While Asana and Do.com garner much of the attention when it comes to social task management, Jive has brought Producteev back as a free social task management solution for unlimited users with a focus on teams. Producteev barely made my radar pre-Jive acquisition for reasons I can’t remember (that could be the problem right there). However, with Jive now behind the Producteev platform, it’s worthy of a new look.

Getting started with Producteev

Producteev provides multiple sign in options, including your Producteev account, Google account, and Facebook account. You need to specify the Google and Facebook accounts as part of the Producteev setup process. If you choose Google as your sign in, Producteev gives you the option to let people in your Google+ circles know you have signed in to the app. Figure A shows the Request for Permission dialog box.
Figure A

Producteev and Google login permissions.

While I am not too keen on Facebook as a login for a business application, the Google integration options are something I would like to see Producteev pursue further. For example, integration with Google Apps for Business could mean potential options for Google Calendar and Google+ Circles collaboration options for teams. At the time of this writing, Producteev is not part of the Google Apps Marketplace.

Social task management with Producteev

Anyone familiar with Producteev pre-Jive will see that the application has undergone a usability overhaul when they first log in. At the top level, organizations or teams can set up networks that are the equivalent of workspaces where you can set the first project you create for public access (authorized Producteev users in your organization) or private access (just users you invite). Figure B shows the setup dialog box for Networks.
Figure B

Producteev Networks

Once you have a project set up, you can invite the rest of your team to the project. Producteev manages projects access on the Networks level, so you are actually inviting users to your network. Once they accept the invite, they can create and edit projects and, with admin approval, can invite other users to the project. Lastly, Producteev gives the users you invite access to all public and private projects in the network to which they’ve been invited. Some teams may need to spend some time when they first get started on Producteev to get their networks set up with the right people.

Entering tasks is easy and made even better because Producteev supports hash tags (#) for adding labels. When you enter a task, place a hash tag with the label you want to assign the task. The label then automatically appears with the task in your project. Figure C shows a project in Producteev.
Figure C

A project in Producteev. (Click the image to enlarge.)

When viewing a project, Producteev offers you a full range of viewing filters that let you narrow down your project view by parameters including completion, due date (today or this week), and when the task was last changed. You also have the option to sort the task list in descending or ascending order.

When you click a task, you have the option to add Assignees, Due Date, and Labels. For more complex tasks, you can add subtasks, but at the current time subtasks are just a simple checklist.

Figure D

More details about a Producteev task. (Click the image to enlarge.)

Following tasks is useful for project managers and remote team members who want to be kept apprised of a task’s completion. Other users can also comment on a task, and Producteev comments support the @ symbol for calling out comment recipients.

The turnaround in features in the Producteev relaunch under Jive is just short of remarkable, but they still need some work on the file attachment front. You can only attach a file to a comment you make on a task; whereas in Asana and Do.com, you can attach files to a task directly. While I’m sure the Producteev development team had their reasons, an option to attach files directly to a task would be nice in a future version.

Producteev desktop, mobile applications, and future Jive integration

While Producteev is a cloud application, there are also Macintosh, iPhone, and Android apps available. When I asked Adam Mertz, director of product marketing at Jive about a Windows Jive application, he told me that they had a Windows application available for a time, but its low download numbers couldn’t justify the continued development of the application.

According to the briefing I got from Jive’s Mertz, you can expect to see an integration module for Producteev and Jive sometime this fall.

Final thoughts

If Producteev never registered with you prior to Jive acquiring it, I highly recommend revisiting it to see the changes that have been made, especially if you are considering a social task management platform for your team. Producteev has gone from an application I found unremarkable to a platform I plan to watch when I write about social task management topics in the future.