We think productivity tools for designers, developers and managers are broken.
Let me explain. As well as building Blocks, we are also a design and web agency, founded in 2002. Over the years we’ve tried lots of online tools and services to help us manage everything from quoting and invoicing, scheduling and team management, time tracking, communication and collaboration.
We’ve found two problems with these:
Problem 1 — They just don’t grow
As a young company we only really needed a tool to let us invoice clients and track their payments. Then we needed a something to help us schedule work better. As we grew we found ourselves going over budget on projects so we started time and budget tracking. Finally as we picked up bigger projects we needed better collaboration tools.
Pretty soon we found ourselves using and paying for 4 or 5 separate services. The trouble is, these are all different tools, made by different companies, with different experiences and with individual costs.
But the biggest problem is that they don’t talk to each other.
Problem 2 — They just don’t play
A knock on effect of taking on more tools as your company grows is that your information is divided between them. Client contacts in one place, invoices in another, project schedules somewhere else, conversations here, budget reports there, the confused and disjointed list goes on.
This means we can’t reuse information from one place in another. We can’t use the notes we’ve added to drive scheduling. We can’t share time allocation and budget information with team management. We can’t even share our notes and time tracking with our clients.
So, what are we doing about it? Over the years we’ve built our own tools to help solve some of these problems, hoping that an alternative would come along. Alas, it’s been 12 long years of waiting, so it’s time for action. We’re building our own set of tools. Tools that can grow with the people who use them. Tools that talk to each other.
In the next post I’ll explain How Blocks will work.