Five years ago my company launched a web product called happytodos.com. We were all very excited to step into the software development business as we have been building products for our clients for over 15 years but never for our selves.
Happytodos was born first with the idea of priority based project management for companies and freelancers who needed a place to manage their projects online (yeah, lots of products already in this space) but we added something that we thought was missing from every other product – priority based scheduling.
Turns out, after 5 years of running the project that no one actually uses the scheduling engine we were so proud of. Turns out – people don’t like reporting hours and don’t like being told what to do (our scheduling engine is based on this).
So, for the last 2 years I couldn’t come to grips with the idea that priority based scheduling wasn’t a good idea at all. We at Entagy still build websites for our clients and we are using happytodos to do it. From our own experience – the only part of the system we were using on daily basis and found helpful was the most basic form of creating projects and tasks, assign them to other people and mark them done when completed. Of course the collaboration options to comment and share files are very handy and does help us keep all the project information organized and easily searched for. But that wasn’t the purpose we built happytodos for.
We built happytodos to solve multi-project scheduling, to allow a machine to crunch all the work load, decide the best order of execution to meet deadlines and feed the tasks to the teams.
Although we still have this engine running, a decision has finally been made to strip down all the functionality we were never actually using and work to improve the basic features we were using.
So here are 3 stupid things we did that we are now changing:
1. The marketing offer – now happytodos will be offered free for one year with unlimited projects and unlimited users. Up till now it was offered free for 30 days and then you would have to pick a package from 10 to unlimited number of projects.
2. Per user payment plans – the stupidest thing we did – the payment plans were for every user, so if you created a project on the system and invited someone to collaborate with you on that project – they would have to pay for the software after the 30 day trial expired. Again, stupid, I know.
3. Onboarding wizard – After you would sign up to use the service – you would get an email verification with Activate your account button which would take you to a 3-step wizard to fill in all the info about your company, invite your team right and there (before you even saw the system!) and give us your phone number. Obviously it was a huge on-boarding barrier – so we kicked that one to the curve. You can still fill in all this info on your profile if you want.
Now that these mistakes are fixed we are turning to the core product to improve it as well.
I will kick myself for years if these stupid decisions made years ago and more importantly the zero action about them for the last two years will turn out to be the reason our product is not as successful as we would like it to be.
Hope this time we made wiser decisions, I’m sure we will soon find out from our users.