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Project Squared: You Asked, We Listened

- March 2, 2015 - 8 Comments

When we launched Project Squared in November of 2014, one of the things that was really important to us was to listen to our customers, and to use the things we heard to adjust the experience. We established several “listening posts” – ways for us to get feedback. Analytics and metrics were one way. Another way was a feedback capability right within the application. We encouraged our users to use the feedback feature to report problems, but to also make feature requests or generally tell us what they think.

Within a few weeks of launch, we already started to see some trends in the feedback we were receiving. The number one requested feature that we got – by a long shot – was the ability to leave a 1-1 room. For the engineering team, this was an unexpected request. Why do users want to leave a 1-1 room? After all, if a 1-1 room has no activity, it will downwards in the room list and you won’t see it anymore. So, what is the issue?

What we learned is that other users don’t necessarily use the application in the same way that we do. For other users, a clean room list is a goal. These are also probably the same people that like the zero-inbox model. And for those people, whose goal is to keep the active room list to zero, leaving a room is how they were thinking about cleaning it up. For them, the fact that you could leave a group room, but not a 1-1 room, was a glaring omission in their ability to achieve zero-room-list nirvana.

As a result, we took this new feature request and we prioritized it very high on our backlog. We had some challenges in figuring out how to actually make this work. If a user leaves a 1-1 room, how do they get back in? If the other person sends them a message later on, is it a fresh room with none of the old content, or do they see all of the previous content? If the user searches for the other person, do they find them in the search results? After trying a few models, we settled on the idea that leaving a 1-1 room is mostly about hiding that room from the room list. The room is still searchable by the user, and if a new message is sent or received, the old room content is still there. This model gives the users what they want – the ability to clean up their room list – without losing all of the rest of the benefits of the persistence model that is built into Project Squared. Of course, like other state, the fact that you’ve left a 1-1 room is synchronized across clients. If you leave it on one device, the 1-1 room is removed from the room list on your other devices.

Then, we shipped it. This feature is now generally available within our clients. The current version in the iOS and Android app stores, along with web.projectsquared.com, supports this feature. Our continuous delivery model allowed us – within two short months – gather feedback, analyze the feedback, prioritize the new feature, design the new feature, implement it across all of our clients, built the test automation harnesses to verify it, instrument it for metrics, and then ship it to all users as generally available.

You asked, we listened, and we delivered.

And there’s more to come. Tune in to our webcast on March 17, 2015 for a special announcement.

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8 Comments

  1. This is more of overall feedback, but Squared has really transformed how our teams work in a very short period of time, and that says a lot about how well this product will do when released in 'Golden Master' form. The simplicity of the UI, the ability to integrate with Box and crystal clear video conferencing really makes you wonder how we did this before Squared (we didn't). Really looking forward to seeing the final product.

  2. Great blog Jonathan! Listening to the customer and taking action...wow! Way to go. Awesome solution overall!

    I would like to add some people as "read-only" participants. Is that possible? Thanks for all your hard work, Squared Team. I find myself using this more and more instead of emails or Box Gil G. Cisco CSE

    • Please use the app and send feedback to request this feature :)

  3. Sad to see that Cisco Jabber Video (www.ciscojabbervideo.com) beta service will reach end-of-life on May 16, 2015 as an result of this new encapsulated collaboration product. Without the ability to do sip calls to other systems/companies the statement "Project Squared allows simple and secure place to collaborate — with anyone, anywhere within and across organizations" would be incorrect. Anyone can become a member ...

    This is such an important part of our "new way to work" offering. Gone are the days of 12-18 month roadmaps and long R&D cycles. Agile workforces mandate up to date and relevant technology. This can only be offered when the product feature set can be kept up to date real time.

    • Thanks Eric. We agree. The whole goal here is to reduce these massive timetables. That is what is really impressive here. In just three months, we: 1. shipped the product, 2. gathered feedback from the in-app feedback 3. analyzed the feedback 4. adjusted our backlogs 5. built the top requested feature 6. built automated testing to ensure correctness 7. implemented it across all clients 8. shipped it to all customers This is a great result I think.

    • Eric Cullum....Well look who works for Cisco now :)

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