Season 07 Episode 2 – Feb 13, 2024  
42:51  Show Notes

How can I communicate better with clients?


In this episode we discuss various project management tools, and the pros and cons of each. Additionally how best to communicate with clients.

Show Notes

  • Email from Natalie
  • What is a project management tool
  • Required features
  • Centralized communication
  • UI
  • Dependencies
  • Cost
  • Email notifications - batches, individually
  • Agile
  • Browser extension

Show Links

Accuracy of transcript is dependant on AI technology.

Welcome to another episode of the website 101 podcast. This is the podcast for people who want to learn about building and managing websites. I am Amanda Lutz. With me, as always, Mike Miller. Hi, Mike.

How are you? Hi, guys. I'm good. How are you guys doing? Very good. Thank you. And Sean Smith. Hi, Sean. Hey, Amanda. Mike, I hope everybody's doing well. Excited to get on to this next episode.

Yes. It's a good one. In fact, Mike has information about today's episode because, you know, we finally... we finally are all famous, email from a listener. That's right, we got an actual email from an actual listener.

This was, I feel bad because it was quite a while ago. This came in some time ago, let's say. And we usually had the seasons pretty well planned out, so we didn't really get to it. But we're getting to it now.

And the email came from Natalie and she says, I'll just read part of the email right now, topic, organizational ticket systems like Jira, Trello, et cetera, how do I make the feedback process better?

We. use Excel lists where she works to collect feedback from our clients. It's a rather tedious process. And I would love to learn something from your approach and we'll be glad to receive tips and tricks.

So Natalie wants to know about project management tools. That's how we're identifying this episode. Jira Trello, what, Basecamp, Asana. I mean, we'll get to a bunch of them, right? Excel, exactly.

There's so many of them. There's so many. And also, I need to point out that this is actually revisiting a topic that Sean, Sean, you said you did it like in the first or second season when it was just you doing the podcast by yourself.

It was. the first season and the first episode planning, structure, and goals way back in January, 2019. Are we going to put that in the show notes so they can re listen to you by yourself? Yeah, actually, anytime we reference an older episode, I always link to it.

So there's always going to be a link in there. Yeah, so we're going to address these tools and, you know, talk about the pros and cons and what you should look out for. And I don't, I doubt we'll get to a point where we pick a winner between these things. But yeah,

hopefully it'll help. Natalie and everyone else who's interested in this. Yes, I think it might be. important should we should we like try to define like a project management tool you know in case like we have a different definition from from maybe

what some other people would use? Yeah yeah how would you define it? Let's start with Amanda what's your description you would have? So because because my role in any project is not being the project manager I would think that the

project management tool should be to help keep everybody on the same page easy to update, easy for people to add comments, include hey like this is a problem this is a bug that I found in the web project fix it and then everything

is like in I like it best when everything is in one central location everyone has access everyone can update everyone can see the current progress and hopefully it's like one central of repository. That's my opinion. Yeah I think that's a pretty good start. I would

also add in some additional things like it should have to-do lists that can be assigned to different users or you can easily add and remove items or amend them as needed. Additionally I like the ability to show certain threads to certain

people so it might be something that's only for internal use only and not the client. So maybe you're working at a small agency and the project manager and the designer and the developer need to talk about something,

but the client doesn't need to see what they're talking about. And maybe there'll be a different thread where the client is talking with the project manager, but you don't want your developer and designer chiming in

before it's ready for them to know the information. So being able to assign and hide tasks and threads is really important to me. And as well, I think every one of these things includes the ability to add uploads.

So you can upload. assets and things like that. Do you have anything to add? Yeah I would agree with that. I just think to me these things are just yeah they're software that helps with the communication that's involved in any kind of project. It's usually

involves communication either between the developer and the client or other developers or whatever. So that's how I see it. I mean some of them yeah it occurred to me I use some tools like this for my own project management but I

don't often don't always bring in a client to take part in the system as well. Very often I just use it to manage just my own work. I don't even work with anyone else sometimes but it's still very helpful so that's that's what I like

these things. Yeah, like to help keep track of your thoughts and your own tasks and how far you've gotten and what's next. So I think that one of probably the most important features though that we could probably all

agree with is just being able to keep all of the information in one central location. Like we've all dealt with either individual clients or individual projects where sometimes they send email and sometimes they contact you on Slack.

I've had a couple of clients that were just obsessively always sending me text messages. And it's like trying to reply on the phone. I was like, no, thank you. I don't want that. Like let's just keep everything in one location so that all of the updates are easy to find

except for a good God, not something like a Word document. I've also worked with clients who insisted on using a Word document. And we'll get into why that is just an awful idea in a little bit. I'm going to go ahead and do that.

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I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and do that. I'm going to go ahead and do that.

Yeah, the central location is also really helpful because you can have like company history is there and it's easy to add and remove people. So maybe you've got this project that's been going on for years and you bring in some a new designer, a new developer,

but they need to understand something from the past. Good luck trying to find that in emails. Here you can just you got cards with titles and whatever and it's easier just to assign something to them rather than try and find the

one email out of all the millions of emails we've sent over the years. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And you're always going to encounter some people, especially on the client side, if you're a developer who likes these tools, who just refuses to work on some of this stuff.

I have clients who are... The number of times I've heard the phrase, I just thought it would be easier to pick up the phone and call you. And it drives me crazy because it might be easier for you, but for me,

I'm in the middle of something and you're breaking my concentration. I wasn't planning to have a half hour phone call at this time of the day. So like... You're always going to people who just work in a different way and they're not going to be into this

So you do have to sort of be flexible on the same page when using these things and working with people who are willing to work with you, right? Yeah, I have one agency client that the project manager likes to call me she'll

Send something and five minutes later she'll call it. Did you get that base camp thread? Yes, right, but that doesn't happen often But you know if you're sending it by base camp, I'm gonna get to it. Yeah

it's a true emergency that I really don't feel like there's a need to call without scheduling it. Like sometimes I'll reply to them and say, hey, can we clarify this on a video call? And yeah, that's great. It works. Or I'll hop in Slack because we have a Slack and I'll ask

the same thing. Can we video call about it? And it's less obtrusive that way because it's not a phone ringing. I have to check Slack. They have to check Slack. You know, it's just better. Yeah, I had a client recently.

not a client, a developer I was working with for this agency who notified me of something that I needed to be notified about. But he sent me a message in Slack. He sent a comment on the task itself, which pinged me.

He sent an email and he recorded a video screencast, all of exactly the same message. And they just pinged me in all these different services. And I kept thinking, oh, he's got something new to say?

Nope, exactly the same as what I just heard. That is over communication. Yeah. Yeah. That can be... problematic. It can be. So should we get into some of the things that are important to consider

with some of these tools? Should we name some tools first or? Oh, absolutely. What do we use the most often? Yeah, I think maybe we could talk about just generic when you're looking at starting up a tool, like what are some things to look for? What are some things to be wary of? And then maybe

after that we could get into like specific like different pros and cons for like each different tool we've used. Okay, sounds good. Yep, that's what I think. Yeah. So I like Kanban. I think things that are most common Kanban would be something like Trello where you got cards and columns and

things like that. That's what I like. So I much prefer that style over what base camp gives you. Base camp doesn't have a Kanban code system. Remember how I just said maybe let's keep it generic first and then go into the

data. Yeah, but it's hard for me to go into it without being specific. So then I guess what you're saying is the UI is very important to you and being able to group and categorize together different tasks for whatever categories

makes it. for that project. Yeah, yeah. UI is very important. Some of the modern ones have various types of views that you can have. So they might have a Kanban view. They might have a, I don't know, like a spreadsheet,

a table view. Yeah. So you can sort of view the information in different ways. We'll get to that, I guess, a little bit later. What can do that and what can't do that? Yeah. Something I wanted to mention that I really

like to see in these things, and they don't always have them, is dependencies. So what I mean by that is, if you have a task that needs to be done, but it can't be done before this other task is done, then it's a dependency.

There's a dependency relationship. One is blocking the other. And some of these things will let you, if you try to click complete. on the thing that is blocked by the other thing. This is getting really confusing.

But it will say, wait a minute, you can't do this until the other one's done first. I really like that kind of feature. Oh, I'm getting a thumbs up thing from my video camera. Do you see that? That's my automatic, they're not hearing this.

They're not getting some audio, but. I see the little bubbles popping up. That's my computer. I need to wire annoying friends. Yeah. Because I'm not sitting, but I'm not seeing bubbles either. Basically on a Mac now when you give thumbs up,

it does some stupid little graphic kids annoying. Anyway, so yeah, dependencies is really, really. valuable. They don't always have them. I use it, I've said before, I use something called GQs, which does let you have a nested task system where one is nested

under another and it will warn you if you're about to complete a task that has children tasks. So that's sort of similar, but it's a really valuable feature if you have tasks that are related to each other. I like the dependency one and I

don't think I've used any system that has dependencies. I used to use GQs as well, but I wasn't using it enough, so I let my subscription expire. I guess that's a very important point right there. It's like the cost. I mean I am

like famously cheap and I am just not... pay for anything I don't have to pay for so I'm going to say your parsimonious it's no I'm cheap I'm cheap I'm not man pays for enough man does not pay for stuff she

doesn't need to so I would rather I would rather have like three different accounts with like on the free tier if they like limit you for like five five projects or whatever I will like make another account just to get another five

free as opposed to like paying for yet and yet another service yeah I don't go that far but I do my best to stay in free free tier or the most basic tier if I must use something that you have to pay for.

Yeah. Well, it's a big investment because especially what we were saying about if you're using it to communicate with a client, if you're going to commit to saying, look client, this is what we're going to use to deal with this project throughout the course of working on

it. So you've got to sign up for your free account or whatever. You better make sure that if you're going to pay for it, it's the one you want to be using moving forward, otherwise you're bouncing back and forth between different tools.

And so often, it's like, I will always talk to the client first. And it's like, do you currently use some sort of management tool? And if you do. Let's keep using it because that's what you're familiar with.

But I would say the majority of cases, they aren't. Yeah. That's exactly what I do as well. Yeah. Unless it's like with an agency that already has something established. But yes, in a lot of cases when we're working one-on-one

with the end client, it's like, fine. You don't have anything set up? How would you feel about using this? Hooray. Let me get you set up on it. Yeah. I do that as well. And then if they have something, I'll use it.

So I've used almost every possible project management total on Earth at this point. I have to put between the the three of us, we have covered all of them. Yeah. I don't, there's not one that I like, there's one that I use because it's the one I like

the most out of all the ones that I don't like. Does that make sense? Yeah. That's a ringing endorse with John. Yeah. I don't like it the most. No I don't like it the least. I like it. I don't like it the least.

Whatever. It's a double negative happening there. Yeah. I did have one client that refused to use anything and I had to use. email with them for years. Yeah. And then they ended up switching off to putting

their whole website on HubSpot so I no longer work with them disappointed by that. Another feature that I really like the idea of and yet I haven't seen it in any of the the free ones that I use is almost like in Reddit how you can

like reply to a comment but then reply to this other comment and then reply to the reply to the comment. I'd love to see nested comments that kind of structure happens. a little bit more by default as opposed because too often it's like here's the

task that has been set up in the management tool and then you'll start commenting on it but then all of a sudden it'll be like oh yeah this reminds me of something else can you can you look at this too and so now this one this one

ticket item this one card whatever you want to call it is now dealing with like two different items so every time I go to reply to it it's like okay well regarding this topic type up my response and now regarding this topic

type up the response and it's like yeah you know it doesn't always warrant a new a new ticket or a new card but it'd be nice to be able to like separate that out a bit more mm-hmm yeah and actually that reminded me is something

that it can be helpful when you're dealing with a lot of people and I'm gonna break your rule there Amanda but I think Asana does this the tool Asana just because it's coming in my head but what you can do is first of all you can

tag people in comments and it will notify them and all that. But you can also post like reference a previous task or like another task or maybe even another comment whereby you start you type like at or something and it will

give you a drop down menu where you can select it. So it makes it really easy to refer to other things. A lot of them have that now Trello does it. Yeah. It did Trello didn't used to do that and it's not something I've used recently because I only have currently only have one client that I'm

doing using Trello with but I think they're do that. Yeah, I'm currently using Trello for like four different projects. And yes, it's been Wow, really? It doesn't do the nested comments. But you can do you can do the mentions, you can

upload. I love that you can upload images. But also, if you take a screenshot, you can just like paste the image in which it's right. Yeah, that's right. That's a nice feature as well. Yeah. I also like that a lot of these project management tools will also send you like

emailed notifications almost like, Oh, what is the word? Were they like, were they like shorten it? They just sort of like give you like a patch. A bad. Like a batch email that is like these are the comments that have been made in the last half day or in the last whole day

I think that those are those are handy as well Yeah, I think that's a great feature person. I like to get one email per Update Because then it's in it's in my inbox and then I it's like when I might do it out of sequence

And then it just it just works better for me But I see how some people would prefer to get a summary or a batch of all updates at once Especially if you're a project manager and you're getting like a hundred of these a day. I couldn't imagine

Yeah, no I like because I like I like getting the email that has the batch of them and then what happens is when I have time to go back and work on that project, I'll see it in my inbox and be like,

oh yeah, there's only a couple things to do, there's a bunch of things to do, I can manage my time a bit more, and then delete the email and go into the project management tool and actually like see

all of the comments and updates there, and then just start working through stuff. Right, it can be an issue, when these notifications, if they're happening through email, especially, sometimes it can be an issue with timing,

like just the other day I had a situation where I was on a discussion with another developer where I was working with, and he referenced a particular component that someone had to deliver and we had to look at,

and I said, oh, we haven't gotten that yet, and he said, sure we did, and there was this weird, confusing thing, and I looked at my email and suddenly the email came in, like right after he said that,

notifying me of that thing, and I was like, oh sorry, I just came in, I just got it, and so, sometimes there's a bit of a, I don't know how people if you do the summary thing where you get one email a week or whatever it is

Like isn't there a risk of your falling behind? I think the daily summary is Depending on the service it'll be like Every six hours or once a day like you have options Yeah, so depending on your needs

But I'd have ever seen it be more than once a day like a weekly summary just seems completely useless to me It does yeah, but I mean it's like well while you're like sitting in the project management tool

You can like see the updates happening like all of a sudden there's like the little notification icon that shows that you know one of the items has been updated and you're in there already so yeah.

So I just wanted to point out that some of these things are more geared towards teams than others. So I like I said I use something called GQ's a lot. It does have a team's component to it where you can have people and assign things to them

in that. I just use it for myself so I don't really know much about how good that is but I know other some of these bigger ones that we've mentioned earlier are designed for working with lots of people together.

And I guess I did say earlier it's mostly about communication but it can also just be about managing a project even if it's just you. So have a look at whatever tool you're considering check is it really designed for a lot of people?

Is that something you need because that could affect the price of it as well if it's intended for big teams of people? So that's something I just wanted to bring it. The collaboration or something that you're just using for personal use.

What's the. What do you need it for? 100% I think some of them work well for both, but they're probably shifting their focus more towards teams because that's where the money is Right, exactly Do you want to hear more website 101 podcast content?

Of course you do! Now you can not only listen to us, but watch us on our YouTube channel Search YouTube for website 101 podcast Okay, let's start and shaming. What do you like and why do you like it?

I'll start. I'll start. I want to start off with the one I hate the most. So the one I've mentioned GQ's a bunch of times and I'm gonna say it right now. GQ's I like and the best thing I like about it's not as powerful as some of

these other ones probably for this kind of stuff. It's based on the getting things done methodology by David Allen for anyone who's into that stuff which I'm a big fan and the best thing about it is you can do every single thing in

it with your keyboard. I'm a big keyboard guy I don't like using the mouse if I don't have to and you can use like every command in there is accessible from the keyboard which is great. So that's my that's my vote.

When I use GQ's I knew about that but I never used it enough to remember the keyboard commands which is why I ended up dropping my subscription because I didn't use it enough. I liked it and I think it's a really good for managing personal to-do lists. I didn't

find it so helpful with the business end of things. For me obviously it works well for Mike so you know like your mileage may vary. For me the absolute worst project management tool. The least good one. The most worst one.

The more is, uh, What is I don't know if I've heard it. Okay, I haven't used it in years used it for with an one agency for several years with them and I just Hated it with a passion. I can't remember why I still still don't like it and I would never use it by choice ever at all

Worst worst worst worst There's my negative endorsement So I we allowed to negatively endorse products like this is that a good idea on this show Maybe we can cut it Sorry, maybe. Nah, just leave it in whatever.

I could bleep it. So I... Oh, I can't ask for that. Yeah. I worked on a project and they were using, what is it, the Agile project management methodology where you would have a stand-ups and then like,

like every week there'd be like a different set of tasks that needed to be completed. And we used Jira for that. And I would say that the Jira, like the ticketing and the assigning tasks to different people

was just as good as any of the other ones out there. But I felt that it, I would never... initiate doing an agile project because it just seems like so much extra work. But because the project managers were very keen on doing it that way, it seemed like

the whole software package was geared directly towards that. And so there were different views and different pages for setting up milestones for different stand-ups and timelines. And you can see calendar views and you can see this waterfall of tasks to be done.

It was pretty cool. Now I always forget who owns what. JIRA is owned by... Bitbucket or something? I think Bitbucket is owned by Jira. It's a lot like, I've last seen this, the parent company and they're all like,

and there you go. Yeah, it starts with an A. Yeah. Something like that. Jira is probably the only one of the big ones that I haven't used. Yeah, I think I've used it years ago. And that's the other thing with this stuff, by the way,

is updates, you know, like how often they get updated because like Basecamp, for example, we mentioned that. I've used Basecamp, but it was at least, I don't know, 12 years ago. That I've last used it, I'm sure it's completely different now.

No, it isn't. Oh, it isn't. Okay, good. Well, okay, good tip. The thing with Basecamp is there's two versions of it, Basecamp 2 and Basecamp. And I've got two clients currently on Basecamp, and they're using Basecamp 2.

And I had one client that I took over their client so I no longer wick with the parent client, and they used to be used Basecamp 3. And I think the differences were mostly cosmetic. There might have been more features,

but Basecamp 2 is still around years after they released Basecamp 3. All right, interesting. I don't know. Basecamp is, it's fine. I think it's I don't think it's overly feature rich. It doesn't have the con bond view

I mentioned earlier that I like yeah, it also doesn't let you drag and drop things around which is part of the con bond view that Trello has Yeah, so I personally wouldn't choose it But I it's kind of like middle of the road to me and I'm not really the target. It's more it is more for big teams rather than

solo solo people yeah So you guys both talked about using Trello recently, so how do you feel? I've used Trello as well, but not in a long time and not extensively at all. I just kind of toyed around with it. Actually, Sean and I

used it for a long time. Yeah, because that was on my insistence back when we started the part when you joined the podcast and you never liked Trello. Trello is the one that I choose because it's the best of the rest.

Yeah, I think that I think that Trello's got some pretty good features. And it's free. It's free. which is thumbs up. There is a paid tier, but I don't know anything about it. Sorry Amanda, keep interrupting, go ahead.

That's okay. I've also found, because I was trying to use Trello a little bit, so a negative of Trello is that it does not have that nested comments that I would really like to see. Trello, are you listening?

Yeah, Trello. Dear Trello, please do that. But it does have things like you can not only can you set up these categories that you see on the main layout. but for each ticket or card, they call them cards.

For each card that you make, you can also create different categories. So how I usually set it up is that I will make a column for to do a column for in progress, a column for needs client feedback,

a column for ready for review, and then a column for completed. And then within each of those cards, you can have different categories. Is it back end? Is it CMS? Is it design? Is it content related?

I'm not sure. And then you can also assign them to the different people who are active on the board. So like, is it for me? Is it for the client? Is it for the designer? Is it like who is it that we're waiting on?

But because of this, I found that having all of these columns to do in progress, etc., whatever, was really taking up a lot of space. I found a Chrome extension for Trello that would, if that column was empty, it would

take the heading of that column and put it vertical. So that it would like, it would save a lot of desk space going across, but it was like still there. You could like still see it and still like easily drag things into it.

So it's like there are a lot of times with these like software. like with these project management packages, sometimes if it doesn't have all the features that you want, maybe go find a Chrome extension

or whatever browser you use an extension for that. Maybe it'll add a little bit more functionality. Yeah. Yeah, all right. So one thing that's both good and bad with Trello is the ability to add people to cards.

If your client doesn't remember to add you to the card and does not at reply you, you won't get notified when they write something. So clients can Hold on a minute. Yeah, I know Amanda's raising her hand.

So clients can just create a card and start typing. And if they don't at reply you in the body of the card or add you to the card directly, you're not gonna get notified. I suspect Amanda's got something,

a solution that I'm unaware of. Oh, I was just gonna say, especially if it's like an active project that you're still working on in your intro a little lot. And if you see that that's happened, you can just go in and watch that card.

So you will still be notified of the comments. You can add yourself to it, which I... which I've done, but it would be nicer if there was a way, maybe there is, and I should look into it, if there is a way to automatically add myself to every card.

Because generally it's me and one client, so I wanna just be added to everything. Is that the case, so even if you own the prop, like you own the account. The Trello board, yeah. It still won't notify you of every card.

Unless you add yourself to the card. Oh, interesting. So even when I create a... card myself, I have to add myself to the card. Oh yeah, that could be annoying. So I have a... Amanda says you don't.

I don't think you do. Well, we're in the middle of the double check it. Trello, let us know. We can experiment later. It'll be fine. Yeah. So one I wanted to bring up, are we cool to move on from Trello,

or you guys have more stuff to say about Trello? Yeah, absolutely, cool. So we use, to manage this podcast, we use air table. Air table was something I was really obsessed with for a while there.

I still like it a lot. Honestly, if we were to do it now, I don't think we would probably use air table to manage this. We'd probably... Shh. go to Trello or something. I'm not a fan. Yeah, I know.

Mashaun doesn't like it. So for those who don't know, it's basically a spreadsheet that's it's super high powered spreadsheet kind of like, I don't know, Google sheets. It is super powerful. I don't like the UI and I've there's some stuff I've just never been able to figure

out. I just go with it because Mike's the boss now. Well, well, so what I wanted to bring it up is because we use it to manage episode recording. and all that stuff on this. And yeah, you can create as many fields and columns as you want

and hold any kind of information at all, and there's all different field types and stuff. But it does have a Kanban board view that you can do, where you can drag things to different, you know, completed and whatever.

And Amanda, it also has that collapse thing that you just described in Trello, where it puts it sideways. I did the label. Yeah, I've noticed that before that you can make it sort of, and then you double click it to expand it or whatever.

So I don't know how these developers come up with these ideas and if they kind of just. steal them from each other and put them in, because they seem to be, you know, some of them. Sure, they do competitor research.

Yeah, yeah. But anyway, that's one tool air table. It's pretty cool. These days, I think if we were to do it, I might recommend Notion, which is a very popular tool these days. Do you guys have a lot of experience using Notion?

I just started using Notion for personal stuff. I'm not sure how it would work collaboratively. Yeah. I mean, I just use it to keep track of things for my YouTube channel and some stuff about my photography

and some other stuff like it. It's really just personal stuff. I'm curious how you would use it collaboratively with a client or another developer or something. Well, I'm thinking back to Natalie's email here

about specifically looking for feedback from clients, trying to gather feedback. Because notion, you're right, it's not actually a project management tool, I don't think, but it's one of these database powered Google Docs

or whatever, like a Word document powered by a database. I thought it was more like Evernote. Well, yeah, but the thing is you can create pages in it, you can create. And it's just really amazing.

The mobile app is really nice too. Yeah, I've come to learn like all the different things it lets you do. And I think you could make a good case for it being a good communication tool with clients because you can add people and all that kind of stuff.

It's probably not as powerful as some of these other ones, but it's worth considering because it's very, very flexible. Have you used it for work-related stuff? I've used it a little bit, but only with a client that also uses Asana.

So that's their real project management tool, but they sort of have this as a component as well. But it's more documentation of stuff, like you said. I would almost think that, I mean, one of the benefits of using one of these tools, or software or whatever,

where you can set up different fields, it would be very flexible, much like if you were stuck using an Excel spreadsheet or a Google sheet or something like that, where you could actually set up the data.

say like okay well like show me the URL like paste the URL here paste you know a screenshot here give the description here because I find that one of my biggest complaints with something like using Trello that's just like a single

description box is that the majority of my replies are please provide URL yes provide URL I don't and they'll even and oftentimes they'll just send a screenshot that it's just like you know oh there's a problem with the call the

action button and they'll just send a screenshot of the call the action button and it's like please provide URL like I yeah your website is huge I don't know what page it's on Exactly. I have the same problem.

Yeah. If it's not what you described, they may make an attempt at telling you where it is, but they'll say, when you click on this and then scroll down and you move over to the thing and click on that, they just send me the link to the page.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Direct links are the way to go. So there's one more service listed here, which I'm unfamiliar with. I'm not sure who put that down there. Mylenote. Milenote. Yeah. I did. I never even had this conversation, but you mentioned Milenote one time and you learned

about it through your teaching career. Some other teacher used it or something. Maybe. You don't remember, it doesn't matter. But you mentioned it and I said, what is that? I looked it up and now I've really fallen for it.

Now it is not a project management tool. It's basically a brainstorming kind of graphical, you know, you draw things and have arrows pointing to stuff, that kind of thing. But recently I started, yeah,

kind of like a fancy whiteboard thing. And I've started using it to collaborate with clients. I actually have a project now where a client is also using it with me to create a navigation menu for a site where we can like, you know,

have little comments on each thing. You can comment and add reply people and stuff. You can put cards inside cards so you can drill right down into. to different levels of the site and whatever. It's hard to describe on a audio podcast,

but I've really started to like it. It's not quite a project management tool, but if you're a graphical person, like me and you like to think visually or have clients that I find it really helps clients, check it out.

It's kind of cool. I just opened up the website and just based on the screenshots, it looks really interesting. And just for listeners, all of these services will be linked in the show notes. Just don't worry about that.

Everything will be linked in the show notes. And as usual, we get no money from it. companies. Unless somebody wants to sponsor us. Yeah. So I would also like to take a step back. Back into the past when things were simpler. Hey everybody, I still have a pad of Post-It notes

easily available to jot stuff down on. I still have a whiteboard that's sitting on the wall just over the view of my monitors. And yes, even though with working with clients and even working with some personal projects, I feel like do whatever is going to work best for you.

for this project at this time. If it happens to be a Word document right now, let me tell you that's going to get old fast, but use it. Using some kind of tool, any tool is going to be better than using, than having nothing, and having tasks slip between the

cracks. Yeah, such good advice. Yep. The last thing, teaching a client or a dev to use your project management app, is it necessary for your project? Yeah. So I want to talk about that a little bit. It's, it's kind of further to your point you just made a man is.

that it can be detrimental to try to coax a client to use what you want them to use. And if you get pushed back as a developer or whatever, and they're like, oh, you want me to sign up for what? And if you're getting that, then abort, you know what I mean?

I would say don't, it's better off maintaining the relationship and letting them do it the way they want to do it than trying to force them into using a totally new one. My example earlier in the show where I said,

a client here wouldn't do anything except by email. And I worked with them for years. Because you know what? I liked the client, I just didn't like the project management. I picked up the... Yeah, yeah.

Yeah, sometimes people work a certain way. I mean, if it gets to be a real problem and the project is being held back for it, then have that discussion. But sometimes people in our line of work fall in love

with these projects or these tools, and they're just like, we gotta use this. And other people just don't feel that way sometimes. I think we've all received emails from clients that have just a long list of tasks.

I have then gone and made my own... I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients.

I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients. I think we've all received emails from clients.

Project in whatever software, you know You're using to do the tracking and just like even if it's just for yourself You know just put the tasks in and however you're comfortable tracking it And then even if you want to like go back in there and be like I

Did this task on this date and I emailed the client and said this and and then that way It's like it's it's just an again one central location just to make it easier in the future for you to find the emails

Thread that went back and forth. Yeah One last thing I wanted to say is that as Solo freelancers, I think it behooves us to be more adaptable to the client's needs in that as a man I said earlier, ask them, are you already using a project management software?

Great. I'll sign up for that. But if you're not, can you use the one I use because it will give us the advantages of A, B and C. And I just really like it. Why don't you try it? Maybe you'll like it too.

And then, you know, you see, I think that's the best way to go. Yeah. Yeah. You might be able to explain to them the, you know, if we use this, then we can do X, Y, Z and isn't that a great thing?

Like you'll tell them things that are available, that, that wouldn't be available through just email or whatever. Right. Yeah. So. Yeah. And of course, I mean, we're talking about all of these like benefits and everything

from the developer perspective. But if you're a designer, you could use one of these project management tools. If you are a project manager, you could use one of them. Like I feel, even if you're the end client.

They're cross industry valuable. Yeah. It's definitely definitely a valuable tool for like if you're working for yourself working working yourself on any type of project It'll help manage it and if you're working together with a team of people

Again, it's all about collaboration. It's all about communication find something that's gonna work for everyone Mm-hmm, and it's also helpful to have paper trails of things that get said, you know If someone calls you up on a phone and says launch this tomorrow and then next week someone complains

I didn't tell you to do that and it's on a phone call. How do you know? So if you can have a tool like this look you said on this day Yeah, hopefully doesn't come to that but it can help a lot of times if I have a longer call with a client

within like 10 minutes of their call being done. I will email back and say, well, here's a summary of what we talked about. I do that to you. I'm so bad at that. It's mostly to help me remember,

but also it does provide that paper trail of, hey, you actually told me this on this date and I emailed back to you and you didn't say no, I was wrong. So what's the problem? I followed your instructions.

It's never come to that, but it's there for that reason. It's definitely a good thing to do and I recommend it to everyone. and I'm so bad at it myself. I'm not saying I do it every time, but I do it regularly.

Yeah. Okay, so have we covered everything we want to cover? I think so. I think we have. It was nice talking to you both. A really good topic. Natalie, thank you so much for the idea. Keep listening.

Tell friends. Subscribe and like and thumbs up. And we'll see you later. Talk to you next time. Bye. Later. The website 101 podcast is hosted by me, Amanda Lutz. You can also find me online at

And by me, Mike Mella, find me online at or on socials at Mike Mela. I'm Sean Smith, your co-host. Youu can find me online at my website and LinkedIn at caffeinecreations

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