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Sneak Preview, Brief Roadmap and more…

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What we’re working on…. right now.

Moving straight along with our development schedule is the new Calendar and Timesheet tools.

Here’s a sneak preview of how the new Calendar design is looking:

New Calendar - Click for Full Size

And a Balsamiq Mockup of the new Timesheet “line entry” option:

Click for Full Size

And this is the new bulk entry, which we are now calling “group” entry:

Time Tracking for Groups - Click for Full Size

Aside from look and feel, the main changes are:

  • Tabled line entry option available for employees who don’t need to track exact stop and start times.
  • The Calendar entry option remains for employees who need exact times
  • The new Group entry option makes it easier to attach the same timesheet to a group of employees.
  • Calendar entry (and in fact most calendar items) will let you duplicate an entry (think cut and paste for entries)

We’re working on this right now and will likely have the beta out early next week.

Pricing Increase.

I’m also working on a new pricing structure in line with the rollout of the current round of product development.  But, don’t worry, all 311 existing customers will be grandfathered with the current pricing.  I’d love to make a bold statement like Grandfathered Forever but I just can’t see that far into the future.  I can personally guarantee at least 2 years and make a statement that it isn’t my intention to ever raise prices for the 311 early adopters who put in their own time and effort to help build WORK[etc] thus far.

Why we are doing this:

  • The WORK[etc] product is now light years from when we launched it in properly in June 2008.  Hell, it is actually useful now and not nearly as frustrating  as it was in the early days.
  • It does Projects Management, CRM, billing and a whole lot more, in the single web application.  But it is priced the same and in many chases cheaper, than web applications that perform only one function.
  • We’ve repeatedly heard from customers that they initially ignored WORK[etc], considering it too cheap to be a viable, quality solution.
  • We have a very real focus on delivering customer support from real people in real time.  Next year I  want to move this to 24/7/365 support, available via email, IM and voice.  This is just not achievable with the current pricing structure.
  • We’re bored of being continuously compared to 37Signals Basecamp and a bunch of other single-purpose web apps.  We’re distinctly different to those products, yet our current pricing only reinforces the comparison.  We’re closer to an ERP for Small Business.

So, I haven’t finalised the detail yet, only that it will be rolled out with a new web site launch; either late in December or early January.  Anyone with a paid up account before that date will be grandfathered, including any new users they add to that account.

Projects is in Beta.

The new project management is now available, but you must switch on the beta option under your account.

Outlook Add-in

I’m also playing around with a specification for an Outlook add-in that would make it easier to attach an email to a contact, project, sales lead or customer support case, as well as allow contacts and calendar synchronization with Outlook (the standalone Outlook client, not Exchange server).

The discussion is taking place here if anyone wants to contribute and influence development.

Draft Roadmap

A few people have been asking for our development process and roadmap.  Any existing WORK[etc] customer will know that we’ve been progressively working through all the WORK[etc] modules; adding features, improving usability and streamlining workflows. So far we’ve completed the Contacts module and released the project management module as a beta.  This is a very rough schedule of what we’ll be working on over the next few months.

  • Timesheets & Calendar – right now…
  • Leads and sales management – end of November, December
  • Outlook Addin – December
  • Email marketing – Jan , Feb
  • Alerts & Permission – late Jan
  • Billing – Feb, March

During the next few months we’ll also be releasing a fixes to any number of small annoyances, glitches and other sources of low-level frustration.  Geoff will be announcing these on the product announcement forum.

New Server

We added a new max-spec SQL server to our mix at Peer1 the week before last.  Everyone has seen dramatic improvements in performance across the board.

That’s all for now, but subscribe to this blog and watch out for  a time tracking beta announcement next week.

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