Author Topic: Frustrated with user interface  (Read 6161 times)

DavidJ

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Frustrated with user interface
« on: April 04, 2012, 03:53:33 am »
Hello,

Background:
I am looking for at various Project Management software to try and persuade the Chinese company I now work for of the benefits of actually planning!  :)

I have narrowed it down to a few choices. It would be disingenuous of me to suggest my favourite so far in this forum. However, I want to seriously look at this as it seems more polished, and has Chinese translation.

Problem:
I may have misunderstood something, but I thought this was project management and collaboration software. However, I can find no "Start new project" or similar.

I have looked at the 'workspace' and 'Dimensions', and tried to get my head around them, but the terminology is abstract.

I've also looked at the guides and forums. Is there a guide to tell you:
1) How to set up my company (And external)
2) How to set up my departments
3) How to import contacts from v-cards
4) How to "start a project"

I have spent hours reading this forum and Wiki, only to be frustrated.

Is this product actually intended for small businesses and projects? Maybe I have misunderstood it's target audience and, in fact, "Workspaces", "Dimensions" and the whole method of setting this up is for professionals in project planning that have a jargon with which I'm unfamiliar.

For now, I haven't yet been able to set up a simple working structure, and find that I have to set a host of permissions every time I add someone to "Workspace" "Projects"  - as someone I'd designated as an internal collaborator could read/write almost everything as default.

 Am I missing something? I have no desire to go on a steep learning curve for simple project management. I'll stick with it if I can see benefits, but at the moment I'm simply frustrated. (Even the install required editing PHP files to adjust "BTREE" values".) If I can't use it, then certainly my Chinese staff will also be frustrated.

Any pointers, including to my ignorance, would be appreciated.

Regards,

David.



DavidJ

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2012, 01:57:45 am »
OK. The documents apply to the professional version, and I'm using the community edition.  ::)

Still frustrated with the user interface. I managed to set up users, a project, and tasks - but it's all too 'clumsy' for me.

It's not the fault of Feng Office. It looks a cool suite, with happy users. Just not for me.  No complaint, as it's offered free!

David.

WinnieChester

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 02:22:18 am »
I too understand you disposition and I'm a bit lost myself also.

I've been combing through the documentation wiki for the past few days now and still can't find a definitive description of what "Workspaces" are and how they relate.

It seems that the wiki is outdated as there are no mention of "Dimensions". Or at least, I haven't found it anywhere.

There email set up seems to be buggy. Had to edit the codes just to get IMAP to grab the emails and up to now the I can't get it to send emails. Although the system message says it was sent successfully, they just get stuck in the Outbox and goes nowhere.

To make things even more frustrating is that most of the problems posted here are not being answered. Most of the posts have 0 replies and the few that does, I can bet the OP had to post as much as 3 times before anything.

I really want to give Feng Office a fair try before deciding to move to something else. Is there anyone that can help us on these matters? I would truly appreciate it.
 

DavidJ

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 03:49:15 am »
Hi Winnie,

I received an email telling me somebody had posted. I see 112 views, but no responses. The other software I've been using, and actually chosen, is far more intuitive.

It's a shame, as I know Feng has a professional suite and I would have thought that helping users get to know the software would be a 'loss leader' into persuading users to upgrade.

The other software is open source and, despite absolutely no commercial aspect to it, the forum has replied to my queries. If my company adopt it, we will give back to the community by translating their documentation into Chinese.

Still, this is a 'community edition' and I, with the greatest respect to the community, understand that it's a free service. I'm just a little surprised at the lack of response. Perhaps this is the wrong forum?  ???

Whether it's my photography, dabbling in Android, or developing my blog, an active and collaborative community is something I've learnt to look for.

It's a shame, as Feng Office gets good reviews, but I wouldn't commit to a professional version until I knew it could do what I need. It might, but I think I'll never know!  :-\

Happy hunting.

David.

damendieta

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2012, 04:34:04 pm »
Hi David, could you please tell me with software are you using.

I've been a user of FO since 1.5 but 2.0 is a complete step backwards so I'm going to change to other software. Could you please give me a hint of what did you found.

Thanks.

Daniel.

DavidJ

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2012, 01:12:52 am »
Hi,

I have sent you a private message.

Please remember I'm new to this type of software, and have found something that's useful and intuitive for me. YMMV.

David.

falcon7

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2012, 01:57:50 pm »
The other, better one...?   Maybe a little hint?

(not to worry, it doesn't appear that anyone at FengOffice is actually watching...)
;-)

DavidJ

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2012, 11:20:45 pm »
The other, better one...?   Maybe a little hint?

(not to worry, it doesn't appear that anyone at FengOffice is actually watching...)
;-)

OK. Web2Project is working for us. :-)

We are a small English Language School, with many ongoing projects and activities across sites and departments. This has reduced meeting times, and kept people in the loop and allowed us to focus minds on tasks and completion dates. Senior managers like it as, after a kick-off meeting, they just launch the project and 'task' the department heads on the agreed schedule, and each department head/manager then tasks his team - reducing time on the software. It's been a great asset.

David.

potion

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 12:07:25 pm »
I switched to FengOffice more than  a year ago.  I must say that, at first, Feng was a bit of a mystery - a bit like using an iPad - but, to extend the metaphor, once I got my head around the paradigm it was a joy under my fingers.

Web2Project is about projects.  It implements a standard and somewhat inflexible view on what projects are, and typical hierarchical ordering from tasks up to projects up to clients.  And if that is what you want then it's an excellent choice.

Feng Office can also manage projects, but that is just one application of its "Workspace" paradigm; it offers much more besides.  Its more of  a collaboration tool than a project management tool. Here's how we use it:

It's our unified communication hub.  All business-related email is sent and received via Feng, and each message is associated with one or more dimensions (workspaces and tags).  The attachments are conveniently saved in Feng's document store and we can immediately create a new task from the email.  We create a "note" for each phone call and that too is associated.  All business communication is either created within Feng or is uploaded as a document.  All these interactions are associated with workspaces and get tags (for example "quote" or "invoice").  If you're following you'll realise that Feng is a document management system.  It's a CRM system.  Its a Support Ticket system.  It's our event-calendar, time-tracking, contact-detail-keeping system.   A plugin will soon make it our quoting and invoicing system too.

Assigning workspaces and tags to objects, and linking objects to one another means that with Feng Office we can FIND STUFF EASILY!  "I Need the original quote we sent for the Acme project". Easy.  Select workspace "Acme", Select tag "quote", click on the "document" tab, and there's a list of all the quotes.  Click on the email tab, and there are the email conversation threads concerning the relevant quotes (we tagged them "quote" too); over to the tasks tag and under the "Internal Process" milestone I see who was assigned, what they did and how much time we spent producing the quote.  (The Internal Process milestone and its tasks was created with a single click from our pre-defined custom list - it always includes tasks: Quote, Order, Deliver and Invoice, so Feng is our admin workflow management system too)

Feng Office is not the best at many of these individual things :- there are definitely better "pure" project management systems, better email clients, and better document management, CRM and workflow management systems. But FengOffice is definitely better at HOW it combines all these functions and the possibilities it creates for doing things in different ways..

The power of Feng Office is how you use it, and what 'rules' you have devised to name and organize your dimensions.  Without clear direction and planning Feng Office will be unfathomable, and perhaps a system that dictates method would be a better choice.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2012, 12:14:28 pm by potion »

DavidJ

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 12:46:59 pm »
Thanks for that Potion. I'm sure it will help some people. You are an example of what I see when I read reviews of Feng Office.

I was put off by no real "How to" or examples. Without clear signs the system could be useful I would never commit myself, and certainly not get the OK from the Chinese investors. I think a limited trial and full support for newcomers would be a good way to go for Feng Office. Often, community support and encouragement is the channel for commercial purchase of software systems.

I think the problem in us using Feng is "clear planning and direction". I'm a foreigner in China and were I in charge of the school, I would probably investigate further. Most staff in the schools are not highly paid professionals and that, coupled with the culture here, makes "a system that dictates method" the right one.

I'll keep an eye on Feng Office. As I said, people seem to like it and it may be a useful tool in the future.

Regards,

David.

falcon7

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 12:14:21 pm »
Yes, potion, thanks for that synopsis!  That should become a wiki article ;-)

I've only been using Feng for a few days, but I really like the multi-dimensional aspect of it.  I'm starting from the 2.008 release, so I don't know much of the history- but so far it's working really good.  I've tried some of the more traditional project mgmt systems and, as potion says- they're often rigid and time-consuming.

franponce87

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 04:57:23 pm »
The other, better one...?   Maybe a little hint?

(not to worry, it doesn't appear that anyone at FengOffice is actually watching...)
;-)

Do not be so sure :)

@Rest:
We do care about everything, but lately we have had no much time for the forum.

We do want to change this of course, and also improve the documentation, but so far we have had not enough time. Little by little you will be noticing positive changes though, and as we do not have much time, we focus on helping subscribed users as after all, they are the ones keeping the Feng Office project alive.

The Community Edition is different from the Professional Edition. You may try the latter within a 30 days free trial, and also contact the Official Support Team in case you have some questions.. so you may consider subscribing to Feng Office's Services and all it has to offer.

Best regards,
Francisco


Would you like to install Feng Office Professional or Enterprise Edition in your servers? No problem! Read this article!

miekevson

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Re: Frustrated with user interface
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2012, 02:34:13 pm »



 Hi Potion, That's exactly how I've been using it as well. At first I didn't know for sure if I liked Feng Office all that much. I"m using the community version as well btw.

But, with a little thinking on how I actually want my stuff to be organized, I came up with the exact same system as you've described and i'm loving it.

Unfortunately, there is not one system exactly how you want it. I've been thinking about creating my own but have to learn how to program first which I'm actually working on educating myself on right now because I really want something that has everything I need and something I feel comfortable with when sending my clients to review the progress of their projects.

Many clients do not want to use your PM system so it has to be easy and quick to see what they've got while being a user of my system.

For the time being, I'm sticking with Feng Office. I started using it last week. I did find one very inconvenient matter for me and that is that you can not assign multiple billing categories to a user.

I'm a freelancer so I work for multiple clients each having a different rate. I haven't figured out how to make this work without having to create a bunch of fake users and having to login and out for each billign profile all day long.

If anybody has an idea? Please advise on this.

Also, what I'm missing is a connection to Freshbooks. I would love to be able to sent my time/invoice to freshbooks. I use somethign else for billing and invoicing right now. It's a PM system but I don't like the way things are organized. Feng Office is definitely better at that but doesn't have the invoicing incorporated with Freshbooks and I can't assign multiple billing categories to one user.

Another thing I can't get fixed is the actual upload size for files. I have changed my php.ini and .htaccess to accept larger file uploads but it doesn't seem to work whatsoever. Any ideas?

And a style editor would be a great option. Maybe the paid version has this incorporated I don't know but I'm missing it in the community version.

So, I keep looking to find that one perfect PM system. Doubt I'll find it unless I'll create it myself though.

Any suggestions on how to add multiple billing categories to a user and invoicing are welcome for sure.

Thanks
Mieke
« Last Edit: May 22, 2012, 02:38:29 pm by miekevson »