Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Negative Review of the My Well Planned Day Software

I have searched and searched for a negative blog review on the My Well Planned Day software that was released this past summer. While there are plenty of complaints to be found in forums and social media pages, there has not been one official negative review written....until now.

Back in May when I first heard about My Well Planned Day's software, I was excited. I could not wait to try it out. One of my favorite planners was coming out in digital form!

I purchased the Beta-version at a reduced price (the full version was going to be about $25 more beginning in August). Knowing it was in Beta, I was able to deal with a lot of the glitches as I assumed they would continue to get better. The potential of this program was fantastic and I waited for each of the promised updates to come to pass.

Sadly, the honeymoon is over. Not only for me, but for many users, as evidenced by Facebook and various forums.

At the beginning, communication was fantastic. E-mails, webinars, updates on the MWPD site about recent and upcoming updates were plentiful. However, since August, those things have dwindled to almost nothing.

While I first looked forward to each update, I began to dread them. Each new update seemed to bring about five new glitches. Every time a spokesperson would reveal what would be included in the next update, I would set myself up for disappointment as many of those things would not (nor have they, yet) come to pass. It now seems that most of the updates have been reduced to fixing each new glitch that pops up.

Where do I begin with the list of annoyances? There are several.

1. While the notorious IT is making updates, they may want to consider updating their main website. Back in August, it was announced that the program was no longer in Beta. Nor were the "updated" versions being dubbed "1.0, 2.0", etc., but, rather, that is was fully launched and would be continually updated throughout the year as so many computer programs and apps are. So, the software went from Beta to full-release with little change. To this day, almost 2 months later, the website has the software labeled as Beta. It announces the full-release to take place in August. Not only is the version outdated, but so are the "recent" updates. The last one listed is dated July though several have occurred since then.

2. At first, if I had a problem, it would be fixed almost immediately. However, I've had an issue with not being able to delete certain things for almost 6 weeks. I mentioned to them twice. While they've definitely tried fixing it, they have obviously given up on it. Clue #1,578 that they have way too many problems to fix.

3. This was a small issue to me earlier, but, small things are magnified when added to with other things. It takes a tremendous amount of time to set the program up. Curriculum and books are required to be added in before you can lesson plan. With seven children and the fact that the program has to "think" about each item added, it is extremely time-consuming. I have seen many people mention this, but, like me, they were patient as we hoped it would pay off in the end. I am guessing that this may be one of the reasons people are so very frustrated at the lack of progress in this software. So much time invested with little return, at this point.

4. I have kept up with updates, news, and problems with the software on the. MWPD Facebook page. If I had a problem, that was the first place I would go to see if anyone else was having the same issue. When the problems seemed to mount, so did some of the negativity on the site. The solution the MWPD staff had for that was to announce that any technical problems brought up on the site would be deleted as they felt all of those things needed to be e-mailed directly to their IT department. While I understand that the FB moderator is not able to answer all the tech questions, this didn't seem an appropriate way to handle such things. I've seen this method of handling things on FB before, and it's usually a major defensive move on the part of a business who is embarrassed by their failure in an area.

I must say, I liked how it was coming along. Many of the problems others were dealing with never affected me. My biggest disappointment is the fact that it is so very time consuming and many of the nicer features seem to be forgotten. Understandably so, with the amount of time they require to fix what should already be working. However, it just seems to be becoming more bother than I have time for.

In general, however, I am more disappointed with how the whole project seems to have gotten out of control and I have begun to pity those in charge. If one has paid attention to the various things said throughout the past few months, one would realize that the head of MWPD has simply bitten off way more than she can chew. Mrs. K publishes a major homeschool magazine, does interviews for an on-line homeschool convention, home schools her own children, moved to another house in August, and is now trying to develop what could be the most complete homeschool planning software ever. There are just too many balls being juggled and this one keeps being dropped. Either someone else is going to have to take over this project completely or, I fear, it will be given up.

I hope, for many of us, this planner will meet all the hopes and dreams of its developers and users. With time, it may very well do that. However, I think any one trying to rely on it this year may be severely discouraged. Maybe if we all backed off with our expectations, MWPD could really concentrate on making this thing great without having to put out so many fires. Then, when it's right, they'll forego the 2nd year subscription fee to all those who bought it this summer.

In the meantime, I'll post tomorrow about the new planner I've begun using.