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Contents tagged with project management

  • .@TechCocktail thinks we’re fun. That’s right, project management and fun in the same sentence

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    Tracky is a lot like a mullet: all business in the front, all social party in the back.” Looks like our informal tagline caught the eye of one of our latest customers, the Tech Cocktail team. (I like to think we’re the hipper, edgier version of the mullet.) :)

    [PHOTO CREDIT: TheeErin]

    Last week co-founders David and Jennifer Gosse presented at Tech Cocktail Week, a startup conference that takes place the second week of every month in Downtown Las Vegas. They presented along with other notable #VegasTech startups: ALICE Receptionist, Atlas Powered, Nihongo Master, Tabeso, Trend Nation LLC, Ubiquita, UNLV Solar Decathlon “DesertSOL”, Wearing Digital, WHOICHOOSE.COM and Xandem Technology.

    What stood out the most to Tech Cocktail writer Kira Newman (@kiramnewman), was that a project management platform could be both functional and fun--a combination not often found in this space. Newman interviewed David Gosse about Tracky and teamwork.

    Read the complete article, here

  • Large Scale Project Management with Tracky

    • By davidl
    • |
    • Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Over the years, I've experienced several different flavors of project management and management software. Some of those experiences were exciting and made work fun (as fun as work can be) and others were exhausting and extremely difficult to sell to my peers. To a degree, the ability to 'sell' a solution became the measuring stick on the product or technique.

    Falling Down The Waterfall

    During the joyous days of waterfall, I was a hardcore Microsoft Project user--cranking out fantastic flow charts, Gantt charts, and timelines with ease. The day that we integrated Project Server with SharePoint was brilliant--keeping everyone informed and integrated for the project.

    From a selling perspective, no one really liked waterfall, but it had somewhat concrete rules and was fairly easy to understand.

    Agile - flexibility and responsiveness

    When agile methodologies became popular, I dove into that as a better, more responsive project management venture. SDLC, while fairly easy to implement, wasn't giving us the turnarounds we were looking for and we found we were simply ignoring the process to get work out the door--productivity was still the rule, management concepts aside. I consumed books, online literature, and even worked and got my SCRUMMaster certification.

    So what happened? In most cases, a breakdown of terminology and culture. Agile was, at least in larger corporate organizations (heirarchial, 10k+ employees), a hard sell.

    No estimated end date until after the first cycle? No known hours per task? What kinda hogwash is this?

    At my last job, we found a very workable middle ground and, I believe, the true definition of agile--not locking into a 'framework', just doing what works to get the job done. Our mix between SCRUM's planning poker and hours estimates along with a fantastic response cycle eased the burden of overhead while staying responsive to our customers. In the last year, between myself and another brilliant developer, we were cranking out several new ventures a year and maintaining solid maintanance on upward of 15-20 large-scale applications.

    In our agile workflow, we used a few applications to manage our workflow, backlog, and sprints. Now that I'm with Tracky, I wanted to dogfood our product as much as possible for our internal development.

    Let's use Tracky to build Tracky!

    In the Tracky development camp, we have a fairly open, agile environment backlog that team members can submit to, discuss, and request for the next iteration. We tend to 'theme' our iteration cycles, such as user interface updates, calendar functionality, or other hot items (even those presented by our customers!).

    Here's a quick runthrough of how we're using Tracky to build Tracky.

    Backlog

    We maintain a single backlog group, as with most SCRUM environments, that holds the pool of TODOs for Tracky. Great ideas from our team, customers, and neat concepts we see out in the wild and want to explore all go into backlog.

    STEPS

    1. Create a group named Backlog.
    2. Add your team members into the group. DONE!

    Sprints

    Sprints are the most visual part of the process--keeping the team on track for what's due during that sprint and the work remaining.

    We use Tracky's amazing Milestone feature to create sprints inside of our Backlog group.

    Milestones provide containers for your tracks, like a normal parent track, however, have the added functionality of a handy bar chart the right side of your group window.

    STEPS

    1. Create a track for your sprint naming it something to differientate it as a milestone, such as January 2013 Sprint - Email Enhancements.
    2. Click the track menu, select Milestones... and Make this a Milestone.
    3. Set a due date for the Milestone, such as the end of the month or your normal iteration cycle.
    4. Create subtracks in the milestone track or drag existing tracks onto the milestone track.
    5. For each subtrack (user story), assign the appropate members and mark them as the lead. DONE!

    Time to work!

    Group create, milestones established, tracks created--it's time to get to work. Use Tracky's automatic notifications to stay on top of what the team's working on, mark tracks complete and watch the milestone jet from TO-DO to TO-DONE!

    Whatever your project management technique, you can use Tracky to keep you, your team, and your life on track.

  • Putting an end to the email trail, even for the most complex projects

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Friday, December 28, 2012

    Most of the time, complex work projects don’t involve schematics or even calculus. They’re the projects where you have an idea and need someone else to bring through to fruition.

    don't change a thing except

    It’s no wonder that the Tumblr and Twitter accounts for Clients From H*ll is so popular. It represents the frustration between both the client and the creative. When there’s already such a knowledge differential, throwing in poor communication tools doesn’t help anyone.

    If you’ve ever said, “Don’t change a thing! Except...” you know what’s next. Time spent going back and forth between copy, approving images, swapping colors, etc... While we can’t make the creative process easier, we can completely give you a communication overhaul.

    We’re going to share an actual case study from our team. We’ve got nothing to hide and we figure it could make you feel better to see how much we communicate over one (albeit very important) project.

    See this? We had 99 comments and 41 attachments (i.e. images) for our recently updated executive summary document. This is a key communication piece for our company -- it explains who we are, what we do and where we’re going. If we weren’t using Tracky that would have been a trail of almost 100 emails and with 41 images, it could have gotten messy.

    we got it done

    Good news for us is that it didn’t get messy. Discussions show up in a stream so users can easily scroll up to view older messages -- no searching through an inbox that may or may not contain what you’re looking for. Each discussion is also time stamped with the date and time it was sent.

    You can drag and drop files into any track on Tracky and they will sit in the Attachments category. But, even better, especially for a creative project like this, you can save files in an individual discussion. That’s super important when you’re dealing with revisions. Instead of wondering whether or not you have the latest version of something you can simply look at the newest discussion and click the file.

    This project was able to be executed on more efficiently (and more quickly, I might add) than in the days of old where email would have slowed down the process.

    If you regularly work on creative projects, let us know and we’ll help you get set up! Email sarah<at>tracky.com.

  • 34 social collaboration tips to help you get ahead in business

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    By: The Tracky Team

    1. Use an open, social collaboration platform. Platforms, like Tracky, allow people to work together, better and develop a more efficient workflow.
    2. Give your existing content life through scheduled posts. Work with your team to schedule older, evergreen blog posts to be posted via social networks at ongoing intervals (e.g. once every three months). Use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule.
    3. Plan a weekly social editorial calendar. Editorial calendars are an essential part of your content marketing and engagement strategy. Don’t forget to plan earned and paid social tactics to promote it once live. (Here’s a resource to help you get started.)
    4. Keep remote workers connected. Don’t only rely on email for staying in touch with remote workers. Integrate video meetings, phone calls and instant messaging into the mix. Another great exercise? Collaborate on something real-time using Google Docs.
    5. Funnel social media response opportunities to the most appropriate person. No one is an expert in all areas of business, so why would you pretend? Set up a group track where your community manager or social media editor can funnel response opportunities from other key players on the team. If someone tweets you about a technical question, have your lead developer respond.
    6. Change your email work flow. Experiment with only using email for: launching a project, urgent requests and important, but not task-oriented communication (e.g. company memo). If you have a quick question, pick up the phone or use instant messaging. Try this for one week. Everything else? Route it through your social collaboration platform.
    7. Define your quadrants. Work better, not more. Read up on Covey’s four quadrants and make sure you live in quadrants one and two.
    8. Break down social sharing into bite sized tasks and delegate appropriately. For example, remind team members to always tag (e.g. @)
    9. Make collaborating and work more fun, in general, by integrating tools that are fun. Fun = productivity, too.
    10. Set up your social PR tactics under these umbrellas: Content marketing and inbound marketing (producing content, lead generation/acquisition, establish authority, SEO, etc…); Engagement (making connections you might not have otherwise made); Collaboration and productivity; Proactive and reactive media opportunities and Monitoring (self, clients, partners and competition).
    11. Schedule your social posts. Why waste all your good information at once? Spreading out your social shares means more opportunities for online interaction. Create a shared place where you and your team submit ideas, links, etc... Then use Buffer (it’s already integrated with Tracky) to schedule and share.
    12. Check out IFTTT to see if integrates with stuff you already use. Automate certain tasks that should be automated and make your life easier. Get out of the minutia and concentrate on the really important things, like collaborating with other doers.
    13. Use Statigram to manage your Instagram accounts. Include links (and archive them) to photos team members should share on social accounts. Create a track where you can easily delegate.
    14. Know your social sharing strategy and house it where team members have easy access (ahem, like in a track).  Here goes: 1) mention (@) company name, co-founders, co-workers, investors and/or advisers (depending on the post); 2) include essential hashtags (if there are a lot of associated hashtags focus on most important first, then include others in future posts); 3) DM people who might like to share, with a request to RT; 4) Share post two to three times over 2 weeks, then once a month for 3 months, then once every other month (from company account and work-affiliated accounts).
    15. Track your progress with milestones. Spreadsheets can be too heavy and aren’t “living” documents. How about using a milestone marker to alert team member of progress?
    16. Take collaborative notes. Use Google Docs to keep a live note-sharing activity going during meetings. When the meeting is done assign one person to extract follow up tasks and archive the document. (We use Tracky to do this. Duh!)
    17. Think community! People don’t like to be preached to. Rather, they like to be engaged with things that interest them. Whether using collaboration for marketing, development, planning or other - make the tasks, ideas, events etc. fun and engaging. Think: unicorns and rainbows for all.
    18. Create tasks that are rewarding, fun and easy to check off. Teams scan through their tasks and look for the ones that will be fun, quick and rewarding. Keep that in mind when creating them. Break them down into bite-size morsels - yum! Your army will get tricked into doing more and love it!
    19. Get the whole team involved with your collaboration. Don’t just create tasks and leave them unassigned, break them down and assign a group to the effort. Better results will be achieved together.
    20. Set mini-goals and then reward the participants - often. As often as possible, create rewards for the doers. A Starbucks gift card, a lunch, a thank you comment on their Twitter stream. It makes a difference and stimulates participation.
    21. Practice real-time collaboration. Set a goal to complete a collaborative process such as writing a blog post using Google Docs. Define brequirements for collaborators and complete as quickly as possible without distractions. Everyone will be amazed at the work completed in short order. That’s how we created this list.
    22. Think long-term. For true, successful collaboration you need buy-in from the participants. There are so many productivity apps today; it makes it tough for users to commit. Find one that is person-centric, not company-centric. It needs to be your account for life and include discovery elements (e.g. other events, projects, people to connect with). It should be flexible enough to grow with you over time.
    23. First, define your objectives! Since collaboration = working together to achieve a goal, define your goals from the outset. This begins with at the top (the “WHY”) and trickles down to the daily, repetitive tasks that you and your team do but still matter in the context of the big picture. Plus, when you have attainable daily, weekly and monthly goals, you get that precious feeling of accomplishment
    24. Then, define your workflows. Since workflows are simply repetitive processes, you should be able to template a lot of what you’re working on. The key here is template within the collaboration platform that you’ve chosen (hint: make sure that easy templating of projects is available before you dive in).
    25. Use email as a facilitator, not as your collaboration team’s home base. Email is still critical for enterprise collaboration (146 billion corporate emails are sent per day, vs. 2.5 billion Facebook posts and 400 million tweets). BUT, it shouldn’t be the gathering place or the time-suck trap where productivity goes to die. Email should be used mainly for notification alerts of activity in your collaboration system to re-engage people.
    26. The social business is mobile. Don’t alienate collaborators with an either/or proposition of a great mobile app or a robust desktop platform. Go with a platform and workflow that allows flexibility. Mobile + web collaboration FTW.
    27. Be authentic. What’s the point of social collaboration after all, if you’re hiding behind corporate walls? You represent your own brand and your company’s objectives. Strive for authenticity, transparency (appropriate for your enterprise) and a certain level of judiciousness (meaning, don’t share TMI, but be real when you do share).
    28. Find your evangelists and let them ideate for you. Social collaboration is about connecting, working, sharing, learning and discovery. The right tools will help you identify the “doers” and the “sharers” inside and outside of your organization. When you find them, herd them like rare alpacas into groups all their own. And give them wings. Use the platform to provide objectives and direction but let your rock stars start a passion party of ideas and strategies all their own.
    29. Be a troll - to learn, not to pry. A great thing about collaborating is that the cream of the crowd to rise to the top and it can provide inspiration in ways you never imagined. Join as many groups/projects as you reasonably can, if nothing more than to listen to the conversations and gain insights into people, workflows, customer sentiment, etc.. Trolling isn’t creepy when it’s for your social business’ greater good.
    30. Be secret, private and public. An oxymoron? Nope. Tracky, for instance, has uber-flexible privacy controls so that undersharing and oversharing are left to kindergarten recess and Facebook, where they belong.
    31. Don’t be a file hog. (File) sharing is de rigueur in the social business. Email was meant for communication, not for file sharing. Your computer is a great place for you to find things, but doesn’t facilitate quick research for your team. And why would you use a separate file sharing system than the productivity platform that makes you the get-it-done rock star that you are? Securely store your files in the cloud (within the right collaboration platform, of course).
    32. Include your customers. You should be able to set up inclusive-yet-selective groups that give the crowd the ability to chime in. Set specific objectives and moderate these groups but you can make major inroads into better customer relationships by including the few in a transparent conversation.
    33. Find the others. Technology allows us to find and connect with other like-minded people and businesses. Find these “others” and collaborate with them. Even if it’s not direct bottom-line work, you might find that your greatest ideas stem from the candid exchanges that are philosophical, commiserate, disclosing in nature.
    34. Share what you’re getting done! Hoarding your progress is so web 1.0. It’s OK if you’re not done yet: just share what you’re working on, why and ask for input if needed. Again, transparency, inclusiveness and openness are keys to the social business. Make sure that you choose a collaboration platform that allows you to toot your own horn when you’re ready to share your next-big-accomplishment with your team and the world.
  • The Open Social Showdown - David vs. Goliath

    • By sarah
    • |
    • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    The Goliath of CRM and project management, Salesforce is currently hosting their annual developer conference, Dreamforce. We at Tracky are busy behind the scenes creating the next big thing in open social collaboration and productivity platforms, but we took a break to have some fun.

    While we know what Salesforce products are great at, we also know they're lacking in a few areas that we happen to excel. Today, we're launching the #trackyshowdown infographic to show off our mad skills to the attendees of #df12. Help our David of a platform get some love today and share away.

    David and Golaith: The Tracky vs. Salesforce Showdown

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