Producteev — a task management tool that Pamela raved about when she reviewed it — has been significantly upgraded. As well as simplifying the product, the new version enables users to interact with the tool via email and IM, Google gadget and iPhone app. The idea is that Producteev should fit into your regular workflow; if you work mainly in your inbox, for example, you can use the tool over email without visiting the web interface.
Managing Tasks Using the Web App
Although you can indeed work with the new Producteev without touching your browser, let’s start by taking a look at the web interface, as I think most people would probably use it for at least some of the time.
While Producteev is a very full-featured task management app; it can handle multiple users and tasks can be labeled, starred, scheduled and assigned to different users. And there are quite a few different views of your tasks; the Producteev dashboard is a visually attractive, well-laid out app that’s intuitive to use. Even task management newbies shouldn’t be overwhelmed by it.
When you schedule a task, you can elect to sync the task with your Google Calendar, and set a reminder, which can be sent via email or IM:
There are multiple views of your tasks, so you can see tasks that are due today, tasks that are late, those that are assigned to you, your team members’ tasks and more, and each of those views can be displayed as a list or a calendar. If you want to get fancy, you can also customize your views via configurable “smart filters,” so you could, for example, have a view that shows tasks that have a certain deadline and are assigned to certain people.
Scheduling Tasks via IM and Email
Having alerts delivered via IM and email is only half the equation — to be able to work with the product without visiting the website you also need to be able to to schedule tasks via IM and email. You can do this by sending Producteev messages; add it to your IM buddy list or email contacts, then send it your tasks. Any emails forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org from your email address will automatically be added to your tasks, and you can specify scheduling and labels using a simple hashtag-like syntax. For example, sending Producteev an email with a subject line of “Email Sam #06/15/10″ would create a task of “Email Sam” with a deadline of June 15. Unlike Task.fm, which also lets you schedule tasks via email and IM but tries to use implement natural language processing (which sometimes fails), Producteev’s syntax requires a little learning but works every time.
Working With Producteev
I really like the direction that Producteev Two takes the product in: that of a really flexible tool, without adding a lot of complexity. One of the reasons I’ve always used Google Tasks to manage my to-do lists and never migrated to a more advanced tool is that it works well with my email-based workflow. I’ve tried using other tools, but having to jump out of whatever it is I’m doing just to manage my tasks means that I always end up going back to Tasks. I believe that for a task management tool to succeed it has to fit into your existing workflow, and work in a way that feels natural. Perhaps Producteev will be able to keep me away from Tasks; we’ll see if I’m still using it in a couple of weeks!
Overall, Producteev Two is a very polished task management app that marries the simplicity and works-with-your-workflow philosophy of Remember the Milk with the team-based task management features like Basecamp. It shouldn’t overwhelm less tech-savvy users, but it’s powerful enough for teams to use to work in the cloud (and if you want to learn more about the cloud, check out Structure, our cloud computing conference).
Producteev has an attractive price point for individual freelancers and small teams — you only start paying when you have more than three users. After that, various plans are available, depending on the number of users that you want to support. A two-week free trial is available for the paid plans.
Let us know what you think of Producteev Two in the comments.
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise