We asked Simon Rowe, Software Development Manager for the UK Government and owner of his own IT consultancy/agency and a PR/Media company, to test out and review our newest LTD offer: Project.co.
As you can see, he’s a busy man. (So thanks for taking the time, Simon!)
Here’s what he had to say:
First off, can you give us some context about you? What other project management tools have you used in the past?
As someone who has worked on all sides of the equation (developer, manager, and agency owner) I am always keen to see if there is a tool that will improve both mine and my client workflows.
I have tried many tools to fit my workflow: Jira and Git Scrum have the agile part nailed but they do nothing for client collaboration. Other applications have the client portal part done brilliantly but then have none of the kanban, reporting or payment features. Project.co seems to be a more all-encompassing product. It will work well for several of my businesses I believe.
What problems can you solve with this tool?
Project.co bridges the gap between managing projects for clients and managing projects with clients. It is an integrated agile environment with planning, task, team and billing management.
What benefits can a business expect using this tool?
Client collaboration, file sharing, team and task management, kanban, budget monitoring, milestone agreements and funding — all in one place.
What do you like most about this tool?
I believe this would be very useful and impressive when working with clients so that everything is in a single white labelled branded platform.
Integrated billing and invoicing combined with reporting makes this stand out.
I love that this tool is flexible enough to be used for lots of clients across lots of different business types — for me this is another fabulous way to provide value to clients, act as a support expert for them on the tool and tie them in further.
This idea of “client collaboration” seems really central. Is Project.co kinda like Slack embedded in project management software, so you can chat with clients about tasks, etc.?
As I am just a beta tester, I don’t have enough experience to answer definitively, but I think the analogy works well — with the bonus that you’re in control and not worrying about losing detail after 10,000+ messages.
The ability to hold project details, discussions, task tracking, payments for milestones, and file uploads all in once place is spot on.
In your opinion, what could be improved?
It’s mainly small things in the beta that shouldn’t be super hard to fix:
In certain circumstances it is clunky, so you must do things in a logical order — e.g. create a company before adding a user instead of being able to create a company from that form.
Finding a way to delete a project wasn’t intuitive for me. When you do, some of the data is removed like invoices but time is still assigned to the deleted project. I also couldn’t delete invoices or see how the payment requests would be sent out.
On Mac, the calendar item in UI goes off the screen for the last row of dates, so I need to shrink my screen which is annoying.
Lastly, having little documentation or how-to sections means they will likely get lots of support questions, but the team seems really responsive.
Who is this tool created for and/or marketed to?
This tool is ideally suited to agencies and SMEs. But it is not limited to just digital projects. It could easily be used for a plethora of other small businesses including sports, wedding planners, caterers, garages or anything that requires project management, client collaboration and payment in stages.
What features would you request to make this product better?
Better reporting – this feature is nice but it’s not particularly polished. Standard agile reporting and payment reporting would also be very useful.
Any recommendations to others using this tool?
This is a decent offering. I would recommend it to anyone.
What’s the real benefit of Project.co in your opinion? (What makes it stand out from Asana, MeisterTask, Trello etc.?)
Really, it’s the fact that Project.co does it all. The closest to this I have used is Plutio. But to me, this felt better and more natural as a collaboration tool. Trello is pure kanban, but this has reporting, invoicing, discussions, payments, file storage and reporting.
What’s your overall recommendation to other Sumolings?
For me it’s definitely a buy for myself and several clients. I have a number of similar tools but the invoicing and billing looks promising. To know how many I would stack I would need a bit more details. (You can see that detail here.)
Simon was previously a Senior Developer for the UK Government. He also runs an IT consultancy/agency and a PR/Media company for companies traded on the London Stock Exchange and a Photonics company that creates medical devices. You can follow him on LinkedIn.