There are a lot of moving parts when hiring someone:
❓What do we ask them to do?
❓How do we train them?
❓How do we ensure they only see what we want them to see?
❓How do we not spend hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars buying them a seat to all of our software?
That last one is a doozy!
I had a client who was using ClickUp and bought a seat for two team members.
After a few months, the structure of her business changed and she no longer needed the two employees. She was now stuck with two seats on a platform that she no longer needed.
She wasn’t planning on hiring anyone else and the app would only give her credit for future purchases.
She had $400 worth of credit. And now she was stuck with using the app for 3-4 years. Or cutting her losses and moving on.
And she’s not the only one. I have other clients who started to use ClickUp, but when they came to me, it was because they were frustrated that their team (of 12) wasn’t using it and they wanted a different tool.
Monthly vs Yearly
This is where the discussion of whether we want to pay monthly or yearly comes to play.
Annual payment gives a discount of 10%-30%. That can really add up, especially for small businesses.
But when you’re just starting out, I would recommend starting with monthly payments to ensure that this app really does give you the solution you need.
Even if you played with it during the trial period, I would still recommend starting monthly.
The main reason is because as we work with a tool intensely, we find the little quirks that do or don’t serve us.
In addition, when you hire staff, if you’ve only committed to the monthly plan, and your staff doesn’t buy into the process, you can always cancel at a minimal loss.
Once you know that this is the tool for you and your business, it’s time to upgrade to the annual plan. Don’t let the ‘limited time offer’ banners fool you. You may lose out on a discount in the short term, but this will save you a lot in the long run.
After we choose an app that we like, we need to make sure that our employees are on board. And we also need to make sure that the app enables us to set up permissions exactly how we want them.
This sounds simple, right?
It should be. But it isn't always possible.
When we set up our project and data structure, we do it in a way that serves our use of the tool/data.
👉 What do we need to do?
👉 When do we need it available?
👉 Who needs to see it?
But as companies grow, they are either outsourcing more, or they’re hiring more junior staff. You don’t always want everyone to have access to everything.
This is where permissions play a big role.
Some apps give you the option to limit permissions to projects, tables, lists, and even specific fields.
But depending on the structure of your project, this may not be enough.
Complex project structure
I recently worked with two different companies that ran into this exact issue.
For both, the project management itself was simple but the permissions we wanted to share with the staff was what made this complex.
Airtable was the best tool for their needs.
We managed to set up a database for all their projects. Integrations and automations were put in place so that no manual data entry was needed.
Airtable does have permissions for fields and tables. But we needed something more complex.
There were two ways of solving this.
- Create an Airtable interface. Airtable interfaces have come a long way. You can create an interface and limit who has access to the data based on views. You’d need to create a separate interface for each view, though.
- Use a front end app such as Softr.io. This tool has made such advancements in the past 6 months. You can have data come in from Airtable or Google Sheets. The app then lets you create a portal with various levels of permissions. It really is plug and play, and there’s no coding necessary. Because we can pull data in from multiple sources, this is a great way to integrate multiple databases in Airtable.
So which solution is right for you?
As always, there’s no one right answer. It really depends on your exact needs, your timeframe, and your budget.
Airtable interfaces are making huge progress, and I’m guessing it won’t be long before you can actually make an app directly from within Airtable.
But Softr is filling a huge hole, at the moment. Connecting different databases (without syncing all the data) isn’t as easy as it should be in Airtable. And setting up a front end app without giving access to all the data in the database isn’t really an option directly in Airtable. Softr lets you do exactly this.
Oh… and we can even create a client portal. But that’s a topic for a different post.
The interfaces have a lot of flexibility, though there are still things missing. But at the speed Softr is developing, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before they improve even more.
Most project management tools will enable setting views and permissions for specific projects and fields as well.
Asana goes one step further and enables creating a portfolio of specific projects (across multiple teams). This enables controlling employee workloads better than many of the other tools I’ve worked with.
The downside to Asana is the limitations in their custom fields, as well as integration of these fields with Zapier.
The second problem will probably change, as they are now changing their API structure. I’m guessing this will improve the process a lot.
Where do you go from here?
Selecting the right project management tool for your business takes time.
Test out the different options and make sure the app is serving your needs. Don’t choose your tool because of trends or a buzz. Use the free trial period wisely. Most companies will extend it if you ask. Purchase a monthly subscription and really use the tool before committing to it for a year, for your entire team.
We’ve come full circle.
If you have any questions, reach out.