One of the most enjoyable benefits that I’ve gained from my writing and other involvement in legal technology has been getting to meet a number of really interesting people who have developed some very useful products. One of those people is Bill Neubert and one of those products in The MasterList.
Bill contacted me a few years ago and wanted me to test and write a review of his new case management tool. I remember telling him that other people covered case management software far better than I could, but if he had something different, especially something that took a “project” approach, then I’d definitely like to take a look.
I expected that a project approach would not be part of his software, but I’ll be darned if that wasn’t exactly what he had. I ended up writing an article that I never expected to write.
There’s a quote from me on The MasterList website that sums up my favorable opinion of this software:
“The MasterList is one of the very few legal software programs that I’ve ever been asked to review that’s actually become a program that I use and rely upon every day. I’ve found that The MasterList is a program that fits the way I work and I don’t have to adapt what I want to do to fit the program. I look at my work, inside and outside my practice, as a series of projects. The MasterList allows me to manage projects — break them into tasks, actions and deadlines. In The MasterList, you can take a look at your ‘My Day’ list in the morning and then ‘blast’ (I love that term for this function) items that can wait to the appropriate days forward on your calendar. It’s a simple, but highly effective, tool. With its integrated features like word processing and linking to other programs, The MasterList can be a good place to ‘live at’ all day long on your computer. Bill Neubert is definitely doing some cool things with The MasterList.”
Bill and I have had a number of conversations over the years, ranging from mind mapping to the organizational approaches of David Allen, as set out in his classic book, Getting Things Done (which I thoroughly recommend to anyone who feels like the old to-do list has spun way out of control). For fans of David Allen, The MasterList gives you a tool to implement Allen’s systems. I also like the fact that Bill has added a couple of features I requested over the last few years.
However, there may be no more competitive area (and one with more choices) in legal technology than case management software, and The MasterList has not gotten a lot of traction over the years.
I was very pleased to see that The Masterlist has now been refocused (with a reduced price) as a project organizer and to-do management tool. The program clearly has had usefulness far outside the legal market since the beginning.
As the website says, “A tool that can realistically help you figure out what tasks represent the most productive use of your time is the holy grail of time management. . . . The MasterList is a system for making realistic choices.”
The MasterList is a fascinating, flexible and functional software tool. I love software that does something I really need in a way that works the way I work and also has a depth of features to allow me to grow in my use of the program. The MasterList is one of the programs that I have found that fits the category for me.
If taming your to-do lists, managing the hundred or so projects each of us have, and otherwise gaining some sense of control over the tasks in front of you is one of your goals for 2004, take a good close look at The MasterList.