3 productivity features that Microsoft will never put together

How can the best corporate for Office products, fail at creating one single useful tool?

Highly customized timelines

Oddly enough, Microsoft has created a long time ago a great timeline tool. It was at the beginning of Sharepoint.

Sharepoint Task List

Guess what, this tool is not used in the “modern page” of sharepoint and cannot be embedded!

  • Multiple timelines
  • Multiple colors
  • Adaptable scales

What is missing though:

  • A scroll button at each ends to view long projects

Of course, Google did include the scrollable buttons for scaling through a timeline.

Useful levels and hierarchy

“Epic”, “features”, “user stories” are terms for the Agile project management. In real life you could have the corporate level, the region level, the service level.

Visual Studio Team Services

Of course, this really great way of viewing tasks is reserved to IT Teams… As if no other kind of project would need such a great way to communicate and organize the work to be done.

It is very nice to see the different type of tasks. Notice the engaging colors and the choice of icons for the dashboard.

Visual Studio TS dashboard

A timeline plugin is available, but you have to create a new set of tasks to see them… not as efficient as it would be if the epics, features and user stories had their own timeline.

With each task having a rich set of properties: discussion, acceptance criteria, points, risk level… It is definitely the best product I have seen.

Large teams

Visual Studio Team Services is really the best tool for project management… but it is limited to 5 persons. After that, you have to pay. So if you want to stick to the fees of your Office 365 subscriptions, you have to use Planner…

You lose:

  • hierarchy in tasks
  • colors
  • rich text description / conversation
  • Document easy integration

…but with what is left, you can share it with many people.

Don’t think about a timeline… far from it yet.

Conclusion

When you want to win a market, don’t just bet on one product: have many. And of course, it would be silly to make one of them good enough so that the market abandons the other. The marketing solution, is to make one interesting feature in each of product, and never put them together!