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Some have you may have noticed our minor obsession with productivity applications here at 40Tech — particularly with task management apps. In the past, we have written on GTD in Evernote, Action Method Online, reQall, Dial2Do, ToodleDo vs Remember the Milk, and more. We also briefly made mention of Producteev, then a promising but still incomplete service focused on cross-platform task management and communication. Now Producteev is back and swinging out hard with Producteev 2, promising one of the best personal and business task management apps to hit the web. Producteev's goal is to enable you to work with their task management system without requiring you to make major adjustments to your current workflow. Producteev 2 is powerful,highly flexible, and free for individuals.
"Producteev’s solution connects email and tasks with a broad range of popular communication tools and seamlessly brings them into a user’s work environment, without requiring them to change their work preferences."
Producteev has put together a really slick and easy to use web application — but you don't actually have to log into it at all, if you don't want to. You can fully interact with Producteev using only your preferred communication tools, including email, Gtalk, Yahoo and Windows Messenger, AIM, ICQ, and Twitter, with more services planned and on community request. Producteev uses Facebook connect as well, which allows for extremely simple sign in (for you and people you want to invite in) and they are planning more robust Facebook integration in the future. By "interact fully" I mean that you can add tasks (including full email messages, deadlines, labels, and workspace tags), receive tasks, and receive and act on notifications from any of the services mentioned above that you choose to connect to your workspaces.
Workspaces and Task Sorting
You can set up multiple workspaces in Producteev, with variable settings for each one. Essentially, you can have multiple task management ecosystems set up for projects, businesses, personal use, groups, or whatever combination thereof that you choose, with each one having its own specific communications and notification settings, labels, teams, filters, etc. You can work with all workspaces separately or as one (using the Overview tab), easily maintaining your entire life's tasks, as well as viewing them through their specific microverse for a more granular look at what you need to do. For an even more specific view of your tasks, you can sort them by Manager/Owner, Deadline, Label, Last Changed, Assigned To, Team Member, and more. There is also a calendar view for timelining that will sync fully with your Google Calendar. Once tasks are in a workspace, they aren't by any means stuck there. If you need to transfer a task (or multiple tasks) from one workspace to another, you can do so easily by accessing the Bulk Actions menu that appears when you select a task's checkbox, or by clicking on the workspace area within the task itself. Drag and drop functionality is being looked at as a future update.
Each task can be set up for public or private visibility, easily assigned to someone else, have multiple labels attached, deadlines and reminders set up and changed, and keeps a running and dated list of actions and changes on the task. You can also send tasks directly to Google Calendar as well as add notes directly to the task, complete with any attachment. I have tried attachments of various sizes (one was 17MB) and file types and haven't had a problem yet.
The entire system of Producteev 2 has a strong basis in Getting Things Done methodology and should be very easy to adapt to your GTD workflow. Tasks sent from anywhere and anyone are automatically added to your Recipient Inbox in close to real time, and you can then set the task up for action (or set it up right when you send it to Producteev using hash tags) by adding deadlines, appropriate workspaces, and labels/tags. You can also take advantage of Producteev's Star and Smart Filter technology, as well as the learning algorithm of the Producteev Hot! list to help you maintain a grip on your most important tasks.
Gmail and iGoogle Integration
Producteev 2 has a gadget that plugs directly into your iGoogle and Gmail account for a quick and easy visual management of your tasks right from the popular start page or email platform. You can work with Producteev via any email system, but the gadget provides a nice top-down overview right from Gmail. For general email use, you can forward emails to Producteev yourself, in their entirety or with edited notes, turning them into tasks that will remind you of their existence at the time you set (and clearing the clutter from your email inbox); and you can even set up filters in Gmail (or any email client with filtering capability) to have emails with certain flags automatically sent to Producteev as a task.
As a part of its mission to provide you with the ability to add and manage tasks from wherever you are working, Producteev 2 is including extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox. No direct word on integration for Internet Explorer, but, if there is a strong call for it, either Producteev or someone else will likely make it happen. As an interesting side-note, however, the folks at Producteev have done the unprecedented and have created Producteev 2 to work very well with Internet Explorer — in fact, they are even working on *gasp* IE6 compatibility!! For that alone, I salute them.
Social Gaming in Producteev Academy
An interesting feature in the new version of Producteev is their social gaming functionality through Producteev Academy. Now, some might say that gaming is the exact opposite of productivity, but the Academy provides an interesting approach that is meant to challenge team members to out-do each other in their use of Producteev, ultimately increasing their productivity as they race to get things done. This badge-focused "game" also has the convenient side-benefit of providing team managers with data on productivity. If anyone finds the concept of social gaming toward productivity just too alien, not to worry – Producteev Academy can be simply turned off.
The Producteev 2 iPhone App
Producteev 2 has launched with a new (and astronomically better) free iPhone application. The UI is much improved over the previous version and gives you access to most features of the web app. The new iPhone app also adds the wonders of Offline Sync and Push Notifications to make your life and task management easier while on the go. I've been playing with the pre-release version, and have found it easy to use, understand and navigate; though I would say it may be a good idea for the Producteev team to add the ability to create a task immediately, as opposed to the current workspace selection screen. Anything that can be done to speed up task entry will only improve the iPhone app's usefulness. Down the line, it would be great to see the adoption of voice entry for tasks (a la reQall), as well as integration with other services. In my tests, I have had a bit of trouble with a delay in syncing, but that could have more to do with the fact that I am using a beta app than anything else. I have not yet spoken to Producteev's support on the matter, so don't take it to heart.
In the immediate future (meaning this month), Producteev will be releasing a desktop version for Mac OS. The desktop app will also have Offline Sync, and will have access to all of the features of the web app. A Windows version may be available in July, but there is no Linux version planned. For mobile: Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile 7 versions are in the works for possible release this summer as well. All future desktop and mobile versions of Producteev will come at the convenient price of Free. Other integrations, such as plugins for email clients, sales tools, and various web-based productivity services are planned for the near future. Producteev will also be releasing an API for pretty much everything, which is great news for third party integrations into even more services (such as Evernote…). When asked about Evernote integration, the CEO of Producteev, Ilan Abehassera, said that it is a distinct possibility. As with any new feature, though, it will depend on user interest. The more people shout for it on the Producteev support forums, the more likely and the more quickly it will happen.
Pricing for Producteev is based on both features and workspaces. Users can have as many workspaces as they like, both free and otherwise, and can even mix and match pricing packages as the workspace needs require. Producteev has designed their packages based on the needs of individuals and businesses, providing individuals with a Free account that is limited by only allowing three users to participate in the workspace, as well as having no smart filters, no reporting, no support outside of the forums, and only eight file attachments. For businesses (or people who need a bit more) there are the Premium, Bronze, Silver and Gold packages respectively. Premium workspaces are $9/month each and allow four users, two filters, reporting, 15 file attachments, and email support. The rest of the packages bring an increase in users, filters and files at $29/month each, $54/month each, and finally, the Gold workspaces are $84/month each, and provide for up to 40 users, five filters, reports, 1000 files, and phone support. I imagine they could be talked into custom packages for any business that needed more than that.
As the pricing is set monthly, workspaces can be up or downgraded as needs require, and once again, you can have as many workspaces, mixed and matched, as you need, including multiple free workspaces.
Producteev 2 In Action (10min Screencast by CEO)http://vimeo.com/12218396
Producteev 2 has taken the original version and reworked it practically from the ground up. They have focused on ease of use, adding and managing tasks without major learning curves or disruptions to your current workflow (by integrating with things you use every day like email, IM, mobile), and otherwise attempting to bridge the gaps left by other task management services. Producteev has an ambitious and robust development plan and schedule and offers a decent amount of service for free, with a trial business version also available. There are definitely a couple of bugs in this release, as it is just coming out of beta, but at the core, Producteev 2 works very well and is definitely worth a try – with all of the newness and awesome packed into the service, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to!
Let us know what you think of Producteev 2 in the comments!
UPDATE: Producteev has simplified their pricing. See below.
All plans now come with unlimited tasks, labels, SSL protection, attach files to tasks, free apps (iPhone, Gmail gadget), notifications via IM and email, Google Calendar sync, and Producteev Academy.