Friday, April 12, 2013

The Truth about PMRobot

I was just in San Francisco on a business development and learning mission for PMRobot. It’s amazing how deeply integrated the culture of entrepreneurship is there. People ask a lot of good but tough questions. Of course, answering tough questions is the best way to get better at explaining our company, and how we can help software and design consulting companies to manage their projects better.

This has me thinking about the general business culture of exaggerating their strengths and covering up their blemishes.

Marketers Lie

You may not even think about it, but you've probably learned to approach most marketing with skepticism.

I’ve always been a terrible liar, of course it’s not something I’ve ever aspired to be. It feels though, that in business, and marketing especially, it's standard operating procedure to exaggerate in order to look bigger than you are. I recently watched an excellent talk by Jason Cohen from the Business of Software conference in 2011. He talks about the importance and value of being honest about your product's strengths and weaknesses. I’m putting this into practice by being brutally honest about our product in conversation with people I meet.   I want to take it a step further by putting it online.

The Benefits of Honesty

People are accustomed to falsehoods and half truths in marketing materials. 

They've developed an automatic filter:

Say you’re the market leader in something? “Yeah, right!”
Fill your site with nothing but unabashedly positive testimonials? “As if!”
Act like you’re a huge company (when you’re not)... people will see through your act.

I could make a high-minded, moralistic argument for honesty in this article, but I believe there’s also a sound business case for honesty.

My experience is that people find honesty refreshing, even disarming. By being upfront about your shortcomings, you give them a reason to trust your claims about your strengths. 

Honesty, also makes you more human and relatable. It makes you the kind of people others want to see succeed. It opens you up for receiving honest feedback, which is essentially to any lean startup.

So let’s be honest about PMRobot. I'll tell you who we are and our story.  By laying it all out on the table, you’ll know what you can expect if you choose to do business with us as a customer.

How was PMRobot Started?

PMRobot was started by Jason Hanley. He’s been running Syllogistic Software for a decade, and during that time, he’s managed his business from several distant corners of the globe. For the past 5 years, he’s been building a tool to help him manage his projects, employees and clients. This tool eventually became PMRobot, a tool to help consultants manage all the aspects of their projects.

Who is PMRobot?

The PMRobot team is still quite small, the development efforts on PMRobot are provided by Jason and his team of programmers at Syllogistic Software. I handle the marketing, blogging and engage with users to find out how we can make the product better for them. We’ve recently brought on Michele Macklin to help us improve our interface and user experience design.

We're passionate about agile and lean project management and productivity.  We believe we can help digital consultants adopt agile project management more effectively.

I’m thankful to be working with such talented individuals on a product that I believe in.

OK, What is PMRobot?

PMRobot is project management for software consultants. It was built by software consultants, and it works best for them and similar companies like internet marketers, app development consultants and digital product companies.

The product is very feature rich. In fact, PMRobot has so many features that it can be overwhelming to new users. However if they take the time to learn how to use the product, they’ll often find that it meets their needs really well.

Our product solves some problems better than others. One of its strengths is bringing together multiple tools into one system, such as workflow management, time tracking and client communication.

Some areas that we see opportunities to address real needs for our customers are in helping with human resource allocation across different projects and understanding the costs and profitability of different projects. Feedback from our users is hugely valuable to us, and it’s what informs our decisions about design and new features.

Why would you want to use a new and unknown app in your business?

Maybe you shouldn’t, it depends what you’re looking for.

We might be a good fit for you if you’re a software consultancy or digital agency, looking for something built to address the particular challenges of including clients in running your projects. You’d be an early adopter and you’ll get to experience working with a product that is evolving, both aesthetically and functionally. T

The benefit of this is that you’d be part of a community of companies using PMRobot and helping us to build a tool for a very specific group. If there’s something specific you’re looking for in a software tool, talk to us, and we’ll consider building it for you.

If you just want something really simple to use out of the box, and are OK with it not being so feature rich, we’re probably not the right product for you.

If you want to be a small customer for a big company, with dedicated 24/7 customer support, PMRobot isn’t the right product for you. But if you want to have a real relationship, and the ability to speak directly with the people building your project management tool, then you’ll appreciate working with us.

If you’re worried that we’re a new startup, and might not be around a year from now, don’t. Syllogistic Software has been around for 10+ years, we’re in this for the long haul.

Still not sure if PMRobot is right for you? Leave a comment and I’ll be in touch with you to discuss, or try us out. -