In 2021, we set out on a quest to build a planning tool that didn't make us want to rip our hair out.
In the beginning...
We've been using Jira, a software project management tool, for nearly two decades. In the early days, it was a blessing to have something so simple and easy to use to manage our work.
As time went on, the tool grew more complex. New features flowed faster than Niagara Falls. New workflows. New attributes. New options. It was beginning to feel burdensome to use the app. Every time we logged in, it was with a groan.
It was then that we realized that we didn't use 80% of the features Jira offered. We used it for keeping track of tasks. And we paid a lot of money for it.
In this realization, we decided to do something about it.
The birth of Boardly.
At first, we wanted to find an alternative to Jira. We looked at Trello, Asana, Monday, ClickUp and a few other lesser known apps.
It all cost money to get started and offered pretty much the same deal as Jira. A lot of unneeded features for a lot of money.
This was a no-go for us. So, we decided to build a tool we'd love to use. Boardly was born.
We spent two weeks building the first version. We used it for another two weeks ourselves and decided to launch it to the world.
Someone posted the link on Hacker News, and we got some users from that channel. We posted about the launch on Product Hunt and got some users from there.
Things were looking up. In the first three months, we got almost 1,000 users with a few dozen active ones.
Unfortunately, this was as popular as it got. Working on this project while keeping a full-time job and doing client work on the side burnt us out a little.
Life also got in the way, so we had to put something on hold. And Boardly was the obvious choice.
We kept the app up and running for two years. But with our user base dwindling, we had to make a decision whether to keep it or shut it down.
We chose to shut it down and continued on with our lives.
At the beginning of 2024, we were looking for a new challenge and an easy side project to keep our skills sharp.
The decision to resurect Boardly came instantly. To be frank, we missed the simplicity of it, the clarity, the ease of use.
So we brought it back.
We refreshed the interface, added one small feature we really wanted (The Notes) and launched it to the public.
As we launched it, we made the commitment to ourselves and our current and future users.
- Keep it free. We will keep Boardly free for anyone to use.
- Keep it simple. We will keep Boardly simple, no bells and no whistles.
- Keep it forever. We will keep Boardly running until the end of the internet or until we can't pay for hosting anymore.
The last commitment was important to us because when we shut down Boardly the first time, we had to let a few of our die-hard users go. And that felt terrible.
We don't want to do that again. So we will make this commitment to keeping it running for as long as there is Internet.
And this is the story of Boardly. Give it a go, and tell us what you think.
Simple. Effective. Clear.
- Create multiple boards.
- Track your tasks.
- Collaborate with others.
- Keep work notes.
For the first time in a while, I am actually planning my work. Boardly makes it easy. But it also makes it pleasant.
Greg Andersen, Amsterdam