Hiburo Blog

Task management for students

This is an user story from one of our customers - Janis. He has used Hiburo while studying in University and wants to share the experience.

Before I started to work on my Bachelor's project my supervisor suggested that I should use a task management application in order to track my activities. It was necessary not only to be organized in the way I would do things but also because the workflow has to be discussed and analysed in the reports of my thesis.

At the time I knew that Lauris was working on Hiburo, although the tool was still in beta stage, he was more than happy to provide access to it. In a way it was a win-win situation - as Lauris would get an extra opinion (and bug reports as well) on the service he was building and I could plan my work and track how things go.

Of course it took a short while to familiarize with the tool but I have to say that it is pretty straight forward to use. I made a decision to divide the work that has to be done in time frames of one week, as I would meet my supervisor at the end of each week and discuss the progress of my work. And I believe that this is where I could harness some of the great features of Hiburo. Obviously it is possible to create tasks and create subtasks for each task, assign deadlines and even assign other users as performers, but the thing that was important to me was that I was able to write comments for each of the tasks. I value this feature highly because not always it was possible to fulfill my own goals (missing deadlines), therefore it was utmost important to keep track of what went wrong and the reason for that as well, as I mentioned earlier - process of how the work was done has to be discussed in reports of the project as well. By having discussions with my supervisor on all the involved processes of the current task it allowed me to carry out a better plan for the next week, as my notes and conversations with supervisor provided better understanding of the scope of the project as well as the fact that I was just trying to do too much at once.

Keeping that in mind, I have to say that Hiburo is way beyond just a to-do application. Hiburo allowed me to successfully perform my project past my expectations. I wish to every Hiburo user to have great experiences by allowing this service to do the job for them and keeping their mind on what's really important!

Communication Issues in Small Teams

Whether we are studying in college or working in some professional company, working in teams is one of the foremost requirements. Generally, the teams in such environments are small that comprise of a few people working in coordination. Thus it is important that there aren’t any misunderstandings between the team members working toward the achievement of a common goal. During the team meetings and conversations, there are a few issues that usually arise and affect the overall performance of the team. Teams can work in a more streamlined manner if these common issues in communication are resolved.

Communication Issues

Failure to Listen Differing Opinions

It’s only natural that difference of opinion exists in groups working even for a common cause. This can be difference in the strategy or in the implementation of a particular plan. But these problems can be resolved only if everyone’s opinion is given due attention and attempt at understanding is made. It’s frequently seen that our impatience does not let us listen to what others are saying and just focus on our point of view. This results in interrupting other speakers and planning what we have to say instead of listening to others. It’s a good rule to stress the importance of listening before embarking upon any serious discussion. A polite request can be made to the participants to not interrupt others while they are talking. It also helps to keep the discussion to the point and brief.

Cultural Differences

Modern world is a multi-cultural society where the importance of understanding different cultures cannot be overemphasized. This becomes even more important in professional teams where, more often than not, people come from diverse cultural backgrounds. A good way around this is to encourage everyone from the group to participate. If a particular member in the team is reticent, it is better to encourage him or her for the feedback. Cultural differences can be used to have diverse opinions about the same matter and contribute to enhanced progress of the project. Before any meeting, the leader should make sure that the purpose of the meeting is well understood by all the members.

Lack of Leadership Skills

Wherever there is team, there will be a leader. The importance of a leader is not because of the fact that he or she leads, but because of the coordination between the members that leadership demands. The main role of a leader is to inspire others and utilize their skills in an efficient manner. The best way is to keep a friendly attitude toward the team members and let them know about their importance in the team. It’s often the trivial problems that wreck the piece of teams and these can be eliminated because of good leadership skills. A leader should avoid any hidden agendas and keep all the objectives and aims open. Priorities of the team and the groundwork of progress should be conveyed in an effective way. Team members should be intimated about their responsibilities and expectations. It is also of utmost importance that fairness and balance is retained between all members.

Bad Communication Skills

Good communication encompasses a lot of things. In addition to being able to covey the ideas effectively, it also means to receive reliable feedback and exchange of ideas. To avoid problems emerging out of bad communication, it is good to take help from oral as well as written communication. It’s common that some people are reticent and shy and prefer written communication over the oral. Thus a blend of both means of communication can resolve the problems to quite an extent. Before the start of the meeting, it is a good idea to distribute handouts about the meeting’s agenda. While the leader should encourage everyone for participation, it is also the responsibility of the team members to collaborate effectively with other team members.

Lack of Professional Attitude

A common issue that can cause hindrance in effective communication is the lack of professional attitude. Professional attitude simply means that irrelevant discussions do not creep into the meeting and personal problems and biases are also kept out of it. Goals should be clear and the roadmap should be followed in the stated stages. The greatest responsibility, of course, lies with the leader. The leader is responsible in maintaining and retaining the professional tone and attitude of the group. With the rise of entrepreneur culture, the importance of working in small teams has increased to a great extent. The efficient operation of a team can only be made sure if the communication issues are resolved. Only then the true benefits of working in small teams can be realized.

Video overview of Hiburo

We are on a quest of removing any obstacles between our users and Hiburo. While demo of our application can be accessed with just one click and requires no registration (not even your e-mail) we thought it's not enough and went a step forward creating a video overview. Now you literally don't have to do anything — we're going to show you all the stuff there is to know about Hiburo. It actually takes only 1 minute 52 seconds.

Achievements

Starting with this post we are going to dig deeper into each Hiburo feature separately. Today it will be achievements. This feature makes Hiburo stand out among another team management applications. At Hiburo we care very much about creating friendly communities just as about increasing productivity.

It may seem like a basic feature but it's really great at involving people. Here's a great example: one of your colleagues stays late at work to finish an important task for you. You may not notice this fact and miss an opportunity to show him some appreciation but Hiburo achievement will make it obvious for everyone. Here's a great chance right there to learn your team better and make a connection.

Working environment is about getting stuff done fast but exchanging a couple of smiles during the day will make up for a great atmosphere. This is what Hiburo promotes and we know exactly what we're talking about. The whole idea of achievements came up when we were using our own internal application which eventually emerged as Hiburo.

Hiburo Use Cases

Hiburo is ready!

Open beta test is over! The launch day is here! Hiburo opens its doors to everyone and we think this metaphor very much reflects the essence of our service. Hiburo is your office put online not just a mere team management web application: it's a cozy work place, functional, good looking, with colleagues near you, with tasks and conversations flowing. A sweet spot to get your team together, a place you will keep coming back to.

Create Hiburo for your team & open its doors to your colleagues. We've compiled several Hiburo use cases you can just jump straight into action with one-click demo version.

If you're interested in dry facts, here's Hiburo features list:

  • Task management using kanban board;
  • Simple communication and activity feed;
  • Document sharing using Dropbox;
  • Time & Performance reports;
  • Engaging environment with fun achievements;
  • Notification center;
  • Team live overview;

Hiburo Launch!

To the moon!

Hiburo use cases

Learn how Hiburo will help your team to get work done and maintain a healthy atmosphere at work. Hiburo does both:

  • Captures the feeling of a real work space and brings it online if you work remotely;
  • Enhances the experience for those who already share a real office;

Hiburo Use Cases
Click on the image to see full version.

Hiburo introduces single price for teams

During the open beta, we realized that our subscription model doesn't reflect Hiburo core values that we are standing for — simplicity and ease of use. There were many discussions on how much Hiburo would cost before development even begun, but it became evident only now that 5 different plans are bringing more confusion than benefits to our customers.

We have abandoned old packages and replaced them with one subscription plan that will suit everyone — $20 a month for teams of any shape and size. Single user license is still free and always will be and for those who desire an extra level of customization, please do get in touch with us -- [email protected].

Please remember that all beta testers will receive «20%» discount along with goodies for demo users. Check out our new pricing model.

Power up your team and save money

Good news, dear friends! To show gratitude for your continuous feedback we have a special offer for all existing and new beta testers - everyone who joins Hiburo open beta receives a sweet 20% discount for a whole year when the beta is over.

Don't waste your team's expensive time with tools they don't want to use - use Hiburo instead. Hiburo is a friendly and fun team management web app.

Hiburo Discount

Open beta update

We are extending our open beta period for another week or two, because there are just so many good ideas in your feedback that we cannot ignore. Work continues in even higher pace and we will deliver updates on daily basis. Did we mention that all beta users will receive a sweet discount for a whole year? Yep, that's right!

In the past few days several news sites have written about Hiburo. We really liked the articles, probably because we got covered in five different languages. To name few of them: makeuseof.com, trload.net, wwwhatsnew.com. To ease journalist & publisher work a media kit will be released really soon.

P.S. You can now find us on Twitter, Facebook and Chrome Web Store.

Getting ready for release

We take feedback very seriously at Hiburo. It’s been only a couple of weeks after we started beta testing and today we release some of the most requested features to public along with many technical improvements.

One-click demo version

Right from the very beginning we ruled out screenshots as an option for introducing our web application to users. We figured out that screenshots wouldn't do justice to our product. Hiding a friendly and easy to use interface of Hiburo behind a registration form was never an option either. What’s less friendlier than a step that can be avoided?

Here’s the philosophy behind everything we do -- users come first. You can now jump straight into action. It takes only one click to get a first hand experience of Hiburo.

Hiburo Demo

Notification center

The second most requested feature rolling out today is notification center. Although we had it planned all along it was simply not polished enough to be included in the beta. Never miss an important comment or a task being post-poned. If user is not logged in when a notification is sent out, he will receive it via email. We also switched to Celery's asynchronous task queue for improved performance and better user experience.

Hiburo Notifications

First insights into open beta test of Hiburo

Headstart

Before we announced open beta of Hiburo we were having a closed beta for quite some time. User base was around 50 and we already got some great feedback which we were taking in account. Closed beta consisted mostly of friends and acquaintances. I was stunned by the fact that some of the best feedback was submitted by people who were not even involved in startups and tech.

Announcement

We created a blog post with a small piece of text and an artwork of open beta. The post was submitted to Hacker News, Reddit and some other places, mostly link sharing sites. Furthermore our friends at GetSSL.me sent out a newsletter to their customers introducing Hiburo.

User activity

We didn't expect to receive much response because this was just an open beta and the product wasn't final yet. However the response was quite awesome - in the first 24 hours after announcement 104 new accounts were created and we received dozens of feedback via email, social sites and UserVoice. I was hoping for around 20 new beta testers, so I am pretty happy and contented about the activity. Total unique visitors were approximately 1700, so it comes down to 6% sign up rate.

Feedback

The feedback was exactly what we hoped for -- straightforward critique that allowed us to learn about stuff that throwed some people away and where to improve.

Main issues:

  • No screenshots or video. This was definitely the biggest issue.
  • Lack of information about why did we build Hiburo and how is our team management app different from other similar products.
  • Limited packages. The biggest package is only up to 20 users.
  • Incorrect amount of people in package icon representing the number of users included in the package (this one was really unexpected).

Of course we got a lot more out of this -- a great performance test (no bad news here), reports on random bugs and awesome people around us.

Next step

To solve the screenshot problem we already planned to launch one-click demo account feature. This is now our top priority.

More information about the product and us -- this is in our ASAP list too. We will start by publishing more articles in Hiburo Blog, the next one probably will be about why did we build yet another team/task management app and how is it different.

Rethink packages -- we always thought that our customers would be only small teams with up to 20 members but it seems that 20 is not that much after all. Speaking about the packages, icons representing user count in packages are now fixed.

Conclusion

This was an experience to remember and we are looking forward to work with you more. Our goal is to bring you an awesome product and to improve as much as we can. Thank you!