A few months ago, Bill Ives and I posted about “Enterprise 2.0 for an Enterprise of one.” It focused on the availability of online productivity tools that enable individuals to manage their activities without the benefit of a multi-million dollar IT department. The target reader for that series was people like Bill and me — individuals who work very collaboratively with others, but run solo or very small businesses. In light of the current job market, I encounter many more people who are hanging a shingle on the web and offering their expertise in one form or another. So I wanted to revisit this topic and highlight a product that just launched of a major set of feature-upgrades yesterday. This will be quite interesting for individuals and teams who need to coordinate their activities in the cloud.
Producteev is an online task management system that combines task/time management features with social signal collaboration — and does so on the web, your desktop, and mobile device. The new UI is bright and easy to use. But there are still some minor UI kinks in the system. Overall, the tool looks great.
First I’ll share what I think are the three most important pieces of news. Then I’ll highlight some other product features. Finally I’ll share some “what it means” thoughts.
- Their application allows you to leverage activity from many other streaming applications and bring them together in your context. So as you manage your projects with your co-workers you can also stream updates from your shared Google Doc (soon), SlideShare, ScribD, Zoho (and others) stream. Think “Friendfeed for Projects”.
- Their integration with Twitter, Facebook and other popular social networks allows users to broadcast certain tasks to their followers from within Producteev. This allows people to tap into their networks and get (crowdsourced) help on those tasks that they want to broadcast, while keeping the rest of their activity private, or just shared within the team.
- A new round of funding and top-notch management oversight points very favorably to Producteev as a company to watch. They are funded enough to make some noise, but they do face some stiff competition.
Let me highlight a few other items that I notice as I use the tool:
- Producteev supports a couple of languages. This is very smart. We don’t all speak English and it’s nice to see a collaboration platform that gets that and builds in language support up front. I see Spanish, French, and German options on the website, and I’m sure that adding another language is a relatively simple upgrade should there be sufficient market demand. I’d love to hear from people who use this tool in a multi-lingual team. If you do, comment below.
- Producteev provides reporting capabilities. This comes in handy for management types who like to track and report on stuff. This gives us another tip that Producteev is thinking about real business here. There’s nothing too fancy in the reports yet, but getting a weekly or monthly reminder will be a great kick-in the pants for those who forget to do their work.
- The UI is very intuitive and easy to use. I set up a couple of task buckets for the projects that I’m working on. I can manage the tasks, notes, status, files, emails, and just about everything I need on the website without having to think about where to put things.
- Currently Producteev supports the following mobile devices: iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and Nokia s60. The Plus side is that this is a great list of relevant devices. The Minus side is that it’s missing the very important Blackberry. But do not fear, they are working on it. It is their #1 feedback item, and I expect it to be available very soon.
- I still notice a few UI items that could be fixed. For example, when I added the Slide Share service to show up in my activity stream the resulting message was “Your ScribD feed will appear in the Live Feed.” And when I added the ScribD feed it told me my Zoho feed will be added. This is a tiny UI bug, that does not impact functionality, but it is indicative of the fact that this is a new release — so expect a few rough spots as they work though their feedback list. BTW. I submitted feedback using their handy integration with UserVoice (a product I love, BTW) and I’m sure they will address these issues ASAP.
What does this mean to you? If you need a product like this, check out Producteev. The UI refresh and the integration with other activity streams is impressive. I’ve also been keeping my eyes on other similar tools in this space. And I expect that some vendors will offer their alternatives in the comment section below. That’s fine let’s get them all here. If these tools help my readers, I’m happy.
What else does this mean?
- Mobile Social Computing is the trend. I think this will continue. If you can work on your device, you will. Mobile devices are incredibly powerful and these kinds of tools are perfect for them.
- Time Management is the cornerstone of collaboration. I’ve been saying this for a while now — time management is the killer 2.0 feature. We can share and create all sorts of digital content already. We can learn all about each other and friend everyone we know. But managing time is critical to work. All projects are time based. Meetings are time based. Work is about time management. That’s the resource we cannot grow. So I’m always excited to see applications that help people manage time.
- Learning is just as important as sharing. Producteev’s integration with Twitter, Facebook, etc. enables you to crowdsource tasks and get information to help you accomplish them.
Check out their website to see their pricing structure. You get plenty for free, and if you are really using the tool, then you won’t mind dropping a few bucks on the fully featured versions. And as a special bonus to my readers, Ilan Abehassera, the CEO of Producteev offers my readers 5 Gold-level subscriptions. So I’ll pick the five most creative (relevant) comments below who are interested in this offer and send you his way.
As a note of full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post — not even with a gold-level subscription. However if the 5 that I’m offering are not grabbed by you, I’ll ask for it myself (once I see the Blackberry app :-)).