Peter Coppinger & Daniel Mackey founded their company Digital Crew almost 9 years earlier and have made a living building websites, intranets and custom web-based solutions for clients in Cork, Ireland. At this point their company has a good reputation internationally and they sell website components online.
However they found themselves up to their eyeballs in client projects.
Peter Coppinger says,
"Every Monday we held a meeting and discussed the current projects - reassigned tasks and set milestones. We maintained a large whiteboard separated into 5 segments - Active Projects. Upcoming Projects, Sales, Meetings and Billing. The whiteboard was neatly organized and gave us a sense that we were organized.... but we weren’t. The meetings were taking longer and longer. We knew we needed a better system.”
Peter and Dan spent some time reviewing and using project management software. They tried Basecamp, ActiveCollab, and GoPlan etc. Many are very expensive and overly complex, some were lacking basic features such as dates on tasks and some seemed to remain stagnant with the developers simply ignoring basic feature requests from customers. They wanted something intuitive that doesn't take time to learn and maintain. Something everybody in the company can use - not just the project manager.
Peter dreams of a software system that would basically manage a company, something extremely easy-to-use and generic enough that it could be used by all sorts of companies. He starts scribbling ideas on paper...
Peter and Dan discuss the software they want to make almost daily now. And they have a name - Teamwork Project Manager (styled after Teamwork CMS - Digital Crew's bespoke website content management system).
The mission is clear - "Project Management Made Easy!"
Peter and Dan are too busy with 'real work' to dedicate time to developing the product idea. But fate intercedes and a manager from a multinational client calls Peter to ask if he would have time to do a "simple" project management system. They want something extremely easy-to-use that would list upcoming and late milestones. This is the opportunity Peter has been waiting for. He eagerly tells the client about the software he has been thinking about making for a while and the client agrees that it is exactly what they need.
Peter first reviews other popular project management systems to find out what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. Although other Project Management solutions exist, they are all too slow, clunky and badly designed. None are what the client wants and Peter has in his head. He makes a list what he likes and dislikes and puts pen to paper designing the software.
While on holiday to visit his sister in Boston for 3 weeks, Peter shamelessly neglects holidaying to stay up night-and-day working on the 'Project Management System'. Dan, busy with other client work back in Cork, checks in every morning. Screenshots fly back and forth but Peter is reluctant to show the software running "until its ready". Dan, also passionate about the development of their first "real" product, provides a steady stream of encouragement and suggestions.
The software is installed for the client. Peter nervously waits for their feedback. Will they love it or loathe it? Peter checks back an hour later and the client manager has already set-up several projects, added staff, assigned tasks and milestones. Just then, the phone rings. The client manager tells Peter that this is exactly what he was looking for. He was able to use it right off-the-bat with no instruction manual. Software; the way it should be.
Dan works post-haste on TeamworkPM, adding his fair share of sleepless-nights to the tally. The software is lovingly sculpted bit-by-bit with sometimes heated 'discussions' over items such as the color of a link.
Their mission is simple - to make the world’s most easy-to-use, fastest and best Project Management System.
Weeks of preparation. Servers are set-up. Database is optimized. Software continually improved. The promotional website is made. And finally the launch date is set.
Everything is ready and has been tested a hundred times.
Teamwork Project Manager is launched on October 4th 2007.
Almost immediately, through their respective software development blogs, curious users start browsing the website and Teamwork Project Manager receives it first sign up within an hour of launch!
The user interface and look of the application has grown a great deal since the early days. As Peter and Dan were active customers of Basecamp, the most popular online project management application, early adopters of the Open-Source ActiveCollab and trial users of many other applications the early design features were heavily inspired by the ease of use of these types of applications. Inspiration comes from a lot of areas such as Apple Software, Desktop based software, online applications, the iPhone etc.
Today, Teamwork Project Manager has adapted and changed to forge its own identity. Peter, Dan, Sam and the rest of the Teamwork team love technology, user interface design and spend a lot of time seeing what works and implementing ideas to make Teamwork Project Manager both intuitive to learn and use.
Thanks for reading the story. So far we have had a great response and we are continually improving the software. We believe that our software lives up to our credos - "Project Management Made Easy". We want the software to be so easy-to-use, our own computer-shy mothers could use it (and indeed they do).
We are working extremely hard to deliver more features and continually improve TeamworkPM. Try Teamwork Project Manager for free.
Wow, things are really starting to take off for us. Our small team are working flat out adding features and replying to customers. We have a good few people using the host-it-yourself option including large well-known companies in the states (we are seeking permission to publish their names). Thanks for everybody who supported us and please, keep the feedback coming, it is helping us shape a fantastic product and user experience.
We reached our goal. Teamwork now accounts for 100% of our business and we have sold our existing consultancy business to work full time on Teamwork. We've just welcomed 4 new people to our team. Mike, Adrian, Donal and Billy.
5 years after founding Teamwork business has reached an all time high. To cater for this growth and future scalability we have moved the whole Teamwork infrastructure to Amazon's EC2 Cloud. Read more about this here
2012 and onwards....
We are continuously improving existing functionality and adding new features to meet our customer's needs. These suggestions are what drives Teamwork forward. To keep up to date on what's happening in the future, check out the following resources: