This article documents my experience in finding the best way for me to manage my design projects.
What I was looking for
I went with the original notebook plan because it was simple. No point not being able to look at something which ruled my life if I wasn’t able to see what was happening. As such, I had a series of requirements of Project Management Software to fulfil, set by the trustworthy notebook:
- Easy to use
- Able to fit in my pocket (for milestone projects, I tended to create these with the client present, so I had to be able to carry it around with me!)
- Easy to read at a glance
- 100% reliability (I didn’t want to finish a task, and have to wait for 20minutes because the software had a bug, the license expired or my internet connection went down)
- Provide a report to show the client
- I wasn’t too bothered about the price of the software – if it was perfect for the job, I’d be more than happy to pay that bit extra. As long as it worked well, and was reliable.
I looked on several sites which promoted a wide range of Project Management gear, and each piece of software looked good and was easy to use! This was beginning to look easier than I had expected. But then came the tricky parts – Reliability of web based ones wouldn’t be trustworthy where I am living– quite common for a storm to affect my internet signal. So that ruled out a large amount.
Since I didn’t always take my laptop with me to a meeting, I wanted something that was very simple and straightforward, which I could take notes on and fill in later. But then after testing several of the more popular ones, I found that they all required far too much detail than what I was after – making it harder to read, and not able to fit in my pocket!
Twitter and Post-It Notes to the Rescue!
I’m sure many people here have twitter, and occasionally see some pictures which always look interesting. One day around this time I saw one posted by a member of staff in a studio which I really admire. The photograph pictured a glass partition wall, coated in post-it notes and handwritten notes scribbled in pen. After a few messages back and forth, I set up a wall of my own (which, I’d like to point out in case my landlord is reading this, doesn’t have pen on it!)
Success! It fulfilled each requirement I had set – and even better, the fact that post-it notes come in packs of hundreds/thousands for very cheap was an added bonus!
Pros and Cons of the Post-It Note approach
I found that this worked best for me, as I was able to look quickly, and move things around if they were getting tight. Spending much of my working day behind a computer, I wanted something that wouldn’t be staring me in the face as I was working, and I wanted to dictate to the software if I was running late, early or on schedule, not be told that I am 3 hours late for Milestone X. I also wanted something which was more ‘interactive’ for my clients, so that when I was meeting them to discuss the project, I could get a pen out, the post-its out, my diary (now much emptier) and the contract all on the table with the client, and we could decide what was and what wasn’t required by a certain day.
The main issue I’ve had so far is after re-sticking the notes five or six times, they start to lose their stickiness, and if they do fall, and it isn’t noticed, I think it could potentially ruin a project. Luckily, this hasn’t happened to me, and I hope it doesn’t for some time!
Over to you…share your thoughts.
What’s your favourite way of managing your design projects? Have you had any horror stories, or simply want to voice your opinion? Share your thoughts on the Post-It note approach to project management.