In this article, we will focus on our journey with Project.co, a software we worked on for more than 2,5 years.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a cloud-based software distribution model where applications are hosted and provided by a third-party service provider over the internet. Users can access and utilize these applications through web browsers, eliminating the need for local installations and maintenance. SaaS offers a subscription-based pricing model, allowing businesses and individuals to access a wide range of software solutions, services, and features on-demand, making it a flexible and cost-effective solution for various tasks and operations.
The Purpose Behind Project.co
In today's fast-paced business landscape, effective project management is crucial for success. To meet this demand, Project.co emerges as a game-changing modular project management web application, designed to streamline collaboration and elevate project efficiency.
At its core, Project.co offers a unique approach by seamlessly integrating multiple tools and services through embeds and custom modules, consolidating all project-related data into a single, centralized hub. This consolidation provides users with the ultimate visibility and accountability, ensuring that every aspect of their work is efficiently managed.
Origins and Evolution
The journey of Project.co began with its initial version, intended to serve as the project management tool for Wyzowl, a prominent video production agency. While the initial release fulfilled its purpose, as Wyzowl's operations expanded, it became evident that Project.co V1 lacked the essential trait of modularity right from the outset.
Project.co's Evolution in Years
Ongoing Collaboration: Project.co's journey is one of ongoing collaboration, aligning the platform with user needs.
Three Years of Growth: Over three years, Project.co has flourished, adapting to the ever-changing tech landscape.
Inception to MVP: The initial MVP was crafted over seven months, laying the foundation for Project.co.
First Beta Version: A year later, Project.co introduced its first beta version, engaging early adopters and refining its offering.
Challenges with V1
The first iteration, though functional, faced significant challenges. As projects grew in complexity, V1's inability to scale hindered its performance. Moreover, its simplicity proved limiting, causing sluggishness in handling substantial workloads. Being built on dated technology, it struggled to keep pace with the dynamic advancements in the tech landscape.
The Call for a New Version
Realizing the need for a more dynamic, future-proof solution, we recognized the necessity for a major overhaul. This led to the inception of Project.co's new version—a complete reimagining that embraced modularity, scalability, and speed as its guiding principles.
Introducing Project.co - The Next Generation
With the lessons learned from V1 and a commitment to innovation, Project.co's latest iteration represents a remarkable evolution in project management. By adopting a modular architecture, the platform ensures easy management and effortless scalability. The new version is engineered to tackle complex workflows and growing demands efficiently, empowering teams to accomplish more with precision and ease.
Project.co V2 - Delivering Excellence
The journey to create Project.co V2 and seamlessly migrate data from V1 was a transformative process, encompassing several key challenges that demanded innovative solutions. Here's a detailed account of the HOW behind this remarkable mission:
- Crafting a Robust Multi-Tenancy Architecture: Building a secure multi-tenancy architecture was paramount to ensure each company accessing Project.co had exclusive access to their data, safeguarding privacy and data integrity.
- Streamlined Data Migration from V1: We engineered a seamless infrastructure that allowed users to effortlessly migrate their valuable data from Project.co V1 to the new version, ensuring a smooth transition without any data loss.
- Modular Design for Enhanced Flexibility: The focus on modularity was central to Project.co V2's architecture. This approach facilitated easy bundling of tools, permissions, and settings, granting users unmatched flexibility in managing their projects.
- Embracing User Feedback and Suggestions: User-centricity guided us throughout the development process. We actively sought and implemented valuable feedback and suggestions, fine-tuning the platform to cater to user preferences.
- Elevating User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI): The constant pursuit of excellence led us to continually enhance the platform's UX, UI, and data flows, ensuring a seamless and intuitive experience for all users.
- Empowering Modularity: The creation of a highly extensible modular system allowed for easy integration of new features and functionalities, enabling Project.co to evolve and adapt to users' evolving needs effortlessly.
- Fortifying Multi-Tenancy Architecture: Implementing a robust multi-tenant architecture ensured that user data remained compartmentalized, guaranteeing privacy and data security for each company utilizing the platform.
- Seamless Data Migration: By providing users with a streamlined mechanism to migrate data from V1, we ensured a hassle-free transition, enabling users to retain their valuable project information without disruption.
- Introducing a Powerful Note Editor: The development of a powerful note editor, capable of embedding custom content and components, enriched the collaborative capabilities of Project.co, facilitating effective project communication.
- Enabling Dynamic Embeds Module: The introduction of a potent embeds module allowed users to effortlessly integrate external data into their projects, streamlining workflow and enhancing project visibility.
- Robust Roles & Permissions System: The implementation of a comprehensive roles and permissions system ensured that users accessed only the data relevant to their roles, fostering a secure and controlled project environment.
- Real-Time Collaboration: Through the creation of a scalable real-time architecture, users gained the ability to communicate and receive notifications in real-time, fostering seamless collaboration among team members.
Project.co V2 offers a rich array of features designed to elevate project management and streamline collaboration:
- Project management with intuitive controls
- Powerful task management for efficient workflow
- Real-time collaboration for seamless teamwork
- Precise time tracking to ensure project progress
- Integrated payment options via Stripe & Paypal
- Easy embedding of external pages and tools
- Custom fields and project/task statuses for tailored organization
- Third-party integrations with Zapier, CSVBox, and Webhooks
- Custom branding and personalized emails for a branded experience
Managing the Investment
First Beta Launch Investment: The inaugural beta launch of Project.co involved a calculated investment of approximately $80,000. This encompassed expenses related to data migration and initial testing, a critical phase that included the participation of our largest V1 client.
Ongoing Investment to Date: The cumulative investment in Project.co to date stands at around $250,000. This allocation covers the span of three years of continuous development, numerous feature enhancements, and the dedicated efforts of a tireless team committed to the project's constant improvement.
Overcoming Challenges and Learning from the Journey
In the pursuit of enhancing Project.co into its V2 iteration, we encountered a series of challenges that offered invaluable lessons along the way.
Transitioning from the established V1 product, which had already found its place in the market for over five years, was a significant achievement. The task at hand was migrating existing users and their data to the innovative V2 environment. The main challenge? Granting users the freedom to migrate on their own terms. To tackle this, we introduced the "Import data from V1" section, enabling users to seamlessly connect to their V1 accounts, import their data, and witness the real-time progress of the migration.
Mistakes Turned into Lessons:
In this voyage, we learned from the challenges we faced. Adapting data from V1, especially files, proved complex due to the distinct database structure of MongoDB. Certain data considered either less pertinent or challenging to migrate was deliberately left out. A notable step forward was the preservation of a reference to old data, distinguishing V1-imported data from user-generated content. This journey taught us the art of data optimization through Jobs, batch processes, and meticulously ordered imports.
Strategic Pricing Evolution:
The early days of Project.co's launch showcased a generous pricing strategy to attract newcomers, such as ample free usage with generous limits. Though this strategy effectively welcomed users, it posed a revenue challenge. Notably, our target audience, primarily consisting of creatives like designers and video agencies, often used the free version. Consequently, over time, we refined our plans, bringing them together into Free and Paid options, aligning with user preferences, and incorporating attractive tools to encourage upgrades.
The Dangers of Overabundance:
Our eagerness to provide a multitude of features, while initially appealing, resulted in unexpected challenges in maintenance. Striking a balance, we reassessed and streamlined our feature offerings, ensuring each element held proven value. This recalibration not only optimized our delivery process but also simplified the maintenance landscape.
Dynamic Delivery Approach:
After Project.co's expansion, user feedback and feature demands grew considerably. Adapting to this shift, we redesigned our delivery approach. Transitioning to a rapid trunk based development approach facilitated daily deployments, empowered by strategic feature flagging to beta test new elements. This dynamic process facilitated quicker iterations, at times fivefold faster than our previous methods.
Empowering Real-Time Collaboration:
As the Project.co community flourished, the demand for real-time collaboration surfaced. Users desired Google Docs-like functionality—live co-editing. However, integrating this within our existing structure proved complex. The challenge? We already had a considerable user base utilizing notes and projects stored in HTML. Shifting to the world of collaboration demanded a transition to a more suitable format. Employing TipTap, we paved the way, though adapting the feature smoothly for our existing users was the ultimate challenge. We developed complex code to ensure seamless fallbacks, preserving data integrity, while synchronizing both versions for a unified user experience.
The dedicated efforts invested in Project.co V2 resulted in a scalable and extensible API and codebase, empowering both us and our users to start simple and evolve with the platform's evolving needs. As a testament to its success, Project.co obtained an impressive user base of over 20,000 monthly active users. Moreover, being recognized as the #1 "Easiest To Use Project Management Software" on G2 in May 2023, based on customer reviews, reaffirmed our commitment to delivering excellence in the world of project management.
At BinarCode, we have a proven track record of delivering exceptional SaaS solutions that drive scalability, efficiency, and success for our clients. Here you can find a more comprehensive list of most of our projects, showcasing our expertise in creating innovative and impactful cloud-based products.
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