Podio Project Management

I was reading an article on Mashable about The Podio Project Management solutionFound at www.podio.com, Podio is a really interesting approach to Project Management. It is part Google Wave, Part Dropbox/Box.net, part Jira and part something else entirely.

The basic idea is it is an on-line collaborative document management system. I can hear the groans already, and yes, we've all seen alot of those over the years and suffered through the occasional mandate to use something because it was well marketed as being efficient. What really seems to separate Podio out is the flexibility given to users. As you'd expect, you set-up a space (a project, a client, however you want to structure it) invite people who need to collaborate to join that area, but then Podio does something different, it asks you to add some applications to that space. the applications are all pretty basic, but it means you can customize your space to reflect what you need, and you can build your own Apps as well.

For example, my testing space has some project management tools, Milestone management, calendar etc., honestly, not that useful unless I start really pushing towards using something like this for everything and getting everyone in the project involved. I've done that before with Jira and it can work really well but it involves alot of change management and no small amount of cost. In this case, its something for future consideration. What caught my attention and made me think this might have some immediate use was the 'Digital Agency' Apps, I've added in the Presentation management App. I uploaded a presentation which we did for a client recently, and was please that I had options to tag it with the project, and some other functions, but I was unable to mark that it had been approved. 30 seconds in the modify section allowed me to add my own conditions, and it's now been marked as approved.

Building an App is somewhat misleading, its more of a drag and drop for various fields which you can then define, but really, with some of the advanced functions they offer, thats pretty handy.

What will really make this interesting is if it ends up getting a MS Project import function. If you can create your tasks & milestones from Project automatically, you have a big reason to use this as an online task and progress tracking tool.

Additionally, I can really see the advantage of this for something like online management of assets. We often get third party assets coming in, and as a way of keeping track of which assets are signed off by who, through a simple bespoke Podio App.

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