There are already a lot of project management and collaboration tools, and we already use many of them. But, keeping everyone involved and in sync towards a roadmap is still hard, and today spreadsheets and status meetings are the closest solution. They both lag behind actual real-time progress, take up too much time, and even google spreadsheets are not designed for a quick overview on where things are on the go.
We wanted to create a different kind of app, that both allows everyone to be on the same page, and without the hassle of yet another app; not have to remember a password, download an app, or have to learn yet another tool. So, we set out to create the most inclusive app; that relies on real-time integration from all the tools that teams already use, display them into one clear screen, and make it dead-simple for anyone to pick up and see the roadmap, while still keeping it secure.
As user experience designers, we believe in the impact of user-centered design. So, we wanted to adapt to everyone’s natural habits, instead of forcing them to do things differently.
A senior executive or a short-term consultant might not want to sign up to a project management tool like Jira. But the engineers would rather use Jira for specialized project management, or designers use InVision, or designers and engineers collaborating together using shared tools like Trello. And typically project managers are the ones responsible for updating a shared spreadsheet with due dates, comments, and written updates from everyone on a team to share with consultants, managers, and clients.
Our approach focused on letting everyone collaborate using the tools they already like and spend their time with, and then pull the key information about the status of their work through APIs into Stove’s three lists of: what’s done, in progress, and to do.
Each item on the roadmap has a short title, and if more information is relevant, like a due date, or expanded description, it gets displayed if someone is curious to see them. And participants can have conversations through commenting that get synced with emails and other existing tools.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in our approach is that we were still able to keep everyone’s Stove secure, without anyone having to download anything or add a password. And for those who don’t want to go to Stove, they can automatically get progress updates in scheduled emails straight into their inbox.
Stove is not only making it clearer for everyone of where we all are in a project, but it now also includes links to shared insights, reports, and resources that can help bring up new team member up to speed with everyone else. It’s one step towards making us all work closer together.
We moved Stove from Alpha, to Beta, and now to full Madeo community release. This means that today Madeo staff, client teams, partners, and other collaborators get to use Stove when they are part of our community. The roadmap for Stove might include opening it up to more people, but for now we are sharing what we learn, and focus more on making Stove impact the way we collaborate within our community.