MLab Roundtable was a remarkable event. We discussed the ways to improve existing management practices and I had a chance to tell what inspired me to start working on the online project management software – Wrike. I have been managing businesses for more than 8 years now, and I know how inefficient traditional project management tools, like e-mail or Microsoft Project are. Most businesses now have three major gaps that could be easily filled up with the right tool.
1. There is a gap between the strategic plans and the daily agenda of the employees. In many businesses, strategic plans, quarterly plans, project plans and daily to-do lists of team members are separated. All of these plans should be a part of one master plan. There should be a tool able to easily merge plans into a bigger picture. With the help of this tool, daily to-do lists should emerge into project plans. Projects should lead to achieving strategic goals. So this tool should utilize the principle of emergent structures. Emerging structures allow you to combine top-down and bottom-up planning to bridge the gap in the middle. The whole structure is then transparent and can be traced from a quarterly goal to a daily task of a team member. This is a real-time visibility into a company that lets corporate executives lead their business in the right direction.
2. There is a gap between e-mail and project management software that made project management software inefficient. E-mail is the most widely-used software tool in project management, and at the same time traditional project management tools, like Microsoft Project, ignore this fact. This leaves a gap between the everyday project management tool (e-mail) and project planning software (Microsoft Project, Excel). This results in putting a heavy burden onto managers. They need to gather information from e-mails, merge it into a bigger picture, manually update plans, communicate the updated version to team members and report the progress to the top manager. This seriously decreases productivity on all levels in the organization, including top managers’ productivity. It is hard to get a picture of where the business stands if you simply rely on thousands of e-mails spread across hundreds of mailboxes. E-mail buries a lot of valuable information. There should be a tool that will help to turn the e-mail mess into organized projects, increasing productivity and bringing control of business.
3. There is a gap between project management tools and Web 2.0 tools. Web 2.0 collaboration tools, like wikis, are much more powerful than traditional project management software, because they leverage collective intelligence and emerging structures. At the same time they lack some pieces that are crucial in order to use them as effective management tools. There was a huge potential in bringing the best practices of Web 2.0 into project management software and business management software. Instead of being a complex, expensive and stiff tool designed for trained project managers, the new tool should be simple, agile and inexpensive and should be used by the whole company from top managers to employees. It will greatly increase productivity of the whole team and will make managers’ jobs easier.
So when I started Wrike, the idea was to invent a project management application that would help businesses to deal with all three problems. Several years of extensive research and development resulted in the launch of innovative, online project management software, Wrike. The product has the best e-mail integration among project management tools. First, this integration makes Wrike easy-to-use. Second, it turns e-mail mess into neatly organized project plans helping to increase the productivity and making it easier to control the whole business. Our tool applies the principles of Enterprise 2.0 to democratize project management software. Wrike empowers organizations and makes managers’ jobs easier.