My Favorite Tools: Cohuman

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Jottings by a tech PR consultant on a tireless quest for the next best tool, application, widget or Website to help “balance” life between the cyber and real worlds.

Email, Tweets, Facebook messages … social media is driving us to distraction! It’s a fact of life that there are days when we are destined to be more productive than others. On those “off” days we run circles around our most pressing tasks. Rationalizing as we go … “I’ll just check Twitter before I start that project … I must clean up my inbox before I can possibly do anything else … if I knock off these easy ‘C’ items on my list then I can plunge into the ‘A’ projects.” Suddenly a long lost friend locates us on Facebook, and we find ourselves crafting an email tome that will bring them up-to-date on our lives.

Aside from a swift kick in the patootie how can we stay on course day in and day out? Why not turn to technology to fight fire with fire? Today my post is about Cohuman, a new kind of productivity tool that coordinates teams and manages projects to keep you and your teams focused on your most pressing tasks.

I first learned about Cohuman when a former colleague from my SmartAge days asked for my help with two pending press announcements: Cohuman Now Available in the Google Apps Marketplace and Cohuman Rolls Out Intelligent Business Solution to Coordinate People and Manage “Need to Know” Projects. When I sat through my first briefing on the product’s capabilities, I imagined Cohuman could be useful for “other” people to keep team members on track and prevent bottlenecks. After all, it’s so easy for people to ignore or pass off a task with email or collaboration software because there is no accountability. Cohuman addresses this by providing a centralized workspace where each team member’s progress and requirements for completion of shared projects is visible. What a novel idea! Team members don’t even have to open up the application to find out what their priorities are for the day, they are alerted to new priorities, outstanding tasks and assignments by email.

What I hadn’t anticipated is that from that point on, project management as “I” knew it would never be the same. My PR communications and tasks with Cohuman were all to be managed from within the Cohuman application. I am tossing my PR consultant hat aside to tell you that on a personal level Cohuman has made me more productive and efficient with my time. First thing in the morning my focus is on deadlines for priority projects.  My motivation is two-fold. Cohuman prioritizes my tasks for me (and it’s deadly accurate), and my progress — or lack thereof — is transparent to my teams.

 

So how does Cohuman do it? It prioritizes tasks based on an algorithm that intelligently factors in emerging team priorities, due dates and dependencies to ensure that each team member works on the highest priority projects, and no one becomes a bottleneck. This is important because each of us invariably depends on our team members in order to deliver our own projects on time.

What I like most about Cohuman is that I don’t have to hunt for multiple email threads from each team member. Cohuman keeps the team’s many tasks, conversations and file attachments in one place. There is no guess work about who is doing what or about the status of a project. Cohuman ensures that each team member is accountable, and it provides unprecedented visibility into an individual’s and team’s responsibilities. There’s a convenient “Ping” button to nudge people along, and a “Yay” button to reward them. Yes, the folks behind Cohuman have a sense of humor. Another benefit of using Cohuman is that it functions as a document-versioning tool because you will always know exactly where the latest files are. In my case, this meant immediate access to the latest press release draft being passed around for edits. Oh, and those long forgotten tasks. Cohuman remembers them when you don’t.

Information overload is a constant in our lives today, and it is getting worse. Recently there has been considerable buzz about Google’s new Gmail Priority Inbox because it helps filter emails, but at the end of the day, email is simply a messaging protocol for receiving, sending and storing electronic mail. Email is useless for coordinating and tracking team progress.

We all know it’s hard to break the email habit so if some team members want to use email to communicate within Cohuman they can. Cohuman automatically files their replies and updates to specific projects and tasks within the application when they respond to Cohuman-generated email alerts and requests thus ensuring that their input is visible to the team. As previously mentioned, team members also receive email alerts on their daily priorities, outstanding tasks, assignments and status changes.
 
Cohuman is constantly adding new features and functionality. Most recently Cohuman launched a Professional Web-based software package for business users who want more control over the information they share with their teams. Cohuman also recently joined the Google Apps Marketplace after gaining certification for its integration with Gmail™, Google Calendar™ and Google Docs™.

So don’t wait until a project tsunami is heading your way. Get focused on those pressing tasks and get productive with Cohuman. It’s free and you can be up and running in minutes. You can also check out The Learning Center for videos and information.

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