Mario Cardinal

"The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes" – Marcel Proust


Leave a comment

Down the stretch

In this blog post, I am presenting how we just started the final stretch that will lead to the first release of DayTickler.

I was fairly quiet in recent months regarding DayTickler. Some readers may question if we were still alive? Think again! Being silent is certainly not a sign that we drop DayTickler. It is rather the opposite. We work so hard that there is little time to feed this blog.

Since January, we completed adding synchronization between device’s calendar and DayTickler. This new feature allows a unified view of all your commitments into the Today list. We are very pleased with the end result.

DayTickler_calendar

Unfortunately, on some other aspects everything is not perfect.

These days we are doing a major refactoring. We are adding the ability to itemize a to-do with a work plan. This will allow to tick partial achievements (and thus get the benefit of viewing them in the Done list). For us here, we think that the world will be a better place if you feel satisfy about your day. Unfortunately, because we are not supporting correctly partial achievements, it is difficult to provide this feeling of satisfaction. This is a major discovering we did using the Beta version of DayTickler. For every little step of work, the product must reward users. Overall, we need to encourage each and every one to achieve what is important in their life whether it is a small or a large step.

I leave you on this. I still have to finalize the user experience to reach version 1. Completing these latest features is a long winding road. It takes time. Give us a few more months to fine tune everything and soon you will be able to download DayTickler from your favorite app store.


Leave a comment

The latest news about DayTickler

The last two months have been very busy. Our software, DayTickler, is beginning to take shape. The basic features that enable to list, schedule and tick tasks are completed. We finally finished fine tuning the user experience and we are very proud of the end result.

DayTickler

The next story we will begin this week is “As user, I want to sync device calendar inside Today list”.

In the coming weeks, we will expand the product to add personal workgroups. Since early this fall, we have made several prototypes of the workgroup functionality. Storyboarding is almost completed. As I indicated last October, the challenge is not only to team up with your close ones to achieve what is important in your day, but above all to enable asynchronous communication between workgroup members. I will be back soon with more information about this design challenge.


1 Comment

Daily Planning, Workgroup and Synchronous Communication

If you are planning your personal work, as you can easily do with DayTickler by committing and scheduling tasks in your “Today” schedule, you are not challenge by communication. You do not need to sync your brain with someone else to organize your daily schedule. As I explained in a previous post, the main challenge is to sync your brain with your gut.

The context is very different if you have to plan the daily schedules for a workgroup. Whereas personal planning is asynchronous – users scheduled tasks on their time and at their own pace – we expect group planning to be synchronous as it requires all parties to share information.

Meeting is the ultimate solution for synchronous communication. It is perfect for scheduling one on one conversation. Meetings are also perfect if you want to communicate a message from one person (the presenter) to many (the attendees).

meetings

However, as we have all experiment, meetings are very inefficient if you expect a many-to-many conversation and decision-making between all parties. Most decision-making is better left for asynchronous communication.

writingWriting is a proven solution for enabling asynchronous communication. Whereas meetings are synchronous – all parties must be present and engaged for the duration of the event – written communication allows the parties to address requests on their own time. It frees all the parties from the need to be “synced up.”

One of the strengths of DayTickler is that it allows to articulate your daily schedule in writing. In my next post, I will explain how we use this opportunity to add support for workgroups in DayTickler.


Leave a comment

Team up and achieve tasks with your personal workgroup

In this post, I present one of the most promising feature of DayTickler.

An important structural element of DayTickler is the daily list. It simplifies the challenge to pair your brain with your gut by providing a schedule for what needs to be done today. Separating your “Today” list from the master “To-do” list is a clear incentive for action.

I have long assumed that this was the most important feature of DayTickler. I changed my mind recently, as I just finalized prototyping a new feature that we call “personal workgroup”. This powerful feature enables users to tickle their family, friends and buddies to team up and complete tasks.

tickle-hand 

This is much more than simply list sharing. By relying on the daily schedule, everyone can easily follow workgroup progress.


Leave a comment

Building the product “right”

In this post, I am providing a progress status on the development of DayTickler.

As I wrote last June, the first version of DayTickler (the one that we will officially published in the app store) must be a lovable and marketable product.  Because we aim at validating if a product/market fit is obtained, we must avoid publishing a prototype.

A prototype is perfect to test for usability because it allows evaluating facts.  However, it fails miserably for evaluating usefulness. It is not the appropriate tool to validate the degree to which a product satisfies a strong market demand. As stated by Laura Klein in the article Building the right thing vs. building the thing right, “you can’t use a prototype to learn if you are building the right product.

The right product is a product that does what we imagined, but it is design so it has what customers really want and need in a form that is easy to use and atheistically pleasing. In order words, the right product is a product that is built “right” or at least “right enough”.

However, as Ron Jeffries wrote in 2014, “You can’t build the right product if you can’t build the product right.

prototype Therefore, in June and July, we continued to validate our design with prototypes. As always, we are learning to be humble. Obviously, some of our assumptions were wrong. We found serious problems with the user experience. At such a point that we spent the last month redesigning our application. The good news is that our recent prototype tests are conclusive. We are on the right track.

When will you have access to DayTickler in the app store? Not until November.  We must build the product “right” and to reach that goal we need to do more usability testing.


Leave a comment

Daily Planner

In this blog entry, I explain that we should categorize DayTickler according to the structure it promotes.

DayTickler is a productivity tools that can be classified, in a general way, as a personal tasks manager. Unfortunately, I do not think it’s a good classification. DayTickler is a mix that paired a daily calendar with a to-do list. I think rather that it should be classified as a daily planner because it is the structure that it promotes and puts forward.

This might surprise you, but committing and achieving tasks is all about structure. In my life, if there is one key lesson I have learned, and on which I have already written, which has near-universal applicability:

“We do not get better without structure”

As a matter of fact, without structure, we do not change our behavior, and we do not become successful. Unfortunately, incorporating the right structure into your daily routine is challenging. This is why you should rely on a productivity tool such as DayTickler.

I am among those who believe that a mobile app such as DayTickler must be opinionated. By design, it should lock and guide the user to do things according to his way. Put another way, there’s clearly one right way of using the application which is nice and easy, and any other way of using it makes your life difficult. It provides a recipe that not only simplifies the user experience but ensures to achieve results. Recipe limits the options so that users are not thrown off course by externalities. When users follow a recipe they are relying on structure to simplify the complexity and improve the odds of success.

The most important structural element of DayTickler is the daily schedule.

workflow

Separating the “Today” schedule from the master “To-do” list of everything that need to be done is a clear incentive for action. If the user schedule its daily commitments, he (or she) is much more likely to achieve them. It is as if the act of scheduling that increase the moral obligation. The “Today” schedule lets the user focus on what must be done today, while the “To-Do” list gives the user a place to dump every little task he (or she) think that someday must get done.


Leave a comment

Minimum Lovable and Marketable Product

In this post, I explain why the first version of DayTickler must not only be lovable but also a marketable product.

Following my last post some readers were surprised that we will take almost nine months to produce a minimum viable product (MVP). According to Wikipedia, a minimum viable product (MVP) is the product with the highest return on investment versus risk. Usually, a MVP only has those basic features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of customers (early adopters) that are supposed to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to confirm a product vision from an early prototype. As stated by Eric Ries in his colloquial book The Lean Startup, “The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

heart and dollarAt this stage in our product development, we seek to validate whether customers will agree to subscribe to the premium version of DayTickler. As we aim to market to consumer in an already mature market (there are already over a hundred to-do app), we can hardly launch a product that would be perceived as incomplete. We need to polish the software to the point of making it lovable, and this requires time. Furthermore, it must have all the necessary features to make it marketable. In our case, this requires building not only the core of the product but also the main feature that will convince customers to subscribe and pay for the premium version. This means that the product cannot be a prototype and this takes work. Especially that while building the product, at the same time, we continue to do consulting. Here’s why the construction of the MVP is so demanding and requires more than 9 months.