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Delightful Collaboration VII – Course Whiteboards

Sometimes a would-be user of CoachAccountable just knows what they’re looking for.

This past Wednesday I got an email from Jason of Merchant Capital Partners, a company which offers loans and training programs to help entrepreneurs build sustainably profitable businesses.  He and his colleague Robert that got right to the point:


We are evaluating your platform for use with our customers… would it be possible to hop on a call and talk through some of our questions and what a possible partnership would look like?  We’re looking to make a decision quickly so the sooner the better.

Please reply with some times that you are available.

The following day we spent nearly 2 hours on the phone and connected via screen share, them showing the ins-and-outs of the program they’re aiming to deliver at scale, and me taking it in and in turn advising how to best deliver it via CA.

Metrics, yes.  Action Projects, yes.  Courses to deliver it all in automated fashion in a scalable way, most definitely yes!

They knew what they were looking for and CA was pretty well up to the task, and in some ways even better than imagined (yep–participants CAN report their Metrics and mark Actions done by just replying to the text reminders sent to their cell phones, no logging in required so no excuses for not doing it–nice!).

And then we came to adding another tab to the client page.

Robert laid it out plainly: “We just need to add another section there, where we can put links into the portal for the program.”

This refers to the tabs by which client pages are organized.  You can see them here; Up Next, Stream, Metrics, and so on:

Ugh, this isn't going to go well...

Ugh, it’s gettin’ crowded…

The Groups and Billing tab don’t always apply, and indeed it’s possible to turn off any of the tabs.  But in general, there’s just not space with the horizontally arranged tabs to add any more without things getting cramped.

But moreover, I just couldn’t see it being a good idea to do a quick-and-dirty job of “Okay, now everyone can create exactly one bonus tab and put whatever content they want on it”.  It’s doable and truly not much work to add, but if that exists, it’ll quickly reveal itself to be an incomplete feature, just as soon as the (most reasonable!) requests to extend the concept come along.  Requests like:

  • Can I add more than one?
  • Can I switch up the sort order?
  • Can I have it show for some clients but not others?
  • Can I vary what shows in that tab on a client-by-client basis?

When the answer to all of these questions is “yes”, allowing coaches to add new tabs (spacing issues notwithstanding) starts to sound like a pretty sweet and broadly useful feature!  I reckon I will add it when the time is right.

But as much as I love to please on a sales call, it’s a certain kind of severely irresponsible to promise big new feature build outs on the fly in response to “it would be nice if” requests.

Then it hit me: when you want to be able to have content there for your clients that is readily accessible at any time, that’s the stuff of using a Whiteboard.

“Tell you what,” I said, “for all those reasons I can’t see adding a new customizable tab to the client page, BUT if Whiteboards would do the trick for you I can stand by making the setup of THOSE for all of your clients an easy matter–without requiring you to do a lot of copy-and-paste setup for each new client you setup.”

Worst case scenario, I can wave my magic wand over the situation and do a bulk clone of a Whiteboard on in to whichever clients they need (wouldn’t be the first time!).  And if that becomes too cumbersome for my taste, I’ll think of something more clever.  Again, I wasn’t going to promise a feature until I’d had some time to give it careful consideration, but that plan I could stand by.

That would do, Robert told me, and indeed it might be better than the simple extra tab as this way the Whiteboard content that a given client got could be customized based on which program they were in.

This weekend I gave that careful consideration, and now, thanks to Robert & Jason’s power user needs, everyone can now add Whiteboards as part of their CoachAccountable courses.

Let’s take a look!

Hey, new button on the right that I can drag on to the left!

Hey look–there’s a new button on the right that I can drag on to the left!

It’s about as simple as that.  The new +Whiteboard allows you to add a Whiteboard item anywhere on the Course timeline, just as you would any other item type.

There are three visibility settings: you can make it visible to your client (“Share with client”), visible to only you, or (Team Edition only) visible only to members of the team (i.e. hidden from your client but visible to other coaches).

Based on visibility, you can further dictate who is able to make edits to the Whiteboard: your client, other coaches (again, applies only to Team Edition), or just the you.

It’s a spiffy little addition to Courses.  Whichever way Robert & Jason end up going, I thank them for their contribution to CA!  Here’s to the squeaky wheels.

1 Comment

  1. You suggested the use of Whiteboards to me for a similar purpose a year ago, John. ;-) Now that it is in courses is super awesome, especially for a group on a programme.

    July 10, 2016 @ 7:39 pm