Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Great PMI Show

The booth is in the car, the staff is back at work, the show is over. It went better than I expected. We've been at the last three PMI Global Congress shows (Baltimore, Anaheim and Seattle) and this was definitely our best. Probably because now we have our best product. Just about every demo I gave went really well. However, I did notice three things:

1) People who see or read about TeamDirection Project see our integration with SharePoint, but make the assumption that we only store project files on the SharePoint server and share those. While we do store a project file on the SharePoint site, we also synchronize information with the standard SharePoint Task List that team members can update with their browsers-- including Safari for Mac users.

Invariably, once I show this feature people's eyes light up and they respond 'so you're just like Project Server!' As far as interacting with SharePoint task lists, yes. But to compare TeamDirection Project to Project Server is like comparing a hybrid car to an 18 wheeler. Yes they both have wheels, but we focus more on executing the tasks at hand whereas Project Server is the entire enterprise solution.

Still, the basics are the same: distributing and updating tasks with a web browser.

2) We think one of our coolest features is the integrated Instant Messaging window showing each team members presence. This lets you instant message a team member whose task might have fallen behind and ask what's going on. Or its a good way to notify your team of any changes to the plan. When I point this out, people agree its very useful. But I think we might be able to do more to show how the instant member list can be the same as your team member list. Maybe a presence ball right next to the assignment info? It's definitely a valuable feature to help project managers stay in touch with their team.

I think a couple of simple flash demos on our site will help convey these features. Time to put the director hat back on for a bit.

3) What is up with Microsoft and Groove? I was very surprised at how few people knew about Groove. Microsoft bought Groove back in March 2005. It's rolling Groove into the next version of Office. Ray Ozzie is now the Chief Architect at Microsoft. I thought Groove awareness would have doubled or tripled by now. It's a very powerful solution and, surprising as it may sound, Microsoft seems to be underselling it right now. Perhaps things will change once Office 2007 ships.

Thanks to everyone who visited our booth and made the show such a success for us. A special thanks to everyone who told their friends and colleagues we deserve a visit. The last day of the show was actually our busiest, which I chalk up to the word getting around.

See you at the next show!

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