Productivity software

Social Productivity: Use Peer Pressure to Keep Yourself on Task

Huddle Links You In

Huddle on LinkedIn
Huddle lets you manage project workspaces from inside LinkedIn.
Project management tools are, of course, the ultimate expression of social productivity. And few project management services get quite as social as Huddle. The free version of Huddle lets you share one workspace with your colleagues, giving you a shared calendar, the ability to assign and track tasks, and 100MB of storage space for documents and files. For $25 per month, you can upgrade the storage to 2GB and add conferencing capabilities. (You can find a few higher levels of service beyond that, too.)

Of course, getting everyone on your team to start using yet another Web service can be challenging. But if that service connects to something they're already logging in to--such as LinkedIn--then you're halfway there. Huddle lets you link your account to LinkedIn, and then gives you easy tools for inviting your connections to join your workspaces so that you can assign them duties and check their progress without even going to the Huddle site.

Manymoon Connects to Google Apps

Like Huddle, Manymoon offers robust project management tools that connect to LinkedIn. What it adds to the mix is the ability to share Google Docs and Google Calendar information, plus a Gmail gadget that puts your Manymoon account right into your inbox. For groups that are already using Google Apps to share information, this is a great feature.

A basic Manymoon account is free; premium accounts (ranging from $19 to $49 per month) add cool project reports, custom page designs, and advanced administrative features.

Note: Last week, Salesforce.com acquired Manymoon. Whether the buyout will lead to changes in Manymoon's services is still unclear.

More Social Convergence With Facebook and LinkedIn

While stand-alone productivity services are continuing to expand their connections to other Web tools, the role of larger social sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn in your productivity arsenal will likely grow. These mainstays of social interaction are rapidly becoming business hubs, too, for the simple reason that they make it easy for workers to connect with their colleagues.

In addition to Huddle and Manymoon, Box.net sports a plug-in for LinkedIn. Box.net and a growing selection of business tools can now connect to Facebook, too. Of course, these plug-ins are still in their infancy, and it'll be some time before the average worker heads to Facebook to manage a complex project.

If you're contemplating taking the plunge into the social productivity pool, here are three pieces of useful advice:

1. Go platform-neutral: Unless you're the boss, you'll be hard-pressed to get your whole team logging in to a site they've never seen before. If you can meet your needs with a site like Huddle or Manymoon that connects to a network your colleagues already use, you'll be ahead of the game.

2. Consider your growth: Your team may be small now, but if it's rapidly growing you may end up ditching simple services like Remember the Milk after a short time, which means migrating your tasks and your team. If you think you'll need a robust project management system within a year's time, make the leap now and save headaches down the road.

3. Avoid oversharing: Just because your productivity software can connect to Facebook and Twitter doesn't mean it should. Although your colleagues may be impressed by your constant stream of achievements, most of your personal friends will likely find the updates irritating.

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