Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vicarious Travel, Part II

My friend is at it again. There's a few perks to being young and mobile.

This time it's Costa Rica and Hermosa beach for a month of surfing. Well, he says he will be working on his Trileet games, but come on... please!

How can you think of surfing with all these deadlines? Deadlines, Nic, Deadlines!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

MOSS and Task Integration Article Published

SharePoint Beagle's latest issue came out and it includes an article I wrote. No surprise, but its all about project management and SharePoint, how easy SharePoint makes it to collaborate with your project team and the tools you can use.

The short summary is Outlook and IntelliGantt work great for both the team member and the project manager. Read the article (and notice the accompanying pictures) and see what you think.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Quick Review of our Licensing

Sometimes the industry has conditioned consumers to such an extent that they assume the worst case-- no matter what. As much as we'd love to be a money-grubbing mega-corp fleecing the ma and pop shops of the world, the reality is we're the mom and pop shop and we're trying to bring the best value possible to other ma/pa shops AND even big mega-corps.

The way we do that is two-fold. One is philosophical, the other is grounded in easy economics. Let's tackle philosophy first.

Quick question-- why do most projects fail? The answer: communication. Lack of communication. Disjoint communication. Half-hearted communication. Meaningless communication. You get the idea.

If communication is improved, project success rates will improve.

IntelliGantt improves communication by making everyone a full participant in the project. It encourages the project manager to share project plans and team members to easily see their tasks, update them and even reschedule things if settings allow. Our 'Local Workgroup' solution enables this with Windows Server machines you most likely already have. Our friendly UI invites even the most jaded curmudgeon-- people like me :)

The 'Local Workgroup' scenario requires everyone using a copy of IntelliGantt on their desktop. The question, of course, is 'can't I do this with an online solution?'

On to the economics.

Yes, most certainly you can. However, unlike an online solution, you only pay for the IntelliGantt solution once. We don't require monthly fees to keep everyone involved. As you can see from our comparison with eProject (now Daptiv?), monthly fees for each user can really add up!

What's more, we even support a scenario where only one person, typically the project manager, needs an IntelliGantt license-- our SharePoint scenario.

Whether you're a ma/pa shop or the world's largest corporation, everyone likes to make a smart decision and save a buck. With SharePoint core services (WSS 3.0) you get a great collaboration platform from Microsoft FOR FREE! WSS 3.0 is perfect for creating workspaces for your team to work on projects. If only there was project software that could make it easy to publish and update task schedules in SharePoint...

Hello IntelliGantt Plus!

In the hands of the project manager, IntelliGantt Plus can publish and synchronize most aspects of a project plan with SharePoint workspaces and specifically Task Lists. Better yet, economically speaking, the project manager can purchase 1 license of IntelliGantt Plus (or the IntelliGantt Add In for MS Project), use the FREE WSS 3.0 package and invite as many team members to the workspace as he or she wants.

For example, say the project manager of the US Government creates a SharePoint workspace and publishes a project plan. In licensing theory, the project manager could invite every employee of the federal government to this workspace and all they would need is one license of IntelliGantt Plus. In fact, they could go ahead and invite all the citizens too :)

Improved communication and insanely great economics. Now that is a good deal!

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Partnership with Bamboo Solutions

TeamDirection is very pleased to have inked a partnership agreement with Bamboo Solutions. We provide desktop connectivity to SharePoint. Bamboo offers a wealth of web parts to enhance your SharePoint experience.

We will soon be making 'Project Share for IntelliGantt' available for everyone. Pricing for the web parts and site templates will be determined by Bamboo, with TeamDirection able to resell and support it.

What will Project Share for IntelliGantt do?



The Project.Share Productivity Pack includes three of Bamboo's most popular Web Parts: Calendar Plus, List Rollup and Alert Plus. These three Web Parts together are used in many organizations today to allow SharePoint users to effectively manage their projects. Providing features such as:

* Ability to aggregate multiple project tasks from multiple project lists into a single view
* Ability to display the project tasks in a single calendar with color coding
* Allows users to manage effective alerts when a tasks is about due or overdue

This is right on the heels of our partnership with Softalot and their GanttPoint solution. TeamDirection is very pleased the complementary nature of our desktop-based solutions combined with SharePoint solutions is being recognized by leading vendors in the SharePoint market.

If you have a web part or two, solve a piece of the project management pie and would like to showcase it, contact us at TeamDirection. We are enhancing our SharePoint Solutions page to include web part and template offerings from our partners.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

IntelliGantt SharePoint Web Parts

[21 February 2011 Update - We now have the IntelliGantt Web Part available for SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010]


We've had a huge response to the release of our boffo customization of SharePoint Task Lists. Our accountant had some work to do last week! Expect to see a few TeamDirection IntelliGantt ads to start popping up here and there-- all very tasteful and informative, of course.

But we're not done yet!

We have a new product in BETA testing geared strictly for SharePoint. If you haven't noticed, business are really responding to the value proposition of SharePoint. TeamDirection has certainly noticed, and we are proud to let you know of a new set of web parts for your SharePoint server that work with IntelliGantt.

The goal? Project rollups of course.



IntelliGantt has provided the plumbing from your desktop to SharePoint, now its getting ready to fill the aqueducts and let the information across all your projects flow to your team. Here is a page introducing the GanttPoint web parts you can deploy on your SharePoint server that automatically finds IntelliGantt projects you've published and aggregates them in one view-- personalized for the current user.

The really great thing about this solution? TeamDirection worked with a great new partner to bring it to you-- a project management company also here in Seattle, Softalot LLC. With IntelliGantt on the desktop and Softalot on the server, its a natural way for both of us to bring our strengths to the table for a better comprehensive solution for you.

You can also expect another exciting announcement with another great SharePoint solution provider in the very near future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

IntelliGantt Custom Fields for SharePoint Released

We posted the release to the servers last night with the new features that many people have been asking for. The biggest by far is the ability to work with over 70 custom fields in your SharePoint task list.

Whether you're using IntelliGantt Plus or the IntelliGantt Add In for MS Project, now those 30 Text fields, 20 Number fields, 10 Cost fields and 10 Date fields can be added dynamically to the SharePoint task list you publish. What's more, you can control the synchronization switches for each field. For example, you might have one field support two-way synchronization, while other fields are only published to SharePoint. Best of all, you can make these changes at runtime, so you may start out with a 2-way field and then later make it publish only.

Let's say a project manager can publish a simple project and enable Start Date and Due Date as 2-way synchronizable. Team members can then put their scheduling $.02 in and collaboratively adjust the timeline. When the project manager wants to set the schedule 'in stone', he or she can call up the IntelliGantt Collaboration Settings and change the Start Date and Due Date fields to publish only.

We have a screencast with IntelliGantt Plus and a screencast with the Microsoft Project Add In showing custom fields in action.

We think this will help shepherd projects through their many phases-- from collaborative planning to collaborative updating. Furthermore, with IntelliGantt's rich custom field support, you can now model your projects with your company's nomenclature and keep everyone on the same page, using the same terminology, that much better.

Finally, TeamDirection is investing a bit more in to SharePoint and its offerings. We've just opened a SharePoint section to the site that will expand in the days and weeks ahead to show how best to maximize this great collaboration platform.

Monday, October 15, 2007

IntelliGantt Synchronization with Outlook and SharePoint

Many people don't realize there is a great synchronization feature available to keep your tasks on track with MOSS 2007 and Outlook 2007. If you spend your day within MS Outlook, are constantly on the go or just simply like working on the desktop more than through your web browser, then check out how easy it is to bring the SharePoint task list to you.

Say your project manager has scheduled out a few tasks on a SharePoint site. He or she may have used a tool like IntelliGantt to quickly publish a project, invited SharePoint members to the site and is now expecting these tasks to get done. If you'd rather work with them in Outlook, here's how:

First, on the SharePoint site, go to the task list in question and select 'Connect to Outlook'. Remember, this is an Office 2007 only feature.



MS Outlook pops up a dialog asking if you really want to do this.



If you say yes, Outlook goes and gets the SharePoint task list data and creates a view for you.



But its much more than a simple import. Outlook remembers where these tasks came from. As a result, you can edit these tasks and the changes will be synchronized back to SharePoint. The really cool thing is, because Outlook is on your PC, you can unplug from the office, go about your day, update on the move and Outlook will take care of the rest-- synchronizing your changes back to that SharePoint task list.

We use a similar philosophy with our IntelliGantt Add In for MS Project. Much like the Outlook to SharePoint connection, TeamDirection connects MS Project to SharePoint and lets the project manager have this feature too.



In many ways its even more powerful for the project manager because not only do they receive everyone's updates within the MS Project plan, they also can easily make schedule changes with a real project management tool. For example, it's much easier to reset the start date of a project and let a scheduling engine do the work of updating all the task changes then doing it by hand with a click-happy web browser.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Perfect Graphic for that AH! Moment

You know the moment I'm talking about-- the one where a mystery has been cleared up for you. I usually experience after I've been trying 1023 permutations of the wrong way to do something. Maybe you receive a cryptic email from tech-support that tangentially applies to the question at hand, but seems like an accident. Perhaps you've wondered why everyone was going the wrong way on a street except you. You might have even wondered what compelled that person sitting next to you to eat your cookies.

And then it's magically explained and the 'Ah!' moment occurs.

I'm pleased to present the Ah! graphic:



Feel free to pass it around so everyone can share the moment :)

Monday, October 08, 2007

SharePoint MVP Community

There is an interesting information resource forming around SharePoint that fellow MVP Bob Mixon is spearheading-- the SharePoint Beagle Newsletter. My understanding is the Beagle will be a conduit for SharePoint MVPs to share with everyone their opinions and experiences on real-life SharePoint solutions.

When you look at the the profiles of every SharePoint MVP, its a bit humbling-- to the point where you ask yourself 'what can I bring to the group?' Well, TeamDirection does know project management in a collaborative environment. I'd love to contribute an article explaining how you can turn a WSS 2.0 or WSS 3.0 server into a real project management solution. (cue writer's block :)

I know Groove did an internal study a few years ago and found over 50% percent of their customers used Groove for project management. I can't point to a specific study, but anecdotal evidence is making me think similar percentages are at work with SharePoint as well.

And I have to think IntelliGantt, of any non-Microsoft application, is in the top 10 for exploiting SharePoint web services. Sharing our trials and travails getting web services to reliably work with WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0, while maybe not quite as gripping as The DaVinci Code, should certainly be interesting.

I look forward to sharing our experiences and learning so much more from the SharePoint MVP group. Instead of the proverbial firehose, the Beagle looks like a great way to get started.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

IntelliGantt and SharePoint Help a Boatbuilder

Unsolicited testimonials are always the best. Unsolicited testimonials you find and share with the group are even better.

Thorwald Westmaas was searching for a better way to share projects (tasks, schedules, content, etc) the other day when he found TeamDirection and SharePoint. Not a project manager by trade (but an excellent boatbuilder judging by his blog), Thorwald was able to quickly get IntelliGantt Plus running with a hosted SharePoint provider and begin publishing projects.

With our team members, vendors and other stakeholders in 7 different countries, an online data repository with workflow and project management tools is a great aid to keep this conversion project on track.


From not knowing about IntelliGantt Plus or SharePoint to up and running in a day, Thorwald was able to solve his project management/collaboration issues and get back to his real task-- planning his next expedition.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I'm a SharePoint MVP!

Talk about a nice surprise.



I knew I was nominated, but I never figured I'd actually receive a SharePoint MVP award. Of course, I doubt there are too many people not working at Microsoft that know as much about SharePoint and Groove web services and behavior as yours truly. What's more, all of that knowledge has been earned the hard way-- making it work for shipping products.

Call me a curmudgeon still living in the past 5 years, but I actually believe people are just starting to deduce both the benefits of desktop/web synergy and the best way to go about it. In fact, I think the interaction between the desktop and web applications (way beyond the generic web browser) will define the next 5 years or so of computing. Well, that and virtual machines.

So how strong a position is Microsoft in for the next 5 years? Well, they have the best collaboration platforms (SharePoint and Groove), a strong web service strategy and quite possibly the best (potential) virtual machine with .NET.

It's nice to know they like me too :)

Thank you to whomever nominated me and to April over at Microsoft. I really appreciate it.

IntelliGantt Enhances SharePoint Integration

TeamDirection will be releasing a beta (most likely on Oct 2.) of its newest version of IntelliGantt, IntelliGantt Plus and IntelliGantt Add In for MS Project. Over the next week or so I'll be highlighting some of the cool features specific to every collaboration platform, but the one we're most excited about I'm happy to preview first.

In the 'old' IntelliGantt days, you could publish tasks to a SharePoint task list, but the range of fields was limited to the defaults SharePoint provided. And, of course, you could update the % complete and notes, but nothing else.

We just made project management with SharePoint a whole lot more powerful. Check this out:



If you're asking what that is, the answer is its all the fields you can now create, use, modify and synchronize. Thirty text fields. Twenty number fields. Ten cost and date/time fields. And each field is customizable-- set the display name you prefer, add a helpful comment and even set whether the fields supports 2-way synchronization or not.

We put together a short 'enhanced SharePoint' screencast to show it off. This barely touches on the extent of the functionality, but we couldn't wait. A couple things that aren't obvious in the screencast:

1) You can changed the synchronization settings at any time. For example, you may want to start out by giving SharePoint users the ability to update task start and finish dates, but once the project gets going, you can unclick the 'From SharePoint' setting for Start Date and Due Date. This puts the project manager in full control of the schedule.

2) You don't have to share every field that you use. You may use Text1 for Client Code, as we do in the demo, but you can also use Text2 as 'Super Secret' in IntelliGantt Plus and NOT share that to SharePoint. This can be very handy with those cost fields.

3) We will be publishing all the field names we are using so that 3rd party web part developers can take advantage of this feature. We feel this lays the foundation for a real workflow system based on the customized fields your business needs to run.

And finally, these settings are available even after you share a project to SharePoint.



Better yet, you can save any project published to SharePoint as a template that will include the collaboration settings as well.

We look forward to introducing more about this release in the days ahead.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Looking for Partners in Australia

A bit of a double-entendre, but we are looking for partners in Australia who are smart and enjoy helping people with their projects. Outside of the US, we receive more downloads from Australia than any other nation (though Germany has been on the upswing recently). And while we have excellent European partners and Mindlogik in New Zealand, Australia really does represent a land of opportunity.

If you're a reseller of Microsoft Project and/or Mindjet MindManager products, or if you're looking for straightforward ways to bring collaboration to your customers, give me a shout at j.o.h.n.m [at] teamdirection.com. We would be happy to make your acquaintance and see if we're a match.

And bonus points if you happen to be from Frankston, Victoria. It could very well be a family myth, but apparently Frankston was named after a relative of mine (yes, named Frank) who jumped in to the sea and saved someone who had great influence in naming towns. I'm sure it's a lovely place!

Thanks mate.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Local Workgroups and Security

As my previous post mentioned, people are catching on to IntelliGantt's Local Workgroup as a way to easily manage projects with colleagues in the office or connected via the corporate network. Today we were talking with a company about using IntelliGantt and the Local Workgroup to help a team in the US work with a development group in India. They are a large company with resources at hand, but basically it's just a fast connection between Mumbai and California with a file server visible to both.

The question that came up is security. As in 'how secure is IntelliGantt?' While we hang our hat with pride on our multi-user project management solution for teams, TeamDirection is not about to claim we have solved your security issues too. We'd much rather pass that requirement to the underlying collaboration systems like SharePoint, Groove.... and your file server.

You see, in order for IntelliGantt to work on a File Server, the person using IntelliGantt must have permissions on that file server. Specifically read/write permissions. No permissions; no joining a project; no way to be malicious. If you really don't want people outside of the project to be able to change anything, you can use the security of a Windows server to grant access only to people who need to be members of the project.

It works like this: IntelliGantt uses a folder that has been shared on the file server. When you share a folder, by default users can read from it but not write. You could grant 'Users' the permission to write as well, but this means every user account on the file server would have this permission for this folder. This can be a good thing, if you want everyone in the company to use a single shared folder for all local workgroups (it certainly makes backups easier). Or you may want to be more restrictive.

If you have a project you wish to invite only a handful of named users to, then rather than granting the generic 'Users' group read and write permissions, you can grant particular individuals read and write permissions. When someone tries to join a project, they are first asked for their email and display name. IntelliGantt then connects to the file server and asks for permission to talk. If the file server needs authentication, IntelliGantt uses the built in Windows Authentication libraries and challenges for a user name and password. If the user fails the user name and password challenge, they are not allowed in to the project.

What this means is even if someone got ahold of an IntelliGantt invitation and happened to know the email address of a member, they still could not get into the project because the basic security of the file server would prevent it.

Which really is a good way to go, we think. Which would you rather have, a project management company rolling their own security solution, or a project management company that uses what the underlying systems have to offer? SharePoint, Groove... and in this case the under-appreciated file server.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

IntelliGantt Update -- Local Workgroup Catching On

We just posted an update to IntelliGantt on our server tonight, mainly for maintenance reasons. I'll list some of the bug fixes shortly but also wanted to touch on which platforms are garnering the most attention. As you might expect, most IntelliGantt customers are using it with SharePoint. And the trend is accelerating (stay tuned to this space for exciting SharePoint developments in the near future).

But you knew that already.

So what do you think is the second most used collaboration platform? If you think the title of this post gives it away, you are right-- the Local Workgroup.

We've recently had a wave of people looking for a simple way to collaborate on a project schedule with their colleagues-- even simpler than setting up a web server. Because IntelliGantt can use a humble file server to collaborate (essentially a 'multi-user' mode) people have been dusting off some basic hardware and letting the tasks fly on their intranets. With IntelliGantt's Local Workgroup, you don't have to repeatedly send email to everyone or copy files hither and yon. It's one location that everyone synchronizes. I'll have to get a better screencast showing it off, but in the meantime here is a peek at it, and an FAQ.

Project management with a file server... who knew? :)

Here are the major fixes/improvements in this update:

1) The Local Workgroup wasn't providing useful error messages when one or more users did not have permission on the file server to update projects. This has been corrected with better reporting when you join and synchronize projects.

2) When using SharePoint, IntelliGantt wasn't handling the absence of a column very well. For example, many people don't need the 'Priority' column int the basic SharePoint task list. When they removed that column, IntelliGantt got confused. Now it looks at the task list schema to see which columns are available and nimbly stays on top of things. (This also lays a bit of foundation for our next SharePoint features).

3) Both the MS Project and MindManager Add Ins had a problem getting user lists from the WSS 2.0 or SharePoint Portal Server 2003 collection. It only affected MS Project 2007 and MindManager 7. The problem would manifest itself by acting as if a project is being published to a SharePoint site, but then falling back to the Share wizard screen. Thanks very much to our friends in the Netherlands for helping us track this one down!

4) If a member was listed as "last name" comma "first name" (ie. Smith, John), MS Project didn't like this. As a result we look for resources with commas and make them acceptable to MS Project so Export and Synchronize work correctly.

5) Finally, we seriously improved the help files for all the products. Thank you Jeff! Visit this page for help file reading pleasure.

Now we're off working on the next great IntelliGantt features. It will be geared toward SharePoint since that is our burgeoning market, but we'll see if we can throw a few things into the Local Workgroup community as well, since that is our fastest growing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

SharePoint and Multiple Resource Assignments

While IntelliGantt works with both WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0, I'm developing a marked affinity towards the latter. I'm sure under the hood it scales better and such, but I like the fact it models the real world just a little better. Today's case in point, assigning multiple resources to tasks.



If you are (or were) using WSS 2.0, IntelliGantt updates were done with a heavy heart as tasks with multiple resources dropped every assignment after the first-- blocked at the WSS 2.0 single assignment gate. Your sorrow over all these lost assignments may have even spurred you to upgrade to WSS 3.0. All set for the new multiple assignment feature, you probably had a bit of a shock when the task list, after publishing, looked like this:



Fear not, WSS 3.0 does indeed support multiple resource assignments, just not by default. Why, I don't know. But I do know how to activate this feature. To do so, we must modify the list settings for this task list:



Within the list settings page are all the columns available for modification. We want to change the Assigned To column:



The details for this columns shows us that it does indeed allow 'multiple selections', which because its a SharePoint member or group field translates to multiple assignments.



A quick click to make the change we want (don't forget to press 'OK')...



... and the next time you update your task list, you'll see IntelliGantt and SharePoint working with multiple assignments in harmony.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Early Reviews for MindManager Add In

We're still finalizing the press release, but two early reviews for the IntelliGantt Add In for MindManager are in. Chuck Frey and Brian Friedlander, Ph.D, have both taken a look and have liked what they've seen. We are really pleased here at TeamDirection that our Add-In is hitting the mark.

Dr. Friedlander hits the nail on the head by observing
"one of the key features that came into sharp focus and that differentiates IntelliGantt from some of the other project management software with links to MindManager, is the ability to share and collaborate on your projects with your project management team."


We do believe IntelliGantt software takes project management to the next level by including the team. What's more, we are very happy to use either our own rich desktop application or an industry leading web solution like SharePoint. Whichever works for your team.

We're especially happy to have a Mind Mapping expert like Chuck Frey give us what we consider to be the ultimate compliment:

"The application's design is simple and straightforward; you don't have to be be a project software guru to figure out how to use it."


What good is a whiz-bang tool if nobody knows how to use it? It's the same theory that Mind Maps are based on, we've just given it a little nudge into the collaborative project management realm.

Thank you Mr. Frey and Dr. Friedlander. We look forward to working with you and the Mind Mapping community.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Resource Management Versus Communication

IntelliGantt started out with a focus on communication. We felt this was the most underserved piece of the project management market, especially since everyone is more or less connected now. However, while communication is great, we're getting feedback from users that they need a few 'traditional' tools. The one we're thinking about right now is Resource Allocation.

Now, just so you know, in my opinion no one has really solved resource allocation problems to date-- and that's just for resources working in a single organization. Throw in the fact that IntelliGantt can work across firewalls and with ad-hoc contractors and I don't think TeamDirection will be able to solve it either. In fact, there is a certain class of problems computers just don't do very well, if at all. One of them is keeping track of every hyperlink in the World Wide Web and making sure nothing points to a broken URL. And the other is resource allocation for tasks performed in a physical world. There's probably a few others :)

This is not to say one can't try to dump millions of users, billions of tasks and trillions of assignments in to a giant 'ultimate solution' database and cross reference everyone's allotted tasks, level of effort and calendars and synchronize all updates. It's just that it will never happen. It's too complex a problem set and as a result is easily (almost comically) broken by Rule Number 1: Stuff Happens. Instead of the proverbial butterfly in China, it will be sedentary Joe down the hall who gets sick, neglects to update his tasks and sets off an unforeseen chain of events resulting in the next blackout of the Eastern Seaboard.

Is it so awful to pick up the phone, or nowadays send an IM? Is it realistic to schedule someone so precisely that 39.93 hours are planned per user across 7 projects with 99.9% level of effort efficiency? This sounds a lot like what airlines have been trying to for the past few years with their airplanes. What do you think the human equivalent is for sitting on a tarmac 8 hours-- buckled in your seat? In the airlines case I'd wager that the proposed schedules were proven to be mathematically correct only to bow under the weight of our culumative randomness.

So which costs more? Creating an environment for a single project manager to schedule and level resources in utopia, or an environment that fosters communication allowing the group to self-balances with the aid of a project manager? I think one looks prettier at the start, but the other is more likely to adapt.

That being said, TeamDirection will strive to bridge both worlds and you can expect more resource allocation features in the near future. But remember those communication pieces-- they just might prevent the next blackout, or at least keep you off the tarmac.

Monday, August 06, 2007

IntelliGantt MindManager Add In Released

We started thinking about an Add In for MindManager way back in January. Call it a 'New Years Resolution'. I'm very pleased to announce this is one resolution we have kept!

We just released our Add In for MindManager and the results are quite impressive. Not only can you schedule topics like some of the other MindManager Add Ins, but you can Share them with your team and Synchronize the updates in your map. We think its a perfect left-brain/right-brain marriage.

We have a few screencasts, of course. You'll also notice this Add In is treated as a 'top tier' product-- meaning all our web navigation had to be updated.

Many thanks to the team for putting in an outstanding effort with this one. It's a very nice complement to our MS Project Add In. MindManager, MS Project and our own IntelliGantt application all represent different ways to create rich project content. Where we bring the added value is by adding a multiplier: making that rich project content interactive for your team. The larger the team, the larger the multiplier.

Consider a team of ten. How much easier will it be when you can create and schedule in the tool of your choice and include your team without having to constantly be on the phone, walking the halls or even recovering from double-entry (or worse, overwrite) mistakes?

We think enhancing team productivity is hugely valuable too. Now I suppose the question is, what Add In should we do next? :)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

IntelliGantt MindManager Add-In Release Candidate

TeamDirection is just about ready to release its IntelliGantt Add In for MindManager 7 Pro, but we'd like a few volunteers. So far we've confirmed it works in the Netherlands and in South Africa, but there are a lot more countries and PCs out there.

If you'd like to try it out, you can first see what the Add In is about. I could describe it, but the visuals are much more compelling.

OK, I will describe it-- Take you basic MindMap, add an intuitive, interactive Task List and Gantt Chart, mix SharePoint Workspaces and Members and fold in the ability to bi-directionally synchronize updates. Voila, you have an IntelliGantt MindManager Add In.

Hmm... maybe its better to check out the screencast.

Then download it from our site. We do ask you to register, but we will do a 25% discount to all downloaders when we release next week.

Thank you very much for your interest!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cooking with SharePoint -- The Gantt View

[August 2010 Update -- IntelliGantt Web Part for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 is now available. Something we like to call 'The Worlds Greatest Gantt Chart']

WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 (which we'll call SharePoint in this post) have a great feature that lets you view any task list as a Gantt chart-- and a pretty one too. Here are the steps to make it happen:

1) Start with the basic Task List view



2) Next, click on the menu item 'Create a View'



3) Choose the Gantt View



4) Name it (and make it your default view, if you'd like)



5) Almost done, just have to set a few columns



6) Click 'OK' and enjoy the view



Of course, if you really want to get cooking with SharePoint services, I heartily recommend adding IntelliGantt Plus or an IntelliGantt Add-In for MS Project to the mix. It slices tasks and dices the amount of time it takes to serve projects to your whole team.

You'll be the hit of the party!

Bad Sign for Groove?

It's always the little things, isn't it.

I visited the Microsoft Office discussion board yesterday to put in a few posts about our new release. I wrote up a beautiful description of our synchronization between MS Project and Groove-- even brought a tear to me eye :)

But when I attempted to post it, the discussion board required me to select the office discussion group. OK, simple dropdown of all the office apps. Let's see... Groove starts with G... G.... Hmmm... could it be Microsoft Groove? No.... MS Groove... Hmmm... I had to settle for General Office Questions.

There is no Groove topic to be found. There is Visio. I certainly see Excel, Word, Project, etc., but no Groove.

Hopefully its all a simple oversight that, when the person running the office discussion group reads this blog post will slap there head and exclaim 'Ach, voy!'

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Connecting Groove with MS Project

Now there's a task for you! Figuring out how to combine a solitary scheduling tool with a highly distributed, cross-firewall collaboration platform (disguised as an Office 2007 application). Thankfully we've been doing this kind of thing since 2003.

Even better, we've just updated our product to make the link between MS Project and Groove event tighter. We've had more than a few customers download our free Groove workspace that includes a Task List. As a result, we've had more than a few customers ask how they can get the tasks they've been working on in Groove in to MS Project. Tasks lists typically start out small, and then grow.

Here's our screencast showing how to create an MS Project plan from a Groove task list. As you can see, it's eerily similar to creating an MS Project plan from a SharePoint task list.

Also like the SharePoint demonstration, you'll notice the 'Add New Tasks Created in Groove' checkbox. This feature allows IntelliGantt to recognize new tasks added via Groove and have them show up in MS Project, ready to be scheduled by the project manager. We feel this will be a handy workflow solution whereby people can enter their tasks or issues and project managers can put them on a timeline.

The free Groove task list has been available for a few months now. I think a few thousand of you are using it. This feature is absolutely compatible with the TeamDirection Groove task list-- you can start using it today (it's almost like we planned it :).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Schedule Your SharePoint Task Lists with MS Project

[November 2008 Update - Version 4 Released with a Portfolio Dashboard!]



It's new feature time at TeamDirection once again. This one comes straight from customer requests (pleas?)-- 'How can I schedule a SharePoint Task List we are currently using?'

We thought about it long and hard... Connect an existing SharePoint Task List to MS Project? A SharePoint task list that is currently in use? Can't be done. It's impossible... Inconceeeee-ivable! (apologies to Wallace Shawn :)

And then we realized our IntelliGantt services for SharePoint get us most of the way there. A simple wizard, several cups of coffee for our vaunted programming staff and a few friendly reality checks from QA have led to the cusp of a significant update. The next build of IntelliGantt will be available on the site sometime Wednesday (July 18), but here's a screencast of an MS Project plan created from an existing task list.

There's also a nice supporting feature here, in the middle of the demo, where we show multiple task assignments supported in SharePoint. This has been another high priority customer request and we are happy to deliver this one as well. It does require WSS 3.0 (WSS 2.0 only supports single task assgnments), but if this feature is important to you, then you probably have WSS 3.0 already.

Speaking of features, you may have noticed the 'Add Tasks Created in SharePoint' checkbox. This deserves its own post, and screencast, but the short answer is it will allow MS Project (and IntelliGantt) to recognize tasks people enter into SharePoint with their web browsers. I'll talk about the specific use case soon, but suffice it to say people can add tasks, and project managers can schedule them.

Finally, MS Project users will be happy to note we are making the IntelliGantt Add-In available with its own separate installer. We found companies that have invested in MS Project would like an easier way to distribute and use our add-in. We understand and are happy to oblige. The IntelliGantt Add-In for MS Project will be a standalone MSI installer perfect for pushing via SMS or simply putting on a file server.

We appreciate all of our customer's feedback and encourage everyone to keep pinging us with your ideas. As you can see, your good ideas make it into IntelliGantt products!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

8 Random Things About John

I was tagged by Michael Sampson with the latest blog game and feel compelled to play. Who doesn't want to talk about themselves, even if it is 8 random things? Here are mine:

1) When my wife and I met on our first date, we went to a pool hall. Little did I know she actually took a billiards class (honest!) in college. She had to work on how best to throw a game or two and preserve my sensitive male ego, and the rest is history.

2) I grew up in Salem, Oregon and now live in Seattle, Washington, which means I've been a Pacific Northwesterner 99% of my life.

3) My computer science degree is from a liberal arts college (Willamette University) best known for producing future lawyers and state legislators. I think my graduating class in CS was 4 people. I got to know my professors very well.

4) I had a friend in Japan as a result of some sailing adventures. He asked me to sing at his wedding, to which I said 'Of Course!' The song? A reggae tune from Bob Marley, naturally. Redemption Song. I had 350 Japanese wedding attendees in the palm of my hand for 3 minutes, 43 seconds.

5) Prototypical two kids and a dog here. Two beautiful girls that bring such joy and delight. Time starts moving faster when kids arrive and its both a blessing and a lament to see them grow up so quickly.

6) My brush with Silicon Valley fame was a meeting with John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe Systems. He really loved something I was working on at the time. I'm absolutely positive he remembers it, NOT.

7) I am currently trying to assess the best course of action for dealing with the triple terror of backyard nemeses: Ivy, Bamboo and Blackberry bushes. TeamDirection has been providing a haven for me not to think about the battle raging behind our house. But now the warzone is encroaching our very access-- I'm not even sure I can still open the door. I send the dog on reconnaissance every evening. My money is on the blackberry bushes as the eventual winner.

8) When I was 8, I was the world's worst newspaper boy. If your newspaper positively, absolutely had to be there eventually, then I usually rose to the challenge. However, that was just a means to an end as I would apply 1 months worth of work toward 1 hour of flight time-- not only renting the plane but the pilot as well. I would love to be a full-fledged pilot someday soon.

I tag:

Nic Pottier -- Found of TriLeet games for the Danger Sidekick
Richard MacManus -- ReadWriteWeb
Kanwal Khipple -- SharePoint Buzz
Dave Persing -- encouraging him to get his blog going again!

Monday, July 09, 2007

IntelliGantt Add-In for MindManager


Another new product from TeamDirection. It's an Add-In, only this time its for Mindjet's MindManager. Much like our Add-In for MS Project, the IntelliGantt Add-In for MindManager hooks seamlessly into the tool bar (yes, even the new ribbon), lets you publish topics and subtopics to a SharePoint task list and synchronizes everyone's update back into the original map.

If that sentence was a mouthful, check out the screecast and see it in action. In it you will see how we incorporate our nifty task list and interactive gantt chart into the MindManager environment. This lets you easily schedule topics and subtopics to harness and organize out-of-the-box free-form thinking.

What's more, using our IntelliGantt sharing capabilities, its just a couple clicks to share a scheduled map in to a SharePoint or Groove task list. But that's not the end of the story as all IntelliGantt projects maps are bidirectional. This means the topics and subtopics you publish to SharePoint and Groove can be modified by people using only their browser or a Groove client. Best of all, these updates can be incorporated back in to the original map.

If you haven't already, go scroll back up and view the screencast. We're shooting to release it in the near future. If you'd like to test it for yourself, contact sales at teamdirection.com.

The IntelliGantt Add-In for MindManager works with WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0 (learn what I learned about SharePoint versions). This means it will work with the core (free, as in beer) SharePoint services and the top-of-the-line Portal Servers (2003 and MOSS; not free).

No more import/export, double-entry or other machinations to put your maps into a collaboration system. TeamDirection has made it as easy as drag-n-drop scheduling and 1-2-3 click to share and synchronize with your team.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Reverse Distortion Field

Michael must be right and I must be wrong. It must have been the 24" iMac I mistook as a TV, which is still overpriced but not absurdly so-- just an uncomfortable 'I don't know...' so.

I guess that HP monitor really did turn my head and framed my view of the iMac. How important is framing? Even with Apple's famed 'distortion field', my immediate comparison was to an orange, er ..., wide-screen monitor. I wasn't interested at all in the guts of what was driving the display, the computer itself.

Apple, I'm sorry for comparing the 24" iMac to a 22" wide screen HP monitor. I think the best way for this not to happen in the future is to actually come out with your own TV. I'm ready.

ReadWriteWeb had a recent poll asking what segment of consumer electronics Apple will dominate next. I think it has to be TV, not just the big hunk of plastic you put in your living room (though I'm sure it will be there), but the way TV will be done. Think iTunes, and think YouTube.

Google may or may not be regretting their YouTube purchase, but I do think Google had to buy them because Google needs to stay on top of media-- and YouTube definitely demonstrated the popularity of its media, and medium. But that hasn't necessarily followed with money.

My hunch is it will be Apple that will break the licensing logjam currently affecting Google's monetization of YouTube, and hovering like a spectre (a la the recording industry) of video. The only reason video hasn't been turned on its head like music is the sheer number of bits involved. But once it becomes as quick and easy to copy and move 4GB as 4MB, you can be sure what's coming.

Movie studios are certainly aware. I'm noticing more 'copying movies is illegal' previews in front of the movies I am legally renting. The pressure to address it, and not make the same mistakes as the recording industry, is only mounting.

Actually, if I'm Microsoft, maybe this is the best way to get in front of Apple and get a real piece of the Google content pie. But I can't imagine Google would do a deal with MSFT before AAPL, and Cupertino is just down the road from Mountain View.

My money is on an Apple/Google video content deal of some kind before the end of the year.

And an honest to goodness Apple TV.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Why Apple Hasn't Taken Over The World

I was in Fry's today, ostensibly to return an item. With resolute determination I intended to complete the transaction and head to the nearest exit. However, on my way to the nearest exit, which I swear was the way I came in, I found myself instead heading to the computer components, LCD monitors and chip bins.

Curses, Fry's had foiled my plans yet again!

As I was sauntering through the aisles, it struck me how the price of everything has either inexorably gone done, or the specifications have inexorably gone up. I almost picked up a 500GB external drive as a throw in to my purchase of jelly beans and M&Ms.

One thing that gave me pause, however, was the price of Apple's 24" monitor. $1400.

Yes it still looks nice, though perhaps an age wrinkle or two is starting to show. However, I had just walked past a lovely HP 22" wide screen monitor that had whistled to me, made me pause and think 'I want that'... and it was $349.

Don't get me wrong, I want an iPhone just as much as the next guy. But somehow I get the sense the first adopters are getting Jobbed--- er... letting their emotions get the better of them.

If you've visited my company site, you'll of course notice that we do software for Windows. 'Hey, you're just another Mac hater.' Blah blah. And you would be mistaken. I adore the Macs-- I hope to write software for them someday soon. And the iPods? Own several, of course. I even think the iPhone looks rather cute and I can't wait to see what Apple has in store for TVs.

But a 400% markup on a TV? I just can't do it-- I'll take the $349 HP TV every time.

And that is why Apple doesn't rule the world.... yet.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Grokking SharePoint Versions

Toby Getsch was kind enough to lend his wisdom (and Microsoft SharePoint training) to set me straight on which SharePoint version is called what. I admit to being a little too loose with my references-- basically saying 'The SharePoint released in 2003' or 'The SharePoint released in 2007', which doesn't necessarily distinguish between the free one and the one you pay money for.

So to set the record straight, here is what I believe to be the correct references for SharePoint products:

1) Windows SharePoint Services (WSS). These are the core set of SharePoint services, and they are free! The versions TeamDirection IntelliGantt support are 2.0 and 3.0. You can even download WSS 2.0 and WSS 3.0 from Microsoft's site today.

2) SharePoint Portal Server 2003 is the enhanced SharePoint product you purchase. It is built on top of WSS 2.0.

3) MOSS 2007 is the enhanced SharePoint product you purchase. It is built on top of WSS 3.0.

What does this mean for IntelliGantt users? It means IntelliGantt works with the free version of SharePoint (the core WSS) AND the not-free version of SharePoint (Portal Server 2003 and MOSS 2007).

I think that is right (Toby?...). Now back to programming with WSS. For my next post I might just divulge our next feature, or maybe I'll preview our upcoming MindManager Add-In.

:)

Friday, June 29, 2007

SharePoint Designer Sparks a Question

We've been so heads down here at TeamDirection that we were unawares of Microsoft releasing ShareDesigner (download the free trial). Very interesting. I really like the intent behind it-- empowering normal people with the ability to create and modify SharePoint workspaces. This fits right along with our philosophy and I think they've done a nice job. (OK, the general UI experience still feels a bit 'techie' to me, but I am a techie and I *love* the features).

But it did give us something to think about. Our most recent release now supports creating SharePoint workspaces for your projects based on SharePoint templates. To do this we adapted our philosophy and introduced a TDCreate web services to be installed on the SharePoint server. While we thought it would be nice to work with SharePoint templates without having to install anything on the server, we also thought it might be important for SharePoint administrators to know how people are using the servers and what the 'high value' pieces are. As a result, we thought the TDCreate web services, on the whole, was a good thing, and could serve as a platform to build on in the future if we introduce our own web parts.

The SharePoint Designer, however, uses a combination of Front Page extensions and SharePoint web services to create subsites without additional installs on the server. Which got us thinking: would this be a better way to do things? I think our answer is 'maybe'.

I absolutely love the inherent simplicity of the client doing the work without tweaking the server. On the other hand, Front Page extensions are different than WSS and MOSS web services, and it seems quite possible that a SharePoint administrator, in the interest of security, would turn the Front Page extensions off. But if Microsoft will be pushing SharePoint Designer, it must mean they will also be pushing for the Front Page extensions to be on.

I think the ability to work solely from the client will be too tempting, but we should keep our current TDCreate web service. Call it the 'best of both worlds' approach. I believe we will put in support for Front Page extensions when working with SharePoint, but keep the TDCreate as an option just in case an administrator turns off the Front Page extensions.

Am I rambling? Sorry, but you're reading the thought processes in action.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

How To: Enabling SharePoint Templates with IntelliGantt Plus

A quick note to let people know we've posted a page describing the steps for enabling IntelliGantt Plus to create workspaces based on custom SharePoint templates.

Feedback is of course welcome. We're trying to tame the SharePoint complexity beast as best we can with a simple, understandable set of instructions. If you run in to any problems or have any pointers to make things even easier, please don't hesitate to let us know.

We've received a very enthusiastic response to this feature and look forward to hearing how you use it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

IntelliGantt, MS Project Server and eProject Price Comparison

I spent the day researching customers project management options today and the results were interesting. Right now there seems to be a notion that the web is good and the desktop is bad. Perhaps it's a reaction to Microsoft's desktop dominance, a desire for something new or just a knee-jerk reaction to business as usual. Whatever the case, those small numbers that Software as a Service (SaaS) charge per month really add up over the long haul-- even the not-so-long haul.

The three solutions: IntelliGantt Plus, MS Project Server 2007 and eProject PPM6. First off, in all fairness, IntelliGantt Plus has the fewest features of the three. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing as IntelliGantt Plus also doesn't include features only a rocket scientist can understand. IGP (as we call it) is designed to be useful and usable. We're not so worried about the high-falootin cube transformation of critical path chains for resource levelling as we are about getting everyone on the team communicating and reporting progress.

If you need the high-end features, then by all means look at MS Project Server and eProject. However, if your needs are more down-to-earth and your goal is adoption, then IntelliGantt Plus is very powerful indeed.

But on to the comparison (if you can't wait, go here). We chose two common, generic cases: 1) a 10 user group and 2) a 100 user group. For IGP and MSP we proposed a general ratio of 1 client application for the project manager for every 9 users. Thus the 10 user group has one PM tool and 9 users accessing and updating the project. The 100 user group has 10 PM tools and 90 users. For eProject, we couldn't really make that distinction, so everyone is treated as an equal user.

These two groups (10 user and 100 user) represent two interesting plots on a curve that demonstrate most of all that Saas might not scale, economically the way most people think it does, and that MS Project Server 2007 actually looks very reasonable next to eProject as the number of users increase. Neither, however, approaches the economical solution if IntelliGantt Plus.

Why? Because we don't make it complicated. No databases, no Client Access Licenses, no server components (well, actually one that supports our SharePoint Template feature). We work with out-of-the-box SharePoint Services (WSS 2.0 and MOSS 3.0) that actually ship with Windows Server 2003-- for free! We still need to flesh out the benefit comparison, but as you can see, there are a lot of compelling IntelliGantt features.

However, in straight number terms, the IntelliGantt Plus solution for a 10 person group costs roughly $60 per person for one year. By comparison, eProject costs $45 per person per month! Furthermore, while the IntelliGantt Plus costs per year go down in year two (because the license has been paid for and the only out-of-pocket expenses are support and software assurance), the eProject costs march on at $45 per month. This means after 3 years, the eProject solution is about 20 times the cost of IntelliGantt Plus. Software as a Service indeed.

MS Project Server 2007 is more of a hybrid solution, similar to IntelliGantt Plus. However, where IntelliGantt Plus makes use of existing SharePoint services, Project Server introduces its own server in addition to using SharePoint. Because of this configuration, the 10 person group using eProject actually comes out a bit ahead in year one compared to Project Server. However, once again after the initial license is purchased, eProject turns out to be more after years two and three are included since Project Server CALs turn out to be less than $45 per month. Of course, IntelliGantt Plus is still 10 times less than the cost of a Project Server 2007 solution.

This illustrates where we believe the market lies for IntelliGantt Plus-- or as we say 'bigger than a spreadsheet and smaller than the enterprise.' Once you get in to managing a group of people, does it make sense to jump right in to enterprise class solutions? They do not economically, and I don't believe they do in terms of productivity and usability either.

MS Project Server 2007 and eProject PPM6 are great solutions for enterprises, but make no mistake, that is what they are built for. As such, IntelliGantt is happy to work with them (certainly in MS Project's case), but also provide tangible value to the market between the single user project manager and the thousand-person workforce.

And its not like we skimp on features. For instance, we work very well off-line, thank you. Multi-Level undo? Check. Multi-Project view? That too. Automatic backup and restore points? Yes. Task based permissions. Yes again. The ability to drag a summary task and watch the gantt update in real time all the ramifications? I think that's just us. The ability to use alternate collaboration platforms like Groove, Amazon S3 or even a simple File Server? Definitely IntelliGantt :).

If you're intrigued, then check out the numbers for yourself. If you want to see IntelliGantt in action, check out our 15 day trial today and see what IntelliGantt can do for you.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Microsoft's Magic Milan Touch

How could I not have noticed this earlier???

From a recent CNet headline: "Microsoft hopes Milan has magic touch".

OK, so I edited the headline just a little bit. But still, it's always fun when your name comes in vogue. Only recently has the self-satisfaction of having a car named after you begun to wear off. I really have to get one of those.

I wonder if I can put one of them new-fangled Milan table PC's in the back of my Milan? When I get in and drive off, would that be similar to the Russian dolls where one fits inside another which fits inside another?

Of course, at times like these I have to bring back my old standard:



Cheers!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

When to Adapt Your Philosophy

TeamDirection and its IntelliGantt products have been built with the notion of working right out of the box, which is something of a novel ideal in this interconnected world. True, this is a good thing. In fact, IntelliGantt works very hard on the interconnected pieces so you don't have to-- integrating with MS Project, MindManager, SharePoint and Groove.

However, there comes a time when a feature is too compelling to grind under the foot of unyielding dogma. No one likes a Zax.

With our next release of IntelliGantt, we are introducing a feature that lets you publish projects to SharePoint utilizing any custom template registered on the SharePoint server. We've received feedback from customers and consultants alike that this will provide the best way to tailor projects to individual (company) needs. And we agree.

The result is IntelliGantt Plus will let you select the SharePoint template to use, but it will require a web service installed on the SharePoint server. It's a simple web service that is only in charge of listing available templates and creating a site based on a template. In fact, in large measure it got its inspiration from Todd Baginski's great examples on how to create SharePoint sites based on templates.

For about a month we struggled to with 'no code to install on the server'-- until it became untenable. Our new philosophy is a more realistic 'as little code as possible on the server, and make sure its well documented.'

You tell me how we did. We'll be updating or site over the weekend, but if you'd like to see IntelliGantt Plus using custom SharePoint templates on your server, then go get IntelliGantt Plus, read this document and install this web service.

Supports WSS 2.0, MOSS 3.0 and enables your team.

To see it in action, check out the screencast in the blog post below.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

IntelliGantt WBS

We had a lively discussion over on our forum today about how to keep track of tasks once they've been published to SharePoint. The basic SharePoint task list is, well, pretty basic. What has been needed is a way to match the task IDs in the SharePoint list with the task IDs in the IntelliGantt or MS Project task list.

Except that there aren't any ordinals in the basic SharePoint task list.

We've been looking at this problem for a bit and the discussion today gave us the perfect reason to execute on a design we had in mind. Since we just released support for SharePoint custom templates, our developers had List web service APIs on the brain. We had also just implemented a WBS feature in our core model. When these two ideas met, the result is code that updates the basic SharePoint task list with a WBS column that IntelliGantt will populate.

Like this:



The result is people will know exactly what task they mean, and they can sort and filter them. This particular screenshot shows the SharePoint task list with the WBS column visible and the IntelliGantt Plus view with the WBS column visible. Our Add-In for Microsoft Project will also do the same thing-- publish WBS codes to SharePoint task lists.

The minor trick at the moment is the WBS field will not be visible by default. If you want to turn it on after you share, click on 'Modify View'.



IntelliGantt as added WBS to the column list as a result of a successful share. If you have a custom SharePoint template that already has a text column for WBS, IntelliGantt will recognize it and use it. Otherwise it creates it for you.



Just click on the column to make it visible, and set the layout position to '2' so its on the left.



Now you can keep track of your tasks as you get down to business with your project. As you move tasks around, indent and outdent them, add and remove them, the WBS codes will be updated and in sync.

You'll never lose a task again.

Project Management with Groove Templates

Though SharePoint gets most of the press, Groove brings a unique set of features to collaboration as well. In fact, it's amazing how similar the SharePoint and Groove platforms are at times and how well they lend themselves to a similar philosophy.

Take templates for example. In my previous post I showed how IntelliGantt Plus can publish and synchronize tasks with SharePoint templates. Not to be outdone, Groove has its own templating system (arguably a bit more simple for the user to work with) and TeamDirection, of course, is happy to build on it.

Here is a screencast showing how to drop the TeamDirection Task List for Groove 2007 in to a standard workspace, save it as a template and use it again when you publish and synchronize your project.

If you have a Groove Forms developer in house, or if you've contacted a consultant, it's terribly easy to drop a TeamDirection Task List into a Groove workspace and gain powerful project management features.

As an added benefit, we've unlocked our forms as well. This means you can actually open up the TeamDirection Task List itself, make a few modifications for your needs and still have the power of IntelliGantt Plus. This Groove Workspace Template ships with IntelliGantt Plus. Head over to TeamDirection and check it out, or go right to the source and try it today.

Now wouldn't it be cool if you could point IntelliGantt Plus to any SharePoint or Groove task list and create a project from it?

Hmmmm.... :)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Project Management with SharePoint Custom Templates

Yes, it's been another quiet period, which can only mean one thing: new features!

We're quite excited about this upcoming release as it gives you more control of your projects, SharePoint and Groove. We're about to introduce the ability to publish projects to SharePoint and Groove based on custom templates. This means if you've got a SharePoint workspace or Groove forms guru in house (or if you've paid an external guru a handsome sum) to customize and personalize workspaces for your needs... you can keep using them. Better yet, feel free to make new ones.

On my techie SharePoint blog I'll go in to the guts a little bit and explain how it works. But here I have a screencast that shows this feature in action. It's just showing SharePoint at this moment, but we will be improving the screencast shortly to show more or less the same thing with Groove forms and workspaces.

This link will take you directly to the SharePoint Custom Template screencast. If it looks easy, its because it is easy.

We've also written up the installation (and uninstallation) instructions so you can see for yourself how straightforward we've made things.

This release has tons more stuff in it (and a few important usability fixes-- no more needing to specify server names when logging in to SharePoint!). Look for email in your inbox announcing it shortly.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

IntelliGantt use of MS Project Resources

In talking with a few customers, I thought it would be worthwhile to produce a screencast showing how IntelliGantt can work with MS Project resources and turn them in to real people. It all revolves around the simplest forms of id: EMail.

We figure most everyone has an email address (or two), and most business applications account for this property-- like Microsoft Project! When you attach an email address to a resource in MS Project, IntelliGantt will recognize it and automatically match it up, whether you're sharing the project to a local file system, SharePoint, Groove or our Internet Workgroup.

Here is the direct link to the project resource screencast.

The next screencasts will be of IntelliGantt using custom SharePoint templates. But I'm getting ahead of myself, as usual :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

IntelliGantt Begins to Support Vista

Windows Vista is beginning to come up more and more, as expected. It's only a matter of time before it eclipses Windows XP since all (well... over 90%) new computers ship with Windows-- roughly 250 million a year, give or take. Obviously no company in their right mind would want to exclude 250 million potential customers, including us.

Though we haven't trumpeted it quite yet, the current release of IntelliGantt and IntelliGantt Plus will run on Vista and integrate with Groove 2007, Microsoft Project 2003 & 2007, MS Outlook (most versions), Windows Live Messenger and Mindjet MindManager 6.0 (and 7.0 as that is coming out shortly).

A few items remain-- spit and polish mainly. We're looking at the new requirements for full 100% Vista compatibility, but if you want to run IntelliGantt on Vista today, be our guest.

I have to admit I like the pretty, shiny features of Vista. In my opinion, it follows our philosophy of making things as user friendly as possible. I think our color scheme matches Vista out of the box quite nicely as well.

Well, back to getting our release ready for June 1 (which we will most likely announce of June 4-- who announces good news on a Friday?). We're pretty excited about this one, as are our partners. Support for SharePoint and Groove templates, nice speed improvements for MS Project synchronization, a few usability issues solved (the big one: no longer will you need to put the server name before your login name when using external SharePoint providers!!!)

All Coming Soon...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

IntelliGantt does Groove Workspace Templates

We've been burning the midnight oil lately with our newest features, and with the price of oil being what it is today we decided its time to release another one:

IntelliGantt Plus now lets you specify the Groove Workspace Template to use when creating a new IntelliGantt Project. Anyone interested in Groove Forms development can create a template and then put it into their Groove Workspace Templates directory under My Documents. IntelliGantt will read the templates from this directory and offer them to the user. Here's a screenshot:



This is the first iteration of the feature. Right now if you need the TeamDirection Task List for tracking tasks, you will need to add it yourself to the template-- if our TD Task List is there, IntelliGantt will use it. In the future, we will make it automatic. But we thought the feature would be so nice in the hands of developers who know their vertical domain, but would like a simple task list to track things, that we thought the time was right.

This feature is in the shipping product, so you can download IntelliGantt Plus today and try it with your own template.

But the template vision isn't quite complete yet; SharePoint templates are coming too. We are in QA right now with general availability June 1. Just like Groove, we will query the SharePoint server for a list of all available templates with which to create a workspace. Again, developers can bring their domain knowledge, we connect to the standard SharePoint task list.

SharePoint templates demos coming soon...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Introducing a Local way to Share Projects

There is data, and then there is data. A few of our clients have cringed a bit when we tell them how easy it is to share valuable project data on the internet, in SharePoint or Groove. I tend to notice when clients cringe and, as a result, we've unveiled a feature-- the Local Workgroup.

Our IntelliGantt technology really doesn't care where a project is stored, it just needs everyone in the project to have access to it. Sometimes being on the internet makes sense because you may be working with external professional services. But many, many projects are still run strictly in house. In these cases, the easiest means to share projects may be right down the hall, tucked away securely in your corporate intranet and backed up regularly by your data retention policies.

I'm describing the common file server.

TeamDirection IntelliGantt can now use a simple file server to as the means to share and synchronize projects. Nothing will be more secure, and nothing will be faster- it simply doesn't have the latency other internet based solutions incur.

Here is an FAQ, with a screencast, showing just how well the Local Workgroup works. We still make it easy for you by making it simple to join projects and work interactively. The file server makes it easy for you by being simple, cheap and reliable.

So now you have four ways to share projects with your team, be they external consultants or internal colleagues. Intranet, Internet, SharePoint and Groove-- if you have a project management sharing requirement, chances are we've got it covered.

And do I mention it's also quite a bit more cost effective than those web server based solutions... *cough* eProject *cough*...?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

SharePoint Buzz Raffling a Free IntelliGantt Plus License

SharePoint Buzz was kind enough to review IntelliGantt Plus for us. We provided a free license for a raffle that is closing as you read this. Actually, it may have closed yesterday, but don't let that stop you. IntelliGantt Plus is a rich, full-featured solution and free is always a nice price.

Check out the review, and check out IntelliGantt Plus. And don't forget about the two new features we've just released that make Plus even better.

Monday, April 30, 2007

How to Find Overallocated Resources

First you need and IntelliGantt solution!

We've just put the finishing touches on two new features. I'll profile our new 'Local Workgroup' in a couple days. Today I want to show you how easy it is to identify overallocated resources in one project AND across many projects.

Here's a pretty picture of several projects with their overbooked tasks highlighted.



Better yet, here is a screencast.

What it shows is a simple filter that can be applied to a project, or any group of projects. IntelliGantt has two filters that can work in conjunction. One filter is for things task related like 'ToDo' or 'This week's tasks'. To this filter we have added 'Show Overbooked Tasks'. The algorithm takes all resources and all tasks in the working set and computes which resources have been overallocated. These tasks are then listed in the task grid and gantt chart.

The other nice thing about how this feature is implemented is the highlights don't go away when you select another filter. For example, if you wanted to see the overbooked tasks in relation to all tasks, select the 'Show all tasks' filter. The overbooked tasks will retain their markings and will be easy to spot-- even with all the other tasks in view. Overbooked tasks can run, but they can't hide :)

Finally, we upgraded the resources filter so that instead of only one resource to filter against, you can have many. This means you can see two or three people's overbooked tasks at once. Or, for that matter, two or three people's ToDo lists, or their tasks next week.

Check out the screencast, and if you're impressed, download IntelliGantt Plus for a 15-day free trial. There's lots more to impress you.

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's Been Quiet.... Too Quiet...

But that will change soon.

Just in case you haven't noticed the pattern yet, this blog usually goes quiet right before we announce cool new stuff. Well, the cool new stuff is coming. I have to work on the screencast now and show the world.

What will it be?

An even easier way to share tasks and a great way to find resources accidentally overallocated-- both within a project and across many projects.

Screencasts coming soon!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Vicarious Travel

What's it like to be single, no kids and able to work online? A friend of mine is taking the opportunity to find out. He decided the other week that he wants to work in Peru. Not changing jobs, mind you, just physically be in Peru while he continues his day job. What's that? Running his company TriLeet.

I don't match the profile he has, but I can (and am quite happy to) read his 'working' blog and vicariously enjoy the scene.

I guess he got a little Stir Crazy (his blog).

It's a travelogue, so its best to start with his first post and work backwards.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Flexible Pricing Model

Consultants have been keenly interested in IntelliGantt project management because it makes it so easy to share tasks with colleagues and customers. Often they would like to leverage a client's SharePoint installation in order to share project schedules and status. Other times they just need a way to keep everyone update to date.

One common feature consultants need is a flexible pricing plan. In truth, this applies to companies that hire consultants as well. What we've heard again and again leads us to believe a project that spans people and companies is most likely an ad-hoc project. As a result, time and again we've heard the purchasing manager ask if they can re-use licenses.

For example, say project A started last January and is just wrapping up. As the project manager starts planning the next project, perhaps he/she will use several consultants or contractors again, and one or two consultants for the first time. What about the consultant they bought a license for back in January? Wouldn't it be nice to re-use that license for the new people?

We think it would too!

Therefore we've implemented time-limited licenses: 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and Unlimited. Now you can purchase a 3 month license for the project starting this month (and outfit everyone very reasonably, I might add). When the project is done, your licenses are done too. If you need another project, buy a few more short-term licenses.

If you have a consistent group through the year, buy a longer term license for them, and a shorter term license of others. You can mix and match licenses just as you can mix and match IntelliGantt, IntelliGantt Plus and the IntelliGantt MS Project Add In.

It's the same product with the same features. Basically you decide how long you want it to run. It's our job to make project management as easy, rich and elegant as possible so IntelliGantt is always your best choice for running a virtual team.

Check out the pricing on our purchase page.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Scoble Interview Published

If you're looking to meet some of the people behind TeamDirection, Robert Scoble provides the chance. Here he is interviewing, of all people, me.

This was a lot of fun to do, and I like how it turned out. My head doesn't even look too shiny.

On a serious note, though, I read on Robert's blog the serious news of the day. I sincerely hope a few bad apples don't spoil what people like Robert bring to the online community. The Scoble show is a great opportunity for companies with cool stuff to spread the word. I, for one, believe he is doing an essential service of connecting consumers and producers. We should be thanking people that put themselves out there like Robert or Kathy Sierra.

They make the world a better place.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Independent Groove User Group Forming

Jim Moffat has taken the initiative and is forming a Groove User Group that looks very interesting. I've joined up and will add what I can. Other prominent Groovers are also coalescing around www.grooveuser.org.

Not to say Microsoft hasn't been pushing Groove hard enough. I'm sure you won't hear anyone say such a thing. I know I'm not going to say Microsoft hasn't been pushing Groove hard enough...

The thing is, it's still a great virtual team solution, but now it has to prove its right to exist within the gargantuan MS Office world. Honestly, Groove could use another zero or two at the end of its install base numbers to become a full-fledged member of MS Office.

But, by providing a still compelling solution for virtual teams, by inspiring enough from its user base to form user groups and maybe even by still having a special place in Ray Ozzie's heart, Groove will get those numbers.