Monday, August 1, 2011

We rate eProductivity Essentials with Lotus Notes

PRODUCT REVIEW

By Mick Moignard

So, what's the value delivery from eProductivity Essentials? Mixed, I think.

Mail integration (or lack thereof)

Firstly, it's not embedded in your mail file, which has the advantage that you can install and use it yourself, should you not be able to update the design of your mail file.

I am of the belief that the regular user of Lotus Notes should not be able to update the design of his or her mail file. Having a non-standard mail file means that you lose out should your enterprise update the mail version used, and you have to wait for eProductivity to create a template that merges their GTD functionality with the Lotus functionality.

That said, there's little doubt that not having the GTD functions available directly from your inbox make using GTD awkward. eProductivity Essentials causes you to maintain a Task list outside the mail file and a calendar that's also outside it. It also means that sync with mobile devices is rather harder, and for heavy mobile users, makes Essentials harder to get value from.

Worth also noting that the Stand-alone version does, in several places, rather assume that it's the integrated version. In the preferences, for example, it tells you that you need to close and reopen your mail file to work with the changes you just made, but in fact, you need to close and reopen the app itself and not your mail.

Complexity

Secondly: apparent complexity. The application in its basics isn't hard to use, but the first thing that will strike you is the number of dialog boxes and confirmation message boxes that you'll see.

Add to that the fact that some actions aren't completely intuitive. For example, when you have a project open, clicking New Action doesn't create an action that's part of the project. You have to click Create New Linked Action for that. You can get rid of many of these dialogs when you've had enough of them, if you want to, but perversely, this isn't necessarily the best thing to do.

eProductivity uses these dialogs to prompt you into the next steps, which helps to sustain your working patterns with the GTD process. You can use one of the two Preferences dialogs to adjust settings for dialog boxes, among many other things.

Yes, there are two preferences dialogs. First, there's the that comes from the Lotus Notes mail template, via More/Preferences. Then there's the eProductivity preferences that are found in eProductivity/Preferences -- and what a lot of them there are! There's even a kind of Easter Egg in one of them. Click that setting, and all that happens is that you are presented with the dialog shown in Figure D, which I'm sure will raise a smile.