As a SaaS business, we’re regularly trying new products and tools to help us with DevOps. We recently started to evaluate a lot of different SaaS monitoring tools and wanted to share some of our findings. You’ll find some thoughts about the following tools in this post.
Usersnap is growing steadily and today it is my pleasure to welcome two new team members:
In Linz begins
We recently attended and sponsored this year’s Codefront.io conference in Linz and it was great fun! A variety of topics were covered, here’s just a few hightlights of the talks given: Twitter’s Andy Hume talked about Resilient Front Ends and why your web application should work on your daily train commute. Thomas Schranz from Blossom shared his insights about product management: “Building products people want”. He also maintains a collection of top blog-posts about product management here and even more can be found here (both recommened). Miavia‘s Carina Wetzhuetter talked about the strangest feature requests she’s ever seen and why building a consumer product is hard as users tend to know the product roadmap better than the product team itself. Gercek Karakus provided excellent and actionable tips how to super charge your front end with the best UX.
Last but not least, Vitaly Friedman from Smashing Magazine gave his impressive and comprehensive talks about Responsive Web Design.
Find some impressions below!
Over the last weeks we spent our days and nights working on the brand new Usersnap widget. Today we are very happy to officially release the new Usersnap widget to everyone!
It’s now quite easy to match your site’s design with one of Usersnap’s color templates. Speaking of colors: we also added colors for the pen, the arrow and the sticky note tool. Apart from the obvious a lot of effort went to UX improvements. Not only can you scribble colorful feedback but color can also be used underline
The Ruler Tool
Starting with today, we’ll add tools specifically useful for web developers Moreover, we are adding a ruler tool which allows you to double check distances and dimensions, right in your browser.
Pivotal Tracker is a collaborative, lightwight agile project management tool, brought to you by the experts in agile software development: Pivotal Labs. Pivotal Tracker helps bring everyone, even distributed teams, into the same virtual room.
It allows you to deliver on Customer Feedback, respond to changing needs and new requirements easily and supercharge your agile project teams with real time collaboration.
Usersnap integrates with Pivotal Tracker, helping you communicate effectively about issues with your users and share feedback between developers, customers and quality assurance engineers. Speed up your development process by hooking up Usersnap and Pivotal Tracker.
Working on a web project?
Getting annotated screenshots attached to bug reports will raise a smile on every developer’s face. Usersnap allows your testers to provide a visual description of what might be a bug in form of annotated screenshots. Additionally you will get important information such as the used browser, the used operating system and the URL where the bug has occured. Your testers can choose between a drawing pen, a highlighting tool and sticky notes to illustrate and annotate the bug report. To enable Usersnap on your web project, a snippet of code has to be added, which is as simple as installing Google Analytics (TM). After that, a feedback-button appears and one can collect bug reports directly in Pivotal Tracker.
Basecamp keeps all your projects, data, and people in one place. No matter how many projects you have, or how many people are on the team. Everyone involved in a project can work together on Basecamp and you have full control over who sees which project, and who sees each other. It’s no longer a pain to coordinate everyone’s schedules.
Ever got caught in an endless discussion in your Basecamp comments just to end up with requesting a screenshot for clarification? Usersnap lets you create useful bug reports for your web project directly in the browser.
Asana is a shared task list for your team, keeping everyone on the same page. Asana’s mission is to empower humanity to do great things. Dustin Moskovitz and Justin Rosenstein, both Facebook alumni, created the project management tool to help take that step; to improve the productivity of individuals and groups. Implementing it at Facebook, the results were promising: fewer meetings, the volume of emails went down and the teams got more done with less effort.
Now we are all-in for less emails, especially the ones that come with a subject along the lines of “It does not work, FIX IT“. To help your visitors, customers and team members describe what they (don’t) see on a page you need a visual feedback tool. Working with Asana already? That’s great, then we only have to connect your Usersnap account to your Asana dashboard!
Collaboration of the kind where everyone is involved, and able to discuss projects and tasks while you as a manager still having full control over what they can see and do, can be tricky. ActiveCollab is a project collaboration hub for teams that solves that problem. And with Usersnap hooked up to activeCollab, you can easily gather feedback during your development process. Having all project data in one, centralized place is extremely valuable as everyone knows where to get the most up to date information and collaboration and notification tools are built right into the workflow.
People, Roles and Permissions
With activeCollab, there’s no limit to the number of users that you can invite.
There are hundreds of startup advice blog posts. Many of them are based on a couple of experiences the respective founders made which are sometimes being presented as universal truth applicable to every startup. What frequently is missing is the context of the writer. So here’s my context: I’m an entrepreneur, I established a single successful (aka profitable) software boutique with my brother before we started to work on Usersnap (a B2B SaaS product), and we failed with another business idea. I’m older than the average startup founders and I did not drop out of university. I’m living in Austria, and I prefer the term “starting a business” instead of “running a startup”.
Disclosing this background, I’d like to share 3 observations I made in the last months.
Thoughts about finding Advisors
Limited life experiences + Over-generalization = Advice
Paul Buchheit, Founder of FriendFeed and creator of GMail
I’m amazed how many people show the self-confidence to call themselves startup-advisors. At some point I even got the impression that some failed startup entrepreneurs believe they’ll be able to advise other startups with a rationale that a set of experienced mistakes empowers them to guide fellow startups.
To me, that’s a misconceived plan B. Whereas I strongly believe that sharing failure with other entrepreneurs is very valuable I don’t think this is what advising is about.
Trac is a bug tracking system for software development projects. Tracs mission is to help developers writing great software while staying out of the way and should as such impose as little as possible on a team’s established development process. Its timeline shows all current and past project events in order, creating an overview of projects and their progress, and a roadmap lists the upcoming milestones. Identifying bugs and enriching tickets with annotated screenshots with crucial meta-information, that is where the Usersnap integration comes in!
Sign up for your 15-days free trial, or log in to your Usersnap account, and edit the settings for your website. To use the Trac integration, you need to enable the xmlrpc-plugin. Download it from XML RPC-Plugin, copy the egg inside your plugins-directory or install it system wide. You need to enable it by adding tracrpc.*