Keeping an Eye on Your Milestones

The milestones feature was a nice introduction to NetOffice – but it was missing an easy way to get an overview of your upcoming milestones, and which ones you’ve missed!

I’ve added a hack for the NetOffice home page that lists your upcoming milestones underneath your projects and above your tasks. It lists them in date order (I’m too lazy to make it sortable).

Once a milestone has been reached and completed, edit the task and untick the ‘Milestone’ option. Then mark the task as complete. (Or you could just delete it I suppose – it’s not really much use any more in this environment anyway.)

You can see I have a few milstones here to chase up and mark off…

To install, make a backup of your /general/home.php page and unzip this one in it’s place.

You’ll also need to open your /languages/lang_en.php file and add the following to the bottom of the list:
$strings['my_milestones'] = 'My Upcoming Milestones';

Download ZIP file, 6719 bytes.

Enjoy!

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Upcoming tasks with weekly times

Another minor adjustment to NetOffice 2.6 reporting.

This one replaces the standard report (where you select project/user/stats/dates etc).

  • The “Published” column is replaced with “Estmated Hours”
  • Each time a new week starts, the estimated hours for that week are totalled and displayed.

The Resource Usage custom report is quite good for reviewing hous spent, but this one is to prevent you from allocating someone 356 hours worth of tasks in a week! (I’m not quite that bad, but I have a habit of just piling work up on people!)

Anyway, just unzip this and drop it on top of your old reports/resultsreport.php file.

Download ZIP file, 3941 bytes.

As usual, make sure you back up your old file first so you can go back to it if you like.

Enjoy!

Screenshot

Reinstalling Outlook 2003 – Missing Email Addresses

Had to reformat my computer over the weekend and reinstall everything, as does happen from time to time. This morning, went to send an email and Outlook didn’t recognise the name I entered in the “To” field, much less complete the email address.

I checked my Contacts folder – everyone was in there. What’s the go???

After a bit of exploring I found the solution. (For Outlook 2003, anyway.)

  1. Click Go and then Folder List
  2. Right-click your Contacts folder, then left-click Properties
  3. Select the tab “Outlook Address Book”
  4. Add a tick to “Show this folder as an email address book”
  5. Click “Okay”

It’s an easy fix once you figure out where they hid it!

Our Latest Project: an Email Newsletter Manager

We have had a number of clients asking us about sending email newsletters of late. We checked out a number of alternatives, but they were all either too expensive, too complicated, or both.

So we decided to write our own solution!

Currently being beta-tested, I’d like to introduce Email Marketing.

We’ve aimed to keep this a simple as possible while providing some useful reporting features as well. If you’re interested in hearing more when we release to the public, let me know!

A good news story – with a lesson

Got a good news story that I’d like to share:

A few weeks ago I received a call from a competitor asking for usernames and passwords for a website that we were working on. (Been working on it for over 12 months, mind you!) So anyway, I contacted the client to confirm the request and find out where we went wrong.

“It’s nothing you guys have done,” she told me. “My daughter is friends with [competitor] and she convinced me to go with them instead. I know I haven’t given you everything you need to finish the site, that’s my fault, not yours.” So I told her I understood completely, I don’t have a problem with people changing because of those sorts of reasons.

That was all okay – losing a client due to a family/friend connection isn’t the end of the world. As long as it wasn’t something we did.

So today just after lunchtime, the client (or maybe ex-client) pops into the office. She looks at me rather sheepishly and asks, “Will you take me back?”

Surprised, I asked why.

Apparently they hadn’t done anything that was asked of them. They did a redesign and didn’t follow the client’s brief. Information had been put in the wrong place and badly formatted. The staff member (“kid”) that was actually doing the work made the client feel inferior for not being fluent with computers instead of explaining things in English.

Of course, we took her back!

So this afternoon I feel somewhat proud of the level of service we offer. Generally speaking, if someone knows your competitor on a family/friend level you have no chance of winning their business, it’s not even worth worrying about.

But obviously that’s not necessarily the case.

So:

  1. Don’t burn your bridges
  2. LISTEN to what your clients want
  3. Remember that while you probably know more about your industry, they know a lot more about their industry than you do. it’s not their job to be experts in your chosen field, that’s why they come to you in the first place!