Plog n. 1. A Web-based tool used by colleagues to keep tabs on group projects. 2. An Amazon trademark, which will presumably be used to sell more books.
Now that we're all familiar with blogs, along comes a new new thing: the plog. Though there are a variety of definitions for the term (which Amazon has trademarked), the most relevant concept for business owners is using blog software to create a password-protected project log -- or plog for short.
Co-workers can use a plog to create an archive of observations and data for each project they work on. People can keep tabs at their own pace, visiting the plog as often as they wish. And because plogs are Web-enabled, users can post hyperlinks to key documents on them, sparing their colleagues' e-mail in boxes the burden of dense attachments. Readers familiar with software development can think of a plog as a poor man's version of the wiki, a sophisticated tool used mainly by developers to manage collaborative projects.
So far, most companies that employ plogs have built the software themselves. Chicago-based interface design firm 37signals added a calendar and task list to its plog, which it's now selling as a program called Basecamp. You can try out the program for free on one project; after that, it starts at $19 per month for up to 10 projects. On an open blog on the 37signals website, Jason Lemieux of the Eggplant Active Media Workers Collective based in Plainfield, Vt., writes that his team uses Basecamp to manage 14 Web-application development projects. Lemieux also noted that he is using the plog app to plan his wedding. "The in-laws love it," he posted. Now that's a ringing endorsement.