I watched a gentleman give a ten minute lecture on why SaaS is so wonderful. I agree completely (http://paradigmpop.com/node/33 to see me agree that SaaS rocks). However, I find it very strange that a company would take the full presentation to talk about why accessing something over the internet is much better than installing and maintaining it on local computers. GMail is SaaS, but if one were to talk for ten minutes on GMail, most of the presentation would talk about the cool archiving approach, the gigabytes of storage, the themes.
Seth Godin's article, "Too much free" (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/05/too-much-free.html), had me nodding in agreement with the fact that sticking FREE on a product no longer garners the attention it once commanded. On releasing PoP Project (http://paradigmpop.com/pop-project) we took a long time to decide to allow a free trial, and our final decision to allow it was not so we get more users. Rather, the free trial was rightly suggested by one of our private beta customers as a period where the customer learns how much value PoP Project brings to their project.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pride that we release PoP Project (Standard version in Public Beta) today, the fourth of May, Two Thousand and Nine! You can start checking it out at http://www.paradigmpop.com.
PoP Project and all of our tools are delivered over the web. That delivery model is called Software as a Service, and today I was reminded of why it is a rocking idea. In preparing PoP Project for release, I was running some tests from my laptop on PoP Project. I had taken 15 minutes to set up an entire project on PoP Project when my laptop's battery died (ok, so I guess the orange blinking light is a bad thing to ignore for so long). I panicked for a bit, but then recalled that all of my data is safe including up to the last minute because all of the data is hosted on a stable server!
We held a quick meeting about what is left to release, and being the perfectionists we are, our whiteboard list is long enough that we moved our release. Now we are releasing on Monday, and that is absolutely reachable given our list. A few of you have asked about what has kept the release, so here is that list. You can see that we have nitpicked with text because it has to be absolutely perfect going out, and on Monday, it will be as such.
Before I go to sleep, I wanted to say here how excited I am about tomorrow. Tomorrow is the last day we have to shift things around before we move PoP Project Standard to public beta. We have taken PoP Project from shrink wrap software built on the Eclipse Framework to a fresh, SaaS delivered, and beautiful project management website. Much has gone into PoP Project to shape it into what it is today. We have built into it our powerful convictions of how project management should be performed, how simple and non invasive it should be, and its exact role on a project.
A few years back I had attended a sales related seminar. One of their key points was that your customer must have a pain that you should be able to address in trying to sell something to him.
PoP Project is good with managing projects because that is solely what it does. I have picked other tools to do more specific functions PoP Project needs. For example, for an avatar for the user I had my team pull the image from http://gravatar.com which already does avatar management very well. There are so many such tools available for agile companies to bounce off of. Small tools that do small functions in a big way. Before you had to stand on the shoulders of giants to be big in the world. Now, you just need the support of a few small but good tools.
We have been tossing around ideas for PoP Project's UI and one of the suggestions was a black based scheme. The inspiration was the iPhone, which is generally a good touchstone for UI redesign. I was fervently against a black based scheme because, well, Paradigm PoP is a white based scheme company! However, after much persuading and a few swings, I was convinced to mock up a black based version.
The redesign of the Lifecycle Diagram is almost complete. I don't want to add screenshots until it is through a few test cycles, but I really like the way it has turned out so far. We have dumped the 'whiteboard and stickies' approach for a more abstract but easier to understand and use model. It now feels more like a Gantt chart at first, but as a plan it is very very cool.