(Updated Dec. 27 to clarify Kona ownership position)
I must confess to being somewhat of an organizational nut, I sometimes need lists for my lists. Being that I am a freelancer by trade, I'm constantly juggling multiple projects which each individually have many moving parts.
That's why I was intrigued to read about a new project management platform for small businesses called Kona, which is designed for keeping track of all the different to-dos, communications and "conversations" related to a given project or client.
Unlike many other project management tools or organizers, Kona's focus is on helping the individual (aka a sole proprietor) keep everything straight. Ironically, the company was developed by a big enterprise resource planning software developer, Deltek.
I spoke with one of Kona's users, martial arts instructor Johnpaul Vincent, founder of Red Lotus Bukido, to get a sense of how the software works. He described it as the replacement for "the millions of pieces of paper that hold my goals, thoughts and to-do lists."
Kona offers some of the same sorts of services that you might get from a cloud-based tool such as Google Apps. For example, Vincent uses it to create and edit flyers being distributed by his marketing services partner. The application can be used to log comments along the way about what is working in a particular campaign, what information might have changed, schedule updates and so forth.
"It's like the secretary I could never afford to have before," Vincent said.
The application also includes some social features - Vincent's school uses it to share information about training techniques with students. Whenever content is updated, an email alert is sent to all the members of a particular group. He also posts information about schedule changes in these forums, which helps with ongoing communications.
"My experience with Kona grows and grows every day," he said. "Not only does it keep me centered and on task, it keeps me motivated. Thanks to Kona, I will be growing my Dojo to a better location and adding more classes. That is the power of organization."
Right now the service is free for both businesses and their customers. The application can be accessed via the Web or with mobile applications for either Apple iOS or Android. (The interface for the Apple app is shown below.)