Productive use of Tine 2.0

Following the 'eat your own dog food'-rule, our company moved from eGroupware to Tine 2.0 for productive use. A field report with happy ending.

Our company has finally moved from eGroupware to Tine 2.0 as our leading groupware system. Only for the in Tine 2.0 still missing calender we continue to use the eGroupware calendar.

I was quite nervous promoting and pushing the decision to do so. The dialogues and workflows of Tine show to a very great extent my handwriting. Therefore everything that does not yet work as expected falls back on me. And one thing is for sure: Tine 2.0 is still a young project, having many bugs and lacking features at this point of time.

So why did I promote the change? First of all I was always very unhappy about eGroupware. It is feature rich, but – many complex technical product have this problem – most users could not use more than perhaps 20% of these features. We had eGroupware running for more than 2 years now – still whenever I talked to Conny or Lars telling them that I failed to do this or that with eGroupware the answer was always the same: It is possible. Just this did not help me in my daily life. So in my eyes the lacking features of Tine 2.0 compared to eGroupware are to a great extent only virtually missing, because for the normal user eGroupware is not feature-rich, it is confusing.

The second reason to change to Tine 2.0 in productive use is of course to get feedback. I am in charge for the usability part of the development – but until now we did not have the chance to actually test the concepts we have thought out. So now is the time to get back to earth and see whether things work out the way we hope. Next to using Tine 2.0 ourselves, we will start doing active usability testing from February on.

So what is my intermediate result after about 3 weeks of active Tine usage?

Honestly, I am overwhelmed. There are a lot of bugs. To a great extent these are not severe bugs – they just get in your ways here and there – but hey: we are working on a development snapshot. What should one expect? But the integration of different aspects of groupware is just great. The filter-list-system is working well (of course: it still needs a little polishing). Still more than this: Using Tine is just fun. Working with eGroupware I always felt like: ok, this is the application we use, so teeth together and do what you need to do. So I always did what I really had to do, but never more than that. With Tine 2.0 it is just the opposite. I really enjoy working with Tine. I have caught myself just playing around with Tine, exploring the possibilities. This way I did what is most important for a groupware: I used it. I put all the information in Tine that never found their way into eGroupware.

Summing it up: except for the painfully missing calendar, I think Tine 2.0 is a great groupware. It has less features than eGroupware, but overcompensates this by being straight forward and fun to use. The decision to change from eGroupware to Tine 2.0 was a good one! I hope the usability tests we conduct in the next time will confirm this picture.