When I started working as a freelancer, I had no clue that I needed a project management tool. During the first year, I worked either from notes that I made in Notepad, or going through my emails and seeing what some of the requirements were for the project.
In retrospect, that was definitely not the most effective way to keep track of tasks in a project.
As I stepped into my second year and more people were involved in the same project, I started to look around and see how the “cool kids” were dealing with this issue. It was becoming quite clear that I needed a project management tool, but I didn’t know where to start.
Other project management tools
Searching for project management tools I found 2 that stood out: Asana and Trello. Not knowing which one to choose I said “Why not both?“.
So I ended up using Asana for most of the projects and Trello on a bigger project since the client was already familiar with it.
Both Asana and Trello have great features and integration with 3rd parties.
Both have a free option so you can enjoy the basic stuff without a paid subscription.
and what they’re missing
As I worked with Trello and Asana I noticed a few things that slowly managed to drive me crazy.
- No way to switch from a list view to a card view after you started the project and selected one or the other.
- If you are using the list view, there is no way to actually group tasks together easily. Yes, you can add a different heading for a section or add a tag to a task, but that is not enough on a complex project.
- No way to assign relationships between tasks.
- By default, the completed tasks just disappear, which is nice but not useful. You will have to go back and switch to ‘Completed Tasks’ or search for a specific task in order to find it and see what it was about. Basically, ‘Done’ tasks are not handled that well.
- The subtasks will be forgotten. They get buried so deep inside the tasks nesting (especially if you’re using list view) that it’s impossible to go to a subtask’s comment/details. I just prefer not to use them at all.
- The search option is a bit of hit and miss. When I’m in a project I expect to be able to search within that project only and not all over the place.
- The missing relationship part is an issue here also. You end-up with duplicates or similar cards and there is no way to tell how they are related.
- Because there are no categories/epics, you end up with a lot of columns in the project. So you’ll have to scroll a lot through the board so you can move the card where it’s needed.
- No easy way to filter the cards in a board
None of them have an iteration solution implemented. In Trello you can create one by yourself if you add even more columns to the board.
To be honest I never bothered purchasing the premium version of Asana or Trello because it didn’t feel like it would change the situation.
But Clubhouse came around
I got it (even if it wasn’t a free option) and I loved it from the first minute.
What I like about Clubhouse
It’s really compact.
Everything is where it should be and you don’t need to scroll or click 3 times and load 2 different pages in order to get where you want to.
It starts with you creating a Story to which you add all the details you want: assign an Epic, set the state of it, add an Owner, provide details, set a relationship (if it’s the case) and more.
As you begin working on the project and more Stories are added and/or completed, you start seeing how useful it is to have a design that is visually compact, but allows for much more information to be available when you open a story (all the details, comments, who is related to who and so on).
Another plus is the fact that you can filter Stories by Epics, see the progress of an Epic, change its status
The predefined Story Types – Feature, Bug, Chore – are very useful. The Bug one highlights that respective Story in red for better visibility.
Do you like Milestones and tracking the project status based on that? Clubhouse has that too.
Also, a big plus for the search that works like a charm. You can search by Story name or ID, which is great.
And last but not least the iteration option that you can enable in Clubhouse, this will allow you to set tasks based on sprints.
There is a full list of those awesome features on their product presentation page.
To sum up, Clubhouse not only checks all the boxes already present in Trello and Asana, but it also brings the (really useful) features that the other 2 tools were missing.
Do you have any other reasons to recommend it?
Yes. It has Dark Mode and yes it’s free now.
Using it for roughly 6 months now, I can say it’s a perfect fit for a small team with medium to large projects.