FacileThings Report: Survey Results and Goals for 2015AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
In any project that requires some creativity—as any endeavor—it’s necessary to switch from time to time between acting and reflecting. Sometimes you have to shutdown, stop doing things, think of what you’ve done so far and discuss what should be the next steps to follow.
In FacileThings we have dedicated the month of December to make a full big-picture review. We’ve reviewed and analyzed a lot of data to see how we can improve the lives of our users for the next year, while we maintain our vision of developing a personal productivity tool based 100% on the GTD methodology.
For this, a very important source of data comes from a survey we conducted among our customers in late November 1. Below I show you the results of the survey, along with some conclusions and our development plan for 2015.
Knowledge of GTD
(1) How would you describe your level of knowledge and use of GTD when you started using FacileThings?
Most respondents (79%) knew something of GTD, but did not apply it or only partially. Only 15% knew nothing about GTD, which contrasts with the survey we did over a year ago, in which this group represented 47% of the total. It seems that now, our users know more about GTD.
(2) What is the primary benefit that you have received from FacileThings?
Although it is an open question, we have tried to group the benefits mentioned in more manageable concepts, and these are the results:
- 33% speak of a more efficient organization and management of tasks and projects, work, personal life, commitments, day to day, ideas, time, etc.
- 31% speak specifically of the advantages of using the complete organizational structure of GTD: Being able to apply it in a simple and intuitive way, without wasting time on maintaining the implementation.
- A 16% speak of peace of mind and security of having everything under control, not forgetting anything, less stress.
- An 11% mention the advantages of being able to collect from anywhere, and work from there. Having lists in one place, always accessible, close at hand.
- 7% say they now have a better focus on the important things, thanks to more clarity and less distractions.
- 5% consider important to be able to align their tasks with their vision, goals and areas of responsibility, and have a higher perspective of their work.
- 4% value the introduction that provides FacileThings to GTD methodology thanks to which they have learned the basic principles to be organized.
- A 3% values to have been able to integrate other productivity tools with their lists, including email, Evernote or Google Calendar.
Other benefits mentioned to a lesser extent are:
- Providing guidance to process the collected things.
- Having a guide for the Weekly Review.
- Having a help to create habits and establish discipline.
- Being able to assign tasks to other members de su organización of their organization, and improve team communication.
(3) What was the first moment you realized you wanted to keep using FacileThings?
- A large majority (30%) didn’t mention an specific time. Simply, they felt comfortable to implement the methodology and see that things were going well. Almost everyone mentions that they have needed a short time to realize (a few days, a week, immediately).
- A 6% say they noticed at the end of the month trial, when they stopped using it and saw how the chaos came back again.
- Other 6% mentioned that the quality of support and continuous improvements was what ended to convince them.
- 4% decided after seeing that FacileThings fully follows the GTD methodology and allows you to effortlessly apply it.
- A 3% realized after defining their vision and mid-term goals, after they gained perspective aligning the tasks of everyday life with what’s important to them.
- A 3% mentioned the design and a simple user interface as the main reason.
- Another 3% say they decided after trying several applications.
- Another 3% say it was after feeling the tranquility it brings.
Other less repeated comments:
- When capturing stuff from different places and processing them easily.
- After having a critical mass of data.
- After achieving a more efficient work system.
- After having all projects organized in one place.
- When seeing how they were learning GTD at the same time.
- When making the Weekly Review.
- When Seeing that they could manage all areas of life.
(4) Have you recommended FacileThings to anyone?
70% of respondents have ever recommended to someone the use of FacileThings, and have described it in the following ways:
- GTD tool with structure. Perfect, ideal application for applying GTD. Comprehensive and collaborative GTD solution (15%).
- Tool for personal organization. An easy way to get organized and plan (9%).
- A tool to learn and consolidate GTD. A guide to start implementing GTD. For experts and novices (6%).
- Great task manager. An aid to focus on what you need/want to do. It allows you to align your work with your life goals (6%).
- Tool to clean up the mess, have everything under control, live without stress (4%).
- Tool to improve your personal productivity, your efficiency (3%).
- A complete system for work development. An ally for the working world, with methodology (2%).
(5) How can we improve FacileThings to better meet your needs?
There are a myriad of different responses here (more than 60), but the top of the list—improving the mobile apps—wins by an absolute majority. Then there are a few very interesting improvements that are often mentioned. And finally, a long tail of very specific improvements (mentioned by one or two users) that are not included in this list.
- A large majority, 28%, mentioned in some way, either general or specific, that we must improve mobile applications.
- A 4% would like to have different views for the Calendar (weekly, monthly, etc.)
- Other 4% considered important to be able to plan tasks running in parallel, within a project.
- A 3% want some improvements in the email-to-inbox feature. Mainly, attachments should be incorporated into the application data.
- A 3% speak of better integration with Google Calendar: it should be bidirectional, with a longer period of synchronized elements, with automatic synchronization.
- Another 3% would like to have some general improvements in Project Management such as Kanban planning style.
- A 3% want a specific application for tablets.
- A 3% speak of improving usability and user interface, making it more simple.
- Other 3% want to be able to work without internet connection.
(6) How did you discover FacileThings?
Most have found us by a reference in a blog or our own blog (39.2%), or surfing on the internet (28.3%). Also word-of-mouth has been its influence: A 17.7% tried FacileThings because someone recommended it.
(7) In what business sector do you work and what is your position?
27% of our users have a responsible role in their company and 19% are running a company.
19% of them belongs to the Information Technology sector, followed by 9% dedicated to Consulting/Training.
The most common occupations are computer programmer (7%), consultant (4%), and project manager (4%).
Strategic Plan for 2015
In addition to this survey, we have considered another type of feedback that we receive from our users: support tickets, emails where they tell us the reasons they stopped using FacileThings, etc.
Also, of course, we have considered other analytical business indicators such as ratios of acquisition, retention and customer conversion. Making money is not our first objective, but it is necessary in order to continue on the way towards our vision.
Finally, there are external imperatives that we will force us to make some changes, some of legal nature and others of technical nature.
In all, these are the projects that we should rush—and what you can expect from FacileThings—in 2015:
New mobile app 2.0
We are developing a new mobile application from scratch. It will have a new design and a synchronization mechanism that will allow you to work off-line. The aim is to create a useful, fast and very easy-to-use application.
Initially, the application will be a downloadable app for Android and iPhone, and will be accessible through the browser to other platforms.
The idea is to complete a first beta version in the coming weeks, with a basic but robust functionality, and keep increasing its possibilities every month.
These are the next concrete developments we have planned for the web application:
- Weekly and monthly view for the Calendar.
- Update on the Google Calendar integration: bidirectional and customizable sync. Allow the use of more than one calendar.
- Projects: Planning of actions that can be executed in parallel.
- Update on integration with E-mails: handle attachments.
- Update on the Evernote integration: automatic and customizable sync.
- New feature: Natural Planning for projects.
- New feature: Beautiful PDF reports on tasks, lists, projects, etc.
- New feature: GTD for purists.
In addition, we will work continuously in these topics:
- Improving performance on specific points of the application.
- Simplifying and improving usability in specific parts of the application.
- Adjusting the user interface for optimal use in tablets.
So far we have not worried too much about marketing issues. This year we will pay greater attention to this section, because we believe that it will help us achieve our goals in a more sustainable way.
We will completely redesign the website, adapting it for use in tablets and smartphones. Also we will completely renew the blog, making it more accessible and readable, and adding new features to facilitate the location of content.
According to our supplier, the platform on which we have installed the application, blog and website will be obsolete in June 2015. This forces us to migrate to a new platform.
It will be a good change because the performance of the system will improve significantly and we will have more capacity for growth. However, it will be a difficult migration because it involves updating the versions of programming framework (Rails), the programming language (Ruby) and all the third party components we are using. We will have to review thousands of lines of code and thoroughly test each functionality. We will use the month of February to undertake this project.
Once the new system is working properly, we will plan the implementation of a secure connection protocol (https).
Along this year, we will also publish an API for developers and a referral program for our clients.
As side projects, and provided that the other projects give us some room, we will work on the design of a new user interface and begin to develop a specific application for iPad.
There are no deadlines (personally, I hate deadlines), although there are dates scheduled for everything. I will not show them because priorities (and therefore also the forecast dates) tend to change quite often (I do not like raising false expectations).
We would like to do many more things, but given our current resources, I think this is a realistic approach that, on the other hand, will get us quite closer to where we want to be.
1 Survey of FacileThings customers, November 2014: