by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 20 September 2011
Admittedly, the image of a project manager brings to mind an organized individual, someone who is good at time management and details. That image is, however, far from reality. The complicated nature of our society makes competing demands for our attention. Project managers are no different. This week we review a tool that offers a possible solution. Doolphy, an online project management software, includes a smart planner that enables project managers to plan their planned projects. Nice, no? We will look at Doolphy's interface, its features and see how it can be of use to you.
STARTING A SMART SOLUTION
According to Rosa Alnasser, the idea behind Doolphy was to create the first smart online project management software. "The idea also was to cover the entire project management cycle including planning, execution, and reporting," she says. The solution started off as a free beta version to enable customer feedback. "That (the free beta version) enabled us to improve the tool," says Rosa. After the main bugs were fixed, Doolphy became a paid solution. "Now, we follow a freemium model that we think is the best option for a SaaS product," she says.
SMART PROJECT MANAGEMENT WITH SMART PLANNERS
As I mentioned earlier, Doolphy can pretty do everything that a standard SaaS-based project management solution is expected to do. This means that you can plan, review, and manage projects just like any other business application. In addition, you can also enter, track, and manage employee time and tasks completed. This, I thought, was a robust feature because the results are pretty good indicators of your project progress. What's more, the results are displayed in a format that is familiar to all of us: Gannt Charts. Part of the reason why the application makes such extensive use of Gannt charts is because it has several financial tools to track your project finances. In fact, Doolphy ranks near the top for financial analysis and tools amongst all the project management tools that I have reviewed. But, the smart planner tool really sets Doolphy apart from other similar tools. According to Alnasser, the main idea behind the tool was to offer added value to customers. She says there are three main benefits to using the tool namely, efficiency in creating and planning projects, efficiency in time management, and usability. The tool can be enabled simply by entering your project details in a simple form. The tool, then, extracts information about the project from the system and populates progress data. Alnasser says Doolphy is especially suited for companies working in projects as marketing agencies, tech companies, professional services or NGOs. However, the solution does not integrate with third-party tools, except Microsoft Excel. "In future, we plan to integrate Doolphy with other tools," says Alnasser.
THE BASICS: WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
In two words: very simple. The premise behind Doolphy was to make project management as simple as possible. And, the creators have not spared any efforts in making the interface and features as simple as possible. The interface consists of text and tabs (which seems to be the standard for most SaaS-based solutions). In addition, the interface is uncluttered and clean, focused on tasks instead of complexity.
SUPPORTING YOUR SMART SOLUTION
Alnasser recommends that you start using the project management tool as soon as possible. "They should start creating their first project and invite their collaborators or colleagues," she says. "Soon they will see the advantages of using Doolphy to manage their projects and tasks in a really easy way." Product support at Doolphy can be accessed through multiple channels including website, email, and social media. Apart from this, the website has introductory videos and a blog where the team communicates with users and offers project management tips. However, I think a user forum as well as a short user guide would help potential and existing customers learn more about the product.
IS IT FOR YOU?
If you are interested in a solution with a great interface and, one that is cheap as well, then Doolphy is for you. One of the best things about the Doolphy team is their willingness to learn and introduce new features based on user feedback. So, even if you don't find what you need, just put in a request and see what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.