FCTasks by FranklinCovey

FranklinCovey is a giant in the organization/personal productivity arena. Do you remember the famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Before digital PDAs, I carried around the hardcopy Franklin binder system, following the A-B-C priority philosophy espoused by this book. Boy, have we come a long way from pencil and paper to floating electrons. I can remember writing and re-writing whole to-do lists from page to page, day after day, to keep abreast of a busy schedule. Now, swipe-of-finger and touch interface rule the day. When I saw FranklinCovey had produced an iPhone app, FCTasks, it was a no-brainer to want to get it, use it and review it. 

I’ll have to be frank up front, FCTasks is a mixed bag in my opinion… a disappointment actually.

Functionally, you can get things done with this app. At it’s core you simply list your to-dos or reminders. However, If you are new to the FranklinCovey way of personal workflow, this app may not be for you. It does not come with any on-board help features, nor are they laid out on the website. It assumes you already understand the methodology (i.e. A-B-C, 1-2-3 priority system, delegate/forward/completed/in-process etc.).  This should be no problem for followers, but if you’re not one, then you will have to either get it intuitively or be willing to expend the energy learning it via the book.

Some odd things:

– “Attachments” is a funny name for pictures. Normally, we think of attachments as documents attached to the task,
– The “Forward” button is inactive. Perhaps this is a feature for a future update?
– The “Sort” button performs the edit function; a different way of saying this from most other iPhone/Touch apps, 
– “Master List” seems weirdly titled as it only holds actions that are not time specific. Wouldn’t it make more sense to call it “Undated Actions?”

Aesthetically, the app is attractive. The color schemes are beautiful and coordinated. The design encourages you to work in the app and feel comfortable, undistracted. But, there’s really something missing, a feeling of incompleteness, unfinished business. I took a look at the FranklinCovey website. Pictures of other operating systems, of other software offerings for other mobiles boast of features like team, tasks, schedule, blogposts and goal tracking. Those phones and PDAs are able to synchronize to a desktop or laptop computer and/or the web. Yep! that’s it, that’s what’s missing in this app for the iPhone/Touch. There’s no comparable desktop and/or web-based application to synchronize with. Most of the major productivity apps today synchronize somewhere, extending your capabilities; especially when there’s large amounts of data that cry for a desk or laptop interface. 

Another questionable area for me is pricing. I hate to complain about AppStore pricing. I am personally willing (and have in the past) to pay more money for applications that are worthwhile, but this app seems overpriced at $5.99 in light of it’s competitors (In fact, a quick look at some of the comments in the App store express regrets for paying so much for so little). Perhaps this first attempt should have been priced as free, 99 cents or, at most, $1.99 as an introduction. Maybe this should be called FCTasks Lite. It really seems as if more is planned and more is needed for this application.

At the end of the day, personal productivity apps or organizers are decidedly a personal choice… like a good pair of jeans. Everyone has their own opinion about a good fit. I cannot commend this app for a hard core get-it-done person. I even hesitate if you are actively looking for an application because you don’t currently have one or are not happy with your existing system. The $5.99 price tag makes trying this on for size too expensive. I will give this application an above average for potential but a below average for usability. I have just come to expect more from personal productivity apps, especially from a noted name as FranklinCovey. Maybe this will change with an update.

UPDATE 3/2/09: As I was posting this review, I checked the website one more time to ensure the accuracy of my information. I cannot find FCTasks on the FranklinCovey website, nor any reference to the iPhone/Touch. It’s still for sale in the AppStore though. Curious!

10 Responses to “FCTasks by FranklinCovey”

  1. FC Guy Says:

    Sometimes task management is different than just checking off a task. Here are some demos I found on YouTube that might help you understand time management a little better.

  2. FC Guy Says:

    Oops forgot the link:
    Here ya go: http://www.youtube.com/user/FCTasksDemos

  3. Rachael Kvapil Says:

    I choked at the price too, but I’m looking to replace my big Franklin Covey notebook this year. So far things have been well. The hardest thing was figuring out how to get stuff on the Master task.

  4. Ray Says:

    FC Tasks for Iphone sucks.

    They sold it to me and there is no documentation on how it works. For a simple game this might be Ok, but for a complicated Task manager, I don’t think so. Give it away if you want to pull this.

    I expect more from a Franklin Covey product. Called up FCMobilelife support they said there was no help available! Boy that will make for real happy customers.

    Say away from this rip off!

  5. kathryn Says:

    I bought the app to keep track of what had been completed, but when I hit history it kicks me out. I called and was told to reinstall it again sometimes it does’t download right. Well I did and it didn’t. I feel like I just threw my money away.

  6. Mark Says:

    Long time fan of Covey. I am disappointed that there is no interface with alarms or other feedback for reminders. Also, an interface to use on the mac/pc to do planning on the laptop to transfer over would be good.

  7. Andy Says:

    I am a lifetime Franklin user. First the paper system and then the Windows version of Daily Task on my Pocket PC. I recently switched to the iPhone and bought FCTask. I am so very disappointed. I really thought Franklin would have made this program as user friendly and intuitive as their paper and Windows products.
    Here are my 3 biggest complaints…
    1. It does not have a separate screen showing the tasks due on separate days. I want to “flip” through my days and see the tasks for each days like flipping through a notebook system.
    2. Where is the calendar? Instead of a calendar that pops up and allows me to select due dates or forwarding dates I have a date “wheel”. Excuse me? What is this silly wheel? I want to see it on a real calendar.
    3. It won’t sync! What good is this tool if I risk loosing all my task lists because the program won’t back them up anywhere.
    On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a 2.

  8. Richard Remington Says:

    If you’re looking for good productivity software, the one to work with is Daylite and their Daylite Touch iApp. Really good stuff!

  9. Jennifer Smith Says:

    The FCtasks app for iphone is a big disappointment! Since I bought the app 8 months ago, there has not been even one new updates for the app. Most of my other apps have updates on a regular basis. It’s almost as if Franklin Covey just made the app and then forgot about it’s existence! Not to mention that I paid $5.99 for an app that continually disappoints, but for that price, I’d expect them to be trying to improve it for the long term.

    Besides the fact that this app tends to run slow on my iphone, just this week, it decided to quit opening. Each time I try to open the app, it just shuts itself off. Since there is no way of backing up this app (another disappointing point) I now have lost all of my tasks and to do items. What a rip off!!!

  10. Andrew Says:

    Hey Franklin Covey!

    Give us a Task app that works.
    Model it on your paper versions and the PocketPC version.
    Include a calendar.
    Give it the ability to sync.

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