App: Project Planning

Posted by on Apr 24, 2011 in JOURNAL | No Comments
App: Project Planning
Like other design firms, we do our best to stay as on-top of our projects as possible. This means working with online project management tools, internal task-setting tools, daily status meetings, and conference calls with clients.


The main tool we use is Basecamp, which is an online tool for keeping track of team tasks, communicating with clients, and exchanging files with clients and team members. It’s a great tool for remaining on task, and staying connected but it lacks one important feature I have yet to find in any project planning software. One view for both high-level planning, and detailed task managementWe have several iPads, lots of iPhones and of course plenty of Macs here in the studio. We have tried all apps possible for managing our day to day tasks. None offer a view that allows for seeing exactly how many milestones I have today, this week, and next month. I have to stumble through multiple windows/tabs of calendars (which are all done in the same format), task screens, and project overview screens. Accessing information from one window while viewing another is impossible. Why is this? When I’m trying to see the big picture on one project, or multiple projects I need to know what is going on with all of them so I can plan for staffing needs, review tasks and see what is coming up tomorrow, all without having to switch between multiple views

And it’s not just about seeing it all at once, it’s HOW I see it. At Studio Holladay, we plan to tackle this issue. We firmly believe it will help out not only the design industry, but countless other industries as well. We are in the middle stages of creating a wonderful app that will allow for a high-level view of projects, their milestones and tasks associated with those milestones. We believe we are onto something here.

Instead of creating an app that will fulfill our studio’s needs for the first phase, we are going to focus on the wedding industry. I have been a wedding photographer for over 6 years, and know about all the necessary planning that goes into planning even the smallest of weddings. Oh, and I have been married twice.

Think about it. Weddings are planned sometimes years in advance. There are upwards of 20 vendors, there are locations, there is food, many times there are hundreds of people in attendance, travel is almost always required, family and friends are involved, and budgeting is a huge factor. This type of “project” easily exceeds most all of the types of projects we deal with here in our studio just from the standpoint of sheer volume of details that need planning.

Once this app is created, it can easily be re-skinned for other specific industries, as well as a general business project planning app. We are mostly done with the wireframes, have the design 50% nailed down and are moving into the development phase. We’ve been thinking about this one for a long time now and feel we finally have the right direction to go with it. I will update the blog as progress is made. Believe me, you will want to see this.