Fleep Quarterly: Review of Q4 and plans for Q1 (2015)

As promised in October I’ll be posting quarterly updates about our product plans for the next three months ahead of us to keep you informed. So here’s my update on how we did in Q4 against our plans and what’s in the plans for Q1.

First, let’s have a look at what we did in Q4:

Manage files & messages as one entity – now I can pin, edit and delete messages and files as one entity. I like the ability to pin messages with files, previously I had to somehow refer in pinned message to a related file, usually by copy pasting file name into pinned message, which wasn’t cute. Sometimes I also use message edit to add additional files (screenshots or logs) into previously posted message. Just for the background – technically this was quite an effort for us, not only because we needed to rebuild the logic in backend and in apps, but also because we needed to figure out a way how to maintain backwards compatibility for users still using the old apps.

Copy messages between conversations – In the past my main problem was how to forward files from one conversation to another one. Now I just copy original message in one conversation and paste it into another one without the need to download files in between onto my computer. There’s still some confusion on how Fleep internal copy & paste works with clipboard copy & paste, but we will continue improving there.

Video calling & screen sharing – By now we have migrated all our internal meetings from Skype. I like the ease of joining a video call from Fleep conversations and the screen sharing works quite well too. For short term we don’t have any further plans with video calls, we have ideas and thoughts on how we could build an even better experience on our own, but this has to wait a little longer as we are currently focused on text based communications.

Premium conversations – after the initial launch of Fleep Premium subscriptions we quickly understood that we need a solution for conversations where the Premium user is working with Free users. For example a freelance designer (Premium user) working with a client (Free user). Premium Conversation is a solution for this – if there is at least one Premium user in the conversation then the whole conversation history is accessible to all members, including the Free users. It works like a charm and has helped me to stay Free so far :)

Disclose message history – we now have two ways how one can disclose message history and I use them both. When someone joins the team, I add him into a team chat and disclose him the whole conversation history. And sometimes I also include someone into ongoing conversations and then just disclose the last few messages as an intro to why I added him.

Picture previewer – previously it was a pain to download pictures to view them which isn’t an issue any more. Also scrolling between pictures in a conversation is useful, I use it in our design chats quite often.

Tasks – as planned we built them but for internal use only. Our current plan is to use tasks internally for our task management and release this feature into public use once we are happy with them :)

Browser notifications – in addition to Mac and Windows apps we now (finally) also have an option for those who don’t want to install an app but would like to get desktop notifications whenever new messages are posted.

Moving on to Q1 plans

If you compare the list of features I already described to the initial Q4 plan then you’ll notice that not everything was delivered, some items are already in development just haven’t been released yet and some didn’t even get started on… which is fine from my perspective as long as things that are up in the backlog were delivered and those in the end didn’t make it.

This leads us to the 2015 Q1 plans – as usual, our first candidates that were added into the list were items from the Q4 which were not delivered and in addition to them we added some more and came to the following:

  • Integrations – we will continue adding integrations based on our users’ requests. Currently, these are the ones in the pipeline: Trello, Pivotal Tracker, New Relic, Bitbucket, Confluence, IFTTT, Zapier, Twitter and Asana. (If you’re favorite missing from the list then please let me know :) )
  • URL inline preview – this feature is already rolling into live as I’m writing this post, but essentially this will be a preview of imagery and metadata from posted links.
  • Shared conversations – when enabled, anyone with the link can join a Fleep conversation (regardless if they are a Fleep user or not). One scenario where I can see this becoming useful are the countless teacher – student conversations or any other user case where the creator of the conversation doesn’t know who wants to join. By default, conversations will stay private as they are today, but this will definitely make it easier to create and maintain bigger group conversations.
  • @mentions – well… this is kind of embarrassing that we still don’t have it, isn’t it?
  • Fleep address – yep, we are introducing Fleep’s own identity, which is username@fleep.io. It will be email compatible, so anyone from email world or from Fleep world can reach out to you using it. It will be huge, believe me :)
  • Email integration improvements – we’ve got a handful of things that we’ll improve there, from the logic how we group Fleep messages to outgoing emails to how we map incoming emails to conversations. It works well already but we’re aiming to make it great.
  • Conversation labels – those who have more conversations will be happy to hear that we will soon roll out labels. You’ll be able to search by them, group on the left pane, create them yourself etc.
  • Conversation’s bulk actions – add / remove members, add / remove labels etc actions to all selected conversations in one go instead of doing this one by one to each conversation. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Hopefully we can deliver most of it by the end of March, we’ll see, as usual I’m optimistic  :)