(The brief story of how QDo came about…)
Some might say we are a little nuts about productivity here at Qrayon. Making software, like many things in life, can take quite a bit of focus -- to stay on task, to polish that next feature, and then the next, all the way to completing a launch. Having to juggle multiple projects, priorities and distractions makes that tricky at times, and we’re always looking for the best tools and techniques to help us stay focused and on the critical path.
We’ve tried lots of project management and to-do systems, and have found most to be too complex and inflexible. So, like all good software designers, we decided to make our own tools.
We actually use a couple different systems, but for smaller projects, we like to keep the remaining tasks list (the “backlog” in agile-speak) in a simple todo.txt file, that looks something like this:
These files are a simple list of tasks, with time estimates in brackets. The project owner can see at a glance how much is left to do until the next milestone. They can easily check off tasks, add new ones, and move them around as priorities change. These files are also be checked-in with the rest of the documents, so that they are always in sync with the project.
We wrote a little App that lives in the menu bar. It would oh-so-gently remind us what the very next task was on our queue, and also does the math to tell us how much work time is left to complete the milestone. It monitors changes to the to-do files, and automatically updates each time we make changes.
We all use it everyday and love it. This App has worked so well for us, that it occurred to us that other people might find it useful too. So we decided to build a more polished version from the ground-up, and call it QDo (“Queue-Do”).
I’m happy to announce that we’ve also decided to release it free in the Mac App Store. If you think you might find QDo useful, please give it a try, and let us know what you think. (If we find enough interest, we might release an enhanced version in the future).
If you have never tried a text-based to-do system before, we recommend trying it out just to see if you prefer the simplicity and flexibility it offers. If you already have a text-based system that you find useful, we’d love to hear about it (we’re always looking to improve ours). Feel free to drop a line via the feedback form.
We hope you enjoy using QDo as much as we do!