Before starting, I would like to mention that I’m not a professional web project manager working full time in any web development company and having tens of web projects on my head daily. However, during the past month I had a “pleasure” to update my few personal websites. What can I say, managing these tiny web projects was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had.
Generally speaking, when it comes to management I’m a concrete and straight-forward guy. I hate wasting a lot of time explaining people what to do. This is why I use various project management and collaboration tools just to simplify the process. However, in this case, everything hasn’t gone as smoothly as I’ve expected, even with a help of one of the greatest project management and collaboration tools – Basecamp.
Interview with Eldars Loginovs, co-founder and CEO at Fastr Books
Meet Fastr Books – a social bookstore with 1 000 000 e-books, 300 000 users and a team of 5 people to rule this realm. This startup is based in Finland and has a subsidiary in Latvia. One day we found that they use TrackDuck on their website. We invited Eldars Loginovs, a co-founder and CEO of Fastr Books, for a small chat to find how they are using TrackDuck. So on a sunny Friday afternoon we had an interesting conversation about Fastr books itself and their experience with our visual feedback tool. And what he told us was a bit surprise for us. It seems they found an alternative way to use it for their startup. Read on to see what they do and how.
Dear Eldars, could you tell how does it all started with Fastr books? How did you come with this idea?
Well, at first we started with a bit different idea. The initial idea was to help people to become more efficient in reading. But later, during Startup Sauna accelerator we realized that picking what to read is as important as reading skill itself. Because if you read random books at high speed it doesn’t help you. We think that most important is to read the right books that are relevant to you.
With current technology almost anyone can make a decent website. It’s getting easier, better, faster everyday. The problem is lack of free flowing, quality communication between web designers, developers and clients. If you think that all you need to do is upload the project onto a development server or send the designs by email… We bid you welcome to the world of frustration and delays!
Usually it goes like this: client spots an issue in the website or design layout and they take a screenshot. To point out the problem, they need to use something like Microsoft Paint — open and save the screenshot there. Note the area of the issue, create a name, save again. Open Gmail, attach it to an email, write an explanation and then finally send the whole patchwork to you (hopefully just once).
More tech savvy clients, or the ones browbeaten into it by their web agency will use clip2net or similar tools. This is an improvement already, but light years away from perfect — still need to write emails, track tasks and follow them up. Then emails from clients sometime mysteriously get lost or discarded. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s always up to you to somehow engage with the client.
The bar none, here is the most horrific case we came across in our practice. The client printed out all the designs and screenshots sent to him. Then doodled on top of them with a potpourri of color pens. Next his assistant would take photos of those pages with a mobile phone or scan the more complicated ones. This long suffering girl would then make a PowerPoint presentation and send it to back to us for decryption.