Blog

2 days ago

We will begin phasing out Targetprocess v.2 in May 2016 (for real this time)


It's the end of an era. After nearly 10 years of updates and lessons-learned, we’ll be removing Targetprocess v.2 following next month’s build. As we’ve explained in earlier posts, we’re doing this to help accelerate our development speed and make important improvements to Targetprocess v.3.

Most of our users are already on Targetprocess 3 and won't notice any difference. For those of you still using Targetprocess 2, this change means you’ll no longer have access to old lists, dashboards, or the Targetprocess 2 interface. Time sheets and custom reports will be preserved and migrated to Targetprocess 3.  

If you need help transitioning to Targetprocess v.3 and training users, please do not hesitate to schedule a “Migration to Targetprocess 3” workshop.

I'm currently using v.2 and don't want to upgrade

Our last Targetprocess 2-supported build will be released in May 2016. All updates after this will not be compatible with v.2. If you absolutely don’t want to lose access to Targetprocess 2, let us know via info@targetprocess.com. We don’t recommend this option, but it’s your choice and we’ll take steps to help you keep your access to v.2. In this case:

For On-Demand accounts: We’ll move your account to a separate environment where you can continue working off of Targetprocess 2, but will no longer receive updates or new features.  
For On-Site accounts: You won’t be able to upgrade your Targetprocess instance with any build released after May 2016. You can keep using Targetprocess 2, but with no new features or updates.

Finding the 'good' in goodbye

We’ve had some great times with Targetprocess 2, and we’ll always look back at it fondly. If you want to read the whole story behind the product, take a look at our company chronicles (2004-2014).

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns about this change. If you have any fond memories of v.2, we’d love to hear them in the comments. Now, it’s time for us to move on and look ahead to the future of Targetprocess. We hope to see fans of Targetprocess 2 there as well.

4 days ago

Targetprocess Mobile App Update

A big thank you to everyone who took part in our recent mobile app user survey! After analyzing your feedback, we identified some key areas to focus on. We’ve already implemented some of your suggested improvements, and we’re working hard on the rest.

We’d also like to refine the overall user experience of the app, so stay tuned for more updates. You can download the app for free from either the App Store or Google Play. Check out our latest changes below, and let us know what you think.

Download the iOS app
Download the Android app

Targetprocess Android App:

Our latest improvements:

  • Added the ability to login via Single Sign On (must be activated for the web version first).
  • Views that you have hidden in our main web-based application will now be removed from the mobile app. This will help to declutter the left menu, and will better connect your personal customizations to the mobile version.
  • Dashboards and reports have been temporarily removed from the left menu until we find a better way to display and support them.
  • You can now refresh the left menu and boards’ setup by pulling down on the left menu with your finger (pull-down refresh).
  • Added the possibility to open links to entities directly in the app (i.e. links to tasks, user stories and other types of cards can now be opened in-app).
  • Improved caching for views: any changes made to a view will now be retained after it is reopened.
  • Fixed a bug involving incorrect setting of Release and Iteration fields. Releases and iterations will now be filtered correctly at all times.

We’ve also enabled push notifications. Never miss an important work item again -- unless you want to of course. You’ll receive notifications on your phone’s home screen when you are assigned or unassigned to an entity, when the state of an item you are assigned to changes (e.g. from “in progress” to “done”), and when you are mentioned or replied to in an entity’s comments.  

What we’re working on right now:

  • Improving real-time updates for boards.
  • Storing all notifications in one place within the app.
  • Implementing @mentions in comments.

 

Targetprocess iOS App:

Our latest improvements:

  • Added support for @mentions in comments.
  • Added the ability to log in via Single Sign On (must be activated for the web version first).
  • Added the possibility to open links to entities directly in the app (i.e. links to tasks, user stories and other types of cards can now be opened in-app).
  • Added the possibility to save images attached to entities in Targetprocess to the photo gallery of your iPhone or iPad.
  • Improved real-time updates for boards.
  • You can now log time spent and remaining time directly from an entity's description.

What’s next:

  • Adding a Quick Add button for effortlessly adding new entities. This button will always be available from the bottom panel.

We’re also looking at improving general navigation and re-working the way entities and boards look in the app. Here is a preview of the would-be board view, user story view, and interface for comments:

If you feel like beta-testing these new mobile functionalities or trying out our new concept for boards, let us know! You can send your feedback, ideas and suggestions to mobile@targetprocess.com.

1 week ago

How to Make Smarter Decisions with Visual Encoding

An essential feature that can help you prioritize your work and gain new insights from your project data. Visual encoding also makes your views much easier to analyze (and much nicer to look at).

Much of the power of Targetprocess comes from the ability to visualize complex information in a way that’s easy to understand; this helps users to make well-informed decisions for their business or organization. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to improve this process.

Keeping in mind the information visualization mantra of “overview first, details on demand” we implemented visual encoding into Targetprocess some time ago. This feature was designed to bring focus and clarity to your views, and can be used at the company, team, and individual levels.

There’s plenty of material on visual encoding in our User Guide; here, we’d like to provide some examples for our newer users. If you’re experienced with our system, please let us know in the comments how you use visual encoding for your own views.

So, let’s do a before and after. Here’s a Kanban board with User Stories and Bugs:

Okay, there’s a lot of information in this view -- but it’s hard to absorb all at once. Now, let’s apply some visual encoding:

That’s much better. The cards are color coded according to a set of custom rules.

Visual encoding location

To set up visual encoding for a view, just click on the multi-colored box at the top right of the screen in Targetprocess. Or, you can apply visual encoding from a view’s initial setup screen.

If you want to read more about how the brain processes information (or just want to see some cool visualizations), you can read more about visual encoding theory and how humans perceive information at this article by Michael Dubakov.

A Note on Mashups:
Using visual encoding with mashups that also recolor cards may cause problems with the view  -- double check mashup descriptions before using them in conjunction with this feature.

Other mashups can be very helpful when used with visual encoding. For example, the Share Timeline mashup allows you to share your views while leaving customizations and color codes intact.  

Using visual encoding to support your work role


Visual encoding is not just used for getting a high-level picture of your projects -- it’s also great for helping with specific work activities, such as product support, development, QA and marketing. We’ll list some examples here (there’s even more at
this user guide page) but there’s really no end to the different ways you can use this feature. If you need some ideas or inspiration for how you can use visual encoding, message us at support@targetprocess.com.

Product Development:

As a developer, you want to spend as little time as possible inside Targetprocess. To make your team’s next priority clear, you can color-code items by business value, cycle time, or assigned person. You can use separate views for these rules if you require in-depth custom filters, but multicolor encoding makes it easy to put all this information in one place.

Product Development Visual Encoding

Bug Tracking:

For Bug Tracking, you can color code bugs according to business value and still easily see tasks that you are responsible for on the same view.  

Bug Tracking Visual Encoding

You can also create custom rules to highlight bugs by severity...

Highlight by severity

...to quickly judge which fixes are most critical.  

QA Encoding

Creating custom rules can allow you to reflect your team’s unique needs. Let’s use a hypothetical team as an example:

A gaming company is testing the latest release of its mobile app. The company’s QA team usually finds and solves bugs on its own, then implements the fixes into the software. For their mobile app, however, they have to hand off spotted bugs to the mobile development team.

Closing the bug and creating a new task for the mobile team is not ideal, because the teams are used to only having one level of items for bugs.  Creating another level would make searching for details difficult -- a pointless step which would only result in more wasted effort (wasted effort = less value delivered to the customer).

To reflect the “done” nature of an item on the QA team’s views (without closing the task for other teams), assigned individuals can tag completed items with a predetermined phrase for visual encoding. This way, no QA team members will accidentally work on the completed mobile bug, but the task can remain open for the next team.  

Product Support:

Everyone on our support team uses visual encoding.  Their typical setup goes like this: new requests in the queue are highlighted in green. If a request remains in the queue, the color shade steadily changes until it reaches red (after 24 hours).  With just a glance, our support team can visually prioritize which requests need to be responded to first.

It’s also helpful to highlight cards that will require outside help -- perhaps from a developer or a product specialist. You can also choose to highlight requests from companies on a special support plan. Assigning these companies a visual code will make their requests stand out.

HoursSpentInQueue

This syntax runs with a custom field (HoursSpentInQueue) that calculates how long a request has been open or re-opened.

We can’t show you an actual screenshot of our requests queue (due to sensitive customer information) so we created this example view in a sample account:

iCal If this view were real, the most urgent task would be iCal integration.

You can also highlight requests by source type to see how each request was sent:

SourceType

Department Head / Product Owner:

Product owners, team leads, and department heads use Targetprocess at a high-level. Visual encoding is invaluable to these roles, because the feature can help to flag problems before they become too serious. Features which are in danger of being late can quickly be spotted by comparing Forecasted End Date against Planned End Date:

Timeline View

It can also be helpful to highlight open blockers so you can see where your team is being held back. To achieve this, you can use this handy advanced custom filter:

?InboundRelations.Where(RelationType is 'Blocker' and Outbound.EndDate is not None)

To summarize:

Basically, visual encoding allows you to highlight cards using multiple colors, making it much easier for your brain to process and understand project data. It can give your views more meaning -- both for users, and for observers who are unfamiliar with our software (like your stakeholders or customers).  
You can use visual encoding to highlight items according to custom filters. You can build your own filters for in-depth customization, or use our templates to highlight entities by:
Filters List

And much more. We provide basic templates for setting up visual encoding, but you can write your own using the same syntax as filters.

How do you use this feature for your views? Let us know in the comments. For more information on visual encoding in Targetprocess, check out the following pages:

Visual Encoding User Guide page
Visual Encoding release notes
Multicolor encoding release notes
How do we perceive information?

2 weeks ago

Would you like to see a Batch Actions feature in Targetprocess?

We’ve recently started developing a Batch Actions feature. As you know, creating a great user experience starts with understanding the needs and behavior of users. To achieve this, we’re looking for Targetprocess users who are ready to tell us about their use cases related to working (or not) with multiple work items at a time.

We’d greatly appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes to fill out this short survey. Your feedback helps us to make continuous improvements and grow as a tool.
https://targetprocess.typeform.com/to/wh1Kwg

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