I’ve done a bucket load of project management software testing, spent countless hours and decided “this is the one” at least 3 or 4 times. Then along came Podio. We needed something to manage our web projects and automate as much of the process as possible. We work remotely as a team and needed a “hub” for all the jobs, communication, work scheduling and client details.
Previously we were achieving this across multiple apps, and to get all the staff to talk to each other AND all the apps to talk to each other, was an expensive and daunting task. Podio solved all of these problems.
One thing we haven’t set-up yet is integration with Xero but I know that this can be done using a third party app like Zapier. Currently we don’t have a massive invoicing volume so for the time being we handle this manually. Plus, as you would know, time is limited as a business owner and so we favoured the rest of the set-up in favour of getting **it done!
Project Management Software
Recently I had a client ask me if I knew of any software that could help her joinery business run more smoothly and efficiently and she gave me a selection of questions which I thought might be of value to others to see my answers as applied to a real situation.
1. Project management software that when I add a client and their install date it automatically aligns it with all of the steps in order so that I do not have to program it all.
Yes Podio does this… its called workflows. You basically set-up a master task list, and it automatically triggers all of these tasks when you select it. You can assign them to anyone, and to any date. eg: 1. Buy Materials “Today” 2. Build Cabinets “Tomorrow” and so on. (you can tell I’m not a cabinet maker! Ha Ha)
2. A system that when you finish 1 section, say we place them at the deposit invoice stage, then an e-mail in regards to the stage payments would be sent to them, as well as automation of an e-mail going to production to order materials.
This could be done with tasks generated as above. At the completion of a stage Podio can trigger a new task for the accounts person to raise an invoice (they would receive an email notification). It could also create a task for production to order the materials. Note: This won’t automatically populate an invoice in Xero but using Zapier they may be able to be done. Also lists of standard materials for each job could be put into the task workflows. Xero inventory items may help with this process.
3. Would love if it connected with Xero as that is the accounting program that we are looking at.
We love Xero… have been using it for 5 years, it’s a life saver and yes Podio can connect with Xero as mentioned above.
4. It would be great if the client could also log in to see where their project is at but without seeing all of our automation and tasks
Absolutely doable in Podio and it is one of the great things about it. You get to choose who sees what and in what project.
5. As we have multiple projects on the go, a system that is easy for us to see all work in progress that we currently have would be advantageous.
Podio does this brilliantly; we use this all the time for our web projects. With one click I can see jobs assigned to any employee, track their progress and ask questions, all inside the task. This means that all the data related to that job is in the one spot.
The downside (there’s always a downside) is the setup is a bit overwhelming, not because it’s hard to use, but because there are so many customisable options, it can be a little challenging to to decide where to start. They do provide live training, which is really good, and I utilised this (and still do from time to time) and it really helps!
I believe Podio’s biggest strength is that it is just so customisable. It uses “apps” so you can have so many different ways of configuring. Another point I really like is you can change the structure of it as you learn, for example adding a new status field into a task and it doesn’t impact your existing data. Most database driven systems like this are usually very difficult to customise on the fly and you pretty much need to start with the end in mind which is almost impossible. So, Podio makes this easy.
It also has some pretty nifty ways of loading data, like email to task, and you can create web forms on your website which generate data directly into Podio too. It has a nice task widget which works with Gmail and Podio also talks to Google drive, Dropbox and lots of other software.
You can invite external users to view or manage your projects, and you can invite customers as well to see your progress. I could go on and on LoL.
How much does it cost though I hear you asking? They have a free plan with limitations to start with, and then you can choose the plan that works best for you. We are currently on the plus plan at US$14 pm which gives us workflows and is plenty enough for now.
I hope that this is of some help. We feel Podio is well worth considering for your Project Management Software. Feel free to comment below of your experiences.
Author: Clark Marshall