For both my own business and for reviews here on WWD, I look at a lot of Project Management applications. The pitches I get tend to be similar, all promising something different, a new way of looking at things, etc..
The reality is, even though they might each have their own strengths and weaknesses, they really do start to look and work the same. And then I took a look at Staction.
It really is different.
You interact with it differently.
One page – two boxes. That’s it.
You post content, add comments, create action items, log time, all from the same single interface. Enter your content in the box and a context sensitive area to the right lets you choose the options to automatically assign the appropriate tags.
Files can be quickly added and uploaded for sharing, to-dos assigned to others, and messages can edited or replied to easily.
You view your data differently as well.
Staction tracks projects but it’s really about tracking communication, and it does this remarkably well. It creates a single stream of all interactions across all of your projects.
Sound overwhelming? The Stream can be customized, filtered and then saved into views to show only the information that matches your current needs. An RSS feed is also available for each saved view. A demo video demonstrates this nifty feature very well.
Back when I first saw Pownce, I thought that it could possibly work as a small group collaboration tool. The threaded post view and file handling along with the ability to keep messages private between groups were all appealing features. Staction is oddly reminiscent of Pownce but fully fleshed out with the appropriate functionality needed to really make it a productive communication and collaborative environment.
On their home page, the Staction folks mention Basecamp as the standard project management app, and address how they differ.
Staction isn’t a me-too app. It’s not fixing what’s broken with Basecamp, -it’s a different way of looking at how groups get work done. Basecamp is about the project, and about the granular nugget of information. Staction is about the aerial view. With Basecamp you’re in the trenches. With Staction, you’re in the clouds.
If you are used to working in Basecamp or any of the other of it’s ilk, it may take some adjusting time to get used to this new way of viewing your projects. But while Staction may not look and work like other project management applications, it’s not so radical an interface to be difficult to use.
My hunch is that opinions will be polarized. You’ll either appreciate the change or you will stare at your screen wondering where all of your tabs are. There is a certain comfort that comes with a familiar interface and this might just challenge you to think a bit differently about your project and communication. I for one appreciate the new take on things and am eager to implement this in my own work.
Staction is from the same folks who brought us Jumpchart which we also reviewed favorably. While still currently in private beta, I encourage you to take a tour and join their mailing list to register for a chance to get involved.
Does a project stream interest you? Is there life in project management beyond Basecamp?
We do have a limited number of invites available through the links below. Act quickly though, when they’re gone, they’re gone.