42 Students Create Project Management Software

The Need for Better Project Management Software 

Global Online Project Management Software has grown from a 2.74 billion dollar market in 2016 and is expected to grow to 6.68 billion dollars by 2026. In only a matter of months, a team of 42 students, Dmitry Kotov and Shinya Yamada, developed their own project management software. Based on their own experiences with project management software, they intend to improve the user experience.  After working in 42 Accelerate, they developed a tool called “Wurk.”

Dmitry and Shinya met when they were in the same May 2018 piscine. Before 42 Dmitry earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear physics from MEPhi. After that, he was doing mostly project management but in different forms including as a producer at a creative advertising agency, as an executive producer at a video producing agency, as a product manager at a game developing company, and as an analyst for Unilever.

Shinya is studying software engineering in Japan, but took a gap year to study at 42 Silicon Valley. Before 42, he worked for a startup company as an iOS engineer and was thinking about going to a business program in San Francisco but heard about 42. Since he is more technically inclined he decided to come here instead. 

Dmitry and Shinya’s combined technical and business experience helped them to know what they needed to do next, which was market research. Dmitry noted, “The market research that we did ourselves made a big impact. I personally interviewed about 35 to 40 people who actually use other project management tools that are on the market. So that proved the pain that we personally had when using other project management tools.”

We sat down with the team behind Wurk to learn more about their product and how they hope it will evolve.

What is the Inspiration Behind Wurk?

Dmitry: Throughout seven years of my experience being a project manager I tried about 20-30 different tools for project management. I didn’t really stick to any of those tools because of the patterns that they use. So one thing I noticed is that most of the PM tools are “flat.” Specifically, they don’t really have a depth and nested components and that kind of data structure blocks you from zooming out of the project and seeing the bigger details. It also prevents you from zooming into details of the progress in a particular task. That is the main problem, the flatness of the project management system. What we are trying to create is a tool to allow team members to both see the progress of a particular task and get to zoom out and see the bigger picture. 

How Does Wurk Work?

Dmitry: It is a web application that allows people to create tasks and manage the hierarchy of tasks for team members to collaborate on. We want to add more features that will allow people to structure the task in the way they want. 

What Part of the Project Did You Work On?

Dmitry: I’m mostly focused on the business side such as marketing and operations. This includes writing blog posts, market research, finding new people, and networking. 

Shinya: I’m focusing on the tech side. I’m developing the application and choosing the right frameworks, the right architecture, and writing the code. 

What was the most Difficult Aspect?

Dmitry: It was challenging for me. I tried writing the code in the beginning and learned React.  I ended up thinking it is better to focus on what I am good at instead of trying to compete inside the team.

Shinya: For me, this was the first time I built a web app from scratch to publish in public. I developed a mobile application before and published it, but this was the first in web. I had experience in web as a job but this was my first time designing from scratch, designing the architecture, choosing the right frameworks, and choosing which data stacks. It was challenging for the first time, it depends on what you are building, there are so many options to choose from. 

What did you Enjoy Most About Your Project? 

Dmitry: I really appreciate the opportunity to work on our own project for free. At 42 we work in the perfect environment, we are able to focus on our own project. I enjoy the process.

Shinya: For me, discovering programs and hard problems that I want to solve and discovering the solution for it brings me the most joy. 

What did you Learn from this Project?

Dmitry: I learned something new every day. The last discovery was to start a blog and start to grow your audience before you launch your product because you are building a network of potential users. 

Shinya: For me, developing a web application is not only about software engineering. It requires me to know a lot about technical stuff but also know the people who are going to use it. Business logic means a lot because I am building it for people who are going to use it. I learned a lot about the non-technical side and mostly the mindset of what the users wants and needs are.  And that affects all of the database designs and architectures as well. And I keep on changing the database design as we go through discussions every day so that is pretty interesting. 

What Future do you see for Wurk? 

Dmitry: We think it could become a gateway for people to do business in. This includes finding new collaborators, managing transactions, starting their own new companies, building published products, and sharing ideas. That is the reason why we named it Wurk, it should be a place where you can go and work


L to R: Dmitry and Shinya with some friends from 42 SV

Meet the Team

Name: Dmitry Kotov

Hometown: Ozersk, Russia

Interests: Arts, science, humans

Dream Job/Career Interests: To be a successful entrepreneur 


Name: Shinya Yamada

Hometown: Nagoya, Japan

Interests: Generally software engineering technology, specifically mobile application technology

Dream Job/Career Interests: For now it is software engineering 

published by Stacey Faucett – August 22, 2019