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Jive Scales Producteev App, Now Free

Social task management tool Jive acquired last year becomes free as a standalone app. Integration with the Jive platform to follow.

Although Producteev offers a more complete task management system than Jive currently provides, it does not aim to support the kind of formal project management that might be required for a major engineering project such as building a bridge. For example, Producteev is good for representing deadlines and schedules of tasks, but it does not attempt to model dependency relationships where one step must be completed before the next can begin.

"The only level of dependency we have is subtasks," Abehassera said. "That's done on purpose because we don't want to add more complexity."

One potential complexity Abehassera seemed not to have thought through is the potential that the free service will prove more wildly successful than anticipated, leading to adoption by employees in large companies and conflict with company leaders. Part of Yammer's story, at least in the days before its acquisition by Microsoft, was that employees or individual departments would use it to start collaborating right away, without waiting for approval from IT.

Once Yammer usage took hold, the use of the cloud application would come to the attention of IT. In conservative organizations, this sometimes provoked a backlash once company leaders realized employees had been discussing company business on an unsanctioned cloud service. A CIO would then find himself in the position of either paying a per-user fee for the Yammer service to get administrative control or seeking to get the unauthorized company network shot down. Although the nature of the Producteev app is different, exposure of the details and schedules of company projects could provoke just as big of a reaction, it seems to me.

Abehassera said he doesn't see the parallel. "Until we have that issue, I don't think we will have it as an issue," he said. Producteev will be taking a grassroots approach rather than marketing to CIOs at large companies, he said. "At the beginning, we won't be targeting companies with thousands of employees."

Some of those larger companies might start experimenting with the free version of Producteev, which is now capable of managing tasks across larger organizations, but Jive won't start seriously courting those larger companies until the integration between Producteev and the Jive platform is ready, Abehassera said.

Follow David F. Carr at @davidfcarr or Google+.

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