February 27th, 2012
A member of the Microproject-team recently sent me a link from an article at entrepreneur.com stating that meetings cost US economy a staggering 37 billion dollars per year. By coincidence I met with another friend, a mentor really, and we happened on the subject of meetings.
She told me that she’d recently brought an unbalanced budget at the public institution where she worked into balance and showed profit for her unit in the same year simply by cutting down on meeting time and by making the meetings that did take place more efficient. She saved somewhere around 150.000 USD in a year with a few very simple measures like stopping the regular weekly staff meeting and encouraging staff to meet in smaller groups impromptu to solve the actual problem that each team faced.
It is interesting that meetings have in such a significant way become markers for showing yourselves and others that things are indeed GETTING DONE. It is as if booking a meeting in itself will solve whatever problem that might be on the agenda. And of course they can. But we all also know that they are as likely not to. Solve anything that is. Actually, many meetings are rather detrimental to the cause discussed. Meetings are very often completely social functions where the same old people get to shoot their mouths off pushing the meeting OT within minutes.
The problem is that meetings are necessary. Both to discuss a pre-set agenda as well as to solve problems using the energy of the group gathered. The meeting between humans is a necessary way to develop products, relations and business in general and without meetings where visons are set and agendas drawn up things would simply get less done.
The guys at 37 signals wrote in Rework that “meetings are toxic”. Agreed, they can be. But to do completely without them? The article in entrepreneur.com lists some tips and tricks on how to make meetings more efficient (as does Rework) but the key word here seems to be limit yourself to what is actually at hand in terms of the agenda, to limit the time allowed to be spent on the meeting and to keep the group small and balanced. In effect what most people seem to agree on is that meeting culture, in order to work as a positive factor, needs to become smaller.
We’ve championed the idea of “Small Is Beautiful” here for some time, smaller economies, smaller groups, closer to home. Why not go that route with our meetings as well. A maximum of 15 minutes to solve one issue allowing all participants equal time and noting other issues that might come up to solve them at a later date. That way making things smaller might free, time, energy and resources to actually achieve more. Once again an example of how micro could be the way to macro.
December 30th, 2011
Almost exactly a year ago, on the last day of 2010, we opened the gates of microproject.com.
We wanted to build a tool based on our own experiences in project based work situations and built to remedy the problems of other web-based project management tools. We wanted to build a tool that was true to its purpose and that didn’t confuse usefulness with weight.
Spring was all about finding that core of users that could help us take the tool forward and to garner attention from reviewers and press. Slowly our user base grew and the reviews started coming in.
Both users and reviews confirmed our steady belief that microproject.com was indeed needed out there and encouraged we started rebuilding and refining the task and to-do system in late spring early summer. We launched the new work environment to positive reactions in June.
Fall has been about consolidating the tool that we had and about listening to our users even more. In the course of the last quarter we’ve seen user numbers grow as a result of word of mouth and we’ve now reached our goal for the user base that we set up at the end of last year.
At this point we’re working on our updates for the first 6 months of 2012 with renewed efforts to hone microproject.com even further. We’re looking at launching services and apps to make microproject even more specifically useful for certain target user groups and we welcome your feedback in this process.
We’re extremely proud that all of you out there have joined us and humbled by your opinions and feedback. Thank you.
For new years inspiration, listen to Andreas Sundgren, head of the microproject speak about the process of building software in general and microproject in particular at Swedish podcast web-radion. The interview is in Swedish so for those of you who are not Swedish speakers check out the kitchen tapes where Andreas expounds on the origins and motivation of microproject in english.
Happy new year from the microproject.com crew.
November 8th, 2011
At long last we’ve implemented language support in the Microproject interface
for French and Spanish. Since our public release we’ve steadily gathered users from
French and Spanish speaking territories and supporting these languages has been
high on our list of improvements.
The main microproject.com website will remain english language but under
the individual user menu in the project modules there is a drop-down menu
that lets you choose which language you prefer.
Check out a quick tutorial on how to get there here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-06KZqLQdw
Thanks for working with us on the microproject.
November 4th, 2011
Today we´re happy for the nice review at Appappeal.com, writing on our efforts to bring simplicity into project management. The review praises Microproject for its “beautiful contrast and sleek design“, because it “helps the user locate each function or piece of information quickly“, and likes our tool for being an “ideal for less complicated jobs because of the limited task description“.
Thanks a million Appappeal!
November 4th, 2011
Microproject could be a helpful tool for small teams that need an effective, streamlined way to manage project task. The application is ideal for less complicated jobs because of the limited task description. Microproject draws users in with its beautiful contrast and sleek design.
September 15th, 2011
In the much hyped “cloud” business it’s easy to forget that the clients that have trusted you and your product with their day-to-day business are actually flesh and blood people. We talk a lot about how the web revolutionizes the ability to work at a distance, to connect assets around the globe.
In reality we need real meetings with real people to move forward.
I was asked by network and booking system solutions designer NT Sweden to come to their offices in Stockholm to go through the microproject and listen to their views on the pros and cons of the platform, gripes that they might have with current features and what they would like to see the microproject develop into.
NT Sweden is in many ways the model client for which we designed this tool. They work with software and hardware in close combination, they have demanding clients both in terms of project execution as well as when it comes to system stability and they are small team working under high pressure to perform.
Sitting down with these guys for an hour working out their questions and requests was of course extremely rewarding for me and gave me a wealth of information to bring back to the guppy team.
Some of the things that the guys asked about were the possibility to implement dependencies between tasks, something that other users have asked for, extended snapshot functionality and the possibility mark a task as an inserted task that at placement in the timeline pushes all tasks already planned ahead for the duration of the inserted task.
This last one was really interesting. NT Sweden felt the insert function would enable them to see how a seemingly innocent added task could affect an entire project. Both for the benefit of a team as well as for clients.
From left to right, the NT Sweden team, Lars Lindh, Nisse Eriksson, Ulf Gåhlin, Mats Gåhlin, Nauman Badar
Together with the team I had an enlightening and intense hour of hands-on feedback and questions on microproject and as always meeting the users face to face is hugely beneficial. On behalf of the team and the user base thank you for inviting me guys!
/Andreas, Guppy Team
September 12th, 2011
In these times of turbulent economic change when the world seems destined to reevaluate (in the true sense of the word) its priorities when it comes to the definition of wealth and prosperity. When the basis of old world capitalism seems to crumble in its very foundations the trendsetters within business seem to follow suit. Slowly the discussion on what constitutes real wealth is taking a turn towards smaller.
We started the Microproject on the school of thought championed by economists like EF Schumacher and his early and eerily current statement “Small Is Beautiful”. As developers we’d grown tired of pushing endlessly for larger in the mechanical sense of the word and since the start worked to find clients and friends of similar a mind frame. We’re gathering the tribe at a steady pace.
In the flood of new ideas streaming over us at present we’d like to point now to an article in Inc.com that lists 6 reasons to stay small as a business and why staying small enables the entrepreneur to define wealth by more than monetary values. It doesn’t (and we don’t) eschew monetary growth as such. What it does do is underline other values in the definition of wealth and how a conscious choice to go and stay small can create that wealth.
We enjoyed it a lot. We hope you do too.
Microproject will soon announce major updates to be abel to reach beyond the lingua franca of the English language. Stay tuned.
August 10th, 2011
Jim Coudal of coudal.com talks about the Coudal success-story. How they came to be what they are and why. Very funny. More specifically in this brilliant talk he champions small teams saying that a team should never be bigger than the number of people that can be fed with a pizza. At the Microproject of course, we couldn’t agree more. Check out the vid here.
August 8th, 2011
We’re proud to once again be featured at Soma Bhattacharyas prolific Stepping Into PM Blog. It feels great to be featured within the PM community and having followed the blog we feel it’s one of the finest to be featured on. In the interview we talk a little about what we feel are the main points of The Microproject and why we decided to build it.
Check it out here.
Thank you Soma!
August 4th, 2011
The resource alert is designed to help you track resources, participants, that are used in several different parallell projects. Members of a small core team will almost always have several different projects going on at any one given time and as a project manager you need to make sure that resources are evenly distributed throughout your business.
Resource alert is very simple to use.
Just go to the section in the calendar view where you would like to track resource use. Click the Resource alert header in the upper right of the interface.
The interface will turn red showing to what extent a resource is used. If you want to know specifically what projects and tasks a resource is assigned to just click the timeline of that resource and a pop-up will show how many main tasks that are assigned to him or her and in which projects.
The pop-up will also show links to those projects so that you as a project manager can go to them right away to adjust tasks.
Check out the Resource alert tutorial here.