Agile development with OnTime and Usersnap


OnTime
started, as so many great products and tools, as a solution to a personal pain. As a senior consultant and project manager, Hamid Shojaee, built OnTime for himself, to track who in his team was working on what, in an agile way. Today, OnTime has grown to a mature project management suite, particularly powerful to manage scrum projects, sprints and teams while maintaining a perfect overview of every project’s progress.

OnTime’s products are designed from the ground up to be easy to use with built-in tutorials and plenty of supporting resources. In this blog post, I’ll show how to add an easy way to continuously receive visual feedback in OnTime with Usersnap.

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Grab your Usersnap jQuery plugin on GitHub

For everyone who doesn’t want to dig around in their source code to add the JavaScript snippet needed to get Usersnap up and running on your site: there is a plugin for that! You can grab our jQuery plugin at GitHub.

There is even a full example page explaining the jQuery plugin inside the
repo: example.html. Add the small plugin, in the jQuery syntax you’re already comfortable with, and there’s no need to mess around in your front-end. All the more time to focus on growing your business!

We invite you to try out our service for free. Sign up for our 15-days trial program!

How to build Customer Communities

Customer Communities for Dummies by Wendy LeaProbably the most sensible way to leverage screenshot functionality is in building customer communities. Social media best practice is moving toward proactively managed enterprise communities that benefit from many of the features of traditional, consumer social media (and also enjoy many enhancements). Consumers appreciate your Facebook page, and might be willing to hit ‘like’ every now and then, but they don’t always appreciate discussions from their brand of dish soap popping up on their private wall.

Managed customer communities are proven to lower customer support costs. Customers develop a large repository of FAQ and support material that is easily managed and analyzed through a platform such as Get Satisfaction. An excellent primer in customer community building was written by Get Satisfaction’s CEO, Wendy Lea, who has been a great advocate for the evolution of enterprise social media away from the fuzzy metrics of the FB page, and toward active, managed communities with a measurable impact on ROI. Continue Reading “How to build Customer Communities”

Enterprise CFOs: here’s how to reduce customer service costs

It’s taken a while for enterprises to realize how best to use social media. Sales metrics, return on marketing investment and ROI don’t often synchronize well with the vocabulary of the early 2010’s social media expert, whose ‘share of voice’, ‘engagement’, and ‘nurturing advocacy’ make smoke come out of the ears of 90% of CFOs.

social media and customer service costs

Here is an example of where things can get weird. My good friend Media Czar (coincidentally also one of the greatest social media and marketing minds of his generation) sums it up nicely in his blog ‘The Magic Bean Lab’. Media Czar points out that most of the metrics and ideas used to describe the effectiveness of social media don’t mean anything. But there are two important measures that don’t often feature prominently enough in any enterprise social media conversation: reducing costs, and increasing sales.

I’m going to focus on reducing costs, because that’s what I know most about. Continue Reading “Enterprise CFOs: here’s how to reduce customer service costs”

Eric Meyer: we’ve got the solution for your problem!

Eric Meyer, a renown web consultant, wrote a post on the problem of receiving and processing feedback on his own blog, meyerweb.com, and highlighting small things like typos on other blogs, without writing lengthy emails. “As I was reading an article with a few scattered apostrophe errors, I wished that I could highlight each one, hit a report button, and know that the author had been notified of the errors so that they could fix them.  No requirement to leave a comment chastising them for bad grammar, replete with lots of textual context so they could find the errors. (…)”

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Continuous Everything – From Coding to Feedback

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment are strong concepts in modern software development and specifically useful and necessary for cloud applications. Delivering code continuously keeps the product development agile and allows for fast iterations. Specifically when it comes to SaaS products or services, the way to ship software has to follow the continuous track, delivering new “releases” several times a day. For example, at Quora every commit is submitted to the production system, unless this process is actively suppressed.

Ever decreasing software release cycles also require to rethink the way feedback from real users is gathered. Bimonthly user experience reviews with a selected set of customers are not suitable if new features of a product are published daily. Tools to suggest improvements and to report bugs need to be actively integrated in the product development process, addressing not only a selected group of testers but also includes real users.

This blog post is essentially an extended tutorial, explaining how to set up a 3C software production chain:- Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Feedback.

We will use Microsoft Visual Studio and deploy directly to Windows Azure (Section 1). After that we connect Microsoft Team Foundation Server Online to our tool chain (Section 2) and subsequently connecting TFS with Windows Azure to establish Continuous Deployment directly from Visual Studio (Section 3). Finally we will add Usersnap to introduce Continuous Feedback to our setup (Section 4).

Since a standard “Hello-World” approach is always disappointing, we decided to create a tweet-wall which displays tweets containing the hashtag #usersnap. Lots of screenshots should provide a step-by-step tutorial to get you started with Visual Studio 2012, Team Foundation Service and Azure and finally Usersnap. There is no need to write code while walking through this tutorial.

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