Getting Excited About OnTime V11

Getting Excited About OnTime V11

We are still several months from the release of OnTime V11, but the development progress is coming along incredibly nicely. You see, V11 is a major upgrade for us. We decided to put the brakes on adding new features. OnTime V10 is already the most feature-packed product in the industry. It’s also a leading tool in terms of ease of use and usability. But we want to be the tool that every software developer enjoys using every single day. While OnTime is on the short list of the top software project management tools, it’s safe to say that none of the tools in our industry are particularly enjoyed by software engineers who use them.

That’s because software engineers know what’s possible and they are rarely satisfied with any product. There are some exceptions. One such tool is GMail. GMail, by far the most popular email client used by software engineers, is a tool that even software engineers rave about. GMail is brilliantly simple, yet feature-packed and unbelievably fast. In fact, until GMail debuted, most software engineers thought that the performance results seen in GMail was virtually impossible from a web-based application.

When we started the development of OnTime V11, we challenged ourselves to “deliver the user experience of GMail in OnTime V11.”

To do that, we have to nail a lot of different things perfectly. It’s a big challenge. In some respects, it’s even tougher than GMail itself because GMail deals with managing the incoming mail of a single user. Emails have very limited number of fields (to/from/cc/bcc/subject/body). Emails are nearly always organized by date and they are all read-only. In an email application, there’s never hundreds of other users making changes, adding custom fields, creating filters and editing the very same items that you happen to be looking at. Email, by comparison, is a walk in the park.

Taking all the complexities of a multi-user project management software into consideration, delivering a GMail-like user experience seemed impossible.  It’s a far more complex task. We are talking about querying on dozens of fields, including custom fields, sorting the results and possibly grouping it by yet another field all the while grabbing the currently selected item’s attachments, related items and other pertinent information to be displayed in a beautifully simple user interface. Some thought “it can’t be done.” I may have been one of them.

It wasn’t going to be easy. That was for sure. I knew that if we wanted our tool to be enjoyed by millions of developers worldwide, we had to try everything we could. So we did.

We started with a complete re-write of the main OnTime Web Home Page. That’s the screen where the vast majority of OnTime users spend 99% of their time when working in OnTime. Since we were re-writing the page from scratch, we also redesigned the UI with the User Experience on top of mind. This new home page has been the focus of our development efforts for nearly a year and I’m happy to say that our results so far have exceeded our most optimistic goals.

Here are some words that I would use to describe the new OnTime V11 Home Page:

Blazingly Fast. Intuitive. Blazingly Fast. Beautiful. Blazingly Fast.

Did I mention it’s fast?

I can’t wait to show you some screenshots and videos of what we have built, but that will have to wait until next week when I will give a sneak preview of OnTime V11 to the crowd coming to the free Arizona Scott Guthrie event on April 22nd. If you are in Arizona and can make this event, I highly recommend it. ScottGu does an amazing job every year and as usual, I will be taking the stage for about 10 minutes to do a short talk on a couple of different topics. One of my topics will be the preview of OnTime V11.

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