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The WORKetc Liquid Road Map

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Late last year I tentatively started announcing roadmaps for WORK[etc].  I say tentatively for a few reasons:

  • We keep a mostly fluid development plan as WORK[etc] is wide and deep; a full range of business management tools each covering wide spectrum of functionality.  When we update one tool, it will inevitably impact on other areas.  This means timelines will change and priorities shift focus.  I wanted to avoid disappointing people by saying we were working on one feature, only to see that feature delayed because of changing priorities and unexpected roadblocks.
  • We actively encourage everyone to participate on the suggesting new feature ideas, discussing and voting for those features.  As we are updating one area of WORK[etc], we’ll also identify a bunch of other ideas from this forum that make sense to implement at the same time.  Obviously it is more efficient to implement one big update project, rather than many little ones.
  • Openness and Competition.  Being totally transparent in terms of product development and direction opens us up to a whole lot of scrutiny, even before we have written a single line of code.Additionally an open road map gives “competitors” clear insight into where we are heading.  I use the word competitors cautiously as I’m really am more focussed on product improvement rather than watching over my back.  However, it would pain me to announce some cool new idea and then only to see someone else get it out the door sooner!

So – with these three concerns at top of mind, late last year I started publishing a brief over view of where our product development focus lays. What has surprised me is that so far there has only been encouragement and excitement around open road-mapping.  People I guess really do want to know what is going on behind the scenese.  They are excited by the possiblities and comforted to know that progress is being made on the features that they want to see.

With this in mind, I’ve included the liquid roadmap for 2011.  The goal is to keep this updated every 4 to 6 weeks and to encourage more discussion over at the feature suggestion forum and of course this is going to change massively and is definitely not set in stone… please keep this in mind.

What it isWhere it’s at today:Expect to see it around:Why it is important
Switch to using sprites on WORK[etc] interfaceStaging ServerJanuarySprites mean a web browser need make fewer requests to show a page.  WORK[etc] will load faster and feel snappier to use.
Mail Server UpdatesBetaJanuaryWe need to do everything possible to ensure emails that WORK[etc] sends on behalf of customers arrive at their intended destination. This is best achieved by leveraging from the experience and technology of a specialist provider. A tangible outcome from this will mean no throttling on email campaigns and the ability to view if a transaction email (ie emailed invoice) was received by your customer.
New project management module.Beta ReleaseJanuaryA whole lot of new features already covered here.
New time sheet module.Beta ReleaseJanuaryA whole lot of new features already covered here.
New calendars module.Beta
Release
JanuaryA whole lot of new features already covered here.
Granualar PermissionsScopingMarchAbility to set with absolute precission what your employees can view. Important because every business has different levels of privacy. WORK[etc] was originally designed with a somewhat naïve and utopian view that everyone needs to see everything in order to deliver the best collaborative experience. We now know that isn’t the case and will be making permissions easier to manage and granualar to apply if required. Awesome – discussion here.
Granualar AlertsScopingMarchAlerts are critical to staying up-to-date with what is going on, but too many alerts quickly manifests into that that horrible drowning feeling we’ve all experienced at some point. Granualar alerts will provide absolute controlover what alerts are delivered to which people and on what triggers.
New CRM & Sales Automation features and toolsScopingAprilThis is a massive update of the CRM module that will include a number of advanced features such as expanded custom fields, saved views, sales process templates and the ability to choose what data columns you want to see in tables. I’ll cover these off in a blog post shortly, but they are a massive advance in terms of functionality.
Web FormsScopingAprilImproved usability, easier to impliment, custom fields, customise the look and feel.
Outlook pluginScopingAprilWork for most people means constant email and a large chunk of that is in Outlook. This add-on will let you interact with WORK[etc] without ever having to leave Outlook. Synchronise calendars & contacts, update projects, create new sales leads and view a contact’s activtiy history.  Outlook Addin discussion here.
At R&D stage, continuing investigation and information gathering from customers.
Contribute @ the Feature Suggestion forum.
Mobile client and/or enhanced mobile interface.  Discuss here.
Usability / User Experience – we have around ~200 small inconsistencies we are working through.
Documents revision
Billing and Finance revision
Customer portal revision
Dashboard and Reporting revision
Customer Support revision
Email marketing revision
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