This summer, Daptiv’s acquisition by Parallax Capital Partners created a fair amount of chatter by the industry’s water coolers. The acquisition didn’t distract the team from the new release of Daptiv PPM. I caught up with the new CEO, John Baldwin, to find out the latest.
“The Greenhouse is a part of our online community where we give members the opportunity to ‘plant’ their ideas for how Daptiv can improve our product and services,” he says. “In doing so, the idea is then exposed to the community members who have the chance to vote, comment and nurture the idea. By collaborating with the community, the team at Daptiv cultivates all the ideas and we do our best to incorporate them into our product roadmap.”
Daptiv releases new features monthly, with a significant release once a quarter. The Greenhouse gives the team the opportunity to find out what is really important to the user community. “With the Greenhouse, we can best serve our user base through developing new applications for our on-demand PPM technology,” Baldwin adds. The initiative caught the eye of Business Week, and Daptiv is proud that the Greenhouse was recognized as one of the first significant efforts to collaborate with customers on product innovation, back in 2008.
It’s the Greenhouse effect that has led to the new features in the Summer 2010 release. And what the customers love, the Daptiv team loves too. “Our favorite new feature has to be the inline edit capability for editing and managing project tasks,” Baldwin says. “This new feature represents a significant departure from how users have traditionally had to deal with forms and popup screens to perform their daily project management functions. We have incorporated many of the concepts and suggestions from our customer base into the feature, and actively engaged some key users early in the design and development cycle to ensure that this new capability will meet their expectations. We believe our inline edit functionality will be a huge leap forward in usability and efficiency for our customers.”
The press release bills the Summer 2010 version as featuring a “powerful new Web 2.0 customer experience.” “This new Web 2.0 experience significantly streamlines the experience of managing a project schedule by providing project managers the ability to make edits to tasks while working in the outline, without the need to navigate away or open additional windows,” says Baldwin.
Inline editing is a huge improvement for the user experience, but it’s not really the Web 2.0 revolution I was expecting. Web 2.0, as I define it in my new book, is a shift away from brochure-ware websites to those that allow readers the opportunity to participate somehow. Personalisation and ease of use are the other fundamental principles of Web 2.0, so the changes to Daptiv do fall under this umbrella.
“The user interface and editing improvements introduced in the Daptiv PPM Summer ’10 release are the first of a series of updates designed to empower users and enable better collaboration on projects and business initiatives,” Baldwin acknowledges. “We know that users expect and deserve a project management solution that is just as easy and intuitive to use as the consumer software they use in their personal lives.”
The inline editing is a nice function. If you want to edit task information, simply double-click in the cell for the value they want to edit to enter edit mode, similar to the experience with Google Spreadsheets.
The functionality makes significant use of the interfaces available in today’s internet browsers. This includes dynamic menus, which scroll at the flick of the mouse, and inline widgets that pop out of the grid for editing complex field types.
The autumn release should show more of the direction that Daptiv is taking with user interface improvements. “While there are always multiple initiatives under way, a current priority for us is refining our user interface to be industry leading,” says Balwin. “The summer release included our initial release for the inline edit capability for project tasks; and over the next few months you’ll see that interface expanding in both breadth and depth with the addition of new fields and field types, advanced sorting and filtering to allow quick access to critical data, and the emergence of this usability enhancement throughout other areas of the application.”
We’ll have to see how this increased functionality helps users collaborate more effectively on their projects – and how much more of Web 2.0 Daptiv takes on board.