David Allen's book, "Getting Things Done - The Art of Stress-Free Productivity", and his GTD® methodology have revolutionized the way millions of working men and women tackle their work. His system turns achieving control and perspective over your commitments into a daily reality.
Many people know this about GTD. What you may not know is that for the past 17 years, David has used Lotus Notes as his personal organization system.
This month, David and I will be co-presenting two webinars on GTD & Lotus Notes.
Some of the things we'll show:
How to go home at the end of the day with an empty inbox
How to tackle your work week with the confidence of knowing you’re being as productive as you can possibly be
What's in David's productivity toolkit and how he uses Lotus Notes to get things done
Webinar exclusively for IBM employees
On April 8th from 10:00am – 11:30am PST, we’ll be doing a webinar exclusively for IBM employees on applying GTD to Lotus Notes. Many IBMers are fans of GTD already, and this will give more insight into David’s master tips, tricks & strategies. We’ll also look at eProductivity – the only software tool for Lotus Notes that’s earned the distinctive “GTD Enabled” certification.
If you’re an IBM employee, sign up now. Space is limited.
Webinar open to the public
On April 28th from 10:00am - 11:30am PST, David and I will be doing another "Getting Things Done in Lotus Notes" webinar for the general public.
Go here to get more details and sign up now. Space is limited.
Mark Hughes is the Lotus Notes developer behind the ITANA app that makes it possible to access Lotus Notes tasks, Journal entries, and more from an iPhone or Android device.
The iPhone is notorious in productivity circles for not having a native task application. This makes syncing the iPhone to desktop task managment software like Lotus Notes to be a challenge at best. Mark's ITANA application could be a solution to this gapping need in being productive with the iPhone. Plus, his solution works on Android.
Mark recently contacted me about getting eProductivity to work with his solution and there has been progress on that front. He wrote a blog post yesterday that shows how he's modified ITANA to alow you to manage eProductivity Projects & Actions on an iPhone or Android. He's got a few screenshots there that show what he's been working on, including this one:
[Thanks to a tip from Ed Brill, the title of this post should probably read: "Lotus Notes 8.5 Just Gave Me a New Outlook on .ICS Calendar Files." That would certainly be a true statement.]
Earlier today, I blogged that we had set up a webinar about GTD and Lotus Notes using GoToMeeting. I blogged about how I was embarassed when I then received many follow-up emails from IBMers asking why the Webinar confirmation included a link to add the event to the Outlook calendar but no link to add the event to the Lotus Notes Calendar. I explained that we as a GoToWebinar customer have no control over the event confirmation email that they send to people that sign up. (We have contacted GoToWebinars to request a change -- we'll see what happens). In any case, I'm a little embarassed to admit that I did not actually click on the "Add to your Outlook Calendar" link on the confirmation. I've grown so accustomed to being frustrated that Outlook links did not work in Notes that I simply assumed it wouldn't work.
I was wrong.
After a comment from Ed Brill, asking if I had clicked on the link I realized I was about to be in for a pleasant surprise. Indeed I was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, I'm thrilled and I want everyone to know about this way cool productivity feature that Mary Beth Raven and her team added to Notes 8.5x.
This week, Ryan and I are setting up a webinar for people that use Lotus Notes (this webinar is of no interest to people that do not use Notes, unless they want to see what they are missing. But more on that in an upcoming post).
Our company uses GoToWebinar for our web conferences and events and they do an excellent job hosting and managing large events for us. Anyway, sign ups are going well (and fast) but I've already received several questions like this:
...why is there no button to add this to my LotusNotes Calendar, but there was one for Outlook?
Recently, I was invited to present during the IBM Smart Business World Wide Business Partner Community Call. Copresenting with me was Dave Lawrence, President of Smart Technology Enablers, Inc., a Lotus Foundations BP.
Dave began by asking the audience a few "calibration" questions:
Do you want to go home at the end of the day with an empty inbox?
Are you tired of leaving work with more on your plate than when your day began?
Do you wish you could manage your to-do list instead of feeling like your to-do list is manhandling you?
Would you like to tackle your work week with the confidence of knowing you’re being as productive as you can possibly be?
Are you ready to save 30 minutes of otherwise-wasted time every day?
In my exprience, almost everyone will naturally say yes to these questions (and then wonder how it's possible). The cool thing is that with eProductivity and Lotus Notes people actually do this every day.
I really enjoyed hearing Dave explain why he tells Lotus Partners that eProductivity is good for his Lotus Foundations business:
A successful Foundations Partner will often be out of sight and out of mind. eProductivity keeps you on your customer's mind every day. As an IT solution provider, often times the benefit of your hard work is that your customers never see your hard work. With eProductivity, your customers see and experience the value that you bring them each and every day
Dave went on to share his experience when showing eProductivity to clients and they say the three magic words every business partner wants to hear "I want that!".
Once users have eProductivity you can’t take it or Lotus Notes away from them….
If you want to learn more, here are the links from the presentation:
During the webinar, I shared how for a limited time, any Lotus Business Partner that resells Lotus Foundations or Lotus Notes can get a free license of eProductivity.
I also invited all Lotus Foundations Resellers and Lotus Business Partners to send me an email to request to attend a private webinar where we will go into the details of eProductivity and how it works. Any business partner that thinks eProductivity might be of benefit to their clients (or themselves) will want to attend this private webinar. During the webinar, I'll provide them information on how to download and experience the solution for themselves. Finally, after they complete their evaluation, they can request a free license key for the product.
Details are at the end of the podcast. (If you can't wait, you can listen to the invitation or send me an email and I'll forward it to the right person.)
I have a topic that I want to put out to the Notes community to discuss. I could simply blog about it and ask people to comment. The challenge is I end up with a long list of comments without threads. I could direct people to a forum where discussions would be threaded but at the end I would have to summarize all of the conversations into one document - too much work.
The Web 2.0 thing to do would be to post the document to the web and invite people to modify the document itself. I thought a Wiki might work well for this purpose and so I headed over to the OpenNTF site to download the new xPages Wiki, managed by Steve Castledine and Niklas Heidloff .
In less than 5 minutes I had downloaded the Wiki, read through the quick start guide and set up my first xPages Wiki.
The steps I used were:
Download template to my Notes DATA Directory
Sign template with an ID authorized to run agents on the Domino server
Create a new Wiki.nsf file on the Domino Server and grant ACL rights
Access the new Wiki from the web and start posting
That's it. Less than 5 minutes. Wow!
Some things I like about the new xPages Wiki so far:
Easy to set up
I can access content from a web browser or from my Notes client
Some questions/concerns I have:
Word wrapping appears to change places from time to time. Some times a line will wrap in the middle; other times near the end.
A few times, I created pages that when I clicked on the link I ended up at a Notes 4 era list page. Clicking through worked. (Possible configuration issue, or a bug?)
I do a lot of off-line work. I wonder what will happen if I edit pages and replicate back to the Domino server when others have made changes. I may want to limit myself to off-line reading and reference.
Things I'd like to see:
E-Mail notification of updates with a Notes doclink (in addition to RSS)
Ability to customize the site design
All in all, for a 20-minute investment, including a test Wiki page and this blog post, I'm impressed!
This year, unfortunately, I couldn't make it to Lotusphere in Orlando. After 2009's triumph there with the eProductivity team, I was disappointed not to attend. But, all was not lost. Today I attended the Lotusphere Comes to You roadshow, and this time I didn't have to fly half-way round the world. It was taking place in Barcelona, at the Hotel Juan Carlos I hotel, and a 20 minute walk had me arriving just before the 09:30am start.
So, how was it? I would say a 'roaring success' judging by some comments from my fellow-attendees (a crowd of around 150 attended).
The highlight for me was certainly Ed Brill's talk on the direction of Lotus collaboration. In Spanish! Well done Ed, your effort and enthusiasm were appreciated by one and all. eProductivity got a nice mention, as did yours truly (Eric Mack must have warned him of my presence). Thanks Ed. The 5-minute Project Vulcan video that Ed included left me inspired. You could almost feel the sizzle in the room, as the new tools that Lotus are building looked great. Looks like exciting things ahead for IBM Lotus software.
Ed's slide showing eProductivity:
Luis Suárez also did a very nice job of explaining the social software improvements being made in the Lotus family. Sametime, portal, mashups, social enterprise, Lotusphere prizes and case studies followed-on and, without going into any detail, rest assured that it really does show the strong offering that Lotus has.
Last week I received a call from the folks at Phase2 - a recent Lotus Business Partner with big plans. Apparently, they are a company that hosts Notes and Domino apps on a SaaS Model. They contacted me because they had a customer (apparently an Exchange shop) that wanted to talk about using hosted Lotus Notes with our productivity software. That got my attention. I'm always delighted when I can give folks a new outlook on their productivity tools and I love it when folks decide to exchange what they are currently using for Lotus Notes/Domino. I'm all for anything that can be done to make this process easier. I had hoped that LotusLive iNotes or LotusLive Notes might be that solution but it's not ready for SMBs yet and, from what I understand, they don't yet allow the use of custom mail templates, like eProductivity which is a deal killer for our clients that want to be more productive with Notes. I've always wanted to see someone offer Notes in a SaaS model without the heavy toll of a large startup fee or a high minimum number of users. It looks like Phase2 might fit that bill.
There's another reason why I'm interested in learning how well Notes as SaaS works: As a result of my public speaking on productivity and knowledge management, I'm frequently in a position to show how I use Lotus Notes to get things done, this invariably leads to a number of discussions with people that have never used Notes/Domino before and who want to know how to get started. Unfortunately, I can't help these people and I hesitate to encourage them because I don't want to inundate our support desk with calls from first-time Notes users that can't find the download link from the IBM site or who have questions about installation. The best I've been able to do so far is to point them to this page I wrote for first-time Notes users and then offer to refer them to any of a number of respected Lotus Business Partners that I know. For Domino hosting, I often refer people to Prominic. Clients that have used them tell me they have been pleased with the result.,
Sometimes, however, a company doesn't want to deal with the licensing issues involved in managing their own or even a hosted Notes/Domino solution. Even with the reduced complexity of licensing (thank you Lotus!), it can take a lot of time and money to stand up a Lotus software suite with Notes, Domino, Quickr, Connections and Sametime. if someone can get this right as a turn-key operation, I think it would lower the cost (and hesitation) of doing pilots with the Lotus software suite. This is where it looks like Phase2 may comes in with their Lotus as SaaS model -- at least if I understand their web site right. They will set up the environment and provide the licensing for one monthly fee. (See update below)
This afternoon, I spoke with the folks at Phase2.com again. Apparently, one of their clients asked if it was possible to connect our eProductivity suite with their hosted Notes account. Absolutely - it's just a mail template that can be installed by end-user or administrator. I told them I was interested to see how the Phase2 customer experience worked. I wanted to know just how easy it is for a new user to request, provision, and deploy hosted Lotus Notes in order to experience the power of Notes. Well, it looks like I will soon have my answer. the folks at Phase2 are going to set me up with a few test accounts so that I can test the process. I’ll plan to write a follow-up post to report on how things went after I've had a few weeks experience with their offering.
I'm glad to see there’s someone hosting Lotus products in the cloud using a SaaS model for small numbers of users and I look forward to testing their solution.