It’s always assumed that 37signals’ Basecamp is the father of all project management apps. As such, it’s only natural for new apps that tackle the task to sprout up around the web, all hoping for a chance at taking the title. Whether it be creating an incredible interface to challenge that of its rivals or making the move of offering access to the app for incredibly cheap (or even free), these apps all try and bring something new to the table.
One such app that presents an incredible simplistic approach to project management is named Blimp.
A team management app like no other. Unlike other traditional project management apps where members of the team simply mark tasks as complete, Blimp takes more of a goal-oriented approach and allows teams to view the progress on each project as a whole, even going as far as implementing a review section so if a reviewer is unhappy with certain work on completed tasks, they can reject it and the person responsible can begin work again.
Due to this, it’s clear to see that Blimp is definitely aimed at projects whose work’s completion is needed fairly imminently (perhaps more for clients) and as such, I imagine Blimp is great for web development and design teams working on a project with a single outcome, such as a standard website, web or mobile app.
After signing into Blimp for the first time, projects can easily be added within the interface, simply by providing a name and a due date. Each Blimp account comes with a single free project and any others will incur a fairly reasonable charge, with plans starting at $12 per month. When creating projects, creators can also assign various team members to a project, though this can also be completed afterwards.
After this, goals can be added to the app for completion.
One of the main selling points of Blimp is the way in which goals and tasks can be managed through the interface. Much like with traditional task management apps that sometimes allow multiple lists, Blimp offers a similar method of adding to-dos; instead of task lists, users can add goals to the app which could easily consist of projects, apps, software or elements of any of these that they see as a considerable goal.
Blimp also provides a handy little feature that provides a small Do button next to each task within the interface, easily allowing others working on the same project to see what other users of the project are doing. This of course has various uses: for instance, if there are various tasks that aren’t really delegated to a particular user, someone else can pick it up and by marking the task as in progress, others know that someone’s already working on it so there’s no need to worry.
Searching and Managing Goals
Once goals have been added, Blimp makes it incredibly easy to manage these and easily browse and search them to see what needs to be done. Because it allows #hashtags and @usernames to easily be included in tasks or goals during creation, simply clicking these provides an easy list of search results and the search field above the tasks is equally as useful at filter results if you’re quickly looking for a task.
From the ‘Team’ page of the app, Blimp displays all team activity in a very simple and organised fashion. You can see what others in the team have been working on and recently completed, as well as what they have marked as doing. This can be a really useful insight if you’re a project manager because you can simply view this page and be presented with a list of what each team member is currently working on and in which project.
From this section of the app, it’s also made really simple to invite others to the project and easily assign them a role which dictates the level of access they have within the app. Unlike other apps that limit the maximum number of team members that can be added to an account, Blimp allows unlimited team members to be added to each project and only starts charging for multiple projects at a reasonable $12 per month.
In my various years spent reviewing web apps, I’ve found that the smaller, lesser-known features of web apps that aren’t advertised as much as other features to occasionally produce some of the best selling points for the app. Blimp offers various other features to ensure that the app is the best all-rounder for any team looking at managing their projects more efficiently.
In addition to a nifty file manager that can make sharing files from a user’s computer, Dropbox or Google Drive account an absolute breeze, Blimp also allows its users to view an aggregated timeline of all of the events related to a project through its History feature. I personally find that feeds like this within web apps provide a refreshing overview of the project’s activity and within Blimp, this particular feature lends itself nicely to the overall simplistic ethos of the app.
When stumbling across Blimp for the first time, I was drawn in by its design. For me (and I imagine many others), if a web app’s ugly, it’s far less fun to use. However, after playing around with Blimp for a bit, I realised that there is definitely something about it that sets it apart from the various others.
Though we primarily use Basecamp here at AppStorm and I tend to find myself using it almost every other day, Blimp was a very nice alternative and from what I’ve found from using it, I think it would be ideal for software and design projects, and maybe even for what we do. With the Doing feature providing an overview of what is currently being worked on, this would also work incredibly nicely for those teams that aren’t located closely geographically. Also, I found some of the smaller quirky features of Blimp to be the most useful; a coloured progress bar dictates how much of a project is complete or being worked on and allows for easy reference, a handy due date countdown complimenting the app and even an API for integrating Blimp with other apps, everything seems to work just perfectly.
In a nutshell, this is a perfect example of project management done right.