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

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.