On Friday, September 27, Troy community members gathered in the Tech Valley Center of Gravity maker-space in downtown Troy for the launching of Project Nexus. Project Nexus is a website for managing projects within the context of a community. Through the site, users can add projects, join projects, manage projects, and leave projects while ensuring that information and history remains for others to keep working on. The features expected to be used by most people and organizations are free, but various specialized features are available for partners and sponsors.
While many project management systems already exist, Project Nexus team member Anasha Cummings said, “There wasn’t anything like it.” Cummings then went on to explain the difference. All of the other project management systems the Project Nexus team came across were oriented towards “small or defined groups, like at a company.” Project Nexus, however, “encourages projects to be open and engage new people”. If someone moves away (or, in the case of college students, graduates), the project can still come to fruition; people working on similar projects could connect with each other and work together. “We want that huge amount of energy going into projects to be more effective in getting results,” Cummings said.
The interface itself is fairly easy to use; according to Project Nexus president Lee Sharma, it “provides a centralized view of all of the projects and commitments you are working on.” Someone wanting to submit a project does so by signing up and hitting the start button. They simply name the project and come up with a description so others can decide if they want to join in.
Project leaders can then curate their projects, assigning and unassigning tasks, and managing the overall progression of the project.
In general, projects are open to the public and free. “We’re encouraging people to stay open, so we’ll be charging a little for [projects to be closed]”, Cummings stated. Another way Project Nexus will get funding is through sponsored resources. Sharma pointed out that a large organization such as an incubator or a company might want to use Project Nexus and would likely want access to the extra tools.
The audience was welcome to ask questions, and many of the twenty or so people present did. One of them asked about privacy. For example, people signing up for Project Nexus are asked to provide their e-mail address. The Project Nexus team explained that there are privacy settings on the site to customize how information is made public and users can specify the kinds of emails they would like to receive.
The top three objectives of Project Nexus, according to Sharma, are to change the way people “connect, collaborate, and contribute.” People with similar interests or project ideas will be connected with one another through Project Nexus. Collaboration between groups or people who may otherwise be working on competing initiatives can be fostered. People can contribute time and resources to effective projects that they see moving forward in their community. Luke Laupheimer, another member of the Project Nexus team, summarized how Project Nexus would be used by community members: “if you’re bored, you can find something to do.”
The site can be found at http://projectnexus.us/ for more information.