Microsoft. Starbucks. Kurt Cobain. These are what one normally thinks of when you mention Seattle. 10,000ft is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that is making Seattle a burgeoning hub for project management tool innovation.
10,000ft is a visually oriented project management application with strong suites in resource planning and forecasting. The company's PR person contacted me about testing a trial version of 10,000ft's new project management application, which I did. Here's my review.
10,000ft user interface
The 10,000ft user interface is adaptable and flexible when it comes to setting up phases, budgets, schedules, deadlines, and other project elements; experienced web application users should be able to learn it rather quickly. The user interface has a very creative team feel to it. I always welcome a better user experience and minimalist user interfaces in project management applications.
10,000ft and people
With more teams dealing with time-strapped people and companies facing a down economy, it has never been more important for project management platforms to have the tools to drill down into team members' projects and know how they are contributing to their organization's success. 10,000ft includes one of the better integrations of people information (scheduling, presence, and budgeting) into a project management application I've seen in quite some time.
Figure A shows an example view of what team members can see about their own activities across projects.
Team member profile (Click the image to enlarge.)
Projects in 10,000ft
The 10,000ft Projects page offers the choice between a grid and a list view of your total projects. You can make the view more granular by selecting Show Options like Project State, Project Type, Client, and Tag.
When you open a project on the page, you can view, add, and track critical project data, including: Schedule, Status, Fees, Expenses, and Dates and Activities.
The page is well laid out, and I could see an entire project team interacting with projects after some practice. This is one of the keys to project management becoming a learned skill and behavior.
I recommend that teams transitioning from legacy project management tools like Microsoft Project and spreadsheets spend ample time when taking 10,000ft or similar software for a trial to experiment with the views available over their project data.
Schedules in 10,000ft
At first glance, the Schedule in 10,000ft looks like an update on the old school Gantt chart; however, within a few clicks, it's clear that views are one of 10,000ft's strengths. You can tap into schedule viewing options, including views of:
- Billable Staff
- Available Staff
There's also a slider available to let you zoom in and out over the schedule calendar. Figure B shows an example of how schedules appear in 10,000ft.
Schedules in 10,000ft (Click the image to enlarge.)
10,000ft analytics and project management
As SaaS project management applications replace legacy desktop project management applications, we're entering a new era where analytics can augment project management decisions. 10,000ft includes analytics that can offer project managers and stakeholders a deeper view into their organizations' project performance.
10,000ft's analytics tools enable views into these business critical elements:
- Project tracking vs. forecasted budget
- Active projects tracked in days
You have the option to create and save analytics reports based on your business and operational requirements. Figure C shows an example of an analytics report that compares departmental performance inside an organization.
Example of 10,000ft analytics report for how departments compare (Click the image to enlarge.)
10,000ft integrates with Intuit QuickBooks, a popular choice for small to medium businesses. Plus, the 10,000ft site has complete documentation on an easy-to-manage process for exporting project data to QuickBooks.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are going to play an important role in the future of SaaS project management platforms. The 10,000ft API is still in closed beta as of this writing.
10,000ft includes an HTML5 mobile interface from which team members can log in and submit their timesheets directly from their mobile devices.
While the 10,000ft design sensibilities translate well to mobile, I'm seeing far more action with vendors like LiquidPlanner and Clarizen creating mobile project management apps for their users; Replicon Mobile uses the cloud and a mobile app for time keeping. I'd like to see what the 10,000ft team could do with an iOS project management app.
10,000ft has a clean design, robust features, and a user experience that project management tools need for the widest adoption on project teams. While 10,000ft targets more design and content shops, it does offer another example to follow toward the future of SaaS-based project management. Check out the 10,000ft site for pricing information.
If your organization uses 10,000ft, describe your experience with the platform in the comments section. If not, let us know your project management application of choice.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.