At work we’re looking for a new tool to manage workflow, tasks, and status. We haven’t been thrilled with our current system, but decided to live with it until it became to painful and/or costly to keep around.
I think living with the bad tool has been instrumental in learning what we want in a great system.
There’s always a strong temptation to discard something that pisses you off and try something new ASAP. When you do this, you learn what you hate, but very little about what you value. You might go through three or four tools before you get a handle on the core features that mean the most.
Living in pain, on the other hand, cultivates wisdom. You start learning why you can’t stand the lack of a quality workflow system, how important project setup is, and if you care about how fast it is.
With a list of grievances, there’s little room for “well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man”, and more experience-based decisions emerge naturally: “Remember how much you hate that tiny text field?”. It’s much clearer when a good choice presents itself.
Once you learn these things, you can pick your next (and hopefully last) tool. Fingers crossed.