I would like to give you an update on the things that have been happening around Feng, and a quick overview of things to come (at least about those things we are 100% confident that will happen).
We’ve been quiet lately; more than we like and are used to. There were two main reasons for coming to this situation:
1) We were overwhelmed by an enormous amount of work that came our way.
2) We took some time to go over our plans and priorities, and define new ones.
Let us try to further explain this.
A bit of history
This is a brief summary of what happened to Feng Office since its first steps in 2007:
1) The founding team made the product it wanted to build, just because it felt it was needed (Actually, today’s Feng Office Platform is still just 10% of the team’s vision). This product consisted basically on a lot of team collaboration / communication / management / productivity features bundled together into one app / platform.
2) Some people liked it.
3) The Feng Office Company was founded to provide services and support the product.
4) Feng Office found a market for its products and services (over 200.000 people are currently using Feng Office for collaborating with their teams and customers)
From Open Source project to business
Feng Office started as an open source project (beloved OpenGoo). It had the goal to become the best Web Office (what we would now Collaboration Platform) of the world. This ambitious goal required resources that were beyond the reach of the initial (unfunded) project structure. A Company had to be founded in order to support the project. And so Feng Office was founded.
The structure transition was not without its great set of challenges. The biggest challenge was in adopting, as a team and community, a new mindset. Execution of new tasks, and new priorities, where needed. Clearly communicating changes was needed.
As challenging as all this proved, we pulled it off. It was in its greatest part thanks to the continuing and growing community support, on the core team’s commitment, and, believe it or not, on the very same tool that we had built and which helped us stayed organized. We are happy and proud with how things turned out.
I feel like telling more about this great journey, but wouldn’t like to bore you with details. It may become a future post, which would also benefit from further hindsight.
What I do feel very important to say is that we have overcome a lot of obstacles and met a lot of milestones. Feng Office is now stronger than ever, and the team is confident on the evolution of the company as a team, as a product developer, and as a service provider. And, on top of this, we managed to keep developing and supporting the main product under an Open Source license.
Becoming a company changes your priorities… a lot. Once you start having customers you (the team) can no longer consider your own wishes and priorities only. In fact, your needs and wishes suddenly go last on the priority list.
It took us some time to construct this mindset, but we found that every issue/request/idea had to go through a filter that looks like this:
This schema means that, if something is not satisfying a current customer (E.g.: The servers are running slowly), this would become top priority, above any new feature request, or even having the Website homepage down).
What changed so far
The priority hierarchy illustrated above provided the Feng Office team with a good compass to follow on its everyday work. We have, for the past two years, consistently improved service quality. In many cases we have exceeded customer expectations.
We didn’t add that many features to the latest product versions. These helped make the software platform much more robust. Internal processes have been defined, understood, and are being constantly automated and improved.
As a business team, we now feel confident to invest more on the following steps that have become natural to us. We will now work on improving our message. We have come to a point where we more often find people not understanding what Feng Office can do for them, rather than not being a potential customer.
As many in the community have clearly stated, we need now to understand what, from all that Feng Office does, is providing the best value to the user. We need you to help us understand your needs and the benefits you obtain from using Feng Office. Achieving this understanding we will be able to sharpen our focus when working on improving the product, and we will improve communication to new potential users.
All this will be done while continuing to put customer service and expectations on top of every other issue.