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Wiggio: An Extra Simple Collaboration Tool

Wiggio: An Extra Simple Collaboration Tool

    If you’ve been looking for an absolutely easy way to collaborate with a group, I’d recommend trying out Wiggio. The application just came into public beta today and it’s one of the easiest-to-use collaboration tools I’ve run across. If you’ve ever had to work with group members unfamiliar with tools beyond email, Wiggio can provide an easy solution for group collaboration. It’s not too bad for more advanced users looking for a simple interface, either.

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    Signing Up

    Signing up for Wiggio is fairly standard. You have to set up an account and confirm by clicking on a link in an email. From there, you have two options. You can join an existing group or create a new group.

    Beyond the standard request for an email address and a password, Wiggio also requests your cell phone number and your provider. While you don’t have to provide that information, with it, Wiggio will send you text messages about posts and other activities happening in your groups. According to Wiggio’s policy, such information will be kept private. There isn’t a lot of information about their security measures available on their site, however. It’s up to you whether you want to trust Wiggio with your phone number.

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    Creating a New Group

    When you create a new group, it’s very obvious that Wiggio started out as a way to organize groups at school. Beyond the choice of business, you can organize a group for your class, sorority, student government or a host of other student activities. I’m hoping that Wiggio adds a few more grown-up options but for now, I’m just sticking with whatever seems closest to my needs — usually business.

    The Interface

    Wiggio’s interface is very simple — lots of clearly-labeled buttons that less-than-internet-savvy group members can handle without much trouble. There are six main tools:

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    1. Calendar — A fairly simple shared calendar that allows you to manage group events. There’s no easy way to add this calendar to whatever time management system you use, but you can set up an automatic email whenever a change is made to the calendar (or any other part of your group). Gmail seems to be able translate those emails into Google Calendar events without an issue.
    2. Folder — You can upload most file types to your Wiggio groups. Wiggio can even handle version-tracking automatically. A group member can download the file, change it and re-upload it. He doesn’t need to change the file name or anything for Wiggio to recognize it as a new version. Old versions are still available.
    3. Meeting — Wiggio offers two types of meetings for users: a chatroom and a conference call. For conference calls, Wiggio uses Rondee, a free conference call service. Wiggio will also host chats for your group.
    4. Poll — Not all collaboration applications offer any tools to help with decision making, but with Wiggio’s Poll system, you can matters to a vote in your group. You don’t even need to track responses to get an answer.
    5. Messages — Through Wiggio, you can send messages to group members in three different ways: text message, email and voice note. You can also post notes on your group’s home page, but no guarantee that group members will log in and see them. I was a little concerned at first that the text message and voice mail options meant that the entire group would have access to my phone number, but all of that is handled internally.
    6. Links — The link tool is simply a place to paste in links so that your group has a shared set of bookmarks.

    Wiggio’s tools aren’t anything new, but the way they’re put together make them very easy to work with. For those of us who wind up spending more time explaining to a group how to use collaboration software than working on our group project, Wiggio’s interface makes it very worthwhile. And while other sites offer more robust conferencing tools, Wiggio’s ability to keep up with group comments is a great option for those organizations not so dependent on teleconferencing.

    There is definintely an assumption for Wiggio that group members aren’t going to be sitting at their desks all day, every day. If you’ve had problems keeping touch with those members of your group that seem to prioritize their social lives over group meetings, being able to send them text message reminders may prove invaluable.

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    If you’re managing multiple groups, Wiggio’s interface does make the process easier. Recent updates to all your groups are shown on your homepage as icons showing which tool has been used. You can navigate directly to specific updates, rather than going through your groups to get to particular tool pages, and you can easily navigate between multiple groups. Adding new members to your groups is just as simple as knowing their email addresses, as well — they can easily be members of multiple groups with no fuss.

    Wiggio was designed by a group of seniors at Cornell University who were tired of the variety of tools they had to use to keep their group projects running and systems that required techno-savvy to use. Rather than struggle with list-servs and long email lists, they put together one site that could do it all — and for all the different groups they participated in at school. The Wiggio team is clearly starting to branch out to other organizations, like small businesses and committees, as well. There is no cost to use Wiggio. The site uses advertisements to make money.

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2019

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

    Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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    1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
    2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
    3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
    4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
    5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
    6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
    7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
    8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
    9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
    10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
    11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
    12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
    13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
    14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
    15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
    16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
    17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
    18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
    19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
    20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
    21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
    22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

    Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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