I wanted to take a minute to share with you two products that have changed the way I work. I’ll admit, I’m continually excited by new and shiny things. If there’s something new out there I will give it a try. Rarely, however, do I find something that actually shifts how I approach fundamental aspects of how I do my job. (This is a testament to the screens upon screens of apps on my iPhone that I’ve downloaded, only to use once and never open again).
Wunderlist and FindTime are the exceptions to that. A big part of my role at itgroove is Project Management. However, with the approach that we take to it, Project Server (or Project Online) has never been the right fit. Most of our projects are fast paced, short lifecycle and agile. By the time I have the Gant chart ready, the project is over. I’ve always been a huge fan of using a simple old fashioned White Board to collaborate and manage tasks and have always been on the search for an App that would let me recreate that experience digitally. While Planner has huge potential our team has struggled with it because it is so separate from everything else we do. Hopefully this will change, but for now, on the projects we’ve attempted to use it, I am constantly reminding people to sign in to Planner and update their tasks. With WunderList the apps are on every platform, users can manage their accounts and notifications and we’ve had huge success with adoption. It is lightweight, it works well, it reminds people of what they need to be working on, and its not in your face. We create a Shared list for every project and they become living workspaces, and the digital “whiteboard” I’ve been searching for.
A second example is FindTime. This former Microsoft Garage project is an Add-In for Microsoft Outlook that always you to send out “polls” to groups large and small to determine the best time for everyone to meet. I’ve used it with teams internally, clients and even socially and have only come across one person who struggled with it. I love that it puts holds in my calendar for the times I’ve suggested, sets up the meeting for me if I’ve asked it to and gives a clean professional, organized feel to the whole process. It is end user-driven, available in the Office Store (free of charge) and requires no IT involvement to setup and use. I highly recommend giving it a try.