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What Project Management Tool We Use?

27/08/2015

Project management tool – how they can help when managing freelance services not running corporate projects.

Project management tool has always been vital part of software development teams. As a software development team we quickly adapted to the agile methodology, but the project management tools have struggled to keep up. We found many to still be bulky and somewhat difficult to use. We just came across what is, arguably, the best choice for agile project management: Blossom. We had a brainstorm with the team about project management platform and will take you through our decision-making process.

The first choice fell onto Trello which seems a very simple general-purpose tool for managing lists. Similar to spreadsheets, To-Do apps or pen & paper anyone can use Trello to organize various things from chores to vacations. It is very generic.

We were looking for a tool for people who care about their products. We wanted our team to immediately feel at home no matter was it a product manager, designer, engineer or marketer.

We recently came across blossom.io; a slick, simple but powerful project management tool for companies and startups adhering to lean and agile methods. The blossom.io application gives its users the ability to use virtual ‘kanban boards’ for project collaboration, ensuring that each member of your team is aware of the progress of each project that is taking place within your startup or organisation. This is a great tool that helps achieve enhanced productivity within teams that practise lean and agile methods. It is based on a scheduling method that was popularized by Japan’s Taiichi Onho.

Following is a review of all the features that we were looking for and that blossom.io provides:

1) Adding a project

The first thing that stands out about blossom.io is its slick and minimalist interface. After you sign up for their service, you (and your team members) are immediately prompted to add a project. Any member of your team can manage multiple projects using blossom.io at any given time and can invite collaborators to his or her project(s).

2) Adding new stages

By default, blossom.io has four “stages”, which represent the process that each task has to go through in order to complete your project. This interface is a virtual ‘kanban board’, allowing you and your team to quickly figure out which “kanban” – or cards – are present in each stage. You can easily add more stages or edit/remove the existing ones, according to your requirements. For instance, our team likes to brainstorm each proposal before assigning anyone to work on it. In this case, we will have to add a brainstorm stage after the proposal stage, which can be done with ease using blossom.io’s user-friendly interface. We just have to click on the appropriate column and click on “Add a new Stage”.

3) Adding checklists to features

Each feature or kanban card can be clicked to add a detailed checklist of things that need to be done in order to carry out that task. This is very useful as it allows users of blossom.io to zoom in further over eachfeature, giving them the power to break down tasks in as much detail as they require.In an agile environment, this allows us to break down each user story or ticket into further detail using a checklist of items.Here, we also have the ability to cross off completed items in the same manner as we would do on a normal to-do list.

4) Moving features between stages

It is also very easy to move cards or features between stages using blossom.io’s slick interface. We just have to select, drag and drop the required card into the appropriate stage. In the screen below, you can see that more cards have been added and the “Website Plan” card is being moved into the Brainstorm stage.

5) Setting WIP limits

A lean scheduling system requires setting up of ‘Work in Process’ (WIP) limits to keep track of the workload at any given stage, in order to avoid bottlenecks. In blossom.io, you can easily set WIP limits by clicking the appropriate stage and then selecting your required limit using the drop-down listnext to ‘Work In Progress Limit’.

In conclusion Blossom.io provides its users with a slick, user-friendly and powerful interface for their lean project management requirements. This application is particularly useful for companies who follow agile practices in their software development, as each user story or ticket can easily be represented by a ‘Virtual Kanban Card’ with detailed checklists. By using this tool, each member in an agile team has the ability to share his or her progress with other team members, making it easier to collaborate, track and monitor projects in a lean startup or organisation.


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