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.

Figure A



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
  • Project(s)
  • Client
  • Location

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.

Figure B



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.

Figure C



Example of 10,000ft analytics report for how departments
compare (Click the image to enlarge.)

Integration support

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.

Mobile support

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.