Using the Simple Power of Classified Content

One of the things we strive to do with Xtrant is eliminate the therbligs The fewer steps it takes to complete a task, the fewer movements–the fewer times you have to think within any process–the more efficient and natural the experience is, and the more useful and powerful the tool. Combining power with simplicity is a touchstone we judge all of our decisions against – and “classified content” is an excellent example of this philosophy in action.

Within a single project you might have team members with different levels of responsibility.  You may be collaborating between vendors, employees, clients and other stakeholders; some of whom need access to sensitive material that others within the project aren’t privileged to see. Our simple solution is to allow you to specify who can see classified content on a project by project basis, and mark P&R (Presentation & Review) Assets as classified when you post them.

For example, you might want to make your internal team classified and post iterations and process documents for discussion as classified content, while posting client-ready deliverables as non-classified that everyone (including the client) can see and discuss. Or you may make your project leads, sales people and customer leads involved with negotiations able to “view classified content,” so they can share contracts and price lists, without exposing sensitive information to vendors, contractors or non-management personnel .

The following images show how the process works.

First I’ll add Mike to the project, marking him able to “view classified content.”
classified1

Now I’ll add two assets, a photo that anyone can see, and a contract that has sensitive information in it. I mark the contract “classified.”
classified2

Since Mike can “view classified content” he can see both files.
classified3

When I add Amy to the project, I DON’T mark her able to “view classified content.”
classified4

Amy can see the “unclassified” photo in this P&R group, but not the “classified” contract.
classified5

In actuality, Amy is always allowed to see classified content, because she’s our “Director of Business Development.”  While you’re at it, do her a solid and sign up for Xtrant now - it’s getting more powerful every day.

Steal Time Back From Social Media with “Productive Sharing”

researchHow much do time do you spend on social media?  How many hours a week does Facebook take from you?  How often do you pause to tweet, to post a photo, even to send a group text?

Yes, you enjoy it.

Yes, there is networking to be done.

Yes, Twitter is part of the fabric of your life…we all get it.

But as those hours get sucked away there are things that need to get done, things you are putting off: It could be that novel you are writing, right? Or that report that’s due on Friday. Or this blog post – the one you are reading now – the one that I put off a few times, and you’ve found thanks to social media (don’t feel guilty, this counts as research.)  Social media – or “Social Sharing” is addictive because it’s so useful – so easy to adopt.  But like any opiate, it steals from our personal productivity, and in the aggregate it steals from humanity’s productivity as well – deep down you know the millions of hours spent on FarmVille could be used to cure the disease of your choice.

Okay, you can argue that most of the folks who sit and while away the hours on social media wouldn’t be doing much anyway, and it’s better to keep some of them occupied instead of stirring up trouble – but that’s another essay. 

Let’s be idealists here – and cite an artificial statistic (I know, damn lies and all.) “When Twitter goes down, worker productivity skyrockets 50%.”

You’ve likely seen this man’s claims that he hired a girl to slap him every time he checked Facebook and quadrupled his productivity. (I think he may have mommy issues, but it’s fun to watch him get slapped.)

That’s cute and all, and makes the point, but his methods are not practical for most of us.  But there’s no need to completely abandon social media – this efficient way to share and communicate.  Let’s use social sharing to be more productive.

Let’s start practicing “Productive Sharing.”

At Xtrant we’re harnessing social media protocols in a positive way – creating an environment that makes productivity and efficiency addictive.  The casual immediacy of social media is combined with the power of contextual communication and business-friendly security to help get things done.  We’ve got a billion people on the planet used to working this way – so let’s use those skills to get more productive.

So, go ahead and check your Facebook at work…right after you’ve checked your Xtrant.

Using Running Notes

Running notes appear on the right side of your project page and serve as a contextual running record of comments or conversations pertaining to the work at hand.  Any project participant or contributor can add or comment on running notes.

runningnotes

All running notes become part of that project’s history and can be referred to without searching through old emails or other records.

Running notes are an efficient way to:

  • Start a Conversation, with the comments below it continuing the discussion.
  • Start a brainstorm list, with each comment serving as a new idea or list item on that topic.
  • Notify your team of important appointments and changes.

 

Presentation & Review

Presentation & Review items (or P&R for short) are posts and uploads that are important to your project.  These can be anything from digital files to Website URLs/links to editable text documents and code snippets.

p&r

Only those you designate project contributor may post in “P&R,” but both contributors and participants can comment on those posts.

In Presentation & Review you can…

  • Drag and Drop files to upload directly from your desktop.
  • Create a document in Xtrant. XtrantDocs act like word processor documents, and can be formatted, edited and printed directly within the app.
  • Post code snippets with line numbering and color coding for development teams.
  • Upload almost any file type from PDF to DOC to CAD files and popular image formats (plus quite a few obscure file types.)

TIP: Some users make the mistake of putting a group of images into a document and then posting the document to P&R.  Presentation & Review works best if you upload the items you wish to discuss directly.  Just post, label and describe them in the Xtrant interface.  Each item can then be discussed and viewed individually, without the need for downloading files to view them.

Simple Technology for a Busy Time

Like most start-ups in early launch phase, Xtrant is busy.  And also, like most start-ups, our communication strategy includes a blog.  Of course, we used WordPress to create our blog.  It was easy to implement in a short time, and it is easy to manage, so we can spend more time managing and improving Xtrant, rolling out new features, dealing with upcoming events, and growing marketing and communication channels.  (Including writing this, our first blog post.)  We didn’t even spend too much time customizing the template: No need, it’s doing its job, as you are here reading this.

Good, solid, simple tools that are easy to adopt and implement for their purpose win, especially when you want to spend time actually getting things done.

Pitch Deck Page

Using Xtrant to promote Xtrant and communicate with others about Xtrant.

As a company Xtrant takes advantage of the tools at our disposal.  We use UserVoice for our support site/help desk, we are experimenting with MailChimp to send out newsletters and information to our subscriber base.  And we use our very own Xtrant to communicate to our vendors, keep track of our internal projects, even to communicate to potential investors.  We call it “eating our own tail” (like the mythical Ouroboros.) And by using it every day we notice what works, and what can be improved.  We are in the shoes of our customers.

Stay away from solutions that require too many thought processes.  The most powerful tool is always the one you will use.

What powerful and simple tools do you use?