Users often ask the same question that investors like to ask — what makes your product different from this product, or that product, or some other product, or worse — a combination of products? I used to attempt to answer that exact question by comparing features and workflows while exhausting myself in the process. With time, I realized there is one glaring problem that makes this exercise particularly painful and futile.

Before I highlight the problem, let’s consider Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” Model as a guide to addressing this problem. In 2009 Simon Sinek introduced this model in his book Start With Why, and you can watch him explaining it in his TED talk. In a nutshell, he describes organizations with three terms:

  1. What — what an organization does.
  2. How — how an organization does what it does; its differentiating value proposition, secret sauce, know-hows.
  3. Why — why an organization does what it does; why it exists in the first place; what is its cause and epic meaning.

So here is my problem with answering the question "What makes different":

"What" is inconsistent

The "what" part of the question describes features, workflows and implementation details that change all the time. They change in other products, and changes too. As you can guess, it is arduous to keep track of all the functional differences between and all other products in the same market category.

I remember when Trello was the only mainstream software that had boards. I'm not counting the niche Kanban software that existed long before Trello.  JIRA, Redmine, Asana did not have boards back then, neither did ( wasn’t even called Monday, they were Dapulse). Atlassian developed their own boards in JIRA and later acquired Trello. In an act of war, Asana copied the exact boards from Trello. However, copying and appropriating an entire product did not make Trello vanish. After more than three years since that attack, Trello still has more users than Asana.

don't start chasing competition — that way lies madness
A simple man with a great piece of advice

On the other hand, we have always had boards in The purpose and functionality of boards haven't changed since Alex Golubinskyi and I ran the prototype for the first time on our laptops with a JSON file instead of an actual database. We chose to add boards not because they were trendy or to attack a competitor but because there was a reason for it. They've been there since the inception as an essential part of the product, not as a subject of competitive analysis with strategic value.

We didn't even think about our competitors in the beginning; however, we had first-hand workplace knowledge of their products. Obsessively following competitors and each of their moves felt like a full-time job. Inevitably, somebody asked, what could do that some product “X” couldn't, and I could not tell, because I had never heard of “X”, and couldn't care less. Because whatever you are trying to accomplish with product “X” or any other task tracking software, even with the most sophisticated space shuttle built to move tasks from “New” to “Done” — JIRA, you can accomplish with MS Excel or Google Sheets. It’s not about “what”.

"Why" is consistent

Why we have or don't have or will never have certain features is very consistent. The very reason we started developing after years of using other products in the same and adjacent market categories was to be able to keep things as simple as possible for as long as possible. We wanted an instrument that would keep the project easy to organize and navigate — no matter how complex it could be. We wanted a tool that would not distract us from what matters and would not stand in the way of our goals.

How we do it

We recognized that other products in the market would create different experiences on the small, "hello world" kind of projects. However, the experience of working with more complex and longer-lasting projects in these products would only turn into various flavours of mess. Hence, we decided that in, the level of effort and degree of difficulty of working with a project with five hundred tasks must be the same as with a project with just ten tasks. Where complexity grows in other products — we strive to reduce it.

We don't have and will never have

Features that violate our "Why we started" and "How it should be" make it to the list of things that we will never have. Those are the things that escalate complexity and don't get you closer to your goals. We don't have and will never have:

  1. Unlimited Due Dates. Time pressure provokes anxiety and raises stress levels, which significantly reduces decision quality. We take the quality and scope of deliverables above dates and timelines. Due dates exist but you rarely have more than one real due date per project.
  2. Custom statuses. In reality, things are either done or not done. Custom statuses exist merely to legitimize various not-done states and make them look like it is okay to have them.
  3. Priority field. Crucial tasks are glaring. Unimportant things don't need prioritization either — they need a place to be stored.
  4. Gantt charts, Velocity calculators, absurd reports, Estimated Time To Complete, Remaining Estimate and other voodoo fields and crystal ball magic for thought experiments.
  5. Task assignment. Manually assigning tasks to people is prone to creating unbalanced workload distribution and bottlenecks. The role of a manager is not to tell people what to do but to communicate goals and objectives. automatically "assigns" tasks to people who start working on them and un-assigns if they were put back to the backlog. 

We help you stay focused

  1. You cannot change font size, colour, arrows, even order of things in People tend to spend much time on visual aspects that don't add to their productivity, nor get them closer to their goals. The process of visual reorganization has such a strong intrinsic motivation potential that it can easily steal your focus.
  2. doesn't let you spread yourself thin. It won't let you have more than three tasks in progress.
  3. doesn't let you overplan. You can plan up to six tasks upfront, and each additional collaborator in your project adds another three tasks to that number. For example, if you have two collaborators in a project — that would allow you to plan up to twelve tasks upfront. Replanning previously planned is not agile and is such a waste!
  4. You can view an entire project as an arbitrary set of boards or as a single to-do list. doesn't work for everyone. Some people cannot live without their custom statuses, micromanagement reports and a daily dose of PowerPoint presentations. We never meant to take on these people. Same as we will never try to make project managers ditch their Excel sheets. Spreadsheets are amazing — there are good reasons why project managers love them! And I hope, in this blog post, I managed to cover some good reasons to love as well!

Give it a try if you haven't.