Targetprocess Product Blog

Agile development on a real project (we do Kanban)

Michael Dubakov

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.

Follow Entity

We are going to release one of the top requested features in Targetprocess soon. This post provides brief description of the functionality and benefits.

In v.3.4 it will be possible to 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.

To follow an entity, just click a button on entity view:

follow_entity

When you follow some entities, you will receive email notifications every 2 hours with all important updates in these entities. Here is an example that shows changes in several Features I follow:

follow_email

Email subject changes every day, so all emails from a particular day will be combined in a single thread to make it easy check all updates for a single day.

Moreover, you can create a board that will include all followed entities, so it works like Favorites entities:

follow_board

Follow feature will be available in v.3.4, but some people may see it earlier, we are running tests now on some servers.

Targetprocess 3.3.3: Hide empty lanes and Test Steps export

Hide empty lanes on board

Sometimes you have boards with many empty rows and columns. For example, many people have no assigned tasks or user stories. Now you can quickly hide all empty lanes with a single click. Find a new button in the top board menu and try it.

Test Steps export

Test Cases can be exported together with their Test Steps. Just build a view with Test Cases and click ‘Export’ button from ‘Actions’ menu. CSV file with your Test Cases and Test Steps will be generated immediately. Note that Test Step export and import are compatible, which means that you can edit your exported Test Cases and Test Steps outside Targetprocess and then import them back.

Quick Add: set some properties automatically based on filter

For example, you have a board that shows user stories filtered by feature, like this ?Feature is ‘Follow’. If you added a new user story to this board, it was not linked to Follow feature automatically. Now we fixed that and more filters are supported.

Minor fixes and improvements

* Test Plan Run Print View: Test Steps and Test Results added
#87836 “Uninstall” util added to SDK package
#86010 Targetprocess should work even if some mashups crashed
#87717 NHibernate error happens when a long text is copypasted to test step
#87727 Transaction manager errors on distributed installations after update to 3.3.0
#87960 New ‘Assigned People’ units (initials, full name) should all be found by ‘Assign’ keyword
#88393 Comet in Left menu & views doesn’t work

Targetprocess 3.3.2: Program Improvements, @mention and minor changes

@mention people in comments

Sometimes while adding a comment you need to be sure that a particular person will read it. Just mention the person you need in your comment and he’ll get an email notification. It is very similar to Twitter mentions. Type @ sign with the first letters of user’s name, then you will see a list of matching people. Select one you want. You can mention several people in a single comment for sure.

mention

When you reply to a comment, a person who added the comment will be auto mentioned.

mention

A person who was mentioned in the comment will receive an email notification with a full comment text:

mention template

Programs improvements

In this release following improvements were made for programs:

More card units

More units are available for Program Card: Total projects, Open User Stories, Open / Total User Stories, Open Features, Open / Total Features, Open Bugs, Open / Total Bugs:

program

Basic progress calculation

Program progress can be tracked in following ways:

  • Open / total User Stories counter unit. Shows all stories from all projects inside a program
  • Progress percentage unit. Counts the percent of User Stories in Done state
  • Progress bar unit with Progress in %

prog card

  • Progress bar on a Program View with a tooltip displaying the number of stories completed:

prog view bar

Program in filters

You can easily find all entities, like User Stories, Features or Bugs, that relate to a specific Program:

Prog DSL

Program selector for new Projects

We added a possibility to select a Program while creating a Project:

prog proj

Highlight possible drop state for dragged entity

Have you ever put an entity into the wrong state on a Board view? We are helping you to avoid this, take a look at the Board while you are dragging an entity, some of the columns marked with more solid tone of grey color. Don’t try to put a card there :)

highlight

Auto assign User Story to the same Release as its Feature

Now User Story will inherit Release field from its Feature, if it has one. In other words, Release field of a new user Story will be set from Release field of its parent Feature. Also it should be noted that changing Release field in a feature will affect only child User Stories in non final state. It means all completed User Stories stay in the old Release.

Show people on Board from selected Teams only

Previously, when you select Person as a lane on a board, you see all people from projects or teams. Now it shows just people from selected teams. We believe this behavior is more logical.

Minor Improvements

  • Bugzilla 4.4 support added
  • Priority attribute of Features and User Stories renamed to Business Value
  • Support <pre> tag in the description and comments
  • “Pair” option for roles is removed

Fixed Bugs

#86974 User story view: Test Step changes reset if user adds a new test case
#84588 Import Test Steps
#85917 Installer should enable MSMQ on Windows Server 2012
#85906 CDN problem detection and prevention: URL parameter ?nocdn=1
#80833 500 error in Audit History of a Build/Team Iteration if custom field were changed
#76243 URL custom field:  ‘(‘, ‘)’, ‘{‘, ‘}’ and next symbols being truncated on save
#84082 Git plugin case-sensitivity fixed
#84612 Fix for not working mashups if entity is open via short link or from search results
#87172 System user policy changed
#76883 Active Directory changes cannot be saved in v.3, some required symbols are not allowed

Upcoming Feature: Epics as one more hierarchy level

We are going to share solutions and concepts and accumulate feedback from customers on early stages. We’ve started to work on Epics functionality and here is what we are going to release in about 2 months.

Why Epics? Quite often Feature is not enough. For example, you have a large feature that takes 6 months to implement and you want to break it to 6 smaller features. Now if you do that, you will have 6 unrelated features, but in fact they should be tracked as a single entity and here you can create an Epic that includes all these features.

Solution

New hierarchy will look like that:

epic

What’s different about Epic? Here are the list of differences between Epic and Feature:

  • Epic can’t be assigned to Release, so it can span several Releases.
  • Epic doesn’t have Bugs
  • Epic doesn’t have User Stories
  • Epic does have a list of related Features

Epics visualizations

It will be possible to have a list of requirements: Epics -> Features -> User Stories.

epicslist

It will be possible to create board with Epics grouped by states and see Epics flow

epicsboard2

It will be possible to create Timeline with Epics

It will be possible to create a board that shows Features as cards and Epics as lanes

epicsboard

We need your feedback!

What do you think about the solution above?
Do you have any specific requests about Epics functionality?
Can you provide scenarios how you are going to use Epics?

Thank you in advance.

Targetprocess Help

All you want to know about Targetprocess

Recent posts