Project management for consultants: Trigger App

When we started NZE Services, I took it upon myself to find a suitable platform to handle our clients that I would never tire of using. We’re mostly working ad hoc across New Zealand, and we needed a way to keep everyone informed while handling billing and time tracking.

15 product trials later, I found the best solution: Trigger App. In fact, I knew I’d like it as soon as I looked at its website. I’m not a very logical shopper. I don’t really look at features first. I look at the product’s website first, and if its clean and it looks like it has had a lot of care put into it, I assume that the product has also been well thought-out and looked after. The Trigger App website was love at first site. (hehe)

design

Trigger App’s design is a big turn on. It’s clean, minimal, and intuitive. Every time I use it I think of the Steve Jobs quote, “Design is not just how it looks and feels. Design is how it works.” It has that vibe of a modern day creative office, fitted with iMacs, vibrant ideas, wooden tables, and watered pot plants.

Trigger App is notably sans distraction. Everything you need is on the sidebar. Everything you don’t need is either hidden away or non-existent. The same goes for the iOS and Android apps.

As far as design goes, they’ve pretty much nailed it. Trigger App is a platform that I’m proud to invite our clients onto.

functionality

Trigger App works very simply.

When you add a new client, you create a new company. You can adjust settings that will be the default for everything to do with that company, from your standard hourly rate, to the company’s country and tax rate. Companies can have their status set to “lead” or “active.”

In companies, you can add multiple projects. You can put employees in charge of those projects, and you can forecast how many hours you expect to spend on the project – both billable and non-billable.

In projects, you can create specific tasks that are assigned to specific employees and set milestones.

In tasks, employees can hit the timer when they begin the task, and hit it again when they end the task. This automatically goes on to their time sheets. They can also manually input the time with an update, and can add files to the update too. Clients can see tasks, but not the amount of hours worked. Employees can list expenses involved in completing the task.

Contractors can also be added, and are given custom permissions by the administrator

Timesheets are shown as reports, and Trigger provides graphing functions to show you how much work was done in the selected time period, and what the forecast is for the next period. When creating invoices, the total amount of hours and expenses are automatically included, but users also have the option of inputing fees and other items on the invoice.

Functionality could be improved a little. Retainers are coming soon to the service, which is excellent, but I’d like to see it work a little faster. Sometimes the service can lag a bit, and I dislike waiting. They’re also adding task tagging, which is great. Say I need our marketing team to look at all marketing tasks, I can just tag the task as marketing.

integration

Trigger App works seamlessly with a lot of great services, and when I saw that it integrates with Xero, I shed a tear of joy. The team behind the project management platform have built a Xero add-on that sends all invoices created within the service straight to Xero.

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They’ve also added a few other notable integrations, like Google Apps and Google Drive, Freshbooks, Highrise, and Basecamp. Sassu and Xero Payroll integration is coming soon.

The iOS and Android apps are brilliant. They’re simple, easy to use, and decidedly sans frills.

The one big thing I want to see improved is integration of the schedule with an iCal feed. That would be the frosting on the cake.

price

Trigger App is quite pricey, with a standard fee of $8AUD/employee/month ($8.60 NZD). Compared to the average fee of $5/user/month for other project management platforms, it can definitely add up. We have about 10 people on our team. That’d be $86.60 NZD a month just on a project management platform.

Can we live without it? No. Will we continue to use it? Heck yes.

conclusion

In my opinion, Trigger App is the best option out there for creative or consultancy teams – or both. It’s simple, easy to use, beautiful, and very intuitive. It’s definitely worth the extra $30 a month, because the efficiency you can achieve by using it is unparalleled. The service is clearly a work in progress, but that’s a good thing. Companies that release a “finished” app will be outgrown in about a year when technology and business’s requirements change.

Overall, we’re very pleased.

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