Targetprocess Product Blog

Agile development on a real project (we do Kanban)

Michael Dubakov

We are going to remove Targetprocess v.2 in Jan 2016

Targetprocess logo v2-v3

Targetprocess v.2 was released in 2006. 10 years is a huge timeframe in SaaS world, so we are going to completely remove Targetprocess v.2 soon.

Most of you already work with v.3 user interface and you’ll hardly notice any difference. This post answers some questions that may trouble you. Please, don’t hesitate to ask more in comments.

Why do you want to remove v.2?

Basically, it affects our development speed. We have to run all old tests, try to not break old things and fix if they break. Less and less people use v.2, so we think we reached a safe moment to cut it completely.

There are some features I use in v.2, since there are no good replacements in v.3

We are going to match almost all features. At least it will be possible to do almost all the things in v.3 as well, like Split, Merge, etc. This is a prerequisite to remove v.2 for us. You can mention any particular case in comments and we will take it into consideration.

I love v.2 and we have On-Site installation

It means you will not be able to upgrade to newer version from Jan 2016. Most likely nothing changes for you, since we didn’t improve v.2 last two years.

I love v.2 and we have On-Demand account

In this case we will move your account to a separate server and will not upgrade this account anymore.

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask them.

Targetprocess 3.7.1: Better Relations and Usability

This release contains several usability and functionality improvements.

Relations as cards on a view

In previous releases it was very difficult to create Views with relations, and many times it was impossible to see all the relations at once because it’s not possible to choose cards of different types, like Features and Projects, at the same time.

Now you can use inbound or outbound relations as cards on a view. In the example below, we’ve selected Features as lanes and inbound relations for cards.  We can easily see all the inbound relations for our Features, regardless of the type of the related card:

Relations as Cards

Planned Start/End dates for Projects

Previously a Project could only have actual start and end dates, it was not possible to compare a planned start date with the real start date. We’ve unified this and now you can set the Planned Start Date and the Planned End Date for any Project.

Collections in Calculated Custom Fields

Calculated custom fields were introduced last month, but it was not possible to use collections in calculations. For example, you have a User Story with several Bugs and you want to see how much effort is required for the related Bugs. Now you can create “Total Bugs Effort” custom field for User Story and use formula:

Bugs.Sum(Effort)

Or you can calculate effort of all related entities. Let’s say, you have a feature in some project and you link other features from other projects to this feature.

InboundAssignables.Sum(Effort)

With this release all available resource collections are now supported. To learn more about collections, check the resource description.

Allow to copy text by double-clicking on description

For years you were able to edit an entity description by clicking on it. However, it complicated selecting text and copying it. So, we decided to add an Edit button. You might have to re-learn some old usage patterns, but it seems this solution is better:

Edit Description

Ability to assign Requests to a team via the POP plugin

You can now assign Requests to teams by using rule similar to:

then assign to team 1234

or

then create private request in project projectID and attach request to team teamID

Save images in WYSIWYG as Attachments

When you insert an image into the WYSIWYG editor it is now added as an attachment. This solves a security issue with static files and unifies how images are stored in Targetprocess.

Fixes

  • It should be difficult to accidentally delete test case
  • WYSIWYG Editor: when pasting image it is always added to the top of a description or comment
  • Dashboards: Unable to change the name of widgets in Safari
  • Security: XSS vulnerability in the filter bar
  • Lists: Allow to move User Stories between Features in Epic/Feature configuration
  • Time zone issue for Milestones
  • Unable to attach a Revision to an Assignable when it is created via the REST API
  • Custom Reports based on history show entities from other process
  • Attachments have the name “undefined” when an image is pasted from the clipboard

Upcoming Custom Reports: Some Examples

We are finalizing Custom Graphical Reports MVF and it will be released in January. So far I want to share some reports that you will be able to to create in Targetprocess soon. All these reports are completely real, but all similarities are purely coincidental.

We have a hypothesis that user stories with more bugs take more time to complete. Is it true or not? In the chart below we see that there is a correlation between number of bugs in user story and spent time on user story. Most likely we can assume that user stories with more bugs take more time to implement.

Google Chrome 10

Let’s say, on a retrospective meeting the team agreed to split User Stories better. How to check whether it is true? This report shows us that this is not happening. Average effort of completed User Stories increases.

average_effort_time

A usual question is Do we release User Stories and fix Bugs faster than before? Let’s say, on a retrospective meeting we set a goal to have 10 days average cycle time for user stories. We see that in July and September the team achieved this goal, but now cycle time degrades.

Google Chrome 22

How our five development teams are doing in the last four months? This question is hard to answer with a single report, but the next one is a good try. It contains huge ammount of information, so let me describe it first.

Google Chrome 23

It shows 5 development teams as rows and 4 last months. Every small circle is a completed user story. Color encodes feature, so all yellow circles belong to the same feature. Then Y axis represents Effort of user stories in points, while X axis represents cycle time.

Google Chrome 12

I annotated some interesting observations, but there are many more conclusions and questions you can extract from this chart. It serves as a great starting point to dig deeper and find answers to questions like “Why NEW TEAM did not release anything in November?”, “Why Alaska team started to work on larger user stories and cycle time increased?”, “Why CAT team works on 4 features in December?”

As you see, reports not only answer questions, but help to spot interesting and unusual trends, thus generating more questions.

This is all about information discovery. I’m really proud we will have this functionality in Targetprocess soon.

Targetprocess 3.5: Better QA and better Workflow setup

This release summarises some changes in recent minor builds and includes hierarchical Test Plans functionality, which makes QA area in Targetprocess much more powerful.

Hierarchical Test Plans

Now you can organize test cases in a test plan into groups (lower level test plans) based on many different parameters, such as – only to name a few – different types of testing (smoke and regression tests, for example), test case priority to specify which groups need to be executed first and which last, or by user story (thus creating a user story test plan) to see which user story every single test belongs to during execution. Read more about better QA area.

Start Date/End Date could be before Creation Date now

There are cases when you have to set Start Date before entity Creation Date. For example, you exported some features from CSV and Create Date was set as Today. However, some features have been already started, so you can’t set correct Start Date. However, Lead Time can’t be calculated correctly in this case, so there is an icon that indicates that:

start_create_date

“No Project” option removed

Previously it was possible to assign work to No Project. It complicated some internal implementation and we decided to remove this possibility. We are working on Team Workflow functionality and No project option doesn’t fit it. All work that was not assigned to any project has been moved to new artificial project called ‘No Project’.

Easier Workflow Setup

New Workflow solves several usability problems, provides clear and visual Workflow manipulation functionality and saves your time. Read more about this new functionality.

Fixed Bugs

  • #92772 Fail to reconnect after connection lost
  • #89595 Selected Test Cases vanished when drag-n-drop them to Test Plans board from the clipboard.
  • #77724 Exception “Field ‘Color’ is not available” when user assigns team to any project while the team is assigned to any inactive projects.
  • #85658 Saved context for board should be updated if only ‘Set’ button is pressed.

Upcoming feature: Easier Workflow Setup

We’ve completed implementation of nice usability improvement that makes workflow setup much easier. It will be released in v.3.4.3 in 1-2 weeks. Let me share this functionality with you.

New process setup is accessible from several places. The most obvious is Settings section:

workflow1

Left menu replaced by processes list. Here you see all processes that exist in a system. It is nice that you can clearly see whether process is actually used by real projects. If not, you can safely delete the process. For every process you can setup Custom Fields, Terms, Practices and Workflows for all entities.

Central part dedicated to selected entity workflow. In this case you see a workflow for User Story. The good thing is that workflow imitate board columns, so you have great affordance and clearly understand how this workflow will look on a real board.

workflow2

To add a new state, just put your mouse over some other state and you will see a green button near it. It is very convenient to add new states between existing states in a single click.

workflow3

To rename a state, just double click on its name. To edit all state details, click on a Settings icon. Here you can very quickly setup all ingoing and outgoing transitions. In previous version when you added a new state, you had to open every other state and add transitions. Now it is right here with a single click.

workflow4

Re-ordering states is very easy as well, just drag and drop required state.

workflow5

Check this quick video to grasp all the main ideas of workflow customization:

We believe processes customization becomes much easier with this release and are really excited about usability improvements! As always, your comments are much appreciated!

Upcoming Feature: Custom Graphical Reports (MVF)

Targetprocess focuses on visualization. Our ultimate goal is to give you an astonishing visibility into project management. While Targetprocess already provides nice tools like boards, lists and timelines, it lacks some important and obvious functionality: custom graphical reports. Without them it is almost impossible see trends and find patterns in aggregated data. Our first release of Custom Graphical Reports will solve this problem.

The scope of MVF is:

  1. Create custom reports from 20-30 most popular templates. We are defining them now. Add these reports into Groups, share them with teams or keep them private.
  2. Line, Bar and Scatterplot charts will be supported
  3. Aggregated data and Date axis will be supported. For example, it will be possible to see how many bugs were fixed in every project by weeks, or how average Cycle time changes with time for every development team.
  4. You will be able to print report or save it as a PDF file.
  5. It will be possible to create almost any report using DSL (special language for report creation). We consider this feature as temporary and the goal is to explore various reports while we are working on GUI.

Setup Report from Template

When you create a new report, you will have to provide a source for the report. For example, you want to see something for done User Stories. In this case you select User Story card and specify a filter.

Then you will have a choice from 20+ templates. On the image below there is a chart that shows Cycle Time and Effort, so you can see how effort affects Cycle Time. Size of every circle represents how many bugs each User Story has. So you can see that Cycle Time is very unstable for, let’ say, User Stories with 1 pt of Effort and varies from 1 to 30 days.

Report from template

So many charts

It will be possible to create various charts. Just few more examples:

This chart shows how many User Stories each Feature has. Large Features are clearly visible.

Line chart

This chart shows how effort and cycle time are different for every development team. It looks like Exploited team has more diverse cycle time that two other teams. All teams don’t have large user stories, which is good.

Effort and Cycle Time by Team

Setup chart from DSL

In the first release it will be possible to setup any chart with a special language. It is not an easy option and we mainly add it to check various reports ourselves, but still there will be a possibility to build some advanced reports:

Chart DSL

After MVF

Questions we want to answer after MVF release:

  1. How important reports for historical data? Like what stories moved from one iteration to another, what states have more bottlenecks, etc.
  2. What interactions people want on reports? Drill down to more details, jump to related boards, etc.
  3. How to design a really usable UI for custom reports creation?
  4. Did we miss some important report types?

Upcoming Feature: Dashboards

We’ve started Dashboards implementation in Targetprocess.

As usual, we are working on MVF right now. Let me describe the concept.

Dashboards will be similar to Views, it means:

  • It will be possible to create as many Dashboards as you want, make them Private, Shared to Team or Public.
  • You can move Dashboards into Groups and have several Views and some Dashboards in a single Group. It may be handy if you want to gather everything related to a Team in a single Group, for example.

Layout

Dashboard will have a simple layout initially, you can choose from 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns layout.

Dashboard layout

We are not sure whether more flexible layout is required. We were thinking about extremely flexible grid layout where you can move and resize widgets as you want. But decided to postpone its implementation and wait for the real feedback.

Widgets

There will be a library of widgets. Initially we are going to provide 10-15 important widgets. We are not sure what widgets you want exactly, so if you can take this survey, you will help us to define.

It will be possible to re-order widgets on a dashboard:

Dashboard Widgets

We will publish Widgets API and it will be possible to create custom widgets with help of mashups. It will open many interesting integration possibilities.

As a result, Dashboards will look like that:

Dashboard View

So what we are going to discover with MVF release? Basically, two things:

  1. Is simple columns layout enough or not?
  2. What widgets people really need?

Dashboards implementation is already in progress and we are going to release MVF this year. Please, share your feedback!

Targetprocess 3.4.0: Epics and Follow/Watch entity

This release includes two major additions.

Epics

Epic is an entity above Feature. Quite often you want to have one more level of hierarchy for requirements, and Epic can be handy. For example, you have large module and several features inside this module. Or you have large feature and break it down to smaller, like Minimal Viable Feature and Minimal Marketable Feature.

Follow/Watch entity

Follow entities and receive email notifications about changes. For example, you may follow a Feature and receive notifications about its effort changes, new comments, new attachments, added/removed User Stories or their states changes, etc.

Read more about these two features and share your feedback!

Epics (MVF)

We’ve completed implementation of Epics and it will be released soon. We changed our development process recently and now every feature is split into two: MVF – minimal viable feature and MMF – minimal marketable feature. These two features has a gap about 1 month, so we accumulate feedback about MVF and use this information to enhance the feature dramatically.

Let me describe what you can already do with Epics in the upcoming release.

Epic is an entity above Feature. Quite often you want to have one more level of hierarchy for requirements, and Epic can be handy:

Epic-Feature-UserStory

For example, you can create a board that shows Features by Epics.

Features by Epic

More interesting view is a full drill-down from Epics to User Stories. Here is a setup for that case:

full_backlog_setup

As a result, you can see full backlog hierarchy:

Full Backlog

Epic details view is quite familiar. It has usual properties and contains a list of related Features as well as Epic progress tracking information. So now you can track progress on a higher level:

Epic View

Epic is quite similar to Feature entity and you can define terminology for Epic, create custom fields, set permissions and customize its workflow:

Epic Workflow

You can export and import Epics, print Epics, access them via REST API, create Timelines with Epics, etc.

We are looking into feedback! If you need Epics, please, use them and let us know what you miss.

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