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All posts by Ranjit Notani

About Ranjit Notani

Founder of TMail21

Slack Threads: A Missed Opportunity

19 January,2017

Earlier today Slack announced their long-awaited support for threading. Apparently it has been in the making for 2 years. We at TMail21, (having built a thread-centric communication and collaboration app) were intrigued. We decide to take Slack threads for a spin and report our findings.

First the good part. Slack has done their usual bang-up job with polish. Everything just works and is fast to boot. And they introduced threads without disturbing their main user experience (UX) much. This is probably a good thing since users who don’t care about threads won’t be shocked by massive changes.

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The Biggest Pitfall of Slack and how to Overcome it

29 February,2016
T

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about Slack, the communication tool that is taking companies by storm. At its heart Slack is a super-slick chat tool. In geek terms it is great for synchronous communication or communication where the various users are willing and able to communicate simultaneously. In turns out that synchronous communication is superior to asynchronous communication (think email) for many types of communication. The rapidity with ideas can be exchanged coupled with the low overhead of sending a message is the primary reason for this. A key point though is the notion that users must be ‘willing and able‘ to communicate synchronously. Why may they not be willing or able?

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Rethinking BPM based on Lean Principles

Lean BPM - Rapid Iteration
5 December,2015

[Click here for the Lean BPM Manifesto.]

In 2001, software development was in a mini-crisis. Software projects were being specified in ever-more elaborate terms. Methods like the Rational Unified Process and Waterfall project planning were being utilized. And yet software projects were failing at increasing rates or being delivered late or being delivered with the wrong requirements. That year, a group of software developers came out with the Agile Manifesto http://www.agilemanifesto.org/. This manifesto based on Agile and Lean principles created a revolution in software development leading to much improved outcomes. Today it is not uncommon for software to be released to production on a daily or weekly basis in small valuable increments with rapid feedback and iteration. In the past quarterly releases to production would have been considered good.

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Zero-code BPM is not a Myth

18 November,2015
Zero-code BPM

Zero-Code BPM

A debate has been raging in the BPM community regarding Zero-Code BPM. The question is whether business processes can be run without coding. The debate has been not about desirability (everyone agrees it is desirable) but rather about feasibility.

One of the proponents of the view that Zero Code BPM is possible is Keith Swenson. In his post Zero-Code BPM Systems he makes several points. One point is that code comes in many forms. In particular visual drag and drop is code because it requires code-like thinking. A second is that a no-code BPM system will not “look” like a BPM system. This is because BPM systems as currently conceptualized are about detailed control rather than about individuals self-organizing to perform work.

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How Businesses are Missing Out on One of the Most Powerful Collaboration Techniques

13 October,2015

The primary way that businesses collaborate on processes (other than specialized applications) is via a mix of EMail/Chat + document-oriented-collaboration . An example of a modern document-oriented collaboration system is Google Docs. But do businesses realize that there is a better way? It turns out there is a much more powerful collaboration technique available and it has been sitting right underneath our noses all this time.

It is a technique used by software developers on a daily basis and goes by the techie name of Source Code Management .

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Hyper-productivity with Lightweight EMail Processes

3 October,2015

EMail is the most widely used tool for notifications and discussions. But it is less well appreciated that EMail is also the most widely utilized (lightweight) business process management (BPM) tool in use. Most users may not even recognize that they are using email as a business process tool.

Here are some example lightweight business processes in a company

  • Collaborate on a design (Engineering)
  • Collaborate on a Sales Cycle (Sales, Marketing and Legal)
  • Collaborate on a Blog Post (Marketing)
  • Collaborate on a Customer Issue (Support)
  • Collaborate on an Issue (General)
  • Collaborate on an Invoice (Accounting)
  • Collaborate on a Contract (Buyer Legal and Seller Legal)
  • Run a Sales and Operations Planning Process (All)

etc.

Unfortunately using EMail to collaborate on lightweight business processes can become an exercise in frustration.It is difficult to track the ‘true’ current state of the process . Instead the state of the process is represented by some combination of comments scattered over several threads and dozens or hundreds of attachment versions strewn about. For anything but the simplest processes this approach rapidly spins out of control.

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Is Social the Future of Work?

18 September,2015
Social network interface businessman touch button.

With the impending release of Facebook at Work, it once again raises
the question of whether Social is the Future of Work.

Color us skeptical.

Now it seems that Facebook at Work is not just a social network
for work, but also a group chat system for work. We definitely believe that
chat has a big place in the future of work. So, the question is not
whether Facebook at Work will succeed, as much as whether the
social component of it will succeed.

Social is great for keeping up with the joneses (er bosses and
colleagues) but is that what companies primarily want out of their
productivity solutions? While it can’t hurt to know what Joe in
Marketing is up to, it could prove to be more of a distraction than
a productivity boost.

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Why our Startup Chose React Native and What we Learned

16 September,2015

Like many startups we were faced with the debate on how to go about building our mobile apps. We faced a fairly typical set of tradeoffs.

On the one hand we had a crack team of Javascript developers who were familiar with JQuery, ReactJS and other JS frameworks. On the other hand we wanted the ‘native’ performance and feel of a native app but did not have the budget to invest in building ‘native’ iOS and Android teams.

After much back and forth we settled on the Hybrid approach that would allow us to leverage our Javascript skills. The nature of our app (“An email-like service to massively increase collaborative productivity” according to the marketing people) led us to the conclusion that this was not an unreasonable choice.

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killerstartups.com review of TMail21

9 September,2015
killer-startups-review

Roger Hollings of killerstartups.com recently did a review of TMail21. Here’s a quote.

Though TMail21 works alongside existing email, it’s perfectly willing to kick traditional email to the curb. TMail21 looks to keep the best aspects of our standard emailing while adding a number of lightweight features that make it a better way to both communicate and work.

You can read the full review at http://killerstartups.com/startup-reviews/had-enough-of-email-try-tmail21

You can get started with TMail21 for free by clicking here.

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Tracked Mail and Chat: A Match Made in Heaven

4 September,2015
Chat loves Tracked Mail

There are two major communication paradigms in the enterprise. These are synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous communication is typified by chat. Asynchronous communication is typified by email.

In synchronous communications both (or all) parties need to be present at the same time to be effective. Asynchronous communications are designed around both (or all parties) not needing to be present at the same time to be effective.

Historically, most electronic communication within an enterprise was conducted using email (an asynchronous communication tool). Even communication that was better done synchronously was done within email.

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