by Michele Nachum
Published on 4 May 2011
"Success may or may not make you happy, but happiness will almost always make you more successful." That is the philosophy behind the calendar-based time tracking and project management tool called Yanomo. They are so right. A happy team is usually a successful one and a solution like Yanomo, which is designed to help teams with more accurate project scoping, tracking and communication, should at the very least keep everyone informed, organized and possibly very successful.
Yanomo is a proficient online project management software solution to help a small businesses track projects and tasks, share out project details with colleagues, assess both time and budget and invoice clients accurately. Yanomo synchs with Google Calendar as well as iCal so you do not have to start from scratch if you are already using a calendar-based solution.
While it is relatively easy to navigate through Yanomo once you understand all that is has to offer, I found it took me a couple of hours to get up to speed. Some of the tools are very easy to learn like creating and sending out an invoice as well as setting up an employee or client profile. My sticking point was learning how to calculate my time spent on a Project or Task against my hourly rate. I did not find any step by step directions on the site to guide me so I'll admit it took me a while to crack the process. When I first signed onto the solution, there were some minor pointers with links to each Yanomo tool, but beyond that, I could not locate a demo or an FAQ with instructions. Yanomo does offer a responsive Help solution via email however.
Yanomo is inexpensive starting with a free membership for up to three users and then for €6 a month for unlimited users. For €12 a month, you not only get unlimited users, you can also have a solution for divisioning your team members.
The Yanomo ribbon is straightforward and comprised of the following: My Overview, Team and Clients, Invoices and Settings.
My Overview comes with a sub menu comprised of Dashboard, Calendar, Spending and Profile. The Dashboard allows you to view all of your recent activity including your various projects, tasks and calendar. In addition, you can share out messages to your employees from the dashboard to keep them abreast of new information.
By the way, if you sign up all of your employees onto Yanomo and they too will have access to their own Dashboard, Calendar, etc.
The Spending function allows you to ascertain how much time you have logged against a project and much money remains in your Project budget.
The Calendaris where you can view and set up appointments and tasks. It's a click and drag calendar - fairly easy to master. To add in a Task or a meeting, you simply click and drag on the time and date, and from there Yanomo will display a dialogue box where you can enter in all the details of the Task or meeting. You can also input the "estimated" time it will take to complete the Task, and Yanomo will then subtract that time from the overall Project budget.
Later in the review we will go over how to create Projects and Tasks and how they interact with the Calendar.
The Profile section is where you can view your information including title, days and hours you are available for work and hourly rate.
The Project tab is really the heart of Yanomo and it works beautifully. While this was the section that took me a bit of time to learn, I found it very helpful and easy to navigate once I mastered it.
Before creating a Project, you can input your hourly rate in the Settings tab and set it as a default. You do not need to use your default rate each time - you can change it out in Settings as well as have employees work at a different rates if need be. But once the hourly rate is set, Yanomo can then calculate your time and your employees' time against the hourly rate so you have an overall sense of how much of the budget has been used.
In the Project tab, you will click on Create and Yanomo will ask you a series of questions about a Project's timeline, description, budget, and employees assigned to the project. Once you have filled in all the Project information you can then dive down further and create the Tasks associated with each project.
As you create the Tasks, Yanomo will ask how much time you want to spend on the task. For example, if you create a task for writing a press release - you can stipulate the date and amount of hours it will take to finish the project. If you input two hours on May 5 and your hourly rate is $50.00 per hour, Yanomo will automatically subtract the $100 from the total Project fee. In addition, the two hours on May 5 will also show up on your Calendar so you don't forget to complete the project. This will help a team stay on track and revise hours and budgets as needed.
Team and Clients
The Team and Clients tab is where you can input all your information about your employees and clients. As you type in each person's contact information, Yanomo allows you to tag each contact as a Client, Vendor, Administrator, Internal and more. If you input a long list of employees, vendors and clients, Yanomo provides a search option to help you locate the people you are looking for. Once your Team and Client information is in the system, it will be easier to create Projects. Yanomo will have a drop-down menu of all your clients and employees to choose from when creating Projects and Tasks.
From the calendar you can enter time on a project/task which will start eating into your budget.
Creating and then sending an invoice to clients is probably the easiest tool to master in Yanomo. Once you click on Invoice, Yanomo will ask you to stipulate what client should receive it, the date, VAT and payment terms (e.g.: 30 days, 60 days, etc.). You can then add in as many line items as you need as well as customize the invoice by inserting your business logo. Yanomo also allows you to quickly email the invoice to clients. Once the client has paid, you can mark your invoice as PAID and keep it for your records.
Is it for you?
Overall, I believe that small businesses with smaller budgets will get a lot out of the Yanomo solution in terms of project management and budgeting. Yanomo accomplishes a lot for its price and has all the basic features that small businesses need in terms of project management, including budgeting, invoicing and scheduling as well as sharing out important information with colleagues. The solution does not have a lot of bells and whistles. It really does not need it - it's straightforward and for the most part, easy to learn with a bit of practice.
My one suggestion is for the team at Yanomo to supply a demo or FAQ for some of the product's more advanced features as that will help any newbie angst.