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Better, Faster, Stronger Podio

Today we are releasing two significant updates to the calendar behaviour in Podio. They will for most people seem small in the appearance but the backend architecture work to make this possible has been huge. I am personally really proud of our team for making this update possible.

The overall goal of the changes is to improve the architecture of the calendar events, which has been the fastest growing area of Podio until now.

From making these updates, we will be able to ensure a more reliable and scalable platform in the future - and give a better experience for our customers using Podio every single day to manage their work. 

 

What is different?

1. Updated calendar layout: From today, the calendar will give you a 6 months view of past events. Your data will continue to be available in your apps and from using search, however we are limiting the calendar view to only allow for scrolling 6 months in the past. All future events will continue to be available in the calendar.

2. Updated date field behaviour: Date fields in Podio automatically show dates in the calendar for event apps. We are changing the behaviour for standard and contacts apps - the dates will only show in calendar if you manually enable the setting "show in calendar" from the field in the app template.

 

Next to improving performance and reliability, we also believe these updates will help decrease clutter in your calendar - so the most important meetings, deadlines and projects will be able to stand out more. As an extra tip, we recommend you to check out the calendar colouring feature, to help you customize the colour appearance of your meetings, deliverables and events  for better visibility and overview.

Please also note - we are reviewing the updated architecture in production over the next few weeks and will need to make additional updates in the backend before you will experience the full effect of the expected improved performance.

// Sara,

Product Manager

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen

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48 comments

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So the notice in podio says "two new updates today with the goal to make the platform more reliable for you in the future", which one would think might be alluding to stopping the various slowness and outage in the past months.

But actually what you are doing is improving the calendar and date fields.

Jeremy Dawes 7 votes
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Hi Jeremy!

We are aware that some of the issues we have seen with reliability and slowness in Podio has a very strong relation to our calendar architecture. By updating these areas in the calendar we believe this will overall improve reliability and speed - therefore making Podio more reliable in the future. 

Let us know if you have any additional questions.

//Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen 0 votes
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The US Calendars are 1 week behind. Appointments that use the 'Date' feature show as though they were Created on the Previous week on App Reports. Just like to know this issue is on the radar?

Matt McDonald 2 votes
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Hi Sara,

We aren't too happy with this update as we refer to the calendar for past events.

We often need to review events 1 year ago or more.

Now that we have to use the search view it is cumbersome and takes longer. Also we can't see the day, it's only the date. See attached. So if I need to see what events we had on Saturdays last December I now cannot. I have to manually look at a calendar, note down the dates and search them. 

A step backward for Podio's user interface.

Hopefully Podio can revert back to seeing all past dates in the calendar.

Daniel D'Amico 10 votes
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Hi Daniel,

Thanks for sharing. Appreciate your feedback! I am curious to hear more about how often you need to look for events 1 year ago? 

Would it be possible to include a calculation field to automatically add the weekday if this is important to view in table layout?

/Sara

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen 1 vote
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Hi Podio Team, this sounds great! Thanks for always looking to improve everything for us all! 

I was wondering if there is an option to remove viewing tasks inside the workspace calendar so we just see the items that we have chosen to show in the calendar, rather than having to sift through all the tasks due as well?

Thank you

Hayley

Hayley Weatherburn 1 vote
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Hi Matt,

Thanks for sharing! Are you referring to the weekly view split in reports and app views? If yes, the weekly filter currently calculates start day of the week based on UK language settings, which might cause the issue you see in US language. I understand this can be an issue for you using US language settings. This is a known limitation we might be able to fix in the future! Thanks for raising it.

//Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen 0 votes
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Hi Hayley,

Thanks for sharing - great to hear!

Good question. The workspace calendar is shared to include all tasks while the global (personal calendar) in the top blue bar can be customised to remove tasks. There is no current option to remove tasks from the workspace calendar - appreciate your feedback and idea. One work-around could be to use the calendar tile in the workspace dashboard to see app events only or share views/exports from specific app calendar views, rather than using the workspace calendar.

//Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen 0 votes
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Matt, thanks for the link and additional details. This is tracked and reported internally as well. Thanks for sharing! 

/Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen 0 votes
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This wasn't an issue as of a recent updates. It broke the US VERSION CALENDAR ONLY. I advise creating an example scenario to show how many appointments were made a given week. I guarantee you, it will show inaccurate data vs the REST of the languages. What happened?

Matt McDonald 0 votes
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In the US it's Week 34, if an appointment was made in that week and a report was made to show how many appointments were made a week, why would it show up under Week 33? That is illogical. But again, this issue isn't present with any other language.

Matt McDonald 0 votes
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Hi Sara,

Yes I can see there is the option for personal but it's for a general calendar for the workspace. I understand you could use a calendar tile, however that relies on workflows and when things change if the workflows aren't correct it doesn't get updated. Leaves a lot of room for human error. However it would still be awesome to just have a settings option to "hide tasks" from the workspace calendar. Hopefully not too complicated (but I do understand that it's never as simple as we think in the back end!.

Cheers

Hayley

Hayley Weatherburn 0 votes
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NOOOO. Sorry but No. This actually not great at all. We run an event production office. We FREQUENTLY scroll back to find events we produced for clients and colleagues in the past. Especially for events one year ago.It's the most intuitive interface for scrolling back.

Additionally, we run events for which we maintain production calendars that have horizons as long as a year. Again, the calendar interface is one of the strongest and most intuitive for scrolling back over our planning.

Sorry, but please change this back. Six months is so arbitrary. Or make it 1 year. Or something. But please... this is a completely off putting change.

Ben Tomlin 8 votes
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It's really a shame we can't look back past 6 months. In production and marketing, companies often look back over the past year. I just tried to do this yesterday. I am not really sure why limiting it was necessary?

Erin Smith 7 votes
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what is the benefit of showing only 6 month of past??? We have yearly events where calendar view is a great tool to see all timings, bookings, deliveries, etc. Please try to fix problems and give us back to chance to see all our entrees. Its just a view- i hope this will come back!

Philipp Muth 6 votes
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@Matt, thanks for the extra details, I will follow up in the private support conversation.

@Hayley, definitely a valid input - thanks for the idea and feedback!

@Ben, I am sorry to hear  - as a first step, make sure you are also exporting the Podio calendar events to an external calendar like Google, iCal or Outlook - your events will continue to be available here and follow the data retention policy they offer. Hopefully the external calendar view can assist when you need overview of the full 12 months? We also don't have the annual view available, always only had monthly overviews. 

@Jayraj, glad to hear - thank you for letting us know!

/Sara

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen -1 votes
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Hi Erin and Philipp,

Thanks for the feedback - appreciate this. To offer some additional background, the size of the calendar event architecture in Podio is huge as we have both personal, workspace and app calendars available for every app. We are aware that some of the issues we have seen with reliability and slowness in Podio has a very strong relation to this calendar architecture. By updating these areas and offering a 6 months window (rather than forever, 5 years or 12 months) we believe this will improve reliability and speed of Podio overall.

If we made the window 12 months or 2 years, we do not believe this would have same impact due the significant  growth we have seen the last 2 years - there is simply too much data stored in our calendar architecture.

As a workaround, would you be able to test exporting the Podio calendar events to an external calendar like Google, iCal or Outlook? Your events will continue to be available here and follow the data retention policy they offer - this should give you a full 12 month window and better annual view (we never offered annual overview in Podio, only monthly views). 

//Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen -1 votes
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We are looking for a stable, reliable, high configurable plataform. You only make minor changes and announces that as a stunt and tremendous updating. Come on!

Elias Fernandes 2 votes
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Hi Elias,

As I wrote in the beginning of the post the updates will seem small in the appearance (UI) but the backend architecture work to make this possible has been huge - so what we are releasing is an improved architecture in the backend of Podio to help provide a more stable and reliable platform. 

Thanks for your feedback.

/Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen -1 votes
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I also feel reducing the past calendar view to six months is limiting, and a major step-back in terms of front-end user experience. And asking us to export to Google Cal as a workaround seems counter-intuitive. Don't you want us to be able to use Podio for all our work needs? The more you send us out, the less likely we are to come back in. 

As an organizational and event consultant I love being able to scroll back through a year, sometimes two, for calendar details. People think in different ways. I am highly visual, so a quick scroll through 12, 18 or 24 months to see what I did last year is often my planning MO. I also make use of color coding to help demarcate items as being Open or Closed events, campaigns and tasks. Now, when doing a yearly review I cannot see what may have been missed in the earlier months of the year. 

I completely understand the backend reasons for doing this: it sounds like otherwise there is simply too much data to load and it slows things down for all users. How about a default setting for 6 months that folks can manually uptick to 12 or 24 months, as needed. You allow us to manually create the calendar views we wish (Show settings: 'everything date related..., I'm following etc.). Why not create a check box for extended viewing options? 

Seems to me most people would not bother to check that box (or bury it as an optional setting even deeper within Podio so we really have to work to find it). You'd still dramatically reduce the amount of users slowing the system down with extended views, but give those of us who NEED it the option we require. 

I have to agree with others who commented here, six months seems arbitrary. And no one should be asked to view only six months of a year's worth of data. Most people in business plan at least 1 year at a time. If you are going to limit, please at LEAST increase it to 12 months. Doing so will likely appease many of us who are not happy about this, and hopefully not affect the backend speed too much.

Please consider. Thank you for your time.

Maeve Richmond 7 votes
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Hi Sarah,

 

Thx for your answer. I see the point of amount of data. But in times like this that cant be the solution. Please find a way to handle it. BTW iCal Export isnt any solution. I only can see the last 2 month there. I reported it in the past but no solution has been presented yet. Sorry to say it again but the new calendar restriction is a Step backward from my point of view.

Philipp Muth 4 votes
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Hi Sara,

I appreciate your team. Podio's a great product. And I'm sympathetic that something like a design view should cause such load on your platform. 

However — Podio is billed as a service that let's us look at "your data, your way." This solution strikes me as a compromise of your software. It's a non-intuitive limitation on a view of data. Now I can't look at my data my way—when I could before. Suddenly I'm forced to look at it *your way.*

I'm sympathetic to the problem, appreciative of your team. But this isn't a great fix.

Ben Tomlin 9 votes
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For those looking to sync their Podio to calendar to an external service, such as Google calendar, you should be aware that Podio has a limitation on the export.  If you have a lot of items in the calendar in the past, they just don't sync.  This is only useful if you already had calendar sync set-up prior to this change.

I use Podio for managing events, and would like to be able to look back more than six months in the calendar view.  I was also pretty annoyed about this, and it's is certainly started some conversations about what else is out there to replace Podio in our office.  I've been a user since 2011, so we have a lot invested in Podio - so any potential change is not a decision we will take lightly.  Part of the discussion is about what next - what changes might Podio make next that could adversely affect our operations.  It's now viewed as an operational risk, and risks need to be managed / mitigated.  I work for a government agency, this kind of thing is taken quite seriously.   

 

Our calendar export only sync 1000 events initially and will then automatically add new events going forward as they are created. This is a limitation due the external API's we use to sync the data.

(learn more here about general limitations, including calendar export: https://help.podio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000424752-Known-limitations-in-Podio)

Andrew Hopkins 3 votes
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I agree with all the users below.  We should be able to view and use our data for more than 6 months.  We often look back to track deliverables for particular projects.  the user Maeve Richmond had a great suggestion to have an option for users who need to look back further. 

There must be a way to streamline the flow of data and make it work, because this is not a good fix.  You guys are can do it!! 

Please make this an option!!!  Thank you

Bryan Suarez 2 votes
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@Maeve, @Philipp, @Ben, @Daniel and @Bryan - thank you for sharing the additional details to how your team work with the calendar. This is really useful. We have done some user research and interviews with existing customers prior to enforcing this new behaviour to understand how most people are using the calendar. We did learn that for the majority of customers (of the sample we spoke to, I am sorry we did not get to all of you) usage of the calendar view happens in the "now" so the current month, current week and upcoming months for planning. Very rarely people find themselves going back in the calendar - again, I understand this is not true for your team. 

Thank you for sharing. We will monitor feedback from customers with use cases similar to yours closely in Support over the coming weeks to understand how this change is affecting our customers in general and the usefulness of the calendar. If we see additional complaints in the support channel, we will definitely consider moving to the 12 months past events.

Sara - Podio

Sara Høeg Højlund-Rasmussen -2 votes
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Sara, thank you for your comments. In business, I would think anyone working with an event, marketing or even budgeting calendar would need at least a year's worth of data for analysis and comparison purposes. Any way I slice this, 6 months makes no sense. So yes, please strongly consider moving the calendar view feature back to 12 months (or providing a manual view feature as I previously suggested). 

I understand it is not easy to get a comprehensive cross-section of users when conducting a survey. But I please ask the Podio team to consider that not everyone using this platform is a millennial, or young professional more used to the "now" way of doing things And, when you do research on systemic changes to please be mindful that you have an accurate cross-section of users for analysis. I have expressed concerned to the Podio team in the past for changes that appear to be focused more on the needs of younger users (such as when you reduced your emoticons to tiny circles so small I could barely see them). I was told that Podio aims to keep up with trends. Which I completely understand. But please do not throw your more seasoned users out with the bathwater when making these shifts. I honestly have no idea how someone would calendar only in the "now", as everything I've ever learned in business over the past 22 years includes a comprehensive analysis of data from at least one year out. 

I have been a Podio over five years, using the platform for both business and personal use. I am more than happy to be included in any test group that is reviewing potential feature adjustments. I have not been shy in the past about writing to you guys for help when needed. And have occasionally dropped a note here. But I have never been asked to participate in a user research survey. By trade, I am an organizational expert and systems consultant. Use me!

Thank you, Maeve

Maeve Richmond 4 votes
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I will just chime in here as an avid Podio user. 

I greatly appreciate all the work Podio has done and the product you've created to this point.

But I would agree as well - in marketing, we look back a year in order to look forward a year.

I definitely get the issue of data slowing everything down and causing crashes, but not having the option for at least a 1-year view is very limiting for us.

We're coming up on our Annual Campaign...this is a great example of a time we'd say, "Ok - what did we do last year for the staff campaign? What events did we have for the community campaign? when did we start the board campaign?" - and now that will all be reduced to trying to search those things individually.

I was hopeful when I saw calendar updates that it might be updates like...

  1. Being able to filter what views export to your external calendar (our marketing team puts all calendars on 1 app so we can see what the other is doing...but I don't want EVERYBODY's meeting synced and giving me reminders on my external)
  2. Colors being able to be exported (it's nice to have in Podio but then when looking at my external calendar, 8 colors are reduced to all the same color)
  3. Being able to see someone else's entire calendar (I have calendar items pulling from multiple workspaces that my team can't necessarily see. If they're trying to schedule a meeting in what looks like free time, it's actually not because it's reserved for a meeting in a different app)
  4. Being able to get calendar view in the phone app like you are on the computer (not just your personal calendar in calendar view)

 

There were many things I hoped for in calendar updates, but I must say - limiting our view to just 6 months in the past was not one of them.

Beth Barbaglia 4 votes
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Hi Sarah, Thx again for your feedback. I am really happy to see how many users agree with my point of view.

And I need to agree with some here that limitations in calendars is a reason to quit the platform in the long run.

Don't get me wrong but it looks like the Apple philosophy to me: Sell a limitation/ restriction as a great feature/update.

A bunch of other platforms offer unlimited calendars. So technically speaking: there must be a way to fix your performance issues in another way. And as I wrote before: Podio calendars disappear on Mac OS platform after 2 month. So this is no solution anyway.

I started using Podio late 2012 if I remember correctly. When you released the calendar view I got my company on Podio as well. I brought you a bunch of paying clients from the event scene. All of these use the calendar view regularly and not only 12 month back- sometimes you need to go 2-3 years back.

To be honest we pay a monthly fee because of the the possibility to get our calendars managed by your platform. Now Podio comes back to us and announce to lose it. Sorry to say it again: I'm not very impressed by that.

Your platform is great! Your team did great things in the past! So please Sara - go back to your programmers and try to find a solution! And that can't be any restriction in calendars! Thx for understanding and best regards

 

Philipp Muth 3 votes