activeCollab is changing, and you get to help decide it’s future!

If you’ve been buried in your work like most busy project managers you may not stay up to date with all things activeCollab — so you may not have seen or heard about the Next version that’s been leaked out via a Teaser Video from the activeCollab team.   If not, you can see it here.

But even more important than the teaser, is the opportunity to let your voice be heard regarding their newest version. If you haven’t seen this yet, activeCollab has sent out a recent survey to get feedback from customers on the future of the Self-Hosted edition.

For those using the Self-hosted version, it’s especially important as it will give the activeCollab team direct feedback on what influenced you to choose the self-hosted solution to be sure your needs are being considered.

Go ahead — Take the survey now, I can wait :).  Or, read on for more thoughts on the next version.

Click to Fill Out the ActiveCollab Survey

It’s Getting Exciting

We’re all excited about this new version. We’ve always been early adopters ourselves, as are many of you. But, as you can imagine for us as 3rd party developers who build on top of another platform — there’s always an uneasy feeling that comes along with the excitement of a new major release.  There’s much anticipation as we all wait to see what’s changed so we can begin the potentially labor intensive process to update our modules.

Of course, we want to get our hands on the new version to try it out! But we also want to be sure we can continue to solve those problems you came to us to solve — so you can continue to manage your projects smoothly without interruption.

So much has changed in the activeCollab landscape over the years, especially in the last one – with the introduction of the AC Cloud to support those who wanted an easy out of the box solution without having to setup their own hosting . As easy as it can be to setup AC, it’s still intimidating for some users, so it’s nice they have this platform to get started.

By the way, hosting activeCollab isn’t as hard as some make it look— you may be surprised to learn that we host our own activeCollab for less than $10 per month.  If you need help with this, definitely reach out.

When it comes to Self-Hosting vs Cloud, for some users as many of you already know, the self-hosted version is the only option. There are some key benefits of activeCollab that are only available in the Self-hosted edition….

  • Company policies that require hosting on in-house servers for privacy and security reasons
  • The ability to tweak existing features in order for them to fit the workflow
  • Off the shelf 3rd party modules that can be downloaded and installed
  • The ability to develop your own fully custom new features or workflow solutions that go beyond what’s available via the API

This is especially important for those needing all out custom solutions like the ones we’ve built for Enterprises, Hotel Groups, Restaurants, Startups, Universities and more.

 

Staying True to the Origin of activeCollab

The self-hosted solution was activeCollab’s origin — In my opinion, their key differentiator in many ways as very few solutions allowed for customization or even the availability of downloadable add-on modules.   It’s without a doubt the reason why we started using it in the beginning ourselves — many years before we became ActiveLabs to help others be more productive with it.

I bet it’s part of your story too — after all, you are receiving this email or reading this blog post because somewhere along the way you were looking for modules, custom development help or consulting assistance from us.   And we’re very thankful to activeCollab and the A51 team for making such a flexible self-hosted solution for our own needs and also for the community that’s grown around the app. Not to mention the business, we’ve been able to build dedicated to helping others in this community.

 

The Good News

What’s great, is that even with the addition of the AC Cloud — activeCollab has acknowledged the continued need for the self-hosted edition, and that’s amazing to see.  With the growth of the cloud, I’m sure there could be the temptation to leave the self-hosted version behind for greener SAAS pastures, but I respect that they are recognizing their roots and making a renewed commitment to the self-hosted users that helped them get to where they are today.  It says a lot.

 

What’s Coming Up in the Next Version?

Now here’s where you come in. There’s a big part you can play in the Next edition — call it activeCollab 5 or activeCollab Next — we’re not sure.

Yes, they are keeping it that hush, we haven’t seen it beyond what you’ve seen in the teaser, which is hard for us.  You’ve been reaching out to ask us, ‘Will my module be compatible? How about that custom development we did, will it be hard to update?’

And unfortunately, the answer is –  We don’t knowbecause we don’t know how much the codebase has changed.  But even more unsure is the state of customization altogether.

 

The Future of 3rd Party Modules & Customization

Why do I say this?  Because it seems this question is a high priority on the survey —- that’s where we need your help.  As a power activeCollab user, you may be relying on many 3rd party modules from our colleagues in this space like AppsMagnet, UsWebstyle, ZingDev, Triotech, ActiveCollabMod and others, not to mention our own modules or any customization since it’s all done with modules. I know WE do, along with many of our consulting clients.

We even have some modules you’ve never seen before that haven’t been released because of the unsure nature of the activeCollab marketplace over the last while.  I know my other colleagues in the space have probably felt very similar over the last few years. They are mostly maintaining modules rather than investing in new solutions because the ecosystem of the community is a difficult one with an ever changing landscape and less and less exposure available to new customers with the focus on the Cloud and the removal of the Downloads area from their new website, along with the recent announcement that the public forums on the site will soon be discontinued.

And for those of you who use them, you know that they can make a big difference in the day to day operation when you find one that fits your workflow needs.

 

You Owe it to Yourself

I’m not asking you to help us by manipulating your survey answers, we just want to be sure your voice is heard!   — You owe it to yourself to know that your vote is in for what is important to you.  Take the survey, because it matters to you and those like you who rely on the flexibility of the self-hosted version with custom solutions and 3rd party modules…My concern is that, those who invest in these improvements are often busy improving their business and not always the ones who have the time or interest in filling out surveys.

 

What if Add-ons and Modules didn’t exist?

I understand, we are all busy and doing another survey isn’t exactly at the top of our list, but please don’t  miss the importance of this.

If modules don’t exist, activeCollab becomes like every other web-based project management system – you rely on the development team to know what’s best for you.   And if that happens, those of us who rely on customization to make our workflows actually WORK will be back to work arounds and external api solutions that mean going outside the system for a solution. Many of our customers came from other tools like Basecamp that aren’t customizable and they ended up stuck doing workarounds and were tired of it.

I want what’s best for activeCollab and for all those using it — sure we wouldn’t be here today as ActiveLabs if they didn’t support 3rd party modules so you may think I’m biased. But I’m more biased by the day-to-day interactions with customers like you, who use our products and many of the other 3rd party modules to work smarter by smoothing out their workflows.   And by those that have relied on the flexibility of custom developed modules whether created internally or with our help to go beyond the One Size Fits All solutions out there and really support their specific workflows.

To all those who like to keep their options open, you know who you are — cast your vote for the benefit of all activeCollab users.

We hope activeCollab will continue to maintain support for 3rd party modules and custom development — and even continue to expand the API to allow us to do more within the framework to help you to collaborate!

Thanks for taking the time to read this today and if you have your own thoughts and concerns about activecollab Next/ 5.x please share any comments or questions below  or contact us privately.

And again if you haven’t filled out the survey yet, please take a couple minutes to do that now.

 

 

Custom Fields Support in Task Templates

We’re happy to announce that Task Templates now support activeCollab‘s built-in Custom Fields — thanks to your requests, keep the feedback coming!

Now you can save values in the Custom Fields on templates and have them auto filled when selecting a Task Template and pass along some valuable custom information relevant to the task.

Try it out, let us know if you have any questions.

Greg K, tried out Task Templates and here’s what he had to say —

Great execution of a very important time saving feature. Previously we had a lot of reusable assignments that we had placed in a “Reusable Assignments” Project.  We used the “copy to” function to do the same thing with a lot more keystrokes as well as a disruption of work flow. Now a couple of keystrokes and done.

Buy the Task Template module today at the low price of $39 for a limited time.

Need to download an update? Login to our Members area here

 

Does Working Together Yield Weaker Results?

I read an interesting article today about The Collaboration Paradox over at 99U — they touch on the topic of whether collaboration leads to more or less productivity within teams.

Personally I’ve always had the feeling that 1+1=2 or even 1+1 = 3 but there’s definitely factors where this equation breaks down. In the post, they explore and deconstruct this with some valuable insight on where collaboration normally suffers and how to be sure you are avoiding some common pitfalls.

A key takeaway that’s very relevant in project management with activeCollab or any software…

“Delineating responsibilities at the start of a project gives everyone at the table direction and a sense of ownership.”

Ron Friedman via 99U

Worth a read!

Read the full article The Collaboration Paradox @ 99U

 

And if you haven’t seen 99U before, they put out some great articles and resources like the book: Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

 

What tips do you have for keeping collaboration from weakening your results?

How to Bulk Add a User to Multiple Projects in activeCollab

You’ll often find a lot of interesting features hiding within the Options button in AC — this time we’re looking for the ‘Add to Projects’ link. Go to the user’s profile page and click Options then click Add to Projects to reveal a bulk add menu with permission options.

Find the User’s Profile – Go to Options > Add to Projects

Find the User Add to Projects’ />

Now Add to Projects – Click Select All or Choose Individual Projects and Set the Permissions

Now Add to Projects -  Click Select All or Choose Individual Projects and Set the Permissions

1. – Note the gear, you can quickly set all the permissions at one time using this method…

OR… Choose a Project Role — If You’ve Got Project Roles Created You’ll See This View

OR... Choose a Project Role -- If You

If you don’t have Project Roles setup you can learn more here

Life’s Short, Don’t Repeat Yourself – Introducing Task Templates for activeCollab

Are you setting up the same tasks EVERYDAY and wish you could just choose a template from a list instead of writing it up from scratch each time?

 

On the activeCollab forums, DogCoaches asked

“Is there a way (or module) to create a task template with a set of Subtasks that can be chosen when creating a new task?

We have the same path to follow with certain tasks, and it would be great if we don’t need to create the same subtasks over and over again.”
Little did they know we were already in the labs working on a solution… now they can start building a library of Task templates to choose from when creating a new Task!

No need to create a whole Project Template for simple routine repeatable tasks that you add to a client’s project and assign –we’re talking easy!

Just select New Task from Template, and subtasks are added automatically.   That’s not all, like magic when you pick a new due date —  subtask dates take care of themselves (following your original timeframe)!

What about assignees?

 

No worries, do you have a specialist who should always do a certain task?  Assign them to the template, and they will be auto assigned.   If they aren’t part of the project yet, you’ll be alerted so you can quickly add them to take part in the work needed for the Task.

Bonus: You can switch the assignees and dates before creating the Task so you don’t have to go back and make changes after people are notified (a common problem when using the “Copy to Project” feature…  if you’ve tried this as a solution, congrats you are a power user but we all know it’s merely a work around when it comes to day to day use).

We know, you’ve got to ask… What about Permissions?!

activeCollab power users’ know right away to ask ‘what about permissions?’  With Task Templates no special permission is needed, if you can create a task — you can create a New Task from a Template unlike the often recommended Copy to Project feature that requires the special “Manage Projects” permissions that many team members’ just CAN’T HAVE due to privacy.  Say no to complicated work arounds and frustrating permissions and hello to Task Templates! 

To get started….

All you need to do is create a new project to store your Task Templates, add some Tasks (the way you always create tasks –no learning required), add a category if you’d like for easy organization and you are ready to get started using templates today!

We’re confident this will become one of your favorite features, like that employee of the month taking work off your plate!

Only $99 $39



(for a limited time)

 

Start Creating Task Templates Today

I’d like to learn more (with Videos & Screenshots)

What do you want us to build next?

Nathan

activeCollab addict and founder of ActiveLabs. 



P.S. – You’ll love Task Templates or your money back! Remember, as with all our activeCollab products we
offer a
 100% satisfaction guarantee, try it for 60 days, if you find it’s not making your team more productive — get a full refund!

P.P.S – Have a quick question about activeCollab, managing projects, virtual teams? You can also find me on Clarity.fm

 

 

Keeping busy… activeCollab browser extensions, modules updates & more

Phew… we’ve been working hard this month! And we bet you’ve been working hard too, so we wont take much of your time. Just a quick update — all our modules are compatible with activeCollab 4.2.4

Speaking of modules, this month we were busy adding feature requests from customers to our activeCollab browser extension EasyCollab — in the latest version we’ve added a bunch of new premium features for Chrome and Firefoxand now this week we’ve added Safari too!

Follow @EasyCollab on Twitter for the latest updates.

 

Adding a comment to the task from EasyCollab

Adding a comment to the task from EasyCollab

 

 

What do you want to see next? Send us a note in the comments if there’s something you wish activeCollab could do — we might just pick your idea to release for March!

Are you ready to make collaboration easier?

Introducing EasyCollab…

A new way to see and focus on what’s happening in your projects, in just one click from Firefox and Chrome without logging into your activeCollab! Why? Because we’ve found that even one more click can ruin your productivity by creating a disconnect between you and what needs to get done.

Not to mention how logging into your email to see a notification from activeCollab can send you and your team into a black hole of newsletters and social networking notifications instead of getting your work done.

EasyCollab Pro – Assignment List

With EasyCollab Pro, you’ve got a list of exactly what you need to do — with gentle notifications, to remind you to check in on recent activity right where you need it.

Assignments List Sort by

You may remember a couple weeks ago we invited a group of user’s to get an early look — well now’s your chance! Starting today for a limited time, EasyCollab Pro is available at one special price for your whole team! — 1 user or 100 users, just one low price of $79/year.

Setup is easy!

Within minutes your team can start seeing their lists of Tasks grouped by Project and Milestone — and can easily dig into a more advanced view with features like Filtering, Sorting and more.

See what you need to get done in a snap!

Filter by Label — To zoom in on areas of the workflow to batch your work – i.e. Knock out all the Feedback you need to get done.

Filter by Label

Filter by Project — Drill into a specific project on the fly, to stay focused and limit distractions!

Filter by Project

And more! Plus even more too come…

Are you ready to improve your productivity?


We hope you’ll join us in making collaboration easier by picking up EasyCollab today at this special limited time only price.

If you have any questions, please reply and we’d be happy to help.

Nathan

P.S. – Remember, as with all our activeCollab products we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee, try it for 60 days, if you find it’s not making your team more productive — get a full refund!

Updated modules for activeCollab 4.1.3 available now

This just in from the Labs!

Just a quick update that all our active modules are available for the latest activeCollab 4.1.x version that was released this week!

  • Cloud Backup
  • Download All Files
  • Private Milestones
  • Quickify (including Quick Update)

If you have an active license, download your updates in our Members area today!

Not too fast!
But remember, you may want to wait a few more days for all 3rd party modules to be compatible and tested if you are upgrading your production version. We generally recommend clients wait about a week when upgrading production environments to be sure new releases and 3rd party module functionality is stable.

Note: For your benefit all our modules are tested via rigorous web automation testing now to ensure compatibility with the latest versions before being added to our members area.

Thanks for the opportunity to enhance your collaboration efforts! We are looking forward to your feedback on this new release from activeCollab.

Stay tuned, we’ll have some news on new modules coming soon — if you are reading this and are curious, contact us about being an exclusive beta tester on some new products.

A Case for Doing Things

“It’s the task that’s never started that’s the most tiresome” – Gretchen Rubin

Credit: doornob Youtube:Stop Motion – Biblioteca Tetris

“To do, or not to do, that is the question…” Is your daily inner monologue a rephrasing of this familiar sounding prose?

If your process of deciding to do (or not do) something is growing wearily long and drawn out with seemingly relevant considerations, clutter, what ifs, and personal insecurities … If you are overcome by downright fears that might keep you from even being willing to consider the thought of doing even the smallest things … consider this:

The case for doing things is…. you will have done it.

” A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life doing nothing.”  – George Bernard Shaw

No, I’m not talking about checking your email or should you go out to the usual restaurant tonight.  We’re talking about the stuff slightly (or way) beyond your comfort zone, or that goal that feels like it might be out of reach (or only possible in an alternate universe).

Do those things.

“What one does is what counts, not what one has the intention of doing” – Pablo Picasso

Fast forward to what triggered these thoughts today… soon you’ll have done many things, and when you see the results… new processes you have in place that are running smoothly, the pictures from that trip you always wanted to take, an Evernote full of pages that make up your book,  thousands of people using your app, or maybe a long page of reviews by satisfied customers, readers or house guests …   like a number of these that hit me tonight, the emotions that flood over you as you reminisce might even inspire you to do yet another thing… like a blog post maybe? 😉

“The man who says it can’t be done shouldn’t interrupt the man who is doing it “ – Chinese Proverb

What will you stop adding to your to do list today… and just do?  Share in the comments so we can celebrate the doing of it with you.  If you have some collaboration goals that you need help with, let us know!

Feature Highlight: No More Back Tracking to Add People to Projects

Have you ever been focused on preparing a new task or discussion and suddenly go to send it off to your teammates realizing that they aren’t added to the project — if you’ve had this experience, you know what I mean! There’s no simple solution…

You’ve got to go through a bunch of frustrating steps…

  1. Copy your task title and description so you don’t lose it by accident
  2. Close the New Task Window
  3. Navigate to the Project overview screen
  4. Click on Manage People in the Project
  5. Find the User and Add them
  6. Go back to start the New Task process over again, copy your title and description…
  7. Attach any files you had added
  8. Then Select that person you didn’t have available in the first place to assign!
  9. If you feel this pain on a regular basis like I do and I know that I’m not the only – today is your lucky day, slipped quietly into ActiveCollab version 4.0.10’s release notes — Enhancement #7 is your answer to prayer.

    I’ve put together a quick video to highlight this feature, for everyone else who starts using AC today for the first time — they will enjoy this without knowing the pain of back tracking — this one’s for all the longtime users following the updates. See the video for more.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Wait… Before Upgrading….

    Just a note, follow our usual recommendations to upgrade in a Staging environment — you are allowed to make a copy of your current setup, that you can use to test on before upgrading your “Production” ActiveCollab environment — this will save you a lot of headaches. Version 4.x brings some important changes that affect your Roles & Permissions as well as Homescreens that you need to be sure fit your needs before upgrading. We are personally waiting to update many of our client’s AC installations until some adjustments and bugfixes are released.

    And with 4.0.10 specifically, please note that these changes to the Assignees area as well as other issues may affect some 3rd party modules — be sure to check with developers before upgrading. We’ll be running tests on all our AC4 compatible modules to be sure these are not affected and will post an update as well.

    Thanks for following! Share your favorite AC4 features in the comments…