Archive for :2013

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…

Feature Highlight: Quick Bulk Editing a.k.a. CTRL + Click

Bulk editing in activeCollab

Bulk editing in activeCollab

If you’ve used ActiveCollab for long, you’ve had those aha moments where you discover a feature hidden deep in the UI that saves the day or at the very least makes your life a lot easier going forward… but… this is one of those hidden features, you’ll never discover by poking around in the UI… unless you just happen to be addicted to exploring your shortcut keys.

Mimicking some of your common desktop features, the CTRL + CLICK reveals some bulk management features like that hidden power in your favorite video game — an easter egg of sorts — that when you find it, will put a smile on any project manager’s face. Oh you mean I don’t have to change the status on each individual task? I don’t have to move these tasks to a milestone one by one… or… now I can easily correct the mistake a client made by not adding a category to their file uploads.

All this with just a click of a button — and a keyboard shortcut!

Checkout the screenshots below for more handy tips where CTRL + CLICK can unlock clever new features in AC3

Bulk Editing in the Projects list

Projects_list

Bulk Editing in the Tasks List

Task_List

Bulk Editing in the File List

File_List

Looking for a feature you can’t find? Ask us in the comments, who knows… maybe what you need is already hidden just waiting for you! Or we can build a custom solution just for you, I mean… that IS what we do solving workflows in activeCollab! Book a quick chat

Projects can be unpredictable… and that’s OK

keep calm and expect the unexpectedWell, if there is one thing predictable about projects… it’s that they are unpredictable.

Maybe we could argue that the people, places and things that are involved in projects are really the ones that throw off any sense or notion that things will go as planned, but in the end what’s most important is that we know… we accept it and prepare for it.

Now that we know, what can we do about it?

Some book titles conveniently come to mind right away… Don’t sweat the small stuff and Expect the unexpected …. the theme here being: Focus on your perspective and creativity to take on a challenge. Since it’s not humanly possible to be prepared for everything, you can still be in principle… “Ready for anything”

I find the more I accept it and set my expectations, the better equipped I am for the changes in direction, climate and velocity of a project. We all want things to go smoothly but allowing for some flexibility, can go a long way to reducing stress levels, creating better long term business relationships …and probably at home too. *I’ve yet to see someone who didn’t have problems with at least a little cross contamination between work and home life when it comes to stress… maybe you could be the first? 😉

What are some ways we try to expect the unexpected while not sweating the small stuff?

  • Leaving yourself some breathing room when scheduling — even just thinking “maybe this project might not follow my rigidly set plan” could help
  • Being realistic about projects from the beginning and not taking on something with a deadline you can’t or don’t want to meet (yes, we’re talking about stress again here)
  • Don’t write checks that a certain unmentionable part of your body can’t cash 😉
  • Get to know yourself and your team better — the less that is unexpected, the less you have to guess what to expect.
  • Apologize when you see that you have been the cause of a delay – sweeping it under the rug doesn’t help. Promise to do better next time. But get it resolved quickly.
  • Communicate ( Just being honest, this is the hardest one for me — I’m working on it – I don’t like letting people down, and sometimes forget to communicate until I know the answers that are holding things up )
  • This last one might seem counter intuitive — but sometimes the best thing to keep from sweating the small stuff, is to get away from it all and do something else you love… come back fresh and ready to handle the twists and turns of the project. For me, that’s basketball, yoga, reading or a nap(that’s sounds like another blog post, the wonders of exercise and power naps — stay tuned).

So what’s your perspective?…

  • Do you expect projects to go smoothly?
  • Do you build a little room into your projects for the unexpected?
  • When a project takes on a life of its own… how do you adapt?

The collaboration happens in the comments, share your thoughts… we all get a little better at expecting the unexpected.

Preparing for the 4th has paid off — activeCollab 4 that is!

For those itching for the latest update, just wanted you to know — we’ve been busy testing the developer pre-release version of AC4 and on this 4th of July weekend, we have some great news, all our modules passed with a clean bill of health :)

Actually, that’s not quite true — there were a couple changes that affected Cloud Backup and Private Milestones but we have nursed them back to full health.   Quickify and Download All Files just needed an AC4 signature update, so you’ll still need the updates for these too.

We don’t know for sure when AC4 is officially releasing, but you may have heard about it in a recent email from ActiveCollab so we wanted you to know we’re making sure when it does, all our modules will be up to date and waiting for you in the Members area.

Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend to all our US friends, and just a generally great weekend for the rest of you :)

If you are using the current AC 3.3.16 — not to worry, the latest AC 3.3.x versions are already tested and in the Members area.  There are currently no known issues after testing.  If you are having any issues, please let us know

P.S. — It’s a good idea to be sure all your 3rd party modules are ready for version 4, before clicking that upgrade button, you’ll be glad you waited.

Feature Highlight: New Flyout Projects List Filtering

activecollab Flyout Projects Filtering

If you’re like us, you’ve got more than enough projects in your activeCollab and suddenly that helpful flyout list — well, it’s just not so helpful anymore. Why? Because it’s full and overflowing off the bottom of the menu!

Not anymore, the AC team have released a great update in 3.3.13 that adds filtering to the top right of the menu (shown above)

activecollab group projects in menu

And that’s not all, if you go to your main Projects view and select the “Group by” icon — the flyout menu will also fall in line and do the same! This makes the menu incredibly useful, we’re thankful to the AC team for these types of quick wins in productivity.

activeCollab Project Menu Grouping

activeCollab Project Menu Grouping


We hope to see this toggle available on the flyout menu itself in the future, as it took a few mins after hearing about the feature in the release notes, to figure out that you had to change your main project page settings to take advantage of it. But who are we to look a gift horse in the mouth — thanks @activecollab team!

How to Apply Advanced Filters to Incoming Mail in ActiveCollab 3

@mtracey Asked on the activeCollab Forums, about using keywords and/or hashtags to filter tasks sent in via email to activecollab — here’s a quick video answer:
YouTube Preview Image

P.S. — After creating the video, I started thinking about how changing the subject line to include #helpdesk will change the threading if you are using Google Apps / Gmail for instance. Another method might be to use +helpdesk in the email address if your email supports it (Google Apps does). I just tested the theory and you could do [email protected] and have the filter setup to watch for this +helpdesk in the To address instead. See here for configuration: http://share.activelabs.ca/2013-01-07_1814.png

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Do you have questions? Let us know via the Contact page or point us to your question on the forums and we’ll do our best to help out!