Last week we talked about the dreaded question, “Am I using it right? I suggested that as activeCollab users, we forget about the “right” way, and seek to find the way that works for us.

One major roadblock I often see when talking with people is that it’s easy to get hung up on the names of features — and miss out on the benefits of the function.

This week’s tip…

Forget about the names. Focus on what each “function” can do for you and your team!

Here’s what I mean: What comes to mind when you hear the word Ticket? It depends on who you ask. The concept of Tickets is a popular one in the Customer Support world, and because of this, a lot of activeCollab users can be confused about the value of, or even dismiss Tickets altogether. Most of us have some sort of experience with Tickets. The first thing that may come to mind is “Trouble Tickets”, but what if we removed the name of this feature for just a few minutes and reviewed the functions for what they bring to the table? Could you and your team, or clients approach these differently?

With each of our new nameless “mystery objects” we can….

1. Start with a main body area to post content, i.e. questions, copy, attachments, notes, links, images, etc.

2. Associate this mystery object to a category, milestone, due date.

3. Assign a person, or multiple persons…. one of them being ultimately responsible. And they will get an email notification when they are assigned.

4. Subscribe people for future updates and notifications even if they aren’t assigned to it – great for monitoring progress.

5. Reply to the email notifications to send in feedback, attachments, or give approval on the content of the notifications and it will be added to the running commentary on the thread.

6. Easily get back to the main content and review the history of work and comments related to this mystery object right from an email notification link.

7. On top of all this, add a related task for ourselves or someone else, and set a due date with the same great email notifications and automated reminders x days from the due date.

8. Mark it as completed and it will be automatically be available in an archive for future reference.

9. Not only this, but you could have an unlimited number of these objects as part of a larger object called a Project!

10. Ok I may have gotten carried away…. but there’s more… and I’m sure you could come up with some of your own too.

Sooo… do you think you could put a feature like this to use?

Now are we seeing the the same limitations as we did when we just thought of these as Tickets?

Are your team or clients seeing limitations based on the names of features like Tickets, Milestones, Tasks…. even Projects? Did you know that getting past this could be as easy as renaming it with a Localization file?

What’s a Localization file? Here’s another great example…the Localization file’s purpose is to support multiple languages i.e. German, Spanish, Dutch, etc…. But if we don’t get hung up on the original purpose, we can leverage the value of the feature! After all, aren’t we really talking about “language” anyway? It’s about getting your activeCollab installation speaking your “language” that makes it most usable.

Take some time to think if naming alone may be holding you back. Could “Requests” be a better name for Tickets in your environment? It was for one of our clients. What about any of these… Subprojects, Articles, Missions, Campaigns, or [insert your ideas here]? How about you? Do you need to find a new name for Tickets? OR just a new perspective so you can jump in and use it differently? Apply the same principles to Projects, Milestones, Pages, and Tasks too!

I hope this inspires you to ignore the “names” of features and focus on the “function”! With activeCollab there are so many possibilities to create a system that is perfect for the way you want to work, these suggestions are just the beginning. If you need help with a new perspective or optimizing for your needs — I’d be happy to help you more in a Rock Your Workflow session or three :)

BACK TO SCHOOL BONUS: For all my fellow students of life and perpetual learners… We’re offering a Rock Your Workflow special right now in the spirit of Back to School. Just enter the promo code BACK2WORKFLOWSCHOOL — and you’ll get 20% off on Rock Your Workflows (and anything else in your cart too!)