Having been a software developer for 12 years, it seems strange that the idea for Work Bins started when I purchased an antique muscle car. I thought I was purchasing a cool classic car that I would drive on the weekends, but what I had really purchased was a cool classic car that needed me to work on it on the weekends. As discouraging as that may sound, I quickly discovered that I enjoyed working on the car just as much as driving it.
I was not very far into my first project when I looked around my garage and realized that I was quickly on my way to a disorganized mess. What I needed was a way to keep track of all of the new parts going on and all of the old parts coming off of the car, as well as any assembly instructions, warranty cards, and notes I had accumulated. For the rest of the story, I will refer to these items as "stuff". I began to design a system to keep up with all the stuff and quickly realized that the more complex my system got, the less effective it became. Eventually, I ended up with a very simple solution.
I would go to the home improvement store before each project and purchase a large plastic bin. I labeled the bin with the name of the project and used it to hold all of the stuff required for that project as I worked on the car. This system made it easy to find what I needed and allowed me to walk away from the project and return days later to pick up where I left off. My garage stayed neat and organized and when the project was complete I could snap the lid on the bin and put it of a shelf. Now if I ever have issues with any of the parts of the car I have worked on in the past, I can open the bin for that project and have quick, easy access to all the stuff for that project.
It didn't take long before I realized that I needed a similar system at my real job, the thing I did the other 5 days of the week that actually made me money. We had used several project management systems and found that none of them did a very good job of helping us keep up with all our stuff. Each project had tasks, emails, documents, files and notes that all contained information pertinent to the project. The project management tools we used did a great job helping us keep up with the tasks and the people responsible for those tasks, but what about all the other stuff?
I began searching for a system that would help our organization keep up with our stuff without forcing the people who were busy creating and using the stuff to change the way they do their jobs. We were looking for a system that was simple and affordable, but everything we found was complex and expensive. All we really needed was the software equivalent of plastic bins with the name of the project on them. A system that would create a space for each project where we could put all of our stuff. Then when the project is over we could put a lid on it and place it on the shelf so it could be easily referenced later.
Not only would this help keep us organized, but a system of this nature could also make it easier to share information, especially email. If all of the emails I send and receive are organized by project I could quickly share those emails with other team members. Or better yet if I won the lottery and quit my job the next day, my supervisor could share my emails, for each project I was working on, with new members of the team brought in to replace me. This would allow them to get up to speed on my progress for one project without having to sift through my entire inbox.
So, since I couldn't find a solution to do what I wanted, I decided to build my own. I call it Work Bins!
Founder & President