A Powerful Project Management Tool for Indie Makers & Startups

Dinuka Jay
5 min readJun 16, 2018

This why and how we built a powerful project management tool wrapped as a fun gamified tool for teams to work with.

We just launched on ProductHunt 😺

Come say hello 👋

As an indie maker with a goal of building, deploying and maintaining 20 apps in 2018 with our #20AppsIn2018 journey (on twitter), project management could mean the life and death of our apps depending on how we approach it. In a market saturated with ‘industry standard’ project management tools like Atlassian Jira, PivotalTracker, etc, why did we choose to build another one?🤔

Truth is. None of those ‘industry standard’ project management apps suited us. My colleague, Shehan and I have been shipping out products since the beginning of this year and with every launch, we realized that it was getting harder and harder for us to keep track of issues, feature requests and the project maintenance frequency of every app we previously launched. All the industry standard PM tools were a bit ‘overkill’ for us. This will probably aggravate any Jira or PivotalTracker fans but as a maker, my primary goal is to organize, ship fast and keep track. I don’t want to look at 10,000 graphs plotted to make me understand how efficient I am when in fact I have to spend 20–30 minutes googling how to understand project management jargon and techniques. I just want to ship and keep track. Simple.

We didn’t see this in the market. Ta-da, we decided to make it ✅

Introducing ShipFast.

The Approach

These were the rules we wanted to abide by:

  1. Take less than 5 seconds for a developer to add, edit, delete tasks
  2. Take less than 5 seconds for a developer to organize their tasks by features, bugs or chores
  3. Take less than 5 seconds for a developer to switch between multiple projects
  4. Take less than 5 seconds for a developer to invite other collaborators to a project
  5. Take less than 5 seconds for a developer to mark a task as shipped

Let’s explain the 5 second rule

If you are a maker, you’d agree with me when I say that ‘time’ 🕑 is literally the most important thing you have when it comes to building quality products and shipping them. A lot of makers are doing this part-time and time is of the essence to them. I don’t want to wait around. I don’t want to spend time figuring out. I just want to get it done. Thus, the 5 second rule of managing things on ShipFast was born.

With ShipFast, we focused on the following:

🎉 Make it super easy for anyone to immediately organize their projects

😃 Make it fun and exciting to ship out products and updates

🔁 Make it easy to switch context between multiple concurrent projects

📅 Make ‘last shipped date’ a priority metric through the management cycle where attention will be given to how many days have passed since the maker sent an update

🤝 Overall, cater to the indie maker and startup community by building further ShipFast for them

Here are some of the things ShipFast does differently..

Simplicity

A bird’s eye view of your project with attention given to making things simple and straight forward. No jargon ✅ No unnecessary graphs and pie charts 🚫 No offense, Jira.

Maintenance Frequency

ShipFast focuses on how well you maintain your project. It detects when you start to neglect them and issues out warnings and red flags to get you back on track.

Mission Reinforcements

Every great product has a few great minds behind it. Bring in the heavy fire, air support and marines in to the action and complete the mission faster. We made it super easy for users to invite their team members with the introduction of MagicLinks. MagicLinks instantly join in a member when an invitation is sent out by the project commander.

Project Health Status

Every mission is completely dependent on how well you have planned it and reinforced it. The project health overview will be your bird’s eye view at how well you keep your project maintained by shipping out features, squashing bugs and sweeping away chores.

Let the missions begin

We hope we can help you ship faster ⚡️ with ShipFast. We built it to improve our efficiency within our team and decided to open it up for the rest of the amazing makers in the community.

Monetization Plan 💰

ShipFast will always have a free tier with unrestricted access to our core features that make ShipFast so fun to use. In the near future, we will be introducing an optional paid plan that will include an even more array of features to help you ship faster and stay efficient as a team. It’ll most definitely be around $5-$8/month. We don’t always ask for money, but when we do, it’s at the price of a coffee 😃

Things to be excited about

Here are some of the things we are shipping out fast in the next few weeks:

🔥 3rd Party integrations — to your favorite services like Slack and GitHub. You’ll soon be able to add a webhook to your ShipFast project and get notified instantly. (Update: As of 2AM last night, we’ve already shipped this out. We ShipFast 😅)

🚩 Release Planner — that’ll help you organize release versions with batches of tasks you’ll be shipping out together.

🌶 Shipping Streaks — to keep track of how efficient you are as a team and to make it even more competitive and fun to keep shipping

…and many more!

It’s time for you to ShipFast

Starman 👩‍🚀 is waiting in space for someone to quickly come up with a rescue plan and ship that mission fast. Come join the space crew at ShipFast and start maintaining your wonderful projects with the community 😊

Let’s keep in touch 👋

😎 Dinuka on Twitter

😎 Shehan on Twitter

More where this came from

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