14 Jan Product Prowess: The tale of the Treeveo product evolution
Happy New Year again! Thanks for your support and readership throughout the last year. So many exciting things have been happening. The following is a look back at all things “product” in the year that was, as well as a sneak peek of what’s to come for 2015.
It has been a year of product evolution. Our product is our MVP. It’s what initially got people interested in who we are, and it remains our focus today. During the last year, the Treeveo app has evolved into something that we can now claim as a reliable, usable, and valuable product. What’s the winning formula? Commitment from our team + the ability to balance 3 important must-do’s: ship disruptive features, listen to customers’ feedback, and provide a great use experience. Here I list my top-picks of features released in this last year:
The redesign (2nd quarter)
Everyone is used to amazing design experiences brought by iPhone and android apps. Why should they dig ugly business applications?
The redesign was a major milestone for us since the original design dates from 2011 when my co-founder, Jeroen Kemperman, first idealized the app in Powerpoint (!). We teamed up with Tomas Zeman to develop an amazing user interface. Love at first login guaranteed!
Template System (September)
Structure, execute, win, repeat, repeat, repeat.
The template system is the initial stepping stone to power Treeveo with a database of knowledge. If we can replicate its bones – using templates – we’ll also be able to partially replicate the user successes to their ensuing projects. This feature not only lets boutique consulting firms showcase their know-how to potential clients, but also helps big companies to think like consulting firms when it’s time to execute strategy. Expect a growing number of available templates, but also an evolution of this feature to bring added value to both template authors and template users in 2015.
Project dashboard (October)
It tells if you can go home earlier.
After the redesign, it didn’t take long until an overall of the user dashboard was back in our sights. This time we wanted to provide something with useful insights about the project – not just graphs and digits. We developed the features together with consultants from KPMG who helped us to identify what’s meaningful for the user. On top of that, we came up with the concept “How screwed you are this week.” This gives the user their weekly overview of short-term objectives that need to get done to guarantee a smooth workweek.
Zoom levels (November)
Not the typical zoom-in/zoom-out.
Treeveo is full of BAGs (big ass trees). Company projects are large, and our goal it to make them less of a pain to look at. We decided that transforming parts of the trees into a card layout (why cards are the future by intercom) would have a great visual impact, while still showing what is important “inside.”
The million-dollar question is “what part of the tree gets folded?” I’m glad you asked. We spent time researching what users actually focus on and what they visually ditch. We were able to replicate that behavior with a ranking algorithm that accounts for values, number of levels/owners, etc relative to the entire project. Zoom levels were a long-time “to-be-figured-out” that has turned into one of our favorite UX solutions.
Cell Status (December)
People love to know the progress of a project, but they hate dragging progress bars.
…And let’s be honest, they easily can be manipulated. In a quest to add clarity to the experience, the typical progress bar was replaced with a 3-state cell status that includes not started, started, and completed. It’s as simple as that. As for the progress updates on parent cells – they still calculated dynamically from the bottom up as you are used to!
In 2015, one of our main focus will be on creating support for an actual ecosystem in the app. This would allow each company to have a profile as an extension of user profiles, creating a marketplace-like environment between consultants and companies. Consulting firms will be able to showcase their knowledge to potential clients and stay in touch with existing clients, and big companies will be able to manage projects internally with the opportunity to be coached by certified consultants if necessary. This will include a public template system where firms can distribute knowledge freely or sell premium templates to other companies.
Last but not least, we are aware that systems integration is mandatory nowadays, so we have already though out an API to be released this year that will smooth the integration with any existing system. Potential integrations could include Jira, Workday, and even Asana if we decide to pursue product management verticals.
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