👨💻 MeisterTask for Software Development: Q&A with Douglas Boyce
Hello and welcome to the June edition of our Use Case Q&A series!
In this series, we'll share real-life examples of how people use Meister products in a variety of industries - You'll find inspiration, tips and creative new ways to use our tools.
Today, we’re speaking with software development whizz @Douglas Boyce about using MeisterTask to automate repetitive processes and save time for bigger tasks.
Ready to find out how you can use MeisterTask to make your life easier? Read on!
Software Development with Douglas Boyce [Use Case Q&A]
Hey Douglas, thanks so much for joining us today! Please tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Thanks for allowing me to share my Meister journey. For the past 25 years, I've been in the software development arena, working in design, development, testing, deployment and everything in between. Currently, I am a Chief Software Architect of Enterprise Development.
Wow, Chief Software Architect sounds fascinating - How did you come to work in this field?
I LOVE software!
I love how it empowers, educates, streamlines, and automates people's work and companies' workflows - I feel all giddy when I see an idea get implemented and the positive impacts it has 😃.
Ultimately, I love to create things and my creative canvas is software.
You mentioned your newest venture is focused on empowering small, family-owned companies - How did you choose this focus?
About a year ago, I saw a life-changing statistic: Of the 36 million businesses in the US, 90% of them have 25 or fewer employees. Many owners feel stressed out by the responsibilities involved in keeping these amazing, small, family-owned businesses running.
💡Check out other small business facts.💡
This finding inspired me. I took my sales, marketing, software development, and artificial intelligence passions and created a platform to help start and scale small businesses, giving business owners the freedom they desired when they first started their adventure.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the educational company you're founding to encourage aspiring software entrepreneurs?
For the past 10 years, I've been very blessed to be able to mentor new software professionals. In order to complement my new software business, I want to help highly motivated, passionate, aspiring software entrepreneurs start and scale their software businesses. We'll teach the art and science of the software industry rather than focus on coding since there are already so many great companies doing that effectively.
Now, let's turn our attention to what you described as your #1 favorite app - When did you first come across MeisterTask?
Oddly, it was MindMeister that got me into the Meister ecosystem while I was using Cultured Code's Things for project management. When MeisterTask was released, I wanted to go all in and forced myself to use it for 30 days in a deep dive trial to see how it would function...I never went back!
What made you choose MeisterTask over other management tools?
I love Kanban boards! The ability to "see" a task makes managing tasks that much easier. Aside from this, 2 simple features in MeisterTask really stood out to me and have since saved me at least 10 hours a week:
- Automations. The ability to add checklists, tags, assign tasks, and more automatically saves so much time. All I need to do is set up the automation then move the task, and BOOM, the software is my new best friend.
- Paste into Separate Items. As someone who is constantly taking notes and jotting things down in various apps, I've always needed a quick way to get ideas into software where I can manage them. Now, I work on something in a Word document or spreadsheet, copy it into MeisterTask and I'm instantly given 30 new tasks to handle - Gotta love software that helps!
Let's take a look at an example:
1 - Create my notes in a text editor
2 - Paste as separate items
3 - Tasks created in MeisterTask
Within your software development company, you must be managing several people and projects. How do automations support you in this?
Being able to see all of the projects we are working on and what's assigned for the week is invaluable, but the true power of MeisterTask comes with the automations - I would be lost without things like Recurring Tasks. Additionally, my D3 Weekly Content Board (see below) is full of Checklists and Tags.
Every 6 weeks at the end of a software sprint, I review the process and see how we can improve and automate things. I worry less about managing my team because we have a streamlined process that everyone follows: Adjust the process, and you'll adjust the team.
We'd love to see one of your project boards. Could you show us an example?
With both my software development company and my education company, keeping up to date on weekly tasks used to be overwhelming. I now have a D3 Content / Action Project with automations running each Sunday morning to reset my tasks for the week.
Each column below has a series of Recurring Tasks that run at 4AM on Sunday morning so that I can see a fresh board when I get up. Working from left to right throughout the week, I add notes, checklists, and attach Google Docs. Once a task is completed, I move it to the final column DONE DONE where it gets marked complete and archived. Ideally, by the end of Friday, the entire board is clear except for my Rest & Relation on Saturday. Once a month, I review each of the templates in the Recurring Tasks to see if I need things added, removed, or updated.
I'll talk you through the structure of my content board. Important side note: I love having a "Theme of the Day", especially if it alliterates 😉:
- Weekly Goals - Do I have an upcoming workshop, masterclass, or event that needs promotion? How do I plan on accomplishing this?
- Skills Sunday - I teach my masterclass on Sunday evenings because that's when most of my students are free. During the masterclass, we go deep into what they are learning. Consequently, I always need an outline and links to Google Docs to get the content and presentation mapped out.
- Marketing Monday - On Mondays, I put the wheels in motion and begin to think about how, where, and when I need to promote what is coming up in the week ahead.
- Toolbox Tuesday - What are the tools and resources my students (and prospective students) should be looking at to help make them more rounded, fully trained, software entrepreneurs?
- Workshop Wednesday - This is where I do a 55-minute deep dive training for prospective software entrepreneurs on a topic, frustration, or roadblock they are encountering. All training, no hype, no sales pitch during the teaching: Just 55 minutes of presenting the problem, showing a possibility, and indicating the path to success.
- Template Thursday - I LOVE templates, processes, and procedures. On Thursdays, I share my best template to help aspiring software entrepreneurs streamline their processes.
- Freedom Friday - These are our testimonies of success. I love to hear about students' breakthroughs and how their lives have been changed.
- Shabbat Saturday - After all that work, it's time to rest and let the body and mind recharge.
You mentioned you've started using MindMeister for trainings. Do you have a mind map template you could show us?
This is the high-level summary I use during my introduction to the "Anyone Can Create Software" workshop:
💡View the map here.💡
There's so much new content being produced for the courses, workshops, and podcasts so I created a mind map with all of the handy URLs I need to know to cross-promote trainings. When I am teaching a workshop, a masterclass, recording a podcast, or doing an interview, I have a tendency to get wrapped up in the moment - I want to be able to quickly reference resources on my website to help my listeners on their entrepreneurial journey.
💡View the map here.💡
Since you're in software, I just have to ask about AI. How do you see it reshaping your work life and software development itself?
I love AI and the power it has to empower people, rather than replace them.
The next big step I see people using AI for is simply getting started on a project. I think many of us have great ideas and can envision a nearly completed project but struggle when it comes to actually starting or even knowing where in the process we're up to.
Recently, I wanted to show my son, a junior in high school, how to quickly design a sports commentating course for his speech class. The class was allocated 10 x 52-minute periods to build this outline, and we did it all in under 20 minutes!
You can read more about this AI case study at Kajabi (the platform I use for my education business).
Finally, do you have any resources you'd like to share with the Community?
The best advice I can share is to simply create a Test Project. Map out a new workflow where each column is a milestone in your process and then fire up the Automations tab and play around. You'll quickly see how much time, energy, and brainpower you save.
Thanks so much, Douglas - it's been brilliant to hear how you work with MeisterTask! How can users reach out to you for more information?
Over the next couple of weeks, you'll see new websites at BriteIdeaSoftware.com and AnyoneCanCreateSoftware.com - Please feel free to check them out. And, as always, I love to connect with our Meister family on LinkedIn.