Now, it’s Creately for JIRA!

Well, this has been quite an exciting month for us! We had our Creately for Confluence go live last week, and today, we’re happy to announce the beta release of Creately for JIRA, a diagramming plugin for everyone’s favourite issue tracking and project management software, Atlassian JIRA.

Creately for JIRA helps your development team to improve the quality of detailing on their JIRA issues by easily creating and including Creately diagrams. Issues keep bouncing to and fro, and you cannot just replace a diagram with text when explaining a requirement. Now with Creately’s full integration into the JIRA interface, you can easily add flowcharts, use cases, mockups, mindmaps, UML or any other diagrams to your JIRA issues.

Creately for JIRA comes with the same user loved experience just like our Creately online, Creately for Confluence and all other Creately products -

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • User loved functionality
  • Contextual toolbar with the 1-click create and connect features
  • A vast library of smart objects
  • Access to images from Google and Iconfinder.com
  • In-line commenting

With Creately for JIRA, when you invite your team to edit the JIRA issue, they can edit the attached diagrams too. Working with Creately for JIRA is just absolute wonder, read our usage guide to see how to use Creately for JIRA.

Creately for JIRA plugin is now available for free downloads. This is only the beta release, so let us know if you have any suggestions on how we can improve.

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New PERT templates (AoA and AoN) on Creately

This post came to fruition thanks to one of our customers, @raoulUK, who made a request for AoN templates a few days back. So we’ve come up with three cool new templates for our users, which can be found under Business Graphics in Creately.com. With over half a million project managers across 185 countries, (who also probably uses diagramming software to make their lives easier), we thought it would make sense to offer some interesting insights into one of the more challenging aspects of project management – AoA and AoN network diagrams.

A short intro to AoA and AoN

Both activity on arrow (AoA) and activity on node (AoN) come under the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), which is a well-known method that is used to analyze various tasks when it comes to completing a project, especially when it comes to the time that is required to complete each task and the minimum amount of time that is required to complete the entire project.

Traditionally, activity sequence diagrams utilize boxes or even rectangles in order to show the activities, which are known as nodes. These nodes are made to connect with other nodes by the use of arrows; this would indicate the dependencies that are present between the connected activities.

A project network usually shows the association that is present between tasks within a project. Illustrating these activities by using nodes or even using arrows between the event nodes are the main ways you can draw those relationships.

When it comes to AoA diagrams, showing the finish-to-start relationships is a limited affair. What this means is that the arrow represents the time span from the event at the start of the arrow to the event at the end. Activities that are represented as arrows have to be added to illustrate some of the more complicated relationships and dependencies that are present between the activities.

However, when it comes to AoN diagrams, the activity is placed on the node. The interconnection arrows would illustrate the dependencies that are there between the activities. They’re more flexible and are capable of illustrating the main relationship types. Since the activity is on a node, the data usually can be placed on the activity.

So what should I use?

While there are some fundamental differences between AoA and AoN network diagrams, choosing one over the other is based on individual project requirements. Some of the basic differences would be as follows.

1. A significant drawback of AoA networks, is having several different possible networks describing the same project. In contrast, the Activities on Nodes (AoN) representation is unique.

2. Having both AoA and AoN networks of a project is an advantage since some planning and optimisation techniques strictly require AoA format while others require AoN format.

3. AoN diagrams are generally easier to create that AoA diagrams.

4. When it comes to inexperienced users, AoN diagrams is easier to understand than AoA diagrams.

5. If there are changes, it would be easier to do them on AoN diagrams than AoA diagrams.

6. AoN networks focus on tasks while AoA focus on events.

I hope this post offers some interesting pointers on these 2 tools, which are widely used in project management. Getting user feedback like Raoul’s is both useful and rewarding for us, since we know how you want Creately to improve. So, for the rest of our Creately users – Feel you could do with some new templates? If yes, let us know. We’d be more than glad to do some for you. Meanwhile, please do check out our existing templates, which you are sure to find useful. There are some cool things going on at Creately at the moment, which I’m sure you would be glad to pitch in and help with. So until next time, happy diagramming!

Tags: diagrams, examples, Features, project management

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Virtual diagramming’s problem-solving capabilities

One of the key aspects of project management per se is to get feedback from all those involved on a project. We all know how the lack of communication can affect the final quality of the project, not to mention that it could lead to a great deal of time being wasted. It needs to be mentioned that when working on a large project (along with a team that has a set of specific roles or responsibilities), you do need to be focused on a timeline that measures progress. Usually, it has always been an issue to get the consensus of all that are responsible for the project so that we can get all the work done before a deadline. However, using a diagramming application like Creately has certainly helped iron this out.

For the sake of clarity, let’s consider a case study of a project manager at a design company who is also one of our customers.

When we considered a project that dealt with a package redesign for a bar of soap, there were many instances where the team had to go back and forth with ideas and amendments. Using e-mail proved too problematic since keeping tag of all the changes on different dates proved too cumbersome. Using Wordpad or a Word document ensured that we were misled especially since there was nothing visual to indicate the flow of work.

Opting for a diagramming application certainly helped with progress. In the case of the package redesign project, we used a Mindmap to come up with ideas. With the diagramming application, we were able to comment on the various ideas of the teams and also to share them with the client. While the main theme was cleanliness (as agreed upon with the client), different sections of the team came up with different ideas on how to project this. For instance, the copy guys came up with the idea where the soap was associated with nature. However, the graphic design guys thought it would be better to associate the soap with water.

It was at this point we shared the Mindmap with the client. While the client was favorable when it came to both ideas, it ultimately fell to the marketing team to consider testing these ideas via sample packages amongst a sample group to see which idea would be more popular. Subsequently, when the idea favored by the copy guys received more positive feedback from the sample group, we moved onto using a Flowchart to ensure we stuck to deadlines.

With an interactive Flowchart, which encouraged a 360 degree level of communication, the copy guys and graphic design guys used this to communicate among themselves and the client what aspects were still WIP and what aspects were finished. For instance, the design guys would comment that they did not receive the copy for the ingredients list, while the client would comment that the tagline needed a rethink. This collaboration with the client ensured that there were no bottlenecks and the transparency among the whole team assured smooth workflow.

The process of reaching the final goal of delivering a quality project without a hitch, should be the  barometer that gauges the effectiveness of using diagrams for project management. End of day, putting down the whole process on a diagram certainly worked. Not only did it help in terms of reducing project turnaround times but it also helped to minimize time wastage and miscommunication.

Retrieved from “http://www.articlesbase.com/project-management-articles/virtual-diagrammings-problem-solving-capabilities-3744842.html

Rohitha P - About the Author:

I’m inclined to agree with Zachary Scott (“As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do”). This is why throughout the years I’ve garnered a heap of knowledge in various fields. I find that I am passionate about food, fitness, advertising, cars, brands, music, software, writing, music, books, movies, finance, lifestyle and politics. I also believe that love and compassion equals knowledge sharing, this alone can lead our world to be a better place for us and the future generations. In other words, love and compassion rules. So have at it and spread a few smiles around! 

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Essential Google Apps « Erica D Wagner

Anyone who owns a domain has the ability to use Google Apps to access many google products, such as email, documents and calendar. Google apps allows you to access these products with a unique domain and personally branded design. When I started my first website, Google Apps was a great way to get an affordable email address using my domain name (the basic service is free, up to 50 email addresses).

Google apps also allows you to add many useful services to your account. I have tried out many of these services. Some have been extremely useful, while others did not suit my work habits or business model. Here are the apps that I have found most useful and continue to use on a regular basis.

Tungle.me

Tungle.me is a free scheduling application that syncs with your calendar. I have mine synched with my google calendar. When someone wants to meet with me, I send them the link to my tungle.me page, they choose an available time slot (or propose multiple times) and tungle.me sends me a email to confirm the time. It has saved me so much time and hassle. This is an essential app for any busy person!

Mail Chimp

Mail Chimp is an easy way to make great looking html newsletters, simple as that. If email marketing is something you are thinking about doing, Mail Chimp can take the headache out the process. Mail Chimp also has a free version, perfect for small to medium sized businesses.

Sliderocket

Sliderocket is a slideshow application that allows you to make beautiful slideshows online. Slideshows hosted online means no more carrying around flashdrives with presentations on them. Sliderocket also integrates with Flickr, allowing you to quickly look up photos listed under the creative commons license. Sliderocket has a premium and standard service, with the standard being free to use.

Manymoon

Manymoon is a free project management app that integrates with your google account allowing you to add tasks to your google calendar, attach and edit google docs, and create projects or tasks from your email account. Manymoon is a great way to manage projects and tasks with a simple and easy-to-use interface.

Creately

Creately is a free app that allows users to create professional looking diagrams easily. Creately also allows you to collaborate on diagrams with others. Whether you need to create a layout for a website, or a complex organizational hierarchy, Creately is the best service for the job.

Please comment below if there are any apps I have missed. If you want to learn more about how to set-up Google Apps with your domain, please contact me (or better yet, tungle.me). 

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

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Creately brings diagramming to the FogBugz platform

Creately brings diagramming to the FogBugz platform

Creately’s plugin for FogBugz helps developers communicate clearly with their team by quickly adding diagrams to their favourite software project management system.

Melbourne, Australia June 14th 2010

Today, Cinergix announces the launch of the Creately for FogBugz plugin, making it easy for FogBugz customers to add Use Case diagrams, mockups, flowcharts, UML designs or any other diagrams to their bug reports, cases and wiki pages. Creately will provide software developers a better way to communicate with their teams and document software projects visually on the popular Fogbugz platform developed by FogCreek Software.

“Capturing requirements clearly and accurately saves project teams a lot of time. With Creately for Fogbugz, software and support teams can now quickly add wireframes, use cases, UML designs and flowcharts into Fogbugz feature requests, bug reports and project wiki so everyone’s on the same page,” said Chandika Jayasundara, CEO, Cinergix Pty Ltd. “Traditionally Fogbugz has been a text-based collaboration platform, but with the Creately plugin, software teams can communicate visually, directly impacting the team’s productivity. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.” added Mr Jayasundara.

Creately for Fogbugz is integrated into the core workflow of the Fogbugz platform and offers the same easy to use Creately interface. “We want to ensure this powerful new visual collaboration paradigm is adopted by the Fogbugz community, so we’ve designed it to fit seamlessly into the Fogbugz interface and developers’ daily work routines.” concluded Mr Jayasundara. Fogbugz users can directly edit their software diagrams in the browser, making it easy to keep project document up-to date and removing the need for expensive desktop-based diagramming software.

Creately for FogBugz plugin is available for installation on your own Fogbugz server starting from $85/user with bulk discounts available for larger teams. A hosted version for FogBugz OnDemand will be announced shortly.

Creately for Fogbugz is now available at the FogBugz Plugins website and includes a free 14-day trial – http://bit.ly/createlyforFB More details on this announcement can be found on the Creately Blog – http://creately.com/blog/announcements/diagrams-in-fogbugz/

About Cinergix

Cinergix is an Australia based company that builds and sells Creately - a diagramming platform and its patent-pending KObject technology. Creately is a powerful web-based software with an interactive interface and collaborative capabilities that are changing the way teams communicate and collaborate online. This new paradigm of leveraging user-generated content for design work will enable Cinergix to support the long trail of design problems. Started in 2008 by a team from Sri Lanka, the UK, and Singapore, the company also runs a research and development centre in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For more information, visit http://creately.com/about-us.

Contact Info

Charanjit Singh
Cinergix Pty Ltd
charan@cinergix.com
+628118600450 

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Top 5 Tools for Distributed Project Teams

posted21/05/10

Top 5 Tools for Distributed Project Teams

collaboration, startup, teams, tips

tool_selection

Here at Cinergix we’ve been working together from different office locations around the world to create, market and support the best online diagramming software - Creately. We spend hours sitting in front of our computers each day working across vast distances and timezones and it can sometimes be a challenge getting everyone on the team working together effectively.

So over the last year, we’ve experimented with a large number of online services to help us work better and support our customers in the best possible way. In each solution we looked for just the right amount of functionality to help us work better without drowning in too much process and too many systems.

Here we’ve distilled the top 5 tools (mostly online tools) that we’ve come to rely on to keep the Creately engine chugging along nicely. They cover everything from project management tools to customer support systems, but each one offers the ease of use and simplicity that we find so important in keeping our team focused on the job at hand.

Thanks to @Hiraash for his suggestions and I hope you’ll find these tools useful for your project teams. If you’ve got any other suggestions that you think will be useful for other web startups and project teams, we’d love to hear from you.

Wrike

wrike

Wrike is a web-based project management tool, and the great thing about it is that it comes with a fantastic Gantt chart view that knocks the pants off any other web based PM tool. @Chandika is a big fan cos he loves the fact that the Gantt chart view gives everyone a good idea of the inter dependencies across the projects we work on here at Creately. Unlike most other recent web-base PM tools that have a strong social collaboration angle, Wrike offers a solid PM tool in the same vein as MS Project, but its pricing is a tad on the high side.

Team Viewer

teamviewer

TeamViewer is an easy to use screen-sharing application that’s Free and works really well. I’ve tried sharing my screen with Skype and other web-services but none have performed as well as TeamViewer. Everyone I’ve recommended it to loves it. And it doesn’t just stop there. Teamviewer lets remotely control another computer - even through firewalls. This is an essential tool we use everyday at Creately. Thanks to @Aslam for bringing this to the team.

Creately

creately

For the uninitiated, Creately is a web-based diagramming software that comes with built in tools for easy, secure collaboration. With an extensive library of shapes, Creately supports many diagram types. Naturally we use Creately in-house - mostly for concept diagrams, flowcharts and mockups. Its great for getting those ideas nailed down quickly in a diagram - and really helps bring clarity to the team.

PS - We released a beta version of a Creately Plugin for the Fogbugz platform this week, which makes it easy to add any type of diagram to your Fogbugz cases and Wiki to clearly explain requirements to your team. You can check it out here.

Zendesk

zendesk1

Zendesk provides a customer support portal solution includes email support with a built-in knowledge base. We chose it for it elegant interface and the ease with which we can track support support issues and deliver the type of customer service our customers talk about. It also worked great for providing 24/7 round the clock support that is being handled across 2 locations. There are a host of other customer support systems out there that actually deliver more functionality at a lower price, but we’re sold on their “Love your Helpdesk” theme.

Pivotal Tracker

pivotaltracker

Pivotal Tracker is a story-based project planning tool that the Dev Team here at Creately swears by. It is based on the Agile software development methodology and support sprints, velocity, etc but can also be used for other types of projects. If you’re a fan of Agile development - then you’ll love PT, as we affectionately call it.

Best part about PT - Its completely Free (as in beer).

What do you use in your teams? Have you tried any of these tools, and have you found them effective in your business?

@Charan

Image by mr.smashy / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Creately.com Reshapes Project Management | Young Upstarts

Creately

Creately founders (from left) Charanjit Singh, Chandika Jayasundara and Nick Foster.

Creately.com is a project management tool that helps teams manage and deliver their projects. Positioned as an easy-to-use collaborative diagramming application, it has built-in features for built-in reviewing, easy collaboration, comprehensive diagramming functions and shapes for just about any type of diagram.

Creately was founded two years ago by Charanjit Singh, Chandika Jayasundara and Nick Foster and started as a vision for a new visual way to work with complex data. They submitted their idea to the Melbourne University Entrepreneurship Challenge and, lo-and-behold, won. Soon the team put together some money and sent Chandika off to Sri Lanka to form a development team. On their end, Charanjit and Nick got  down to planning the nitty-gritty that needs to be done for a startup to be successful.

A Visual Collaborative Project Management Tool

Creately

Web-based Creately.com works in-browser, which make it convenient for project teams whose members are constantly on the go.

The web-based application works with a browser and allows project team members to share, review and update project designs easily. Creately’s central repository with an extensive library of object sets, templates allows for ease-of-use. Essentially, users can work on visual artefacts that are part of any project that someone else in the team undertakes.

“Most of today’s team collaboration software is purely text-based. Creately is the missing link in the plethora of text-based collaboration platforms that have seen a dramatic uptake in the last few years,” posits Charanjit. “We also felt customers would benefit from having rich diagrams that contained data and behaviours, that could be manipulated visually giving them a very rich and interactive interface to overcome the problems of information overload.”

“We believe there is latent demand for visual interfaces that make working with data and disparate systems easier and more interactive.”

At a most basic level – Creately aims to make communication clearer. “Providing a collaborative diagramming platform which is easy to use and integrates into your existing ways of working helps our customers get their message across to team members and customers – saving them time and money.” Charanjit says the real value of Creately comes to the fore when it is integrated into a service like Google Docs or even SocialWok.

But the team at Creately has a larger vision for the company. They’ve built its underlying technology – even patenting parts of it – that deploys smart shapes (which Creately calls Knowledge Objects or KObjects) that reflect the status and changes in data, properties or behaviors. For example, you could define a KObject to represent network connectivity – when network connectivity experiences a change, the smart shape will change correspondingly to give users a visual form of feedback. “This allows us to quickly build domain specific shapes with built-in intelligence that will be useful across many industries,” explains Charanjit.

Understanding Your Customer

The last two years have been exciting for the team. They introduced Creately at DemoFall ‘08 and TechCrunch50 in 2008, and finally launched to the public late last year, earning favorable reviews from the technical press.

One of the key challenges the team at Creately faced was trying to understand their target customer – who they are, what they want and how better to serve their needs. For this purpose, they make extensive use of surveys, customer idea forums, as well as online tracking tools such as Kissmetrics, Google Analytics and CrazyEgg. They’ve even experimented on their pricing. In fact, Creately started by targeting regular consumers, but along the way found that corporate and business users were more willing (and able) to pay for such collaborative project tools. Since then they’ve made a strategic decision to focus on business customers and fine-tuned their go-to-market strategy accordingly.

Today, every new customer Creately wins is an achievement and should to be celebrated, says Charanjit. “Every customer touch point is monitored, measured and improved because we want our customer to not just get a software application but experience the Creately difference that we’re very proud of.”

Charanjit says the fast changing technology landscape is both a challenge as well as an opportunity for agile startups. “Everyday we are faced with new opportunities in our space, and it can sometimes be challenging to stay focused on our game plan when everything around you is changing so quickly.” They have recently launched an API and are now working with some large collaboration platforms to build direct integration into Creately.

Creately is funded with money from friends and family, and the team is working hard to keep costs low. Charanjit admits, however, that in order to fully achieve their vision they would need external funding. “This year we plan to raise money from angels and VCs to take the product to the next level. We want to build a self-sustaining company but also understand that when a market opportunity presents itself – you need to do what it takes to capitalise on it.”

Peer Support Group

Charanjit is currently signed up in the first cohort of Founder Institute Singapore. He says that the Founder Institute program is one of the better things thats happened for the local Internet entrepreneurship scene. “I’ve always felt the biggest challenge in Singapore is not the lack of support from the government or the lack of capability in our people,” Charanjit explains. ”It’s the lack of mentors and like-minded peers that an entrepreneur needs to surround himself for success.” He says he doesn’t know anyone in his peer group who’s also ventured down the entrepreneurial route, which can be a stumbling block.

“A lot of what I’ve learnt at Founder Institute I have personally experienced over the last 2 years and having mentors and peers to discuss our challenges has been a real boon. We have also found it to be a great place to network and meet some great guys.”

Views on Entrepreneurship

“I love Singapore as my home. But I… would never have started an Internet start-up living here.”

Starting a business takes passion, courage, the right peer group and sheer hard work, says Charanjit. “The ability to chart my own destiny through my own willpower and create something new that can contribute to the advancement of society are the key attractions for me.”

“I love Singapore as my home. But I will be the first to admit that I would never have started an Internet start-up living here,” he says.

Charanjit believes that the world would be a lesser place without entrepreneurs. “Entrepreneurs are the grease that oil the wheels of commerce and enterprise,” he says. “Entrepreneurship lets me exploit my passion for technology to build something that can fill an under-served need – and do it better than the next guy.”

“Being an entrepreneur means building something that is at least an order of magnitude or two greater than the self – creating value for my business, employees, community and myself in the process.”

He’s acutely aware of the risk of failure – starting on the entrepreneurial journey in his mid-30s, with a new family to boot. “The support of my spouse has been instrumental in me taking the plunge – and for all the blood, sweat and tears – I could now never not be an entrepreneur for the rest of my life.”

“The daily challenges, constant learning and striving to make the ‘impossible’ happen are worth far more than the risks.”

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New Creately Team Plans - Perfect for Project Teams

posted08/04/10

New Creately Team Plans

Features, Marketing, news, plans, release

team-plan2

Today we’re very happy to announce the new Creately Team plans. We have seen that many of you use Creately in your own project teams already. But it has not been easy to manage who is in your team, who is being billed and for which plan or even which plan a team member requires. Creately Team plans solve these issues.

The Team plans are perfect for cross-functional Business, Design and Development Teams. If you run a consulting business, a design house or a development team - in fact if you are part of any team where visual communication and collaboration is key, the Creately Team Plan is designed for you.

Better Team Management

Creately Team plans start from just $8.95/user/month with a minimum of 3 users in a plan. We think you’ll agree that this is excellent value with the entire team receiving all the capabilities of our Pro plan ($9.95/month) plus enhancements to project sharing. As the team owner you also have access to the team management portal which allows you to easily add and remove team members, assign new roles and dynamically increase or decrease your team size. The beauty of this is you only ever pay for the number of team members in your team. We don’t pigeon hole you by team size.

At-a-Glance

Check out the new Creately Plans


Here’s a quick look at exactly what you’ll get on the new Team Plan:

  • Unlimited Export & Publishing with no Creately watermark
  • Unlimited Diagram Storage
  • Unlimited Diagram Sharing
  • Unlimited Project Workspaces
  • Project Sharing with no limitations, everyone on the Team can create diagrams in your Projects
  • User management to add and remove Users from your Team account
  • Team contact list so its easier to share within your Team
  • Multiple administrator levels to manage large, distributed Project Teams
  • Pay by Credit Card or Paypal

Unlike the Pro and Plus Plans, the new Team Plans lets you invite collaborators from your Team account to work on existing documents and create new documents inside shared projects. This makes project collaboration hassle free and lets you control who has access to which project documents.

We’re confident the Creately Team plans will suit you and your project team.

Click here to upgrade to a Creately Team plan right away.

PS. Special thanks to everyone who’s helped us along the way with your support, feedback and kind words.

The @Creately Team

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Create Organizational Charts & Share Org Charts Online

Creately for Org Charts

Creately is a powerful online Organizational Chart software for creating quick and easy Organizational Charts, Department & Team Org Charts and even Photo Org Charts.

Fast & Beautiful Org Charts
  • Drag & Drop Smart Shapes for Quick Org Charts
  • Fully interactive and Easy to use web Interface
  • Easy Start Templates for Professional Org Charts
  • Shared Team Projects for Easy Online Collaboration
  • 1- Click to Share, Export & Publish your Org Charts
  • No Downloads or Install necessary. Works in your Browser

Try Creately for Org Charts

Creately for Org Chart Tour

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