Situation: It's a New Year and you're looking to get things done.
A big selling point of simple, inexpensive SaaS tools is that they give you the functionality you need & nothing else. Tool vendors combine that with an interface that's easier to use and we assume that most of the ease of use is coming from the fact that there isn't much to do inside of the app. There is no complexity to simplify.
In our actual work lives, there is plenty of complexity built right in - which why we need tools in the first place. There is so much complexity, that even with tools we have trouble focusing our efforts.
So the trend I've noticed recently is that tools are helping you focus on tasks or chunks of information one at a time. They effectively bring your attention to what matters now and obscure the rest. That last bit is where I see a difference in these new tools versus older ones - they completely clear away non-essential information. Yet that task or bit of information you are working on is kept in context in subtle ways - ensuring you still grasp the big picture.
For example, Workflowy is a neat little tool you could use to organize anything from a To-Do list to your life. There are lots of tools that help you create hierarchies, some of them very cool (I've always loved MindManager). The issue with these is that they do not force focus and clear away detail effectively enough. You can still get lost in a dense hierarchy of information. Workflowy limits what you see to one focus area. With Workflowy, higher levels of the structure are rolled up into breadcrumbs at the top, giving you context without detail. So you really only see what you should be working on now.
Prezi has been all the rage lately as a new, flexible way of presenting dense information. The idea is that people can absorb detail, but only in appropriate chunks. With Prezi, you essentially replace your PowerPoint Deck with a huge virtual sheet of paper that puts everything in to context like an infographic does. Then you zoom in on very specific parts of the presentation in a way that helps you tell a story. Again, dealing with complex information by breaking it into chunks - providing just enough context to have it all make sense.
What are you doing these days to help you focus? Are the any particular software tools that help? Please share -
| Situation: You're a MindMap Fan...|
A week ago, Christine Sellers started a Mind Mapping gantthead interest group (GIG) and nearly 100 people quickly joined. The group is packed with resource links, so I wanted to share a few of them here with you...
How to use them
Libraries of them to get you started
Life beyond mindmaps
| Situation: You Need to Lighten the Mood in Your Outsourcing Presentation..|
One day, we'll have a gantthead Project Management comic strip (Mark's views aside) and when we do, I hope its as good as the one I ran across in TechCrunch today - called Doubtsourcing. Whether your outsourced project is going well or hitting a snag, these funnies are certain to lighten the mood. Check them out...
| Situation: You Need A Very Functional, Free Presentation Tool|
I've posted in the past about a number of different online presentation tools that compete with PowerPoint using a basic functionality/ease of use approach. None have the power of PowerPoint, but many offer the basics at low or no cost. ZOHO Show is part of a larger suite of online office tools that does a great job with the basic features that are 95% of what most users need. The latest version comes with the themes, shapes, fancy bullets, and clip art features that are basic to PowerPoint. It also comes with tag and widget functionality that are very web 2.0 and go beyond what a desktop app can offer. This means that you can create your presentation in ZOHO Show, then post it to your internal blog or any web page where the information might be useful to others (see below). this is incredibly simple to do by cutting and pasting aline of code, similar to the way you would post a youtube video.
If you are a consultant pushing your services, you can show prospects what you know in ZOHO's public presentations section or even sew them into your facebook page.
So there you have it, ZOHO Show is a pretty good way to create and share presentations online.
Situation: You need a free substitute for PowerPoint.