One request we often see with small businesses is the need for an inexpensive way to track and manage multiple clients or projects. We have designed and developed Clov, a Concrete5 add-on, that allows exactly this with a simple to use and maintain interface. We're in the final stages of testing and polishing the add-on before we submit to the Concrete5 Peer Review Board for (a hopefully expedient) release to the marketplace.
Instalation follows Concrete5's simple installation means, either manually installing to your server or using the GUI through the dashboard controls. One exception to this will be the ability to fine tune some categories for budgets and time based on your busines needs. For now, you have to configure this in a php file (super simple to do) and then install. Once you have installed the add-on, simply add your employees and project managers into the Concrete5 users list and assign the appropriate roles. You're now ready to start adding projects.
Projects, Invoices, and Expenses
It is easy to add and manage projects in Clov. You can add a Name, reference number, hours estimation, and a detailed budget. You can assign one or more project managers and as many staff as you need to each project. From there, you can track invoices and project expenses, allowing the PM to approve expenses before they impact the project.
Employees are able to add expenses to the system as they are incurred and submit them for approval at a later date (or as they are entered if they so choose). This is a great feature for employees that work at the client's site or away from the office.
Clov allows employees to easily manage and submit their time across multiple projects. Project Managers can now have excellent clarity into their labour expenses with a lightweight system. Like expenses, eployees can submit as they enter time or save them for the end of the week.
Clov also provides a simple task management system that allows employees to easily create and mark complete tasks from their task list. Project Managers can also asign tasks to employees, making flexibility and reactions to changes on a project a breeze to handle.
More to Come
I should have a demo video by the weekend showing off Clov and its features as well as some screenshots. I'm looking forward to providing a software solution that doesn't try and force software development models onto non-software industries (plumbers and lawyers don't use "Agile" development methods). We've got a few small things we'd like to polish for a secondary release, and I'm sure we'll have some feedback, but things are fully operational and will offer an excellent way to increase the value of a small business website.
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