Several months back, we invited CxAlloy TQ users to complete a survey in order to identify the features you would most like to see.
Because you all were so generous with your time and insight, I’d like to return the favor and outline our findings. Your participation in the survey has really helped us understand where we should focus our efforts.
We want to be open with the results because we truly see ourselves as your partner with a shared goal of project success, and in any good partnership, open and honest communication is key.
Barcodes vs. Meeting Minutes
As we were putting the survey together, our team was working on some initial designs for integrating barcode support into the software and app. Although we were excited about the potential for barcodes, in our research efforts we were having some troubling conversations — our customers didn’t seem to have any experience with using barcodes on a project. When we investigated further, we found indifference about barcode functionality (i.e. “That sounds cool but I don’t know if I would use it”). Meanwhile, we received several emails over a short period of time asking us to build meeting minutes. We started to wonder: were we spending our time on the wrong thing? We decided to pause our efforts on barcoding until we got the survey results.
It’s a good thing too because the survey showed that barcodes were the least desired feature¹ compared to the four other features we pitted against it. The clear winner was meeting minutes.
Meetings are Coming
Because of your feedback, we have shifted our focus to meeting minutes. In fact, after months of research, discussions with customers, and reviews of real-world minutes, we realized we need to incorporate more than just minutes — so we are building a new “Meetings” section.
I don’t want to share too much, but currently we are planning to incorporate:
- Distribution Lists
- Attendance Lists
Another question in our survey asked participants to select five features out of ten that they would like to see. These are all features that we believe in, but we wanted to know which ones we should prioritize. The top choice, a more flexible template builder, is now in the planning stages.
A separate question asked survey takers to rank features based on their usefulness. The features in this question were more speculative — ones we thought might be a good idea weren’t as sure about. In keeping with that, there weren’t strong winners or losers here, but we are looking to these results in prioritizing features. For example, we recently rolled out due date filtering in the issues list, and we will be debuting tasks as part of our Meetings feature.
The Difference Between Contractors, Project Managers, and Commissioning Agents
Over 100 CxAlloy TQ users responded to the survey. Respondents varied in their roles within CxAlloy TQ projects; while the majority were commissioning professionals that use the software to document their projects, we also got responses from administrative professionals, project managers, project executives, and contractors. We knew that these different groups had different reasons for using the software and different experiences with it; the survey showed us that those differences affected how the software was perceived and what we needed to do to make it better.
In particular we found that our favorability ratings (as measured by respondents’ willingness to recommend the software) were meaningfully different across the different user groups. On one end of the spectrum, we had administrative professionals, followed closely be commissioning authorities, who really love the software. On the other end, we had contractors who were closer to neutral on it. Project managers landed in the middle of these two groups.
These results are not that surprising as CxAlloy TQ was designed specifically to target the needs of the commissioning professional; so it makes sense that we would be favored by them. However, one of the core philosophies behind CxAlloy TQ is facilitating collaboration. We want to help you involve all project stakeholders in the commissioning process in a way that truly works. If the software is frustrating or of little use for some of those stakeholders, then we need to do better.
Ultimately, you, the commissioning professional, are more likely to hear the complaints from these stakeholders than we are. And that makes your job harder. These things are all interconnected. Providing every stakeholder a better experience with CxAlloy TQ should, in turn, make it easier for you to successfully leverage CxAlloy TQ on your projects and get even more value from it.
How is this insight going to manifest in the software? We now see our need to improve the software for each of these distinct user groups simultaneously.
For project managers, we are working to incorporate more features that can answer the question, “What is the status of my projects?” We want to make it easy to answer questions like:
- How is the mechanical contractor doing on filling out the checklists?
- What checklists remain to be completed?
- Who is delaying the closing of issues?
- Is the equipment ready to be tested? Have all related issues and checklists been closed or completed?
In the case of contractors, the focus will be in two areas: first, improving the reliability and speed of our mobile apps. Second, looking for ways we can make common tasks simpler and easier to complete. This could include things like:
- Minimizing the number of clicks (or taps) necessary to answer a checklist line.
- Making it easier to find the remaining work a contractor needs to complete.
- Combining or automating certain steps, such as setting the status of a checklist or commenting and changing the status of an issue.
- Making common actions more obvious, such as commenting on an issue or adding a photo.
For commissioning professionals, we will focus on making them more efficient. This group is where we’ll add “power user” features to make data creation and management easier and faster.
1. This doesn’t mean that barcodes are out the window. It’s important to remember that this survey was just a sample of our current customers, and there may be a contingent that desperately wants barcodes (which maybe now we’ll hear from). There may also be a chicken and egg situation, in which potential customers never sign on with CxAlloy TQ in the first place because we don’t have integrated barcode functionality. However, it does mean that if we add barcoding, our approach to rolling it out needs to contemplate these findings. Rather than rolling out the feature and saying “have at it,” we would want to combine it with an education campaign about how barcodes can benefit a project. We would need to educate our customers on why they would want to start barcoding when they haven’t before. That’s a very different task than simply adding a highly-requested feature.