, perhaps, came to my senses. In addition, in downgrading to the $50-per-month plan, CD only offers 10 “projects” to work on. Much too limiting.

In searching for a project management system, be aware of the number of projects allowable. Projects are not only clients—they may also be categories such as marketing, PR, showroom issues, accounting, products, suppliers and so on. More and more, I am seeing systems that allow unlimited projects and unlimited users but vary in terms of other features.

I am currently trying out Wrike. As I was looking, looking, looking for another PM system and I would come across Wrike, the words “patent pending” and “intelligent email” finally got my interest. I did a little more research and actually READ a fair amount on their site and others to understand that the connection between email and the project management system … is everything. I’ve used this feature before in Thymer.com and loved it, but Wrike takes it several steps beyond ANYONE. I LOVED Nozbe (very sexy and fun to use) but the email formatting just does not work well in my opinion.

Being super productive with tasks, which many emails are, is about the ability to a) email tasks to a system easily (I emphasize easily) and b) the holy grail: the inclusion of attachments, files, images, VIA EMAIL which, when they end up in the project management system, provide the task recipient everything he/she needs to get that task done.

Wrike has several patents pending. I am using Wrike to email tasks to a particular person who has access to Wrike and the task goes into a particular folder within Wrike…again, easily. I can put a due date in my email to Wrike for the task as well.

The theory is that emails are not letters. They are tasks. As such, they are disconnected, disjointed, and if you get many emails, they very easily fall through the cracks, and I can attest to that. Every few days, discounting spam and newsletters, I end up with 200-300 emails. If I do not keep up, I’m in trouble. Right now, I am thrilled to have 24 emails in my inbox, and my goal is to continually have zero, with all tasks in Wrike, neatly organized by date due, project and task recipient.

At first glance, Wrike looks like a typical PM system. I think it is very powerful. I cannot go further into its many powerful features here, but take a look, give it some time and see if it’s for you. It’s definitely not sexy (which I wish it were, after all, I’m a designer) but it’s a workhorse.

In the end, it’s difficult to have ALL of the features we may wish for. We need to consider price, number of users permitted, number of projects, email to task features, general user interface and more. Everyone’s needs are different. As I search for a way to save time and as I believe email, tasks, and a project management system are integrated, like it or not, Wrike is where I am focused right now. I’d love to hear about your experiences and opinions on project management systems.

Susan Serra

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1.  Wayne |

    Hi Susan,

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you said ‘Everyone’s needs are different’. There are several PM’s on the market and each focuses on different areas – and this is a good thing – it increases the chance a finding a solution that fits your needs.
    I’d like to just put this product forward as well – http://www.glasscubes.com Focus somewhat more around virtual/distributed teams collaboration , CRM and of course PM features.


  2.  Peter Coppinger |

    Hi Susan,

    I seen that Write mentioned you on recent blog post and I came on over to read this article. I’m gutted that you haven’t found our product TeamworkPM yet… please go on, give it a lash and I’d be delighted to hear what you think. – http://www.teamworkpm.net

    Sorry for the shameless plug.


  3.  Daniele B |

    Hello Susan,

    I’m the founder of Business Driver, a new project management & collaboration software.
    I think your point of view is shared by many, to see if a service is right for you you always have to try it, use it for a while and then you can draw some conclusions.
    Like you, we believe that the integration of email and project management is essential. Business Driver works in this way: it recognizes the email of a project and collect them the project page (a sort of workspace).
    I invite you to try it, I would appreciate your feedback.
    P.s. joining to the Welcome Program the service will be free for a whole year, with no commitment to renew.

  4.  Daniele B |

    Sorry for oversight: Business Driver is available at http://www.businessdriver.pro/

  5.  dotroy |

    Did you actually used the application ? At first sight it looks awesome but did you try to read text over gray colored background ? How did you feel ? What about wasting lots of horizontal space which makes you scroll all the time ? I have used it, paid for it and gone back to Base camp. Stop telling lie to people.