My favorite project management tool just went away. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve spent the past few, hmm, has it been years (?) putting my project milestones, tasks, and notes into my project management system. It was a good tool, I liked it, but more important: I used it. I had data in there. Now they’re disappearing. Now I have to move my information elsewhere. Bummer.

[box type=”note”]That product you’re using. How long do you thing it will be around? [/box]

I’m always on the lookout for a new project management tool, but was growing on me. It had its quirks, but I liked it enough. But now it’s all moot anyway, I have to use a different one. They suggest to use the company who swallowed them up and sure, I’ll check them out, but I didn’t choose that new company who happened to take over my company … a bit like you don’t choose your family.

How can you prevent using a product or being dependent on a company that might be disappearing soon?

At least this wasn’t something like QuickBooks (where I have years and years of data in there). Although with something as big as QB, I’m sure there would be export or transfer opportunities.

But how can you foresee this? I had noticed that there weren’t any updates on the company blog for months.

  • Changelog: do they regularly update their product? Are they “real” updates or fluff? (I’m a big fan of the importance of the changelog.)
  • Blog: are they blogging? Is there activity? What are they blogging about? Their future?
  • Staff: is their staff growing? Shrinking? Complaining? Thrilled? Meeting?
  • Roadmap: do they talk about the future? Plan it? Are they transparent about it? Do they fulfill their promises?
  • Transparency: people trust (and love) Pat Flynn because he spills his guts online. If he were to stop his business, we’d (probably) know long beforehand–and wouldn’t then be caught off guard.

What are some other factors to look for? Sure, people who are looking to invest in a company do this all the time. But aren’t we, as users of products and services, also “investing” in the products and services we use? We’re investing our time and money. We would also like to be not to caught off guard if a company is going to go away. But even better would be if the company doesn’t go away.

With my not-that-recent fascination and devotion to all things WOO, I think it’s important to think about thinking about how their future affects yours/mine/ours. I wrote about my thoughts on WOO in more detail here: Why WOO Themes?

When will your product disappear?

When will your product disappear?