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Welcome, PBworks Project Edition!

3 Jun

For most of us, work is a series of projects.

We’re always drawing up plans (some more formal than others) and trying to carry them out, usually as part of a team.

That’s why it’s not surprising that so many people use PBworks for project management.  After all, if PBworks is a great solution for improving team productivity and work performance, shouldn’t it be great for project management?  And when we asked you what you were using PBworks for, “managing projects” was the #1 answer.

But in reality, while PBworks was helping a lot of people manage their projects, it was far from ideal.

Even within the company, where we use PBworks for pretty much everything (including project management), we felt the limitations of the product.  When I create a task, I want to be able to assign it to someone with a due date.  I don’t want to be forced to try to remember where I wrote down the task.  I want notifications to go out when the status of the task changes.  I don’t want to forget when things are due.  Yet manually managing projects with the old PBworks product had all of these drawbacks.

It’s a testament to the power of the product that despite these issues, so many were getting so much productivity out of it!

So over the past few months, we went back to the drawing board and started talking to our users.  We conducted dozens of interviews with consultants, PR firms, designers, marketers, and other project leads, including in-depth follow-ups.

As a result, we were able to design PBworks Project Edition, which represents a major leap in project functionality.  In our opinion, it’s the best tool anywhere for managing the vast majority of projects.

What makes Project Edition special?  Certainly we’re very proud of how we’ve created task and milestone functionality that is simple, elegant, and flexible.  But the real key is in combining project management with collaboration in a neatly integrated package.

Historically, project management separated the “management” from the real work.  Picture a Project Manager walking around with a clipboard, collecting status reports, and fiddling with Ganntt charts.  Great for putting a man on the moon, but not appropriate for all the informal, fast-moving projects that make up the bulk of our working days.

The first Web 2.0 project management tools broke the monopoly of the project manager, and put the ability to view and manage the project in the hands of the entire team, but they still didn’t help you do the real work.  You would log in, pick up your next task, then switch to another application or window to do the actual work.

Project Edition combines “management” with a collaborative platform that lets your team do their work faster and better.  Sometimes as much as 10 times better.

That’s the breakthrough we’re calling “organic project management,” since the management is a natural and organic result of doing the real work.

Our goal isn’t to displace the project management tools that people use for the 0.1% of projects that are formally managed (though you can certainly do that with Project Edition).  It’s to radically improve performance for the 99.9% of projects where the most sophisticated management tool is the Post-It pad.

You can try out Project Edition for free for 30 days and see what consulting firms and agencies like Deloitte and Ogilvy are raving about.  We’re confident that you’ll like it, even if you’ve never used any other project management tools in your work.  And if you have used other tools, we’re even more confident that you’ll find our product easier, faster, more flexible, and most importantly, more productive than anything you’ve used before.

Don’t just believe us…here’s what other folks are saying:

“Simple project management functionality, like workflow management, task assignment and milestones, is built right into the tool, so there’s no need to use a separate app like Basecamp to handle simple project management. This makes PBworks an attractive option for teams looking for a tool for collaborative project tasks, like document authoring, requirements gathering or design review. Task management is kept together with the actual task itself, which makes a lot of sense.”
WebWorkerDaily

“A busy manager could check the new project coordination workspace to get a quick status update, use the discussion feature associated with each task to communicate with a team member, or add a new task and assign it to someone – all without ever sending an email. This feature alone makes the new PBworks Project Edition very attractive.”
Future Changes

Get the scoop on Project Edition by visiting our Project Edition minisite.

Plan Your Next Event with PBworks

29 Apr

Mashable has a great little piece on how to plan and promote your next event with social media.  I particularly liked this paragraph:

PBworks: The wiki is an ideal platform for planning events – it’s easy to add notes, edit information, and organize content. Both mediawiki (the software that runs Wikipedia) and PBworks (formerly PBwiki) are good choices, but PBworks has been a favorite of organizers because of its business features, better document-sharing features, and RSS notifications.”

If you have an upcoming event, don’t forget to make PBworks part of it!

Example Wiki: SEOmoz Site Intelligence Services API

12 Feb

While we have an entire directory of public PBwikis you can peruse, we do sometimes like to single out a particular PBwiki for praise.

This week, I’d like to place the spotlight on SEOmoz and their Site Intelligence Services API wiki.

The team over at SEOmoz has done a terrific job of customizing and structuring their PBwiki. Let’s highlight some of the things they’ve done:

1) Custom domain name.

apiwiki.seomoz.org is a perfect domain for this site; even just reading the link tells you what it’s going to be about.

2) Custom logo and colors.

Using the SEOmoz logo and matching colors instantly establishes the identity of the wiki.

3) Extremely clear and informative FrontPage.

Weighing in at three paragraphs and five bullet points, the FrontPage does a great job of conveying the essential information, all above the fold to eliminate any need for scrolling.

4) Prominent contact information.

Instructions on how to get help or get in touch are right there on the FrontPage.

5) Critical top-level navigation incorporated into the SideBar.

Bonus points for bolding the “Getting more help” link so that it’s obvious where the confused should turn.

Of course, we already knew that the folks at SEOmoz had good taste…just look at who they gave their Web 2.0 Award for “Best Hosted Wiki”!

Productivity is the new black

7 Nov

With everyone worried about the economy, now is the perfect time to focus on increasing your productivity.

If you’re a business owner, being more productive with everyday work will give you the time to think about how you can shift your strategy to account for the new environment.

If you’re working for someone else, being more productive will improve your job security.

If  you’re independently wealthy and kicking back on your yacht, being more productive will allow you to visit more tropic islands and plan more parties.*

Many of our customers report getting as much as one extra hour a day of productivity from organizing their teams with PBwiki–what would you do with an extra hour per day?

* If this is you, make sure you add us to the invitation list.  We work pretty hard here, and could use the R&R.

Driving adoption of your PBwiki (5-minute video)

24 Oct

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about how to drive adoption of your PBwiki in your organization.

Below, I’m including a 5-minute video on tips for successful adoption, plus some new tools we’ve created to make it easy for you to share PBwiki with your co-workers, students, or friends.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1869970&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1

Wiki Adoption from PBwikiWebinars on Vimeo.

Video Shortcuts

0:22 — What to expect when you deploy your wiki

0:58 — Three Steps to Success
– Starting with a core team
– Put yourself in your users’ shoes
– Weave your wiki into others’ workflow

1:14 — Go bottom up and horizontal!

1:26 — Wiki adoption patterns: Top down, bottom-up, sideways

1:38 — Avoid Blank Page Syndrome

1:44 — The biggest determinant of wiki Success

2:00 — Make logging in easier

2:16 — Keep using your wiki for various purposes (not just a one-time event)

2:45 — Gentle onboarding: How to help new users get used to your wiki

3:20 — Weave wikis into workflow

4:16 — Other tactics to drive adoption of your wiki (include your wiki in your signature, “This should be on our PBwiki” stickers)

5:00 — Create editing cycles so users don’t hit a brick wall

Need more resources? The best place to learn more about driving adoption is our Driving Adoption wiki, which includes detailed tips and tricks, presentations, and case studies for integrating PBwiki into your organization.

How to encourage non-technical people to use a wiki

2 Oct

Most people at your company have never even heard of a wiki, so how do you get them to actually use it?

Raoul Kahn, Director of Product at Seesmic, had the same problem that many of you face at your own company. Here is his advice on encouraging wiki adoption – particularly with non-technical people.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=1868934&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=00ADEF&fullscreen=1
Raoul Kahn from Seesmic talks about PBWiki from PBwiki on Vimeo

The Breakdown

:35 – How to get non-technical people involved
1:56 – Three ways Seesmic uses their business wiki
2:46 – Who used the wiki immediately (hint: no one) and how to get people on board
3:22 – How to explain to non-technical people why and how to use a wiki.

“It’s made my job so much easier. I can look at one site, where ever I am and I know what’s going on”

How do you encourage people at your company to use a wiki?

Do wikis make a difference in the way students collaborate?

13 May

As more universities adopt web 2.0 technology, administrators want to know exactly how students are using these tool and what benefits they bring. Campus Technology addressed this question in their latest article “Wikis, Blogs, & More, Oh My!’

Here are two different ways Universities are using wikis, and their results:

Professor Kane at Boston University encourages students to submit their own exam questions via his Exam Question Workspace wiki. In a year, students submitted a whopping 600 questions overall.

At SUNY-Delhi, CIO Patrick Masson uses wikis to assist in policy decision-making. Masson says user response to this approach has been overwhelming. Over the course of one month, the school’s president made 73 edits, the coordinator of online learning made 58, the chair of budget and planning made 31, and the vice president of student housing made 29.

Here are three more suggestions from PBwiki educators: Continue reading

How one author uses PBwiki to let anyone edit his New York Times bestseller

20 Feb

Tim Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, a book that’s become phenomenally successful. (The book is about “lifestyle design” and working less to achieve your goals, including some provocative ideas about outsourcing your life.)

After simultaneously being listed as a bestseller on the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Businessweek lists, Advertising Age listed it as one of 2007’s best product launches.

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In fact, we have a few copies of the book in our office.

For the second edition of his book, Tim decided to use PBwiki to edit his New York Times bestseller. On the 4-Hour Workweek wiki, he asked his readers to point out corrections, add ideas, and suggest examples for the newly revised 4-Hour Workweek.

The 4-Hour Work Week wiki launched last night around 11pm and already has hundreds of visitors and dozens of high-quality edits.

This is a great way to use PBwiki. By allowing his readers to add their thoughts, Tim taps into their collective knowledge. And because he has a Premium wiki, he can assign his editors “Contributor” access so anything they do is reversible (e.g., no deleting pages!).

Learn more:

If you’re interested in using PBwiki for managing a project — or writing your own New York Times bestseller! — create a free wiki at PBwiki.com.

PBwiki in Fortune Small Business / Tips On Driving Adoption

12 Feb

Fortune Small Business just wrote a nice article about how Lee Rosen of Rosen Law used his creativity to drive adoption of his PBwiki.

Rosen offered a $1,000 cash prize to his 32 employees–for every page they created on the wiki, they earned a possible combination to the company safe (which contained the aforementioned $1,000).  At the end of three months, the prize went to Ben Sutton (pictured below).

But Lee had the last laugh–by switching his people over to PBwiki, he saved $25,000 per year that he had been spending on running a Lotus Notes server.  And money wasn’t the only benefit:

“The biggest reason that we’re switching is that the wiki is easier to use,” says Rosen. “If employees see a better way to organize or present information, they can just go ahead and do it with a wiki. With Lotus Notes, it required a programmer.”

Maybe you don’t have $1,000 to spare to drive adoption of your wiki, but maybe you can modify Rosen’s technique to fit your organization.  How about giving your top user tickets to the game, or a night out on the town?

If you get your entire company using PBwiki, the benefits will far outweigh the cost.

Click here to read the Fortune Small Business article.

Case Study: sfxschool.pbworks.com

23 Mar

St. Francois Xavier Community School is using PBwiki as the school’s website for students, parents, and faculty. It’s been a smooth integration for them with a lot of things learned through the way. John Evans, the administrator of sfxschool.pbworks.com spent sometime with us to go over his experience with PBwiki.

PBwiki: What’s sfxschool.pbworks.com about?
John Evans: sfxschool.pbworks.com is our school web page. I’ve taken the information that I had for several years on a free hosting site and moved it over to PBwiki because I liked the ease of editing and contributing it allowed myself as the admin, as well as the freedom it gave the teachers and students who would be able to make contributions to the wiki.

small.jpg

PBwiki: How do you use your PBwiki?
John Evans: Similar to the response above, we are using the wiki as our website primarily for its ease of use, and the levels of access available to a multitude of users. Currently only the professional staff in our school has authorization to post on the wiki. With further training, my expectation is that staff will begin to use the wiki with their students at least in grades 4 – 6.

I have also created two other wikis for training in Literacy with Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
(http://joevans.pbworks.com) and for Teacher Wellness
(http://wellteacher.pbworks.com)

PBwiki: Why’d you choose PBwiki?
John Evans: PBWiki was the wiki of choice for several colleagues of mine teaching ICT to staff and students. I looked at others and felt PBWiki was the easiest to use. I originally thought wikis would be hard to use but taught myself the basics in about an hour by looking at the code of other wikis, saw the potential and took off from there.
PBwiki: How many people are active on your wiki?

John Evans: See Above for our school wiki users. I have several other free wikis that I have had students in grade 4 work on. The first group last year at http://rockhound.pbworks.com did some great stuff for their first time working with a wiki. They were really pumped with the content they produced and proudly showed it off to their parents.

PBwiki: What has been the biggest surprise for you in using PBwiki?
John Evans: While not really a surprise, the best part was when teachers say to me “You mean I don’t have to wait for a week or more to have the IT guy approve my website before they add it to the school site? I can do it myself!”

In our latest series of training with K-8 teachers on wikis we had planned a half day, but teacher were so into it we allowed them to have the whole day. When I asked one of the originally reluctant teachers what they liked most about the day, she excitedly said “Wikis! I LOVE Wikis!!”

PBwiki: Would you tell others about PBwiki?
John Evans: I use PBWiki in all the workshop training we do in our school division. It’s easy, straight forward and now with the new editor should be even easier to use. I rave about PBWiki all the time to other teachers. ;-)

PBwiki: Have you used our new Point-and-Click editor? What are you thoughts on it?
John Evans: …I like the new plug-ins you’ve included. I will be looking at it this week as I prepare for our divisional SY Technology training session on Friday.

PBwiki: With so many people contributing to your wiki is it difficult to manage?
John Evans: When I had the free version of the wiki, I had one student who maliciously changed the pages of other students in his class. He was in grade 4 and followed my instructions to login so he was easily tracked and discovered. This is why I went to the upgraded version of PBWiki purchasing a Silver package for the school. The various login levels make it safer for everyone, including teachers who are more leery of the technology.

PBwiki: How long did it take to implement PBwiki at St. François Xavier?
John Evans: It took me about 2 weeks time – a bit here and there to transfer all my materials over to the wiki. Now things are so easy to maintain. I subscribe to the various pages in my RSS aggregator and I can see whose made changes and if necessary make corrections or edits. I really like the lockable pages that came with the Gold upgrade which I received in the presenter’s package. We’re still technically in the implementation stage as our staff is still learning how to do things with the wiki. Our next session is going to be on uploading images and files. Though it is easy, if staff don’t do it on a regular basis they soon forget.

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