Happy New Year!

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Here at Trackolade we are very excited for what 2014 will bring and are looking forward to launching a number of cool new features and improvements throughout the year. Additionally, like many others we appreciate the sense of “new beginning” that comes with celebrating the arrival of a new calendar year and especially enjoy taking the opportunity to resolve to achieve something truly spectacular over the next twelve months.

Setting, tracking and accomplishing goals is something our team highly values and as many are taking time to come up with New Year resolutions we thought we would share our perspective on achieving goals. While much has been written on how to define goals to enable their successful achievement this sort of advice is almost entirely focused on goal setting rather than goal achievement. In our experience the likelihood of one achieving their goals is less a factor of how well they are defined and more about how well they are remembered.

Those who are good at remembering goals are thinking about them and measuring progress towards their achievement. Common wisdom is to write goals down and put them where you can see and be reminded of them. Our advice is to embrace a less seldom used tactic and share your goals with people you trust. Let others help you keep your goals top of mind and be willing to share your progress about how well things are going.

This simple principle of goal sharing works just as well for groups as it does for individuals. Publically resolving to achieve something and tracking progress through completion has enabled us here at Trackolade to get organized, hold ourselves accountable to one another, measure progress, and most importantly celebrate achievements together.

If you find yourself looking for a collaboration tool to define, measure, and share your goals consider using Trackolade. May your year not only be filled with productivity but also success, joy, health and happiness.

Happy New Year!

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Trackolade + Box Integration!

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We are excited to announce our integration with Box.com. Box allows companies to have an online repository of files, structured in folders, that synchronizes to users’ local hard drives. Box is used by teams and individuals to keep all files centralized and accessible from any computer.

With the Trackolade/Box integration, users can now upload and share files directly from their Box account by attaching it directly to a task or a comment within a Trackolade project. Users can now make changes and updates to their Box documents and they will be instantly updated to the file that has been uploaded into Trackolade. This eliminates the need to repeatedly download and upload the latest versions of project documents.

How to get started: Link your Box account

Trackolade will communicate with your Box.com account to provide you with a list your Box documents and grant you access to documents you wish to upload into Trackolade. Below are instructions on how to link your existing Box.com account:

  1. Navigate to the Trackolade settings page by clicking on the “gear” icon. (second icon from the bottom in the left navigation bar)
  2. Click on the integrations tab.
  3. Click on the “Link Box” button and enter your Box account credentials.
  4. Authorize Trackolade to access your Box account.
  5. That’s it! Now you can attach Box files from Teambox.

Attaching a Box file

  1. You can attach a Box file to any task commenting your projects.
  2. Create a new task, or find an existing one.
  3. Click on the Box icon below the comment box.
  4. A popup window will open with your Box files. Click on the file you would like to attach. You can also add a comment in the text box.
  5. The popup window will close and you will now see those files attached.
  6. Optionally you can comment on this conversation or task.
  7. Click “Send” to upload your file.
  8. All done! Now members of this project will be able to download and edit these Box files by clicking on them.

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Feel free to contact us at info@trackolade.com if you have any questions! Let’s get organized!

The Trackolade Team

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Feature Showcase: Prioritizing Tasks Across Projects

At first appearance, Trackolade seems simple, and that is our goal. While this is great for new users who are not familiar with collaboration tools, it can be quickly underestimated for teams who are looking for a more robust solution. For that reason, we have decided to start a series of blog posts called “Feature Showcase” where we will highlight Trackolade features and share best practice advice. Today, we will explore the power of task prioritization via the drag and drop functionality.

Prior to implementing Trackolade at our web development and design company, Planidoo, one of the biggest problems we faced as a team was managing multiple projects across multiple team members. We needed a way to not only prioritize tasks within a particular project, but also prioritize tasks by team member across all of their projects. By doing so, everyone on the team would understand the priorities of each project, and also the priorities of their own work, ultimately leading to a more focused effort and increased efficiency.

For this reason, we implemented the capability for task lists to be sorted differently based on the filters provided. In the screen shot below, you can see an example of the drag and drop functionality being used within a project. Tasks can be prioritized within a project, which will be replicated to every member who views that projects task list.

DragandDrop

In addition to prioritizing tasks within the project, Trackolade users also have the capability to prioritize tasks assigned to them across all of the projects they belong to. To do this, simply navigate to the “members” page and click on the member to view a list of all the tasks assigned to them. This applies a filter which shows their tasks across all their projects. Keep in mind, you will always be able to see all of your tasks across all of the projects you belong to, but you may only see the tasks of other members related to the projects you share with them. Below is an example of my task lists for two projects I belong to.

SortAcrossProjects

Prioritizing tasks for a member has no effect on the prioritization of the task list within a project. We certainly find this functionality helpful and we encourage you to check it out if you are working on multiple projects with multiple team members. Feel free to contact us with any questions at info@trackolade.com

Let’s Get Organized!

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Trackolade Alternative: Mind Reading

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The Elusive Unicorn: Team Collaboration

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. One moment your project is moving along smoothly, and then suddenly you hit a stumbling block and things go off the rails, over-budget, or behind schedule. How did this happen? You think. How could we have missed the warning signs? Getting things back on track requires a ton of time-consuming, costly damage control and often involves making more than a few apologies. It’s a serious test of leadership and teamwork that every organization eventually experiences to some extent.

Common wisdom is that you can avoid this problem by sitting down with your whole team at the beginning of the project to agree on a shared vision. Identify your goals and objectives from the outset, and you’ll avert problems down the road.  It seems obvious, right? The problem is that getting, and keeping, all the members of a project on the same page is like the elusive unicorn of team collaboration. Even if everyone agrees at the outset on what you need to achieve your goals, once the starting line has faded into the past it’s only a matter of time before the team develops new ideas about the best way to get things done.  And don’t get me wrong, in  many ways this is a good thing. If everyone was forced to adhere rigidly to the same structure and process, that would stifle innovation and creativity, which are some of the most valuable assets of your business. But when people aren’t able to stay on the same page, it becomes difficult to spot small issues and head them off  before they become big problems. Projects can easily become derailed, and when you’re working with a deadline or limited resources, even the slightest deviation can lead to disaster.

Fortunately there is a cure! The best way to fend off the dreaded mid-project implosion is to ensure that you have good flow of information throughout the entire duration of the project, not just at the beginning, and not just through recurring “status meetings.” You should be checking in all the time, making sure that everyone is tracking the same goals and looking forward to the same objectives. Empower your team by giving them access to information and looping them into conversations that are relevant to them. The same thing goes for working with clients. By keeping clients connected to current project developments, you can avert surprises down the road. Projects are inevitably going to change and evolve as they move forward. Having everyone plugged into the right information ensures that people adapt with the project and maintain a cohesive unit.

For our team, the easiest way to achieve this level of communication has been through our product.  Trackolade keeps us on the same page, quite literally, by allowing us to keep all of our objectives, tasks, documents, and conversations in a transparent, centralized shared place.. As a project evolves, team members can see the changes unfold in real time. The information stream is highly visible and accessible to all team members, so no one gets left in the dark. It has revolutionized the way we work and made us a far more effective team.

So, if you find you and your team struggling to stay on the same page, grab the elusive unicorn by its horn and give Trackolade a ride. We have found it to be pretty magical.

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Let’s Get Organized!

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Today, we are proud to announce the launch of the Official Trackolade Blog! We are a team that has spent the past year pouring our souls into our product (which is still in Beta) and  we figured it would be nice to create a space of awesomeness, where we can share insights, tips and occasional distractions. Our goals for this blog are two fold 1) Provide Trackolade users and enthusiasts with updates about our company and product, and 2) Share refreshing content and perspectives for empowering collaboration.

It seems appropriate to start out by explaining who we are and why we built Trackolade.

Trackolade is an online collaboration tool  that provides teams a central workspace to easily organize, manage and track their work. Our team consists of designers, developers, marketers and project managers who have worked together at Planidoo, a web development company, over the past two years building awesome internet things for our clients. Our team spans two continents, has only met face-to-face twice and became far too familiar with the complications of team collaboration.

Working with multiple clients and multiple team members simultaneously quickly became an organizational nightmare. We were taking client requests via email, managing files across multiple shared folders, using spreadsheets to track time, and communicating urgent items via phone and instant messenger. Not to mention, videos of kittens yawning seemed to always make their way into long email threads related to our projects. As we began to expand our team and services, we found ourselves spending more and more time sifting through the web of data that had been spewed across our “collaboration tools”.

We tried several web-based solutions in an attempt to cure the chaos of our collaboration, none of which seemed to satisfy the needs and desires of the entire team. The tools that offered a solution to everyone’s feature requests were riddled with complexity. The amount of training needed to adopt the “solutions” seemed equivalent to earning a PHD in project management. We finally said to ourselves, “why should we have to settle for an existing solution?” A few days later, the concept of Trackolade was born.

We needed an application that was easy-to-use, easy-to-share and easy-to-understand yet still powerful enough to achieve everyone’s requirements. We designed the interface to be simple making features easily discoverable without being thrown in your face at once. This allows clients and users to easily navigate and contribute to the workspace without compromising your teams’ desired workflow.

Within a few months, we had built a minimal viable product to begin testing the application internally. Upon implementation, our overall productivity had significantly increased, our work was far more organized, and our collaboration, transparency and communication with our clients had dramatically improved. We knew we were onto something, and vowed to continue building and improving Trackolade so we could share it with others.

We know we’re not the only group of people collaborating, planning or working together who have experienced disorder, confusion and even anarchy. Our reasons for releasing Trackolade into the world are to help those who experienced our pains and to challenge ourselves with something new, discovering the boundaries of our capabilities. We do not have investors and do not claim to be project management experts – we are simply doers who want to work more efficiently together as a team. If that sounds like you we hope our story inspires you, and we hope that Trackolade will empower you like it has us. We encourage you to sign up and try it out today, or tomorrow…or whenever you’re ready!

Let’s get organized!

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Trackolade (not to be confused with lemonade) is a project collaboration software that allows teams to easily organize, manage and track their work in a central place. Sign Up or Learn More, It's Free.
Have questions, concerns, thoughts, ideas?
Contact us at info@trackolade.com or throw us tweet @Trackolade