Project Flux

Project Management Software. My hopes to make something better.

Many people buy MsProject: most end up dropping it from their use, or hate using it. Why? Because MsProject treats projects as predictable, plannable, and centrally controlled. While that might be acceptable in the Construction Industry, most white-collar projects fail to meet any of these criteria. To make them even trickier to manage, they often cross departmental, company, or geographic lines.

Our plan is to build tools that

  • are painless to administer (because they are delivered as an ASP)

  • are visible regardless of physical/organizational location (ASP)

  • are simple to use

  • support cross-project views

  • allow each member of the team to update his part of the plan

  • encourage/support informal communication modes (Group Discussion, instant messaging, phone conference calls) with appropriate levels of archiving

  • create a living shared repository of tasks, milestones, issues, documents, and other artifacts that are instantly available to all appropriate team members

  • support projects regardless of industry type, with additional industry-specific features added over time.

We will be able to reach critical mass more easily/faster/cheaper than our competitors because:

  • basic functionality will be free, encouraging users to try it out for personal chores/projects or small business tasks

  • our support of cross-project views increases the benefit to a given user of having as many of his responsibilities visible on one site as possible. Thus one user wants to get his co-workers using our system.

  • again, because a new user can get started for free, that first user can get his co-workers started at no cost. Viral Marketing at its best.

Old list of feature ideas

Items with "@" were for v1. "@@@" means might never get done.

Task management features:

  • @ hierarchy of tasks

  • @ define team for project

  • @ assign task to single person

  • @ view all of my assignments across projects

  • @? view all calendar entries across projects

  • @ make task (object) private (creator & assignee) or public (team)

  • export to: @ tabbed text; MsProject; XML

  • custom export, deliver physical media

  • import from: MsProject; @ tabbed text; XML

  • synch to Palm, MsOutlook, etc.

  • work offline???

  • @ SSL (just for login, or all transactions?); digital certificates

  • save/use templates (list of tasks; with assignments?)

  • @@@ assign multiple resources to task

  • @@@ assign resource quantities (units, manhours) to tasks

  • @? manage date ranges by hierarchy (min/max trickle up)

  • manage dates by dependencies (CPM, or maybe just by hierarchy)

  • @@@ level resources

  • @ user has different identities for different projects (created by different people, tied to enterprise LDAP, etc.), all tied to same abstract ID

  • @? email alerts (when task is assigned to you, when task assigned or created by you is updated, when task is overdue for completion, etc.)

  • @? threaded discussion tied to individual task (any level) (how control access: hide from boss?) (run project wiki?)

  • flag issues (bubble up to top mgmt)

  • @? flag task as milestone, so it appears on project calendar

  • @@@ enter actual time/costs

  • pick number of project descriptor fields from list, or add own fields (all stored in a single blob as XML?) (e.g. vision, business case, definition of success, why it's a WOW, etc.)

  • multiple fields for categorizing projects (for sorting/summarizing reports, etc.) (global values controlled by PM, or does each user do his own categorizing?)

  • multiple fields for categorizing tasks (for sorting/summarizing) (global values controlled by PM, or does each user control his own tasks? or the tasks he assigns? does this get used for PDA synch folders?)

Other PIM functions

  • enter non-project events into personal or team calendar

  • gateway to other portals

Issue tracking

  • ???

Communications assistance

  • @ Instant Message team members. Optional archive to project repository. Live chat

  • @? coordinate teleconference (partner with telco)

  • general web-based email. Optional archive to project repository.

  • general contact list

Document handling

  • @? repository of documents

  • @? check-in/out control

  • version history

  • live outline sharing (virtual meeting)

  • generate presentation (HTML slides from outline) (render MsPowerpoint?)

so, bill - what's the status of Project Flux? --MichaelSippey

  • argh. When I left MedScape in Jan'00 I intended to build it. But by the time I finished doing a couple months of nanny work (kid#2 was on the way), the market (and my stock options) had imploded. So I decided to go work for someone who already had cash in the bank. But my old partner Gerry ( has moved it forward while doing consulting for his cash flow. I haven't looked at it because I may still do something on my own. --BillSeitz

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