I would to better manage my time and effort on important, long-term projects (I am guessing I am not alone in this). Currently the existing project management tools I’ve found are dull, dry, and driven by lists. They also take a significant amount of time to set up; time that seems to me to be better spent actually working on the projects. I dream of a game-like visual interface on my desktop that shows a “problem ecosystem” that indicates, at a glance, what the current health and status of all active projects are. What I want from this ecosystem is a way to interact (or play) with projects that are overdue or behind schedule. I have a mental picture that overdue become “aggressive”, take over other projects, and drive the ecosystem into “ruin” (i.e. visual feedback on projects that are in danger of failure). If all projects are being appropriately managed and not ignored, the ecosystem is “healthy”. Overall I am thinking of something like a “digital pet” (wee Wikipedia), but for busy professionals. By working on projects, taking care of e-mail, and otherwise paying attention the ecosystem is maintained. The real computer-sciencey question is how to look at multiple, existing data sources that are related to a project in a way that is transparent to the user- i.e. does not require regular, manual updates of project management software. I can imagine by exploring project e-mail, when files where last viewed, word searches, etc. that it might be possible to design such a system.
- Interface with multiple applications that can monitor effort being put into a project such as: e-mail threads (delay in responses), folders (date of last modification), existing project management tools, etc.
- Try to gauge project status holistically rather than have the user have to enter information and status updates.
- Balance the interface to be both intrusive if a project is behind schedule or reaching a due date and unobtrusive if nothing really demands immediate attention.
- Be able to support both projects as well as more mundane “maintenance tasks” such as not getting behind on e-mail.
- Have a game-like visual interface so it becomes fun to work on projects and see improvement in the “ecosystem”. The key issue here is immediate, positive, visual feedback.
- Be able to customize the interface and customize where the program draws information from.
Constraints & Criteria
- Interface with as many other existing applications as possible (Google Apps, Outlook, Sharepoint, other common task and mail management applications).
- Be able to be used on multiple common OS’s such as Mac, Windows, etc.
- I see this as more of a desktop rather than mobile application, but that is my personal preference.
Resources, Intellectual Property, and Licensing
Special resources should not be needed for this project. The student team is fully responsible for development. There are no intellectual property considerations, but the team should consider how to make the project widely available (if successful) which may include selling and marketing a product.
Points of Contact
- Prof. Alan Cheville, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Bucknell University