I've been doing a bit of volunteer work for our local library lately and we're currently moving towards an April vote on a tax increase to help cover the operating costs of our little network of rural libraries. I was asked to put together a collection of simple posters that would highlight the value of library services to patrons via print and social media. I did most of the work in Pages on the iPad with two exceptions that required a quick edit on the Mac. On the iOS version of Pages, rotating elements is not possible and second, the ability to create a shape with a transparency gradient is also missing. Not a big problem, I just saved in iCloud and stepped over to the Mac to rotate the logo on the side of the page and create a white box with a transparency gradient. By the time I was back at the iPad the file was updated with the two changes. This would be my "template" so I made several duplicates and altered each to a specific value that the library wanted to highlight.
I'd used portrait mode on the iPhone camera to capture a series of images that I AirDropped to the iPad. After quick edits to text and the color of the bottom box element they were each given a different image and I was done. I wanted to send each poster version in its own email with two attachments, a jpg for social media sharing and pdf for printing. Easy enough. From Pages I would share as pdf via the Share Sheet to one of my most used apps, Graphic which I used to export as jpg to my camera roll. I'd jump back to Pages and share as pdf again but this time to Mail. Once I had the Mail draft with pdf attached I'd add my image attachment and send. The whole process took about 90 seconds for each email with two attachments.
Our extended family has some shared land with a small lake left to us by my grandparents. Sometimes that means we have to coordinate projects together. From road and dam maintenance to creating trails or any number of small things. In the past this was done via phone calls, sometimes email. Lately it’s been texting. But it can be a bit chaotic with anywhere from 3-7 people (sometimes more) chiming in with ideas or criticisms of the process involved in more complicated projects.
A good example would be a recent project clearing the area behind the lake dam which had become too densely overgrown. As we evaluated the project we took the opportunity to look at related tasks such as dredging out parts of the lake that had accumulated silt over the years. Also, there’s always the issue of repairing damage by beavers and muskrats and spillway maintenance. I’ve been helping coordinate with my dad, aunt and two uncles as well as someone we hired to help with some of the work. If my dad and uncle were a bit more technologically savvy I might try hooking them up on Slack. I may do that yet.
Due to repeated confusion (when texting and phone calls are primary it’s easy to loose track of who knows what!), the other day I decided to put together a project plan of sorts. Just a simple Pages document with a map and diagram. I emailed it out and suggested folks add in details, make changes, etc. But then I realized as I was suggesting they either reply via text in email or use pdf editing built into Apple Mail that at least two of them would likely be confused with the pdf editing. One of them is using an iPhone that he barely knows how to operate. So, it occurred to me that a shared Note which they can all access via iPhone, iPad or Mac might be simple enough and yet allow for the communication to happen all in one document that anyone can edit. It was a trivial task to copy/paste the material from the Pages document into the note. Time will tell if the shared note will prove effective.
Something that I’ve realized with this project is that the iPhone and iPad are a nearly perfect compliment to one another. I suppose I knew that going into it but it’s just working out so well that it seems worth mentioning. I use the iPhone to take notes, measurements and photos. Then from the iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard I can elaborate on the basics and create diagrams and maps with Graphic and Apple Maps. I’m using Numbers (mostly on the iPad) to keep an ongoing record of expenses and dates on which significant work is done.
I’ve not recently been in a position where I needed to do any sort of complicated project management but I’m guessing it could be done fairly well with these two devices and the right apps. In many ways they seem to be the perfect fit for project management taking place “in the field”.