Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Local Workgroup Screencast

Another day another screencast. They should be coming fast and happy now that the new version of IntelliGantt is coming in to shape.

This one focuses on the Local Workgroup option, which lets you use a simple Windows File Server as the collaboration hub for your collaborative projects. The configuration is usually a workgroup that has a shared drive or two. With IntelliGantt you just provide a UNC path and it handles the rest-- along with Windows User Account security of course.

I mentioned usually because we also have customers that use the Local Workgroup feature over their private high-speed fiber optic network connecting the US, India and Japan. It works great!

But if you can't afford your own line under the sea, I suggest you look at our Cloud Workspace. This takes advantage of all those 'cloud services' you've been hearing so much about and basically does the equivalent of that high-speed trans-continental fiber optic line for a fraction of the cost. But that's the next demo.

Check out this one as we show how the UI acts on multiple machines while collaborating on project. We also introduce the new Resource Pool and show how you can use the member lists in SharePoint and contact lists in Outlook to populate the IntelliGantt Resource Pool.

IntelliGantt Engineering Build

We've hit a milestone! TeamDirection has an engineering build available for everyone who's been curious what features the next release will have. I would definitely characterize this as pre-BETA, but some cool new features are working. Before I dive in, however, a word about our methodology.

IntelliGantt and IntelliGantt Plus have been shipping for about 18 months now and during that time we've received great feedback from our user base. We divided both the feature requests and the product direction we desired into three areas:

1. Must Have Features
2. UI Improvements
3. Technology Improvements

An example of a 'Must Have Feature?'. How about Level of Effort support for resource assignments and timesheets.

An example of a 'UI Improvement?'. How about an organized tree of projects on the left that, with a single click, adds or hides tasks in an active view. It's basically multi-project view at its most flexibile (and usable).

An example of a 'Technology Improvement'? How about building on the latest .NET 3.5 SP1 framework-- the one that really supports ClickOnce delployments for the internet!

We've actually been using ClickOnce with our IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project and the results have been very good. When we receive bug reports from the field, we fix them, republish and everyone sees the new version automatically.

It's a great way to add features as well. Prior to ClickOnce, every release of IntelliGantt product would require some sort of notification for users to download the latest install package and reinstall.

No More!

It's given us the ability to do this early release so that a) we can incorporate real users earlier than ever in the loop and make a better product and b) users can see the results every week automatically-- both in terms of bug fixes, UI improvements AND new features. Philosphically speaking this is a huge advantage because in the past, the longer you develop in your engineering cocoon the further off the mark you may stray. Now our engineers will be primed to hit the marks you define.

With that, let us know what you think from the screencast, or better yet by downloading and trying the new UI out. We have an invitation page that doesn't require registering. We have a 'Top Ten' page that let's you know what our current working priorities are. We even have a purchase page that let's you buy at a steep discount as we move toward release. The idea is as the product gets better and better, the price should be revisited now and then. During this BETA period we will revisit the 'Go Live' price weekly. We figure its a great way to say thanks for your efforts.

A few housekeeping items on this release:

1) Not every single menu command is enabled right now. The core features that drive every menu pick are in, but we are curious which menu items are used more than others.

2) Everyone has manager privileges in this release.

3) Local and Cloud Workgroups are in and greatly improved from the last version.

4) SharePoint connectivity now requires WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007.

5) MindManager 7 import/export is supported. MindManager 8 support coming within 30 days.

6) Reporting to the Bamboo Project Portofolio Dashboard is in.

7) Printing is fixed!

8) File associations are not quite in-- soon!

9) We have decided to consolidate IntelliGantt and IntelliGantt Plus in to one version-- IntelliGantt. It will have all the features (and more) of the old IntelliGantt Plus. The reason for this is everyone was buying IG+ so it really didn't make sense to have two versions going forward.

Thank you all for your feedback over the past few months. We look forward to the next phase and working with you to bring a great product!