Co.Design

A Project Management Tool Built For Some Of The Country's Best Design Firms

Artefact, the creative force lurking behind some of the world’s biggest brands, has released their first product: 10,000ft.

Even if you haven’t heard of the Artefact, you’ve seen their work. A hired gun for design by companies like Google, Apple, Samsung, and Amazon, their influence crops up in everything from Xboxes to HTC’s smartphones. (They’ve also created intriguing design concepts that we’ve seen here and here and here.)

Now the company is going through a bit of a transition, from pure consulting work to creating products of its own. Artefact’s first commercialized venture is called 10,000ft. It’s billed as a “web-based collaborative management tool.” In plain speak, it’s a simple way to manage members of a team across projects, while taking into account budgets and man hours.

Interestingly enough, 10,000ft started as Artefact’s own project management tool, developed in-house for in-house work. Artefact then shared it with peers at Astro, Minimal, and General Assembly, refining the product with the feedback. Now, 10,000ft can be licensed for any company to use, starting at $50/month. And from our early peek at the software, it could be well worth the price.

Unlike similar products from 37signals, the first thing you’ll notice is that 10,000ft is quite nice looking. Every button is presented with the polish and care of a honed consumer product, rather than the undertones of engineer-driven design behind a lot of enterprise products. The interface leans heavily on iconography, from the avatars for each team member--a motif strongly reminiscent of Facebook and LinkedIn--to realtime status updates--a band-aid will identify someone who’s sick, while a road will mark someone as traveling. And scheduling anyone to do anything is as simple as dragging and dropping assignments.

But where the product shines is as a budgeting tool, constantly accounting the man hours on a project, giving instantaneous projections as to whether or not a project is within its financial bounds. You can literally add one person to a project for one day and, right away, see how that affects the bottom line. I imagine for any firm juggling a few big projects with a lot of talent, 10,000ft offers a powerful way to keep expenditures trim.

At the same time, 10,000ft is so preoccupied with the business umbrella--budgets and labor pool--that it’s not quite the corporate omnitool we see in something like Basecamp (which is more a generalized crutch for ideating, communications, and task management--features just as useful for kings as they are peons). Could I really use 10,000ft as part of my daily workflow here at Co.Design? I doubt it. But my boss or my boss’s boss? They probably could.

Try 10,000ft for 30 days free here.

[Image: korn/Shutterstock]

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14 Comments

  • gauravgupta123

    Here's another tip- Try Google Calendar + ClipPod. We've using it for our own resource scheduling + very basic project planning and it has worked out quite well so far.

  • For designers, I would like to recommend Proofhub. Proofhub is an enterprising project management tool that offers features like casper mode, gantt charts, online proofing and more. It enables great planning, organization and delivering over projects which leads to timely and successful accomplishment of projects. Check out www.proofhub.com

  • Brian Miller

    For design teams, I'd recommend Approval Manager, which in addition to scheduling and automated approval routing, has a design proofer that compatible with mobile devices.

  • David brown

    I have several nonprofit clients that we do marketing for and we've recommended proofhub. It's basically more organized than basecamp with a few more features. Two of my nonprofit clients just started using it and liked it. Hope this helps.

  • Time Billing

    You mean this tool is especially for design firms, because I see that it has got all basic options common to other project management tools. I understand that it fits the design firms project management well, but what about the other companies, especially technical manufacturing firms. Are there any specific project management tools for them?

  • Jack Shimosa

    I haven't tried it, but i really love the UI Design of it. This product is similar to what I want to develop as my social network. 

  • dkbose

    This is no comparison to basecamp.It is for Scheduling projects (cannot add todos or manage them etc) If basecamp is a car, with 10,000ft, you are just getting just the front passenger seat (no engine, no nothing else) . 
    Having said that, the UI looks clean, and the experience is smooth. Would I use it ?  probably not in its current incarnation

  • Ken H.

    You're designing this for people who like numbers. Most people don't like numbers. You need to build this for how people actually work, not how they ought to work.

  • Paolojoseph

    My personal take is that this goes against employees who are being tracked by managers. If this is for robots, then its good to see conflicts in schedules and underbookings but people sometimes dont like to be tracked in this manner and makes them more unproductive. Whats your take on this?

  • Greg

    "
    Unlike similar products from 37signals, the first thing you’ll notice is that 10,000ft is quite nice looking."? Really? Don't get me wrong, the program is indeed beautiful, but what a cheap shot. Keep those confined to the comments section...

  • Ian

    Unfortunately, if you actually make an account and try it out, it quickly becomes clear that this is an incredibly simple tool that really only does scheduling. In its current form it is no where near a replacement for Basecamp. Not even close.

    It's something to keep an eye on for sure, but I can't see anyone making the switch at any point in the near future. 

    PS. It's also super buggy. :)

  • 10,000ft

    Ian,

     

    Thanks for trying out
    10,000ft. I
    understand your
    perspective on scheduling--- that is indeed the core of the product which also enables
    managing a full project portfolio, time-tracking, analytics, and even some biz
    dev. We're planning to roll-out additional features in the near future. Our
    intention is not to substitute Basecamp because that is more focused on the
    day-to-day project collaboration. We believe we complement that functionality with
    the project portfolio and people management aspects.

     

    We have tested the tool
    quite a bit with small and large organizations and have worked hard at making
    it stable. Our main priority remains to make a good product and address any
    issues right away, please report any bugs you see at support@10000ft.com so
    we can make sure we solve it promptly. So your report would be super
    helpful!

     

    Thanks,

    Martijn van Tilburg

    10,000ft