Author Archives: Coach

Show me the MONEY !

Did you get that reference? I suspect I’m showing my age in this post – it’s  Jerry Maguire ( 1996? ) and that’s a pretty famous line. But equally – if you recognise it – then maybe you’re showing yours! 😉 Anyway, we finally kicked into production a feature that’s been on the board ever since we started.

Payments. Asking for them – getting paid, making the payment. I know; sweet!

This is a big one, since every team I’ve ever played in has cash in there somewhere – court fees, season fees, uniforms or transportation. Paying for the umpires or the insurance. There’s always something that needs to be paid, and it’s normally just another job for the team manager.

You know – the unsung hero wandering around the player and parent group – coughing politely – “Have you paid the registration fees yet? “, keeping records, reminding people – and very often – coming up short.

Since our mission in life is to find team management problems and solve them – we’ve nailed this one too. ( and how – there’s some interesting new user interfaces we’re rolling out. Hope you like them. We love them, please love them too! )

Asking For Payment

If you’re the team manager or coach, it’s never been easier to collect money for your team. Choose the team, and describe what it’s for. Tell your team when it’s due, and how much it’s for. We’ve made it super easy to add amount to your team. In the example below, I have added $25 to all the players.IMG_3692

And that’s taken me all of one click – on the Players button in blue under the $25. Most of the time, most people will owe the same amount – so we’ve made that super easy.

But of course we know that not all team payments are the same – so you can edit any person to any value you need. In fact, you could have a different amount on every team member if you need to. No problems, we’re here to support.

OK, once your numbers are good – hit save, and magic happens. We’ll send out notifications to your team members ( push / text or emails ); letting them know what they owe, what it’s for and when it’s due. So that’s the easy part. The hard part as always is getting paid.

Getting Paid – Part A ( cash )

So you’re standing on the sidelines, and a parent hands you $20.  You know they owe you more than that , but you’re going to take it right? Of course you are. So that’s no problems for us at all.  It’s super simple : all you do is;

  1. Hit the big green ‘receive a cash payment’ button.
  2. Record which player is making the payment
  3. And lastly – how much

Those steps look a little like below – where I’m recording receiving $20 for player Sam.

cash_payment

And of course you have a full audit trail of who’s paid, and what’s outstanding.

Getting Paid – Part B (online)

Wouldn’t it be terrific if we could get paid directly into our bank accounts? No cash to lose ( or spend! ) – and super convenient for all. Well teamstuff ( and our partners at stripe.com ) have combined to make this happen. For the manager wanting online payments, you just connect your stripe.com account ( free, easy to create and use – available pretty much everywhere we are. super secure).

So – your team members can now pay online, using the Teamstuff app on their iOS or Android devices with their credit card. First thing they’ll see in their app is the payments section calling out to them with a ‘new’ payment ready for them to pay.

payments_new

Next – your team members will see all the details they need – what they owe, what it’s for and when its due. Together with a very large ‘make a payment’ button.

All together, the process looks like this. In the example below, I owe for multiple children so my total is $55. ( Two kids @ $25 each, and one – Sam from previous example I still owe $5. )

stripe_payment

And that’s it. The full lifecycle of payments is now handled in teamstuff. You might find a few extra features in there too – say the ability to easily remind those yet to pay.

Payments done the Teamstuff way – totally handled. 100%. Or in the words of my thirteen year old – “Legit”. Which I believe means good/ true / authentic / the dog really did eat my homework.

Credit Cards, Money, Fraud and all that good stuff

We thought we might mention how this all works, because anything to do with money tends to attract a bit more attention that say, who’s on the scoring duty this weekend. ( in another life, we process billions of dollars worth of bills, so we understand how every cent counts )

It’s going to be necessary to go into a bit of technical detail here, so hope you’re sitting down, ready to absorb all the fine details.  Here are the key points, in order;

  1. Stripe does all the hard work.
  2. Next – Stripe does all the hard work.
  3. Finally – Stripe does all the hard work.

If you got to this paragraph – well done you! That’s an enormous amount of technical detail to absorb. But it’s no accident – we want them to do all the hard work, all the fraud detection, credit card processing, moving money between accounts. And that’s what they do, and do superbly.

Here at teamstuff, we want to focus on your team, so by using stripe we can leverage what they’re great at, and avoid the problems that often come with financial transactions. We store no credit card details ( ever ), and we do nothing with the monetary transfers. We simply ask the experts in the field to help us out – stripe.com that is. And that’s what they do – for a small fee of course. You might notice that if you pay online, the team member making the payment will be charged a transaction fee. Part of that covers stripe’s fees, and part of that goes to us – to teamstuff. Finally – we have some form of revenue.

Because it’s not just a 20 year old movie that needs to ‘Show me the MONEY!’. Teamstuff itself has had a very patient investment group behind it. And whenever I talk about new teamstuff features ( my passion  ), I often find my investor group responding with ‘Show me the MONEY!’ 😉

We’ll try to keep the rest of teamstuff free for as long as we can. In the meantime, use the payments feature how you want to. Some will pay in cash and there’s no transaction fees at all. Some will pay online for convenience, and we’ll get a small cut.

Now, wonder what our next big feature should be…..

p.s. So it’s about 2 days since we’ve gone live, and we’ve got some outstanding feedback to date. Clearly our most well received feature – ever. But the pick of the bunch so far has to be this response from Josie, Baldwin City, KS.

No complaints on my end on the fees you are charging. Your app has been so valuable to our soccer club. We did some research before choosing to use it, and all other options were very expensive whereas your app was free. You guys definitely deserve some compensation at this point!

And this is the perfect way to go about getting it.

If parents don’t want to pay the fee, that’s fine, they can continue to mail me a check. If parents prefer convenience, they can choose to pay the fee and pay through the app. That way everybody is happy.

We have around 200 players and we don’t currently accept credit cards because of the fees. We don’t want to have to increase our dues to accommodate the people that want to pay by credit card. This way, we won’t have to do that. We can accept credit cards, and only those people who want to pay that way will absorb that cost.

Plus you get paid!
Plus I have less work to do!
Plus everyone knows their balance at all times!

Yay for everybody! 🙂

Text Messages are GO!

We ticked off another one of our ‘big ticket’ items the other day – adding support for text messaging into teamstuff. So that we’re clear, we’re talking about the ability for teamstuff to notify you via a text message straight to your phone. So when the coach cancels training – you get a text message – rather than a push notification or email.

There’s probably two key benefits to go for text messaging as your preferred communications style.

  1. Every mobile phone in the world can get a text message (!) ( as opposed to push notifications which are restricted to Android and iOS phones )
  2. Text messages are inherently ‘louder’ and harder to ignore than push – so they’re more easily noticed by your team members

There’s also one big downside for teamstuff – they cost us real money – per text message. So we’ve introduced text messages as a paid feature – in fact our first paid feature. So the idea is that if you the user ( not the team, not the club ) would prefer text messages, then you buy a ‘bundle’ of messages. We still think that there’s a place for push notifications and for emails – but if it’s your preference to get text messages, well we now support that too. No problems! Take a look into your Account Settings on the web.

Adding your Phone Number

Just jump online, and find your Account Settings. From here, you can choose to get Text Messages rather than Push Notifications. To do this, you’ll then need to register your mobile – and verify it’s yours. Like Google – we’ll send you a random code to your mobile to prove it’s you.

This is where you update your phone number, and choose Text as your preferred notification style

This is where you update your phone number, and choose Text as your preferred notification style

Now that you’ve registered yourself, you’ll need to buy a bundle of text messages. Now the cost of these varies by country – for me here in Australia they are relatively expensive. The effective price you pay varies too based on how many you buy, but to give an indication they vary from 2c to 3c per text in the US, and from 10 to 13c per text in Australia.

Just in case you’re interested – we are using stripe.com as the payments provider. Many reasons why ( including easy ability for us to integrate into ) , but one of the best reasons is security. Teamstuff never deals with credit cards – stripe does all that hard work. Once a transaction is successful – they’ll let us know and you get your bundle of text messages.

OK – after that – you might want to look at your Notification Settings. These let you personalise what you receive from us and how you receive it.

Allowing you lots of choice about when and how you might be notified.

Allowing you lots of choice about when and how you might be notified.

And the end result – the teamstuff central servers start talking to your phone directly using text messages.

Note : We support the US and Australia for text messages at the moment. More coming soon.

Why Can’t You Use Your Own Text Account?

Most all people with mobiles can send text messages – and very often it’s a lot cheaper than what we pay for. So we’re frequently asked whether we can integrate from your own account. And the very clear and simple answer is no – it’s not possible. The text messages we send come from the teamstuff servers ( for example, when sending a reminder text message for a duty ) – not from your phone – so we pay integration partners ( such as twilio amongst others). We have no ability to send a text message spontaneously from your phone, or your account.

Know Thy Team ( Do You? )

How many teams are you a part of? How many new players and new parents are you suddenly spending a large portion of your weekend with? One of the challenges of teams sport is trying to remember everyone – both who they are and which player belongs to which parent. Teamstuff now has you sorted. How? Just go landscape.

When you are next at the game or training – jump onto the app, and go into landscape mode. That is – just turn your phone 90 degrees. Boom! Some magic happens here and you’ll see your team in a whole new way.

Here’s my “Incredibles Football Team” in all their glory.

So straight away – you can see all the players – beautiful hi-res photos with names and numbers. Sweet! But what if you have lots of players – well that top panel is scrollable left and right. So just slide it anywhere you need. To get more details on a player – touch their profile at top. Down below you’ll see some more details, including parents if this is a kids team. But what if you don’t know them yet by name? What if you just watched number 15 make a saving kick out of defence? Got that handled too. Touch the person icon on the top bar – and it shows some display choices.

Now you can show by player numbers, and suddenly it turns out that the brave player who cleared the ball is actually Noah! “Great kick Noah” sounds a whole lot better than “Great kick number 15 whoever you are” now doesn’t it?

You can also sort by the parents on the team – a great way to quickly put those faces to names.

Contacting Players and Parents
There’s plenty of times when you’ll want to contact other players or parents in your team. And the team display has this covered. Just find the player or parent – and touch on their photo on the player card. Suddenly you’ll see something like the following.

In the example above, Vigle is Decalano’s dad – and he’s only listed his email in teamstuff – so that’s the only choice you have. But if he had his mobile you’d see other choices there too – such as texting or calling. Note of course that we respect your privacy choices – so the amount of contact information seen here is of course very much under your control.

Updating Photos and Player Numbers
The last trick here to make your life easier – is that coaches and managers have the ability to set the players team number and their photo directly from the player card. Just touch the number to update it – couldn’t be any easier.
For player photos – coaches and managers can only  update the players profile photos if none have been provided by the player or parent. It’s a great way to get the team setup on the first training – and let parents and players improve from there should they want to.

We’ve already had some fantastic feedback on this feature – and we hope you love using it as much as we loved making this little beauty.

Best Practice advice : Rolling out Teamstuff for the Whole Club

I love building software. Thinking of new features; ways to use them – and thinking about how to help people manage both their teams and their clubs. But I’ve also noticed that you’ve also got to think about the people in your team and club if you want teamstuff to really help. And like any tool – it can be used well or used badly. And there’s a common pattern to those clubs that are the most successful – they really think about their members as they roll teamstuff out. In fact, the quick summary of those successful rollouts is;

  1. Have the authority to rollout to the entire club
  2. Communicate with your people
  3. Be firm.
  4. Share your ideas
  5. Have a Teamstuff Ambassador.

In some more detail – one of those successful clubs is South Melbourne Districts Junior Football Club here in Melbourne. I asked James Ramsden, their self-appointed Teamstuff Ambassador what worked – and what didn’t, and how they solved those issues.

I’m a big fan of Teamstuff – I’ve used it for the team I manage for a couple of years – and this helped us as a club decide to implement it across all teams. But being a big fan doesn’t automatically mean the roll out to the club will be all plain sailing. Here are a couple of tips that will help iron out the bumps and you’ll be up in no time.

First of all it’s got to be a club decision to go with Teamstuff. The committee is the power – they have to say yes and you’re guaranteed of success (even though you’ll hit a few speed humps along the way).

Secondly, some people will resist using Teamstuff. They’ve got their own way of communicating – whether it be pigeons or sending 4 million emails – you’re dealing with entrenched habits.

One of our problems during the roll out to the club was Team Managers ( TMs ) not been strong enough with parents to say NO I will not communicate via e-mail, SMS – it is Teamstuff or nothing. We now say, “If you do not use Teamstuff your son/daughter will not be selected in the team as this is how we manage team lists”. This threat was enough to get people on board.

A big push for us at South Melb Districts Junior next season is to ram that message home to coaches, TMs, parents and players.

Understanding what’s behind this resistance is important – people don’t like change. Getting them to use Teamstuff is the key – be strong that it’s the only way and that will help them get over the biggest issue which is not knowing how it works. I found that just by doing it, you work it out. I encourage any team or club to get started.

One big challenge is when you move to squads – e.g. U13 – 2 teams operating as a squad. You have kids who will sit in both teams and will be rostered on/off during the season from one team to the other – with collaboration and hopeful improvements to Teamstuff for rostering on/off it allows clubs and teams to communicate to parents no matter what team they sit in from one week to the other. It’s a challenge every week in the older age groups with player availability, illness, injury, league player movement policy, etc.

Teamstuff for clubs – an awesome platform to communicate important information/messages – brilliant that you can include sponsors on comms.

I’m a big fan of Teamstuff because it makes it easier for me (as TM) but also because the parents love it (our teams are junior football and basketball). When the parents love it, you know roll out is going to work.

Rolling out into the teams, I made myself available (as the go to person for Teamstuff issues) to all tm’s for questions. I started a group email (we set up a Teamstuff email for tm’s) so everyone could see and learn from questions that came up.

We started a few weeks before games began and by the first game, everyone was on board.

The benefits of the club version have been the ease with which club officials can communicate with all teams – and the overwhelming positive feedback from parents!

Now the season’s almost over, we don’t hear any more complaints about having to use Teamstuff, every team is on board and so is every player. And all’s quiet – and we can focus on the game! Now that’s impressive!

I’ve seen a lot of clubs rolling it out – and here’s my summary of the best practice tips to guarantee your club and your teams get all the benefits.

  1. Have the authority to rollout to the club.  Once the club hierarchy understands how the club, all the team managers and all the parents will benefit – it’s usually plain sailing from there.
  2. Communicate with your teams and clubs. People like understanding why they should change from “carrier pigeons” to teamstuff. Bring them on the journey – most will see why.
  3. Be firm. In any club, and often in any team – they’ll be a couple who will resist change. That’s not just your club – that’s every club. But that’s not your issue – that’s their issue. If one team member wanted the schedule delivered by snail mail – you’d just say no – that’s unreasonable to expect you to do all that extra work for one person. Standardise on one way to communicate to the team – it’s called teamstuff! Then be firm – we’re got one communication channel for everything – be a part of it. ( and remember teamstuff gives information to people in the way they want it – web, email, smart apps, push notifications, text messages, calendar integration, today widget. But not snail mail. 😉 )
  4. Share Your Ideas. James setup a group for easy communication of how best to use teamstuff. Great idea for your club – just like you’d share best coaching tips – it’s the same with the boring administration and communications.
  5. Have a Teamstuff Ambassador – someone who can front line most of the club’s first questions. In this case it was James – having one person who can help people through that first change – another great way to speed up the rollout. By seeing common questions specific to your club – and knowing what your club is trying to achieve means solutions can be found in the shortest possible time.

There you go – 5 best practice tips to make your club rollout as easy as possible. And lastly – big thanks to James for sharing his experiences rolling out to the entire club. It’s always nice to hear how it’s working for real people – real clubs. At the end of the day – that’s what we’re building that software for!

Get mobile with those profile pictures

Teamstuff has some big plans for the next few months. Payments, files and photos, text messaging and a big UX upgrade. But in between all the huge stuff, we like to sneak in some smaller changes. Sometimes because they’re small and important, sometimes because they’re small and fun, sometimes because they’re both. This one could just fit both categories.

OK, so what’s up? Well, the mobile platform has just had a significant upgrade on your profile pictures. We’ve done a few things all at once – we’ve got way better resolution, we’ve made the process of adding your photo super easy, and super fun. And lastly ( and you might need to be sitting down for this one )…..we’ve made the profile photos……gasp…..circular. We know – “totes OMG”. 😉

So let’s go through a couple of things. One thing – cameras on the modern phones are unbelievably good. ( I’m a bit of a photo nerd so feel qualified to make that call! ) So are the screen resolutions, and in both there’s a massive change since we launched 3 years ago. So moving to a higher resolution is a no brainer – we’re just following the real world there.

We did a fair bit of soul searching on the process of adding these profile pictures, and realised that we haven’t really made this super easy to tell teamstuff here’s a new photo – nor was it easy enough to get a decent, tightly focussed shot of you, or your child. So we’ve changed both. In this release, the mobile app gives you some pretty clear clues you might want to add a photo. In fact post login on mobile – it’s at most one tap, one swipe, one tap – and you’re updating a photo for your profile.

Icon indicating easy fast path to adding a profile photo

Icon indicating easy fast path to adding a profile photo

So that’s the first part. The second part is being able to find a decent photo of you/your child – and making sure the most important part – face – is the feature of the profile picture. And we’ve completely redesigned that from the ground up.

So you can choose to take a new photo, or use a pre-existing photo from your library. You might be surprised how useful this is – even a family shot can be easily used in the next shots to get a great profile picture. Here’s the choices as you’ll see them.

Choices as you would see them on iOS. Similar for Android.

Choices as you would see them on iOS. Similar for Android.

Find the shot within your library ( or take a new one straight from the phone ) – and now we present you with some beautiful tools to make sure you use the photo properly.

step_3_scalezoom

Use the in built tools to zoom and focus attention on the right person in a group shot

You can zoom in or out to resize, and move the photo around to highlight the right face in the photo. At the end of that, you should see the face your want, nice and large and easy to see within the circle . So it might look something like the following:

After zooming and moving to get right face into the frame

After zooming and moving to get right face into the frame

Hit save – you’ll find it at the top right, and you’ve updated your profile pic. It’s super easy – gives a great result.

And this is what new profile pictures look like.

And this is what new profile pictures look like.

The new profile picture is a whole lot better than ever – better resolution, far easier to see the details – sitting in a circle ( so 2015 ) – AND for the eagle eyed out there, you might notice we automagically will redo both your hairstyle and your makeup as you save the photo. *not all of this sentence is true.

Now – you might be wondering why we’ve done all this work. And it’s not just because we need more Taylor in our lives. Nope – there’s a reason. A really good one. But we’re not telling. Update your profile pictures, and make sure you get the next mobile release ( couple of weeks ). Because when you get that release, we think you’ll going to love how your team appears in the general landscape that is teamstuff. Go get snapping!

A little love for Android users – for your weekend mornings

Occasionally we get accused of being a little too Apple focussed here at teamstuff. I don’t really know why. We try really hard to be nicely balanced between Android and iOS. And I know this because I have a weekly reminder “Think about Android too” that pops up on my MacBook, or my iPhone or my iWatch. That’s balanced right?

So this one’s for our large and growing Android user base. Because you too are wondering about the  important things on a Saturday or Sunday morning – you too are thinking – is there enough time to get a coffee before that first game? And now you can get that answer via the Teamstuff Widget.

Super easy to install, and gives you that instant view of your upcoming day. Here’s what it looks like;

Teamstuff Widget in all its glory

Teamstuff Widget in all its glory

Straight away – you can see you have three games – the first one’s in play, the second is just over an hour and a half away, then a few hours later your last game is at 5. That’s a long busy day – and the bad news – you’d better already be at that first game! No coffee for you today.

We think best practice would be to use this first thing in the morning – but who are we to judge!  OK, now you know how useful it is – here’s what you should do to get it working.

Step 1 – Add the Widget to the Homescreen

Adding the Widget

Adding the Widget

Every Android implementation has its own ways to do this – but in general a long press in an empty part of the home screen will allow to add Widgets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Find Teamstuff Widget

Find Teamstuff Widget

Find the teamstuff widget, long press and drag it out to your home screen. You’ll need a place to put it – an empty region of 4×2 cells is great.

Step 2 Using The Widget

At this point – the teamstuff widget is all good to go. It talks to the teamstuff app on your device, so it uses the same account, and gets the same list of games that you’d see on the app. Notice that by default you’ll see it showing one game at a time ( see below ). You can use the arrows to scroll through the list of today’s games.

Default view

Default view

Step 3 – Configure the Widget to Make it Bigger

So maybe you don’t want to scroll left and right- maybe you just want to see it all at once. Well here’s a nice little feature that iOS doesn’t have – you can do exactly that! You can simply tell the Widget to resize, and give it more room, and it will automatically adjust how many games it will display.

Making the Widget bigger

Making the Widget bigger

So long press over the widget, and you’ll see the adjust bars showing – as per the screen shot on the left. Use the bars to resize – and when you expand it beyond the 2 rows then it automatically alters to be a list – and you can scroll vertically on your super busy days.

Step 4 – Enjoy

And now – you have a beautiful view of your day, all easily accessible from the home screen of your device. All the information you need at your fingertips. I know. Sweet.

Teamstuff Widget in all its glory

Teamstuff Widget in all its glory

Minor Technical Details

The Widget is only available to users on HoneyComb ( Android 3.0 ) and above. Prior versions to Honeycomb have neither the honey, nor the comb required to power the widget.
And the resize is only available on Jelly Bean ( Android 4.1 ) and above.

Critical question – do I have time for….

Not sure what your Saturday morning looks like – but here’s what happens at my house. I get up around 7ish, bleary eyed and somewhat fuzzy brained. ( That’s pretty much any morning for me mind you – not a reference to a big night. I wish! ) My first coherent thought is usually something like “Crikey – must get a child to sport”, followed closely by the question “Do I have time to get coffee now? Or on the way? Or not at all.”

If the answer is “not at all”, then I’m in trouble for the day. No caffeine = bad parenting. I know, I should be bigger than that, but I’m not. Ask my wife! So honestly – the first critical question of a Saturday morning is all about me – do I get the 10 minutes I need to get a superb coffee, wake the brain up and be happy all day long for my kids? You might have your own critical question ; maybe it’s a cup of tea, or a sleep in – or time to walk the dog/go for a run/ finish your thesis. Either way, the answer is usually related to the logistics of your day – who needs to be where and when.

And of course that’s all in teamstuff. Phew! But going to the app to find that information – well that’s like soo 2014. What if there was a place just to summarise your ‘day at a glance’ – a standard place that people are already using? Well it turns out there is – introducing the ‘Today’ Widget for iOS. ( Android users – keep reading – we’re applying the same logic for you very soon! )

Here’s what it looks like;

Teamstuff's all new Today Widget.

Teamstuff’s all new Today Widget.

At a single swipe and single glance – I can see my day. I can see the first game is in 8 mins. The second one starts about the same time as the first one ends. So one parent certainly can’t do both. Plus I can see where the games are ; and since there’s about 16,500 kms between the two places – looks like today’s a pretty big logistics challenge. And finally the most critical component – there’s no time for coffee for me! It’s going to be a long day….  😦

Like it? Want to use it?

The Today Widget is a standard part of Apple’s iPhone. You get to it by single swiping from the top of the screen, and you can even do this whilst the iPhone is locked.It’s a really nice part of the iOS experience – once you start using it. OK, like most all things Apple – you have to opt in – tell the phone which things you want to see in your own personal Today screen. That’s pretty easy – here’s the 3 key steps.

In the first screen shown above – and it’s always at the bottom of the Today Widget – hit the grey Edit button. This will bring up a new view which lets you personalise your widget for you. Swipe to the bottom of this, and you’ll see all the Today Widgets that you have that you are not yet using. Somewhere in this list you’ll see the Teamstuff widget – just click on the green + icon next to it.

addwidget_highlight

Click on the green + icon to tell your phone you want to use the Teamstuff Today Widget.

The last thing is simply to get the order right.

editorder_highlight

And re-order it to the top ( teamstuff is WAY more important than Dropbox right? What do they do anyway? 😉 ) using the slider on the right.

You do that by sliding the control on the right up and down depending on where you want the Teamstuff widget to be displayed. Hint : you want it right at the top of course! 😉

We hope you enjoy using this as much as we enjoyed making it. In some ways its a small thing – we’re making your life just that tiny bit easier. But in some ways it’s a big thing ; we have a relentless focus on using technology and information to make your life easier – and this is just one small example of that focus. Enjoy!

p.s. Android users – there’s a similar widget coming out in the very, very near future for you. Same concept, same information, same ease of use.

2015: A Year of Change

It’s a bitter sweet time in my house at the moment. For the last 12 years there’s been the pre bedtime  ritual of reading  to one or more of my children. I don’t know how many times I’ve read ‘The Bears Holiday’ , ‘Cat in the Hat’ or ‘Sniff-Snuff-Snap‘. Enough to know all the words; enough to know when my kids will squeal with fright/delight as I pretend to be the ‘one bossy warthog’ from that story.

Enough to know that one day this will end – and now my youngest is reading all on his own. Of course we’re super happy that he’s got there, but I know one day soon will be my last reading.

All things change.

And so it is with teamstuff this year. But there’s nothing bitter sweet about 2015 for teamstuff. Rather we are embracing a massive and deliberate year of innovation and change.  And it’s always a powerful notion to throw away your base assumptions – or at least review them in the light of the world today, as opposed to the world a few years ago. So we thought you might like to get a bit of an idea about what’s happening in this big, big year for teamstuff.

Mobile Platform – More Change

Our most consistent piece of feedback is ‘please allow game edit on mobile as well as on web’. And so you’re going to see this change rolling out across Android and iOS phones in the very short future. ( Android already has it – iOS in final testing phases )

And that’s just the start. Keep your eyes peeled for new releases for the mobile apps as we get the mobile platform in line with the capabilities of the web application. And that’s a pretty big change in approach for teamstuff, and one that’s based on what you, our users tell us.

Text Messaging – Way of the Future

OK – this one’s a big change for us. We tipped that text messaging would be dying a natural death as push notifications took over. In the real world – not so much. There’s still plenty of demand to receive text messages, so this year you will see teamstuff getting into texting in a big way. Of course, text messages cost us real money, so we’ll need to add some controls and the appropriate revenue model.

A More Beautiful User Experience

Lots of people tell us that our applications are far nicer and way easier to use than our competitors. Which is both nice and also true [ 😉 ]. But that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied. Far from it – we take the unusual approach of making the best feature that we possibly can, releasing it with pride. Then we take every opportunity to criticise, to wonder why we didn’t make it better – to actively find ways to improve that implementation.  Look for some big changes to the user experience, in part to allow for new features such as…

Files and Photos

This one’s been on the roadmap since Day 1. And we’ll be working our way through it over the next few months. To be fair – adding support for a PDF here or there isn’t so hard. Making the process easy for the whole team – that’s a bit more interesting. So that’s what’s taking the time here – making sure we’ve thought of the end to end process, preferably before we start building it!

Payments

Sports teams cost money – and simplifying the payments channels within the team is another feature long on the roadmap. Look for some big changes over the year, with both manual and web based payments coming to a teamstuff near you.

Languages

Teamstuff has unparalleled support for all the languages you could possibly want. We’ve already got Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Russian amongst others on board.  Watch us make use of that this year.

Marketing

Another significant change for teamstuff this year – we thought that we might try cracking this marketing nut. Apparently it’s a great idea for more people to know about teamstuff – and if they do – they might like the platform. And then use it – and then tell their friends. Yes, they’ll be studying teamstuff in future MBA courses around the world. Possibly in a “do not go to market like this” kinda way. Either way – we’re embracing the need to get our message out in 2015.

Revenue

That’s a massive set of changes we’ve outlined for 2015. At the end of those changes, our platform should be better than every other platform out there. Our goal is to be the best team app going round; our goal is that you’ll be able to organise your team in a snap. Some of our competitors will be charging over $100 / team a year ; for the same stuff, just delivered badly. Our marketing activities might mean more people know about us. Which is terrific – but it all costs money. We’ve always said there was a business in here somewhere, that balancing value between our users and ourselves is fine. So somewhere this year – you’ll see teamstuff introducing some paid plans to help support our work. And we’ll find out if there really is a business here somewhere!

And that’s 2015 in a nutshell for us. A year of embracing significant change ; a year of excitement. We’re going to really push ourselves, our assumptions and our platform over the next year.

All things change – bring it on!

One small step for teamstuff…

…one giant leap for team managers everywhere.

So with apologies to Neil Armstrong, let me introduce a feature that’s been on our wish list for a long, long time. And just like that famous last ‘small’ step – it’s the result of lots of work over a very long time. Let’s get down to details.

Question: How many tasks are needed on your team over the course of a season?

If the answer is ‘lots’ – then this is the feature you need. And let’s put this into context. My child’s footy team here in Melbourne has up to 11 different duties ( slightly more duties at home  ), and about 16 games in a season. All up – that’s about 160 different duties over the course of the season. And it’s the team manager’s job to allocate those duties to the player’s families. It’s the team manager’s job to communicate that to those families, and remind them. Because it’s the team manager’s job to find fill ins when people “forget”.

So teamstuff has long understood duties for a game, and has allowed them to be allocated to the families. And teamstuff would automatically remind families of the duty – by email, notification – or just anytime they looked at the game. But there was a big hurdle – assigning the duties in the first place. Very manual – game by game, duty by duty.

Ouch.

So the big feature we’ve now added is the ‘one magic button’ that does all that work for you. Yep – with about 2 minutes work, you can evenly distribute the duties across all games, across all players.

So you can see why we’re so excited about this one – it will save literally hours of your life!

There’s two parts to it ; creating a template of duties that you need at your games – then pressing the magic button. And that’s it. 160 duties, spread across 25 players. Two minutes of your time.

Minute 1 : Duty Templates

OK, login to teamstuff, head to your team. Look under the Duties section and you’ll see a couple of options. The Duty Template is the place you want to start. Here’s where you can tell teamstuff what Duties are needed , and for which games.

duty_templateHere’s an example where I’ve added 7 different duties, with two Duties ( Canteen , Ground Manager ) only needed on Home games.

Minute 2 : Allocation to the Team ( the fun part )

OK – now flick over to the ‘By Game’ tab under duties.  With the template in place, you might see something like the following ( a big list of games, together with empty slots for duties ).

duty_season_empty

There is a very large green button at the top – with the words ” Let Teamstuff Assign the Duties‘. Clicking on this gives you a similar view with some control options. It looks like this:

duty_assign_empty

You might notice that by default – we think that the Coaches and Managers on the team are already doing enough work. You probably don’t want to distribute more work to them. ( but you can, if that’s the way your team works. )

So hit the 2nd big green button – and away we go. At this point we perform some small miracles, and we’ll allocate the duties across the entire playing list. And we do it with a small amount of intelligence too. Here’s some scenarios that we can handle;

1. We don’t override allocations ; so if someone has already volunteered to be the season’s Goal Umpire – then we don’t overrule.

2. We try to allocate ‘about the same’ number to each player’s family. A family with twins would get twice as many duties. And we count this across the whole season.

3. We try to allocate as few duties to each player’s family as we can on any one game. Most of the time – the players gets only one duty per game.

4. We won’t allocate games to people who have indicated that they are away. That’s not helping anyone!

So press the button – and you end up with something like the following:

duty_assign_full

You can see immediately who’s on what duty – and how many duties the player has for the season.

If you feel like it – you can ask us to ‘try another combination’ – and we’ll try to do the same job and get a different result. Or more like it – just hit the save button at the bottom.

And wham – you’ve just allocated 160 duties across your team, in under 2 minutes. And one of the best bits – you ( the team manager ) can tell your parents that it wasn’t you who assigned them to the duty they least like. 😉 It was teamstuff, right?

We hope you love this feature – and hope you can see why we think it’s such a giant leap forward for us.

Enjoy. Coach

 

 

 

Can you make a great teamstuff video?

So, the other night I was up late wondering how to make teamstuff related videos. But not just any video – I want to make great teamstuff videos. I keep thinking they could be quite useful. And so what was keeping me up so late you ask? Was it a lack of skills? Lack of vision or just my general lack of experience? Yep, let’s go with all three.

But it struck me that we’ve got plenty of very talented users out there – and so the idea was born ; how about asking the teamstuff community? So today we’re throwing down the challenge – “Can you make a great teamstuff video?”

Here’s some more details :

Prizemoney : Of course! There’ll be one first prize of $500 AUD for the ‘best’ great teamstuff video ; that money can go to you, your team or club. And we’ll spot up for some encouragement awards of $250 AUD for ‘great but not quite first’ prizes.

Best: We’re reserving some judgement here – just make it great ok? Maybe your video is instructional – showing how to use the key features in teamstuff that make your life easier. Maybe you want to make a promotional video for teamstuff. Maybe yours is an action thriller where the hero needs teamstuff to save the day. [ and now you see why I shouldn’t be involved right? ]. Maybe it’s just the kids saying what they like about sport – brought to you by their parents – brought to their games by teamstuff. We don’t know either, but make it teamstuff related, and make it interesting and you are very much in the running.

Production Quality: This is not the Academy Awards ok? If you can shoot movies and edit them ( so that’s nearly anyone with a smart phone and access to PC/ Mac /iPad these days ) then you’ve got the production quality covered. Nice!

Language: Your native language is fine! We’d expect to have plenty of English entries – but equally if your mother tongue happens to be Spanish or German ( cough, hint, hint ) then that just might set you apart. 😉

How To Enter: Add your video to youtube, have it searchable via teamstuff. And then let us know it’s yours by emailing us at coach@teamstuff.com.

End Date: March 31, 2015

Good luck – and get shooting!