We shall not cease from exploration

John Reeve | April 1st, 2008 | ,

The era of the lightweight framework has permanently altered the state of the web. Development shops, like our own Pelago, are finding it increasingly easier and faster to turn ideas into web-based services for the benefit of themselves and others.

It seems like anyone and everyone has built something, from widely adopted and practical productivity tools, to experimental proofs-of-concept that never grow wings. Agility is the common theme. The late tech boom gave us undelivered promises. Now we have a generation of doers building just because its fun or because they need something to fill a gap.

In the task tracking and time management space, which Intervals occupies, there are a multitude of web-based services available. There are, at least, 30 of these productivity tools, each with different feature sets and workflows for getting things done. As different as they seem, there is one common pitch; these services are engineered for us, by us.

Intervals was developed for the same reason, to fulfill our needs as a web development shop, struggling with its day-to-day time tracking. A service built with the ‘for us, by us’ mentality is a good one, because it has been proven useful in a business environment, and because it helps people find the right fit for their needs by identifying with the company behind the product.

Of course, there are other obvious factors to consider when committing to a web-based project management service: reliability, customer service, regular updates, and security. These should be part of any venture to be taken seriously.

However, there is one less obvious factor to consider. How much does the company really know about project management? Is this just a system that worked for them? Or is this a service that is built on real project management knowledge and experience? In other words, how serious is this web-based project management service about project management?

The words “project management” conjure up different meanings to different people. Seven years ago, we attacked our problems using enterprise-sized solutions, only to find out they didn’t work too well for our small business. Instead, we started translating enterprise-based project management concepts into simpler ideas more suitable for our needs.

This is one area where Intervals excels. Our development team is headed by a project manager with a core and expert certification in Microsoft Project, who has played the role of technology officer for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Microsoft Project User Group. In addition, he was a member of PMI. That’s an impressive resume. And, despite all this expertise of Gantt charts and resource pools, we decided to go the other direction and build a simple web-based project management service with only a fraction of the features found in Microsoft Project (and using Linux, Apache, PostgreSQL, and PHP; the four horsemen of the Micropalypse).

The benefit to being so heavily armed with big business project management know-how is that we are at a distinct advantage for translating traditional principals and ideals into something useful on a smaller scale. Intervals wasn’t just built for us, by us, it was built for us, by us, while redefining established methodologies for small team dynamics. We’ve taken concepts like iterative development, open communication, and solid tracking, and bundled them into a web-based service for agencies like ours, who find themselves struggling to stay agile.

Intervals isn’t just another service on that long list of options that grows longer each day. It is a productivity tool based on real small business experience and project management concepts dating back to the first world war. Signup today to try Intervals free, and to see for yourself how your small business can benefit from better time tracking and task management.

2 Responses to “We shall not cease from exploration”

  1. PM Hut says:

    Just had the chance to check Pelago, very sleek.

    The nice thing about it is that it enforces good practices. I would like to run an article on best practices for a Project Management software on PM Hut ( http://www.pmhut.com ). If someone has any article about this, please contact me through PM Hut.

  2. Business Forum says:

    I’ve read through alot of your posts on entrepreneurship and business and there excellent, keep up the good work!

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Intervals Blog

A collection of useful tips, tales and opinions based on decades of collective experience designing and developing web sites and web-based applications.

What is Intervals?

Intervals is online time, task and project management software built by and for web designers, developers and creatives.
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John Reeve
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John Reeve

John is a co-founder, web designer and developer at Pelago. His blog posts are inspired by everyday encounters with designers, developers, creatives and small businesses in general. John is an avid reader and road cyclist.
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Jennifer Payne
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Jennifer Payne

Jennifer is the Director of Quality and Efficiency at Pelago. Her blog posts are based largely on her experience working with teams to improve harmony and productivity. Jennifer is a cat person.
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Michael Payne
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Michael Payne

Michael is a co-founder and product architect at Pelago. His contributions stem from experiences managing the development process behind web sites and web-based applications such as Intervals. Michael drives a 1990 Volkswagen Carat with a rebuilt 2.4 liter engine from GoWesty.
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