Boulder’s SharedPlan has an interesting twist on project planning software. Rather than provide tools to simply document, track, and manage projects, SharedPlan is attempting to actually improve the performance of projects.
I spoke with CEO Tracy Earles and asked him to explain the market SharedPlan is going after.
Tracy said “We’re targeting professional services firms: engineering and architecture firms, IT consultants, etc. These are companies who do projects and share, or sell, expertise. Our tools enable them to capture and use that expertise to improve project success.”
Tracy continued by explaining that “We’re really focused on improving project performance. What current tools don’t provide are a way to create better plans. Plans that comprehend what has worked in the past, or has worked for others. Better plans come from tapping the communal knowledge of project participants, or from historical data of the firm or the industry.”
SharedPlan’s current product set includes OpenPlanning, a free project community application suite that was released in July. It consists of a project management application, an online public repository for plans, and a public forum for discussing those plans. OpenPlanning is generally intended for the consumer community. Anyone can save a plan in the repository at SharedPlan.net, and anyone can view and use anyone else’s. We already have hundreds of plans in there, including some for building a house, planning and planting a garden, starting a business, even preparing for shooting documentaries in Afghanistan. The next planned release is a business version of this toolset with a private repository that will enable communities within the firm to share expertise in the same way.
One thing that I immediately noticed is that SharedPlan is desktop software (yes, I am very sharp!). However, the knowledge repository is web based. It made me wonder about the distribution strategy – perhaps SharedPlan would be most powerful delivered as a fully integrated web based application.
Tracy countered by saying that “everybody in the world does projects, so useful project tools should be on every computer desktop. We are working to make that happen, and help improve the way the world plans.”
SharedPlan is positioned as a more advanced offering than products such as the popular site BaseCamp. Interestingly, it seems to be closer in terms of target market to Colorado’s own PositiveWare, which I discussed earlier.
SharedPlan is desktop software for project management
that sits at the intersection of social collaboration and knowledge management. It’s for everyone who works on a project, not just for those that manage them. Neat concept, I’ll be curious to see what sort of progress they can make here.