I've been a very loyal user of ActiveCollab since I purchased the self-hosted licence of ActiveCollab 2 - yep, that was 4 generations (many years) ago...
This week I've literally had my online world turned upside down by the release of ActiveCollab 5 (as you can tell project management in VMF for my clients means a lot to me, so this really isn't me overdramatising, it's really a big thing that I want to share with you).
I've used and loved it and it's grown with my business, started from a few clients, to well over 100. This is one of the longest relationships I've had with a piece of software.
A while back, ActiveCollab moved into a cloud option - at the time I decided to stay with my self-hosted version, I wasn't ready to move, and it didn't make sense to do so at the time, and then I heard about ActiveCollab 5 coming out and I decided I'd make the switch then (keeping in mind whenever I make a switch for the good of my own business I also need to update all of my Roadmap training programmes and courses so the virtual assistants who I support can also follow the progress of my business and further learn and develop from the evolution of my company.
I was prepared for that this year... I was excited about making the change, like a kid waiting for the latest new toy to appear under the tree at Christmas and then wanting to play with it with all their friends (sad but that's what I feel like when I share stuff with other VAs!)
So ActiveCollab appeared, and I raced to create an account... found it odd that the custom domains feature had gone... but I could live with that.
Then after signing up the reality hit me, this wasn't the ActiveCollab I knew and loved, it was very, very different... like a King that had been stripped of all his finery down to the long johns... To me it felt like ActiveCollab was completely naked...
- The colours had gone from warm and inviting to drab and boring.
- The ability to customise things had for the most part been removed, I can no longer remove permissions for clients to see the tasks tab for example.
- The milestones have gone - and I loved milestones for organising information and grouping projects.
I was right onto the support chat wondering what was going on, where were all the features that I used daily that made (in my opinion) ActiveCollab stand out leaps and bounds, head and shoulders, the bees knees above every other 'generic' looking project management space out there?
I started feeling despondent, I was really sad that the real 'customer wow factor' would be stripped from my business because you can't even add a personalised welcome message anymore or add icons to projects, or give the client a direct login to access their project without going through a couple of clicks to get there... (sob)...
Once I'd gotten over the shock and stopped frantically looking at other project management spaces, I sat back and thought the following...
"I can make anything work, and whatever functionality I have to work with, I'll make it the absolute best it can be." I find that a pretty powerful statement not just in this instance, but in every area of life.
So I decided that I'm staying with my plan, I'm moving Virtual Miss Friday into ActiveCollab 5, and into the cloud, and I'm going to take what I have and make it (somehow) remarkable again.
Besides that the amazing people who developed ActiveCollab have never let me down in the past, and I'm confident that they'll build on ActiveCollab 5, and make it an even better project management system than version 4.
For those in my Roadmap Programmes, particularly the Apprentice and Creator, I'm making the switch now to setting up in ActiveCollab 5, and I'll be recording it all on video as training to add to the programmes, so watch this space!
We're also going to be migrating our support site into there (which is a feature they're adding on later) and maybe even invoices, making this a complete system for running a VA business. I'll keep you posted as that happens.
In the meantime, despite the shock and now the challenge of making this all work how I want it, I remain loyal to ActiveCollab and I don't believe I'll be disappointed I decided to stay.