Business BootStrapping Tips – 01. Product Planning 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 01. Product Planning 101

Business BootStrapping Tips – 01. Product Planning 101

This article originally appeared in issue 213 of .net magazine – the world’s
best-selling magazine for web designers and developers.

Planning products for less

When designing on a shoestring, the need for careful planning and time-tracking
is of the utmost importance. Here are some cheap and free tools that can help:

You need to carefully plan your time when working to a tight budget. Joel Morgan,
graphic designer at centresource, recommends mind-mapping app Mindnode (iOS and Mac)
for sorting initial ideas. A single user license is $19.99, but Freemind is a free alternative.

To organize thoughts into task lists, Remember the Milk provides free online to-dos
with reminders, sharing and location functionality. In broadly similar territory is
Doris (free online, £1.19 for iOS) and for simpler online to-do lists there’s
Ta-da List and WorkFlowy, which user experience designer Sjors Timmer says “stands
out through its simple, flexible design”.

For development work, Linked by Air partner Dan Michaelson recommends Pivotal Tracker,
(free), which he says “is iterative, focused on ‘releases’ and lets you prioritize tasks”.

For time-tracking, Dan Fields, director of interactive production for BKWLD, recommends
Harvest, also useful for expenses and invoicing. Designer Anthony Calzadilla considers
toggl the best bet. There’s a free plan, but for $5 per month you get access to Basecamp,
iCal and RSS integration, reports and the ability to track earnings. There’s no contract,
so you needn’t pay every month.