Tick – Web 2.0 time & budget tracking
Time & money. Both valuable commodities concerning personal & client project management. Over the past few weeks I have spent a great deal of time experimenting with services and applications designed to improve overall management and productivity. From the open source Basecamp alternative known as activeCollab, web based services such as Blinksale, and desktop solutions including Stunt Software’s On The Job [read the review], I have seen a wide range of options available to professional and casual users alike including my recent experience with the Tick preview release [Tickspot].
Prioritize and budget your time
The general consensus would assume that budget equals the monetary limitation of a project. A misconception that must be forgotten in order to successfully manage projects using Tick. From a design standpoint, budget does not equal a monetary budget (let the clients worry about that). From a designers standpoint, time is the most valuable asset. Time is what must be budgeted, tracked, and managed.
The idea is that Tick would serve as a collaborative tool for managing the amount of time alloted to certain projects. By understanding the amount of time that a project would require, project admins could then create individual projects with a specified amount of time alloted to them.
Tick tock, the clock is running
Money is not a prioritized commodity for Tick users, time is. For that reason, the interface is completely void of any client billing, tracking, or invoicing service features. Do not mistake this service as an alternative to web based project management options. For illustrative purposes, I’ll create a single project which will have one administrative user and two project team members.
Client creation and project outline
From the project creation screen, administrators can specify or create client profiles, a project title, the total budget or maximum amount of time available, individual tasks with alloted time from the max. budget alloted to each, and email notifications for included group members.
Virtual time cards
Similar to manually clocking in for a mundane sales floor job at the local retail mall, Tick allows users to manually submit hours of work completed with any respective notes attached. In doing so, Tick automatically deducts the completed time from the max. reserved time.
Active reports for project monitoring
The Reports tab presents a global view of all active projects monitored by Tick. View total time entered (completed hours), number of client projects, and current project status. Overviews with an accompanying bar graph can also be viewed on a per day basis for total time entered.
Room for improvement?
Despite being a Preview Release, the interface seems to be quite polished and ready for public use. With subscription costs ranging from free (for a limited number of active projects) to $79, the pay for model looks as though it will continue to be a significant requirement for web based project management solutions.
In regards to the stripped down nature of being a virtual project timecard, I have yet to decide whether a limited project management solution such as Tick holds any real advantageous features over alternative solutions. Collaborative efforts will continue to be a much welcome feature for services. Being limited to budgeting time with no additional options for calculating project fees or billing may deter potential users. Time is definitely a designers best asset, but without any sort of monetary influence, the virtual gears on this time keeper may very well cease to turn.
If you’re interested in checking out the service, head on over to the Tickspot and submit your inquiries.