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Summary:

Everyone has a different way of doing things. Fortunately, there’s a huge number of web services that offer groups different ways to coordinate their activities. Convos occupies a middle ground between basic group communication systems like listservs and Google Groups, and full-fledged project management apps. As […]

CONVOS-logoEveryone has a different way of doing things. Fortunately, there’s a huge number of web services that offer groups different ways to coordinate their activities. Convos occupies a middle ground between basic group communication systems like listservs and Google Groups, and full-fledged project management apps.

As with classic email lists, Convos allows group members to send and reply to messages via email. But Convos has a larger feature set than standard email groups, including:

  • convos-desktopA web interface where members can see and update what the group is working on. This password-protected, advertising-free web site includes panes to compose and display messages, upload files, manage tasks and schedules, and create and view on-screen pages. The interface has a custom URL like “group_name.convos.com” to which you can add your own logo.
  • A system for creating and getting RSVPs for events.
  • A system for posting comments and questions (which can be anonymous if desired).
  • The ability to add subgroups, which could be useful for organizations with a committee structure.

But although Convos has a task module, it isn’t really a project management system: Its content is not organized by projects. If you need to manage projects, you’ll notice what Convos doesn’t have:

  • The ability to group tasks together as part of larger milestones.
  • The ability to assign tasks to specific members.
  • Project management features, like Gantt charts.

Convos also doesn’t have any Twitter-like microblogging status updates. The Convos web interface looks a bit like a simplified version of Peago, which I recently reviewed. And it has many of the same limitations: It’s Flash-based, built in Flex and Silverlight, which means it’s not suited for corporate environments that limit Flash, or for mobile devices. Convos also shares with Peago a navigation structure that can be confusing; you can simplify the display by turning panes on and off, but the interface can get pretty crowded unless you’re using full-screen mode in a large monitor.

Convos has several pricing plans, ranging from a free version that allows five group members and 50MB of storage for files, to the $100 per month “Large” plan that allows 4GB of storage for unlimited members and subgroups.

Convos bills itself as “professional online groups.” If you need more than something like a Google Group can offer, and don’t mind the limitations of a Flash-based interface, then Convos may be for you. But if you need to manage projects, you’ll probably be better off with a full-featured project management system.

Have you used Convos? How do you communicate with groups?

  1. You know, I like that Convos is “group management” and not “product management” – it focuses on people, not tasks. For product management, Basecamp works pretty well. But Convos is much better for interpersonal groups where people are together by choice. I use it for my fantasy football league; we all like each other, above and beyond just the football-related stuff. Convos is great for just a few of us to split off and plan a Vegas trip.

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  2. [...] a Brobdingnagian sort of scheme services that substance groups assorted … Excerpt from:  Convos: Online Communication for Groups Posted in Uncategorized | Tags: a-different-way, a-huge-number, different-way, doing-things-, [...]

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  3. To be fair, Convos is meant to be a communication tool as opposed to a project management tool-I think the lack of project management features is intentional. Convos’ creators wanted something inexpensive and simple to help groups communicate and collaborate, and I do think it serves that purpose pretty well. I agree, though-microblogging updates or even a chat room would be welcome additions.

    See my interview with Convos’ COO Matt Trush here:
    http://www.usefultools.com/2009/06/start-a-conversation-with-your-team/

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  4. [...] Groups and Yahoo Groups as a way of managing email groups. It scores over Convos (which I recently wrote about) with its very easy setup, useful help and simple web interface, although it doesn’t have [...]

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