Bamboo Applications & Accelerators' 2012 Year in Review with 'Bamboo PM Girl'

Editor's note: As has become our annual tradition, before we bid adieu to 2012, we'd like to take a few moments to reflect on some significant events from the past "Year in Bamboo" ... and to offer a glimpse into what the future may hold for our customers.  We get the series underway with the perspectives our three product managers, with each of them offering considered thoughts on the products they oversee, and we'll wrap up with the view from Bamboo's Solutions Center.

Most of the products that you oversee saw new releases in 2012.  Which new features or enhancements were received most enthusiastically by users?

The integration between PM Central and Time Tracking and Management has been best received since now Project Managers and their teams can measure the completion  and budget of their projects based on the time submitted against the tasks and projects, instead of just based on the percent that's been completed.

The ability to exclude holidays and weekends from the project schedule with Task Master was a must, and the introduction of that feature earned high marks from our customers.

The newly introduced capabilities in Chart Plus this year --such as preview, dynamic charting, and dynamic filtering-- have make it an even more powerful tool.

Finally, everyone --including me-- loves the sticky thread option in Discussion Board Plus. When you have a great many threads, it's critical to be able to raise the important topics to the top and keep them there.

PM Central is your signature application, and we're on the verge of the landmark 4.0 release for SharePoint 2010.  What can you tell us about the upcoming new major version?

As PM Central has matured, its component parts have become more integrated. Therefore, it takes us at least six months to incorporate the enhancements that our customers need to have as well as the new features which I think would make PM Central even more useful and flexible. We were hoping to release version 4.0 in December, but are anticipating release early next year.  Some highlights of the upcoming release include the ability to:

  • Assign multiple resources to the same task. I think this feature will please everyone since customers ask us for this all the time.
  • Select "lite" templates for the portfolio and project site instead of the standard "full" templates. This feature is useful if an organization is loosely structured or that otherwise doesn't have the need to track or manage some areas that other PM specialists need to manage, such as resource management, time management, and budget and cost management.
  • Exclude lunch hours.
  • Map resources from Microsoft Project to either the Assigned To field or the Resource field.
  • Find available resources based on name, department, or role (The role could be an architect, project manager, etc.).
  • Display columns in the grid view using another alias. For example, Finish instead of Due Date, or in another language such as Project List - Neuer Inhalt instead of Project List - New Item.
  • Show or hide columns from the tasks list and project health list in forms (new, edit, view) and List Settings.
  • Display an aggregated tasks lists from List Rollup in one view of Task Master.
  • Leverage additional reports such as Assignments by Department and Resource Allocation by Department.
  • Bulk copy the resources from the Enterprise Resource Pool to the Resource Pool at the project site.

PM Central 4.0 will also offer additional features to help administrators govern and control the PM Central sites in their environment, such as only make the portfolio templates and custom columns available in the specific site collections, and much more.

Attendees of SPC 2012 in Las Vegas last month were given a sneak peek at PM Central running on SharePoint 2013 at the Bamboo booth.  What was the response from attendees who requested a demo?

Roughly half of the visitors to our booth at SPC won't be ready to move to SharePoint 2013 in the next year. Those who are ready for the move were glad to see that PM Central for SharePoint 2013 will be available soon. They think that the resource management and task dependencies which PM Central offers are still important and relevant, even with SharePoint 2013 coming out with its own tasking features. Some booth visitors asked when PM Central will be available in the cloud as part of SharePoint Online. And in terms of enterprise social networking, we heard clearly that customers would like to see activity streams for their teams, such as John Smith created a new task and closed out a risk.

When is PM Central for SharePoint 2013 expected to be made available for purchase?

We are aiming for release late in Q1 or early in Q2.

A survey on mobile usage was recently sent to Bamboo's PM Central customers.  Have the early survey responses affected your plans to offer mobile support for PM Central?  Any surprising results in the survey responses so far?

It's still too early to gauge the results definitively, but what surprised me is that people are using PM Central most frequently to update and view tasks. And yet for mobile, they want PM Central to offer the mobile app for activity streams and change management/workflow processes more. The activity streams and enterprise social aspect seem to coincide with what some of the visitors were asking for at SPC 2012 in Las Vegas. Most of the survey respondents so far are hesitant to go mobile due to security concerns. Therefore, the mobile apps we build will need to meet the security requirements for most companies and need to have a way for the administrators to govern as far as access and distribution.

Another of the applications you own is Community Central.  What's going on with that community management application?

Discussion Board Plus is the key component in our Community Central offering. With SharePoint 2013 coming out, and providing a lot of new features for the out-of-the-box discussion board, there are admittedly some overlaps with our own offering. We're investing time in understanding what the Enterprise Business Social Networking needs are, and focusing on which of those needs are being underserved by SharePoint 2013. I can't give out the secret of what those are though!

Has there been any single breakout product from your stable this year that's really struck a chord with customers?

PM Central is always well received by its users since project management is core for most organizations. Discussion Board Plus has become a top performer. We use it for our internal PM Central sites. In our project for the PM Central product we have so many threads that it's helpful for us to keep the important topics sticky at the top, as well as seeing the number of views and mark a particular thread as the answer.  The ability to include and play videos in topics and posts via the Insert Video option in the menu is another cool feature.

What can users look forward to in terms of new releases of your products in the year ahead? 

For the coming year, we're focusing on improving the existing products and integrating the enterprise features that are available in SharePoint into our products, as well as integrating our own Bamboo components and applicatons more.

Posted Dec 26 2012, 10:15 AM by Bamboo PM Girl | Edit this post

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