No software will ever defuse the cooked hand grenade that is a newly formed project group. Leading a project is like leading a pack of rabid dogs. Motley crews rarely form, norm and perform like the textbooks say the will. In fact projects can often be a forum for non-stop arguing, cut-throat tactics and ridiculous organisational methods. Did I mention trench warfare? They’re also a lot like trench warfare. When your shot they pour salt in the wound and laugh.
In the past, the most well-thought out Gantt charts, plans and strategies have crumbled right before my very eyes. Meetings go unattended to and emails remain unopened.
Objectiveli is a web app for the lucky. Those in awesome, hard working groups with brainstorming sessions, lateral thinking and dedication to realise the goals of the group. After a few minutes use I realise the developers knew a thing or two about how to run a project efficiently and effectively. Caution – May induce serious work.
It’s worth noting at this point that 90% of the interaction with Objectiveli should be done by the project manager. While it does act as a venue for conversation and planning, the focus is very much so on information distribution and less so on as a complete team toolbox.
Unfortunately, my first interaction with this app wasn’t a positive one. Instinctively I wanted to assemble my league of extraordinary project participants right away. I looked for an ‘invite’ button. Then I looked for an ‘Add’ button. After a few minute I was dumbfounded. The only way I could find to add group members is by first creating a goal and entering their email address to invite them to the project. Oh well.
Once I created a few goals and invited my team members I was ready to hit them with some objectives for each goal. For those of you unversed in the mad man’s art of project management – each goal (for example to provide great customer service) needs to have objectives (such as answer all calls within five minutes and respond to emails within the hour).
Objectives are created from within their respective goal. The window is very much so the same as the goal creation one except it includes some extra fields for a specific measurable results (eg – average call wait time 5 minutes) and a date by which the objective much be completed. The whole process is extremely fast and straightforward. I should mention that this bare bones approach to goal setting is, in my opinion, a million times better than spending hours taming the beast that is Microsoft Project Management.
Each goal and objective can be tailor made to fit in with the project manager’s needs – there isn’t a one size fits all approach. For example, all members of a specific goal can receive updates when posted to the goals page, but the group can be further sub-divided by the goals objectives so all members will only receive goal updates, and objective updates upon which they are actually working.
With each goal or objective comes the ability to attach multiple files such as PDFs, excel documents and text files. You can also attach lager video clips and pictures.
As I said above, interaction with the app will mostly be done by the project manager. The other members will largely continue to use their normal work email to recieve updates, new goals and objectives. Discussion is facilitated by the ability to simply reply to email notifications.
One feature I particularly liked was the ability to view goals and objectives, not just in a linear fashion, but as a hierarchy with their priorities dictating their position in the chain. This provides us with an excellent visual representation of a project as you can see above.
Thoughts on Usefulness
I bet there’s millions of apps for millions of different purposes that never get off the ground. Some things just don’t need apps. Or some developers simply approach the need from the wrong angle. This is not the case for Objectiveli.
Project management boils down to good leadership and intelligent goal setting. Or should I say SMART goal setting?
The third and fourth attributes come from good decision making and leadership. Whereas Objectiveli makes the rest (setting and communicating goals, objectives and milestones) easy. The project manager can specify a group’s specific aims, explain why they’re relevant and organise the work within working time constraints. It is this adherence to the fundamentals of project management that is Objectiveli’s greatest asset.
For a web app still in its Beta phase, Objectiveli looks amazings. The black, grey and orange colour scheme suits it really well. All the different features and panes are well laid out making navigation pretty easy.
My one criticism of the design is that it does take a while to get used to everything. They’ve opted for icons as opposed to text emblazoned buttons meaning the user must hover the cursor over an icon to discover its purpose. Not a massive issue but a barrier none the less.
My final thoughts on Objectivli are positive ones. At this stage it’s still in its infancy with a few issues that need to be worked out. But what the developers have presented us with is a project management app that address the core issues that face a group leader.
The app itself operates in the wings of a project allowing teamwork to take center stage. In my opinion, this wouldn’t be of great use to virtual teams in the same way Basecamp would. But for small business and academic project groups Objectivli ticks all the boxes.
Objectivli is a free, online project management app that's currently in Beta. It focus on managing a real-world team by delivering them with new goals, objectives and facilitating conversation. The project manager is responsible for keeping the platform updated and can organise the project in multiple ways.
- Objectivli |
- Free |