Brown Boot Works was developed to manage a team, tasks, to-do lists, processes, and projects for Google cloud ecosystem users in general and in particular for teams and companies using G Suite applications (formerly Google Apps).
What is the peculiarity of this product comparing with others and what are its strengths? Whom may this product be the best choice for?
It is quite difficult to formalize routine and working activity of a person, not to mention a group of people. That is why more and more new services are entering the market. Today you can choose it from dozens or even hundreds of products, and they’re all different.
A person or a team chooses a tasks, business, projects and processes management system, taking into account many criteria: features set, ease and user-friendliness, a team size, a management style, prevalence of projects or processes, distant work, mobility, usual platforms and much more.
All this determines a team “character” at the moment. And the team tries to find collaboration work tool according to its character. That is why we know a lot of examples when even within a small company the management uses one service, the advertisers – another one and technical specialists – the third one.
Let’s briefly specify you this service’s “character”:
- It is likely to interest a manager or a leader – clear execution control and fixing the results are provided
- Rights to assignments are hierarchized
- Everything is mobile and on the go
- No screens resembling a nuclear power plant control center
- No Gantt charts
- Quick communication, it is easy to forward, transfer and remind
- Personal and business affairs can be led together, ensuring time management.
The service concept and features
Service is aimed at a team leader. It may be just a personal system of a businessman, a management tool for an owner or a small or medium business manager, or for a department chief in a large company.
A modern leader’s life is very dynamic, he has to be mobile. Information flows are growing up and one needs to be online always and everywhere for being effective. Our goal is to make his smartphone or tablet a working tool as much as possible.
The service is implemented as a mobile site, adapted for desktop computers and laptops. It works wherever an Internet browser is. Thus, 100% of the functions are implemented to work on mobile devices. If something cannot be done on mobile phone, that function is not available, or available otherwise.
Running business functions on a mobile device is not just a work with a small screen and an uncomfortable keyboard. It is necessary to ensure maximal comfort of communications , transfer of documents and data in few clicks, easy documents downloading and uploading between a device, the cloud storage, mail system, messengers and calendar.
Google cloud ecosystem
To start working you need to have a GMail account. It is a must-have, but that’s all. Then, you already have free space in the Google Drive cloud service. The Service will locate your documents storage there.
Google account authorization is always used for logging in. This means that the system does not request and store your passwords. It also means that all used documents and data are protected by Google’s security system.
With GMail account, apart from Mail and Drive cloud storage, free applications, such as Google Contacts, Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Calendar and Maps are accessible to the User. The service is closely integrated with these applications.
You get one more application in the cloud-based environment, connected with the others, but providing its own functions of tasks, to-do lists, processes and projects management.
The service users work with common notions and elements, such as incoming, outgoing, attachment, label, response, basket (as in mail), folder (as on disk), user message. The new entities are also simple – a task, an assignee, a deadline.
Personal Google Accounts for business
The service can be useful collaboration tool for business or users teams, where everyone works with a personal GMail account, and they work on documents and other content owned by a business owner.
When using the paid G Suite domain (Google Apps for Work), advanced tools for user rights administration and company’s content management are available. At an employee’s dismissal in few seconds one can change his/her password in the account, suspend the account, take all the documents into possession of administrator or even delete corporate documents from his/her mobile devices.
But major part of small companies use employees’ free personal GMail accounts for co-work in business purposes. All the documents may be moved to business owner’s Google Drive
folders. The business owner sees all the documents on his Google Drive and is sure that they are under his control. This is not true…
When an employee creates a document on Google Drive under his account, this document can be moved to any folder of any other user, and the user can open access to anyone. In that case the author remains the owner of the document! He can block the access and delete the document at any time. And the owner right for the document cannot be taken from the employee, since all private accounts are legally equal.
This problem can be solved, if you store and process documents with personal Google Accounts in Brown Boot Works system. When you deactivate (dismiss) an Employee from the company’s account in Brown Boot Works the system does the following:
1 – takes the Employee’s access rights to other people’s documents
2 – creates in the system copies of the documents, owned by the dismissed person
3 – provides the current employees with the right for copies
4 – originals remain only at the author who is deactivated
Document and content management functions
The Service allows attaching an unlimited number of files to a task and a task’s response. The size and the speed of file attaching are determined by Google Drive restrictions. You can create and save your Google Docs items (documents, spreadsheets, presentations) directly in the task.
You can attach files both as copies of files (from the cloud and from the device), and as links to objects stored elsewhere on Google Drive. Each way has its own advantages. But processing file attachments directly in the service storage may be easier and more convenient. In particular, the service automatically assigns the right for an attached file to the task participants. Assignees get the right of editor. Members added for information get the right of Viewing. The service never changes the right for object by attached links. The rights are to be created hand-set.
When you attach Ms Office files (or import from GMail), the service can convert them into Google Docs format. This feature is controlled by user settings – to convert, not to convert or to ask on each file.
If you transfer the task with the attachments to an external e-mail recipient as files, the system will automatically convert them into Ms Office.
All attachments in service storage are created on behalf of your Google Account and stored only (!) on your Google Drive.
In the case of active use of attachments when working with the service, it will become a place of accumulation of all the content important for you and your business, and not just the files, but also all the accompanying information in tasks and correspondence in responses. The system enables creating unlimited nested folder structure for tasks allocation with topic-, direction-, project-, process-wide content . Each user has its own folders structure and it is visible only to him. The same task is in different folders for different task participants.
Unlike folders that are specific for each user, labels are common for all company users and used for a wider general grouping of tasks.
For example, you can create labels with the names of major clients, and labels with names of projects with customers and then attach two labels – Customer1, Project11 to the task.
Editing of the label list used in the company is available only to the account owner. Old unused labels can be hidden so that they do not interfere in the selection dialog. Herewith grouping of old tasks with these labels is preserved. Frequently used labels can be marked as Favourites in the labels selection dialog (when set to a task or at selection in the list).
“Вy labels” task list is available in the main menu. It allows the user to select all available tasks containing specified labels set. For example, we specify Customer1, Project11 labels and get a list of all the tasks related to the project of the client.
The system enables creating a chain of sense-linked tasks. It is done for:
-Firstly, to track the execution status of low-level tasks dependant on top-level task execution,
-Secondly, to transfer documents between the linked tasks up and down the chain in one click.
Each task is created as a Draft. At this status they are visible only to the author. When the task is thoroughly formalized and prior to assigning its performers, the author changes the status for “In work”, notifications are sent and task participants can see the task. Creating of a set of tasks drafts beforehand may be used, for example, as a simple tool for project planning.
Besides, a number of quite standard features required for efficient work are implemented:
- notifications of new tasks, responses and tasks execution sent to the mail and set by the user;
- sending reminders of assigned tasks via e-mail and instant messengers initiated by the user at any time;
- setting alerts about events in Google Calendar;
- setting periodicity of task, recurring on a certain algorithm,
- and much more.
For the account having 1-2 active users it is free.
If an account has more than 2 people it is designated for business purposes and available by subscription. The Subscription fee is 18 US dollars per year for 1 user. The Subscription is made for a year and the exact number of users. You can increase the number of users at any time having paid for new users for the remainder of the annual period.
It is free for anyone to start and try with any number of users. You can create up to 200 tasks, and then decide on the subscription.
40% discount for all subscriptions is given for G Suite for Education domains. It refers to schools, colleges and universities which use “G Suite for education” free package of applications.
All Brown Boot Works service users, both free and paid, have access to the same product with the same set of functions.
The service was released as a commercial product in March 2017.
The “Budgets” subsystem will appear in the service In May 2017. Budgets – income and expenses planning, accounting inside tasks, personal budgets, project budgets, small company budgets.