I have a 5 minute rule with new software.
I'm not especially bright. However, if I can understand, navigate, and use a new piece of software in the first 5 minutes, then there is a good chance the software "works" and will actually succeed in the consumer universe. This 5 minute rule works. Try it for yourself and see how you do.
You'd be surprised (or not, actually) how few pieces of software actually meet this test.
I also have more than a passing interest in productivity software. (Some folks like games – I like 'to do' lists 🙂
Today, asana.com launched as one the latest of M A N Y web-based productivity/task/project management tools. Because I've tried literally EVERY OTHER tool out there, I go into these sort of test drives with a bit of trepidation. Most of these tools really suck.
Imagine my surprise, then to discover that asana.com really rocks. They get it. A simple, clean, and USEFUL interface (take note, please, Google). In less than 3 minutes, I set-up 4 projects with detailed task lists.
They have well-implemented team-assigning functions, milestone functions and much more. However, just from a USABILITY perspective, this is perhaps the best task/project management solution I've seen.
Understand that when I say this, I say this as a cynic. While I've tried/used virtually every tool out there – I virtually always revert back to a shared plain text file shared on Dropbox. Simple. Usable. Versioned. Perfect.
And yet, I'll be using Asana for the foreseeable future because it is actually better then my plain text solution.
I'll keep you posted if this changes.