It's 5 O'clock Somewhere. In Case You're on a Deadline

For all the times I rant about PR pitches around here, I actually do get some good ones. Generally, these pitches are timely to me or my audience and are respectful in how they ask for press.

Thus was the case today when a guy named Sergei [last name withheld for privacy] emailed me about a web based project management tool called 5pm. His hook for this pitch (at least what caught my attention) was:

It’s a new web 2.0 tool that we launched recently. 5pm is an online
project management application that looks different from anything else
on the web in this category, but still feels familiar.

Web 2.0 was not the hook, but it was interesting to see that adjective used nonetheless. What hooked me was that it was different from anything else, yet still familiar. This is good because I’ve not been a fan of all the other web based PM tools out there.

I did a little investigation and am smacking myself for not seeing VentureBeat’s “Strong Project Management” endorsement from January. Or this from my new favorite company, Mixx from last year. (Of interest to Mixx fans is that Saturday night is the opening salvo of the new official Technosailor.tv which will be aired on Saturday nights at 9pm Eastern. As part of the format, I’m including a Mixx hour – which may or may not be an hour. ;-))

The Mixx story had a fantasticly engaging comment from one of the 5pmers which explains some of the thinking behind the product:

In terms of features – we implemented what worked for us and skipped what we thought is redundant. It’s difficult to find the right mix, as there is no such a thing, since each team works in their own way. That’s why we were developing our own project manager for about four years now (we had an old version called PTManager). And that’s why there are so many PM applications out there. It’s about finding the right balance, as the core features are common.

To mention new features, I would point to two things. Firstly – the interface. We spent a lot of time designing an interface which is very fast to navigate. Everything is within a click or two. We consider the UI being very important, since any pm application is just a tool. Less time navigating and clicking around, means more time for actual work. For example, coders usually hate to spend time on reporting, so our model for them was “get in. get out. fast”.

Second, I would like to mention our Flash timeline. It gives an alternative view to the projects and tasks and helps visualizing the durations and deadlines (kind of simplified Gantt). In time we plan to make it fully editable, which means you will be able to drag the tasks around the timeline. We think it will be pretty cool.

So this is just version one of our new tool. There is more to come – the feedback from our users will dictate that.

Hardcore. In fact, I may use this because, honestly I can’t stand using Basecamp and desktop-based apps are really no-go when it comes to client work. The one thing that I would really like to see before committing, is Freshbooks integration. I use Freshbooks for all my quotes, estimates, invoicing, time tracking etc. And all my clients have the ability to check in and see whats been done. Integration with Freshbooks is an absolute must for me.

I registered my 14-day free trial, poked around at it for a bit, and I can see how it is different.

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Aaron Brazell

Aaron Brazell is a Baltimore, MD-based WordPress developer, a co-founder at WP Engine, WordPress core contributor and author. He wrote the book WordPress Bible and has been publishing on the web since 2000. You can follow him on Twitter, on his personal blog and view his photography at The Aperture Filter.

5 thoughts on “It's 5 O'clock Somewhere. In Case You're on a Deadline”

  1. Looks like a fairly young tool, but very promising so far. I definitely like the interface. On the features – still have to dig into it using their trial.

    That’s a good find, Aaron! Not every day we can see a PM tool that actually looks attractive. :-)

  2. Found out about 5pm some time ago, but I was so hooked on Basecamp by that time that I didn’t want to switch. Your recommendation goes a lot way though, and I am getting tired of Basecamp now. Might be worth looking at 5pm again.

  3. Aaron,
    I’m afraid that Sergei caught you with his marketing blah-blah-blah. Take a look at wrike.com and you’ll see what I mean. We have a free account and a 30-day trial for you to check the tool in full. Our price starts from $ 3.99 per month per user. By the way, Wrike was launched at 2006. 5pm guys are not the first ones.

  4. Easy, Alice. You have to be a little less aggressive toward your competitors. This post is about 5pm, not Wrike, so no need to flood it with self-advertising. Aaron has a good point – 5pm sounds (and looks!) interesting.

    A little more investigation reveals that 5pm is actually not such a new tool and is basically a new version of an old product this company was selling from 2003 or so:
    http://www.qgsoftware.com/ptmanager.html

    It’s nice to see a “web2.0″ company that actually has some roots.
    (though I never heard of QGSoftware before).

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