Overview

Zenkit is a task and project management tool, which uses collections to create projects, where you can add items and information to each. You can add images, videos or documents to those items, allowing you to keep relevant data in one convenient location. As long as you know someone’s email address, then you can invite them to join your collection, enabling you to create a virtual or physical team, that meets the needs of your business or project. It is still in beta testing, but current functionality looks promising.

The ability to import via Trello, CSV files or by copying a spreadsheet means that you if you decide to change your service provider you don’t have to waste lots of hours, manually copying and pasting your information, reducing the likelihood of human error. You do need to import each project separately, rather than being able to select the relevant projects, but the import literally takes a second, and you can start to import the next before it finishes, so this doesn’t feel like an issue, even for someone as impatient as me!

The custom field option allows you to design a completely bespoke project, allowing you to add links, attachments or even checkboxes to a task. The really impressive thing, for me, is the ability to create a reference (link) between 2 collections and then use aggregations to link 2 fields within those collections, to create management information. It acts similarly to a relational database, so if you had a list of customers and a list of their invoices you could use an aggregation field to understand the lifetime value of that customer, or you had team members working on 2 concurrent projects, you could aggregate their workload to understand if you had unrealistic expectations of what they could do in that timeframe. The custom field also allows you to add estimates of time, so Zenkit then becomes more like a project management tool than some of the other free tools out there.

The in-program Help provides a great knowledge base. There are short videos that quickly and easily show you how to start something, such as add a collection or new team member, how to add additional fields to a task or how to do more advanced features such as move tasks from one collection to another, create a mind map or import from Trello. If you prefer there is the traditional documentation, where you can complete a search on the problem you need help on, and read up on how to resolve it.

You can multi-select items, then bulk replace, duplicate or delete those items. You can change the due date, change the label assigned to it or where in the collection it should sit. I love the fact that you can select a number of items and then change some of their properties quickly and easily, without having to manually go into each one.. A real time saver!

There aren’t many integrations available, with Google Drive, Dropbox, box and Zapier as the only one’s current options. You can use Zapier (through an API key), which integrates with the most popular tools out on the market. This is fine for those who use Zapier, but for those that don’t, it means another tool to understand and add to the portfolio. That being said, Zapier is a very useful tool, and does have a free option for personal use and even the paid version isn’t priced out of range of the small business owner.

If you are a visual person, or you have lots of ideas on what you need to do, but haven’t yet been able to focus on exactly how to do it and in what order, then the mindmapping function could be a real-life saver for you. For those of you who don’t know what a mind map is, or understand the basic principles, but have never used it, they can be a highly effective way of brain dumping that literally ‘maps out’ your ideas. You then create links to each of the ideas, which can then start to formulate a plan, which you can then use a collection to create the structure of your project. This feature is not yet available, but will soon be part of the beta testing and I cannot wait to try it!

Another thing that is not currently available, but is promised in the future, is the ability to provide analysis on your collections. The app promises that you will be able to “gain quantitative insight over your project. Stay on track with burn-up, cumulative flow and cycle time charts, or assess spending and delegation”. Until I have chance to see this fantastic sounding feature a review is impossible, but it does sound like it will be able to provide some really useful in-depth management information on project progress.

Strengths

  • Ability to add custom fields allows you to personalise your project so it meets your specific needs
  • Activity feed allows you to quickly get up to date with the collection and items
  • Mindmap function helps you be able to visualise and plan a project or workflow
  • Shows the data in a number of different ways, such as Kanban, lists, calendar, so you view your data in the way you prefer
  • Can assign labels i.e. high, medium, low, or urgent, non-urgent etc.
  • Ability to import via Trello, CSV files or by copying a spreadsheet
  • Simple to get started, with great on-line help, if you should need it

Weaknesses

  • Although it gives you the option to add a profile picture via dropbox and google drive you can only use your local hard drive
  • Knowledge of Zapier is required as it is used to integrate with other apps
  • You are not able to subscribe to project updates, so need to be a team member to access the information
  • No integration with a time monitoring tool, to enable you to track time for accurate billing

Costs

Zenkit Basic is free, and you can have up to 5 team members working within the same environment. Once you go over this amount of people, or you want access to premium features, the costs go up incrementally, depending on number of members and for a small business owner, could become expensive. However, for a small business the basic package could provide the solution to manage the main projects and workflows.

Conclusions

The tool is still in Beta testing and the team are still working on the integrations and mind maps. This tool offers a lot of great features and promises to be a powerful tool to help you plan and organise your workflows. It will be interesting to view in 12 months, once it’s been tested in depth and available commercially, to see how the team at Zenkit have developed this app to provide an even more useful tool to help you plan your business better.

 

If you want to do more research

http://thenextweb.com/apps/2017/01/22/trello-refugee-moved-loving-zenkit/
http://www.mindmapping.com/