TL; DR: ClickUp is on a mission to raise the bar on productivity software with one all-encompassing platform designed to replace fragmented business solutions. The turnkey system, hosted in the cloud, allows users to customize the way they track progress, manage workloads, and prioritize tasks. By implementing ClickUp’s all-in-one solutions, teams can dedicate time they’d usually spend wrangling different programs to something more meaningful.
Multitasking is a way of life for many business moguls, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy — or even effective — habit. In separate studies, neuroscientists have found multitasking reduces mental performance, inhibits creativity, and leads to stress and anxiety.
Sadly, those who turn to productivity software as a remedy often have to juggle multiple solutions to serve their purposes, which only compounds the problem.
“Studies show that every time you are distracted, it takes more than 20 minutes to get back into your flow,” said Chris Cunningham, Senior Brand Strategist at ClickUp. “So, if you’re switching back and forth between four different apps all day, you could lose hours of productivity, just like that.”
ClickUp’s answer to this problem was to create one work management app designed to replace all the rest. The customizable platform includes hundreds of features to manage processes, tasks, and time, plus thousands of integrations with the most common workplace tools, including Google Drive, GitHub, Salesforce, Slack, Zendesk, and Zoom.
It’s also completely customizable, allowing diverse departments within an organization to leverage the same platform. Teams of any size, technical ability, or workflow type can use the platform, which is trusted by the likes of Airbnb, Google, Netflix, Nike, and Uber.
The company’s most recent offering, Remote Work OS, empowers distributed teams to manage work, with features for mind mapping, timelines, live collaboration, and prioritization. Eventually, ClickUp’s goal is to enable users to do nearly anything work-related within the cloud-hosted platform, resulting in massive time savings for customers worldwide.
The Vision: An All-Encompassing Productivity Suite
Zeb Evans built the technology behind ClickUp while working on another startup where Chris also worked. “At some point, we realized there were just too many tools to keep track of,” Chris said. “Our dev team was working in Jira, our marketing team was in Asana, and others were in Trello.”
At the time, Zeb was looking for a way to monitor his employees and maximize productivity. Frustrated with Salesforce, he had already built his own customer relationship management platform, so he decided to get to work on proprietary project management software.
“As we were building this software, we thought we should actually try to go to market,” Chris said. “We didn’t think it was unbeatable, even though a lot of people told us differently; that it was a crowded space, it was too tough. But we just kept building it.”
The team worked out of Charlotte, North Carolina, at the start but later made a move to Palo Alto, part of Silicon Valley. There, in a neighborhood populated with the CTOs and COOs of tech giants — and just a five-minute walk from one of Steve Job’s former properties — the company began to bloom.
“That’s when we really started to get attention,” Chris said. “People started to see our vision: to make the world actually productive by working out of one platform.”
Remote Work OS: A Timely Solution
This year has been filled with growth for the ClickUp team, which announced in June that it had raised $35 million in Series A funding, led by Craft Ventures with participation from Georgian Partners. The same month, ClickUp also announced the release of its AI-powered Remote Work OS product, designed to help distributed teams prioritize tasks, collaborate in real time, and gain actionable insights.
The solution could not have come at a better time, as 2020 has left businesses facing a sudden transition to remote work and an unstable economy.
“The international workforce now needs productivity solutions that support remote work,” Zeb said in a press release at the time. “What began as a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed the workforce and how corporate decisions are made. Remote work solutions are no longer a ‘nice to have’ for businesses across the world, and ClickUp is here to save people time and money regardless of where and how they work.”
Remote Work OS features several innovations, such as Pulse™ Live Collaboration, a tool that gives team members transparency into what others are working on. LineUp™ leverages the power of AI to pinpoint crucial tasks. Two other features, Mind Maps and Timelines, help teams brainstorm visually and optimize product scheduling.
Like ClickUp’s other tools, Remote Work OS is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, meaning it is hosted in the cloud, allowing easy access for remote workers via a browser. It can also be downloaded on any device.
Customizable for a Range of Use Cases
While other work management platforms can be rigid in their structure, ClickUp takes the opposite approach.
“My favorite aspect of the platform is that it’s completely customizable,” Chris said. “I can work my way; the marketing team can be set up their way, the dev teams can be set up their way.”
For example, managers can customize what are known as Statuses, or the steps required within a workflow, such as “In Progress” or “Complete.” This makes it possible to establish a process, know precisely where tasks stand, and make sure important tasks don’t slip through the cracks.
And with Custom Fields, users can track, sort, and filter work in a way that makes sense with their individual workspace, whether they’re working in design, finance, marketing, human resources, or any other department.
“We looked at all the big companies to discover how they are most efficient,” Chris said. “And they are efficient by setting goals and then breaking those goals down to smaller goals that you can achieve. We found a way to fit that approach into project management software.”
ClickUp’s flexibility also makes it accessible for users with a range of tech skills.
“It can be as simple or as complex as you want,” Chris said. “We saw issues with other platforms in that regard; some were far too simple, others too complex. ClickUp can be customized in a way that a newbie straight out of college can use it, but so can dev teams with advanced needs.”
Prioritizing User Feedback in Product Development
When it comes to internal development, the ClickUp team keeps its attention focused squarely on the customer.
“We’re obsessed with feedback from our users,” Chris said. “Early on, that’s what really helped us build a community. We didn’t always have this many features. It was cool to be able to say, ‘Look, we know we don’t have everything now, but vote on the features you want, tell us how you want it to look, and we’ll take your feedback seriously.’”
With the team’s rapid development cycle, it wasn’t long before the cloud-hosted platform featured a long list of helpful workflow management tools.
“Every week we have tool updates; I would say we’re much more aggressive development-wise than any team I’ve ever seen,” Chris told us. “But that’s what has made the platform such a valuable investment in terms of a company’s lifestyle.”