Archive for December, 2009

Get emails automatically attached to your contacts

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

This is a short tutorial on how to use Ofuz’s drop box feature to get sent email messages attached directly to your Ofuz contacts.

Once set up, when working on a lead, prospect or even a client, you will have all your associated notes and emails in one central  location.

Previously, to add a note in Ofuz you needed to type it in or copy and paste text. To make this simpler for email messages that you send and want to keep in Ofuz, we’ve implemented a drop box.

A drop box is a special email address that’s generated only for you. You can then use that email address in all of your email messages as a CC or BCC to keep a copy of your emails in Ofuz.

Ofuz will automatically detect to whom you are sending the message and then attach your email to that contact.

If that contact doesn’t exist it will be created and the email message attached to it.

This makes life much simpler – as we are working a lot with emails, it’s convenient to be able to create new contacts or organize your email messages without having to open another application.

You can find the Add Note drop box in Settings → add note drop box.

http://www.ofuz.net/drop_box_note.php

Email address to add notes in offuz

Email address to add notes in offuz

Ofuz drop boxes are like normal email addresses.

In the example below, I use my drop box to add a message I sent to Abhik via Ofuz.

Add note drop box

As seen above, I’ve added the add note drop box as a BCC. Doing so will add a copy of the email as a Note on Abhik’s contact page in Ofuz.

Add the BCC to new emails and the emails you reply to, and you will be able to keep a pretty accurate copy of your conversations.

If the contact doesn’t exist in Ofuz, it will be created and then your email will also be added as a Note.

This is a feature that I use a lot because it enables me to find past conversations and information in a Contact-centric manner.

I didn’t want to have to add a drop box for each email I wrote, so I used a feature of my email software that will automatically add the add-note drop box email address as a BCC to all the emails I send.

To enable this in Mozilla Thunderbird, go in Edit -> Accounts -> Copies & Folders  then check the box “Bcc these email addresses” and enter your add note drop box.

Thunderbird, send copy of email in Bcc to the drop box

This setting  will add a copy of all the messages sent and attached it to the  contacts in Ofuz.

Some email software like Gmail will also allow you to add a copy of all the email you receive.

In Gmail, go to Settings -> Forwarding / POP3/IMAP, and then in “Forward a copy of incoming email to”, enter your add note drop box.

Add to Ofuz all incoming emails

You can also adjust this with filters and only add specific email messages to Ofuz.

That’s all on this feature.

To summarize, the add-note drop box can be found in your Ofuz settings in the Note Drop box tab.

It can then be used when you send emails to keep a copy of that email in Ofuz.

Nudge a participant in a project discussion

Friday, December 4th, 2009

We have added a new notation in project discussions to address a specific participant. It looks like this: @firstname. It’s like a ping or a nudge.

You see, Ofuz has an approach to project management that’s very much oriented around discussions.

For us, managing a project is primarily about communication and secondly about metrics. Most of the project management software I’ve personally used in the past were mainly metrics oriented: hour per hour estimates, hourly rates, time line Gantt charts… Those are very cool features but most of the time they get in the way of doing the real work, which is communication.

Project Tasks

So in Ofuz, projects are firstly a discussion with everybody involved in the project and secondly about metrics (yes, we have them, but it will be the topic of a future blog post)

In Ofuz, the project tasks have a flow of discussion; to make sure we do not miss anything it’s integrated with emails. So each new comment in a Tasks discussion sends an email to all of the project’s participants. The discussion can then continue with emails – if one of the participant does a Reply All, that email response will also be added to the Tasks discussion.

Discussion in a Task

The result are very well documented tasks, with all the details, progress, and changes that are happening. Yet, it can also be overwhelming.

If you want to get the attention of a particular participant, you can address the discussion note to him.

Example of Using @

Thus, we created a special notation. For twitter users it will look familiar: it’s @firstname or @lastname.

If you nudge a participant, s/he will receive a special email alert that is different than the regular tasks discussion alert.

It starts with: {Ofuz:Nudge}

nudge_in_email2

The participant will receive it even if they have the email alert discussion turned off.

Inspired by the twitter notation, we felt that the “nudge” enables quick internal dialogue within a project discussion, limiting the message overload.

That’s all for today…

Let us know what you think.  Are you using the feature the same way we do ?