Blog

5 years ago

Friday Digest #17 [UX, Chaos, Complexity]

UX

Touch interfaces are a logical replacement of point-and-click devices like mouse. Here is a great concept: Reinvent desktop human-computer interaction. I really like it, since it is quite easy to build and learn. It looks like an advanced touch-pad and some gestures are already implemented in MacBook. Also it utilizes Zooming user interface ideas, which is cool. Hope we will have something similar in laptops really soon!

Chaos

Outstanding and very interesting BBC movie The Secret Life of Chaos. It shows unexpected relations in nature and chaos theory and explains some fundamental principles of the complexity science like Butterfly Effect, Feedback, Simple Rules. I promise you will enjoy it :)

Changes

Decent article about changes Understanding How To Respond To Change. “Isn’t it odd that so many companies fight change instead of embracing it?”. I especially like this phrase “The good thing is, that the people who change, are the people who wins. The problem with change is trying to make it stop, or trying to catch up to it.”

Complexity

Thought provoking posts by Rafe Furst. Here are some nice quotes:
1. Certain actions generate more future possibilities than others. In my experience, those actions tend to be the cooperative ones, ones that produce network effects: financial, social and otherwise.
2. By surrounding yourself with people who have the same vision as you do and want similar things as you do means that you will all have help in getting there.
3. When you are successful at something, others notice and their reactions to that noticing will make it easier for you to succeed in the future

5 years ago

TargetProcess v.2.19.3: Much Better Performance!

Starting today, all updates about new version releases will be published in this blog. Changelog feed will be redirected here soon.

TargetProcess v.2.19.3 is available for Community Edition so far. It will be open to all customers on Monday.

Features

Performance was significantly improved in v.2.19.3. Performance optimizations include

You should see noticeable difference between v.2.19.1 and v.2.19.3 for sure (in fact it is 3x faster for 10 concurrent users).

Fixed Bugs

You may click on links to see related requests posted by people.

#25514 Burn Down Chart: Tasks with Zero effort should not affect chart
#25716 HDP: hide emails in request view
#25659 User Stories can not be edited in Chrome

5 years ago

Agile Tool Reviews: Trusted Content?

quality-content-backlinksYesterday Google alerted me about a review of TargetProcess  by Boris Gloger. I started reading this review and I couldn’t believe my eyes. How could Boris Gloger, such a respected Scrum trainer, overlook some important features of an agile tool he’s reviewing?

Writing reviews  is a very responsible task. It only seems that web can tolerate all. There’s no censorship, no security checks on whether the info in a review can be trusted or not. Reviews are about knowing all the facts. Only when you make sure that you know all of the subject matter, then you can write a review.  I’d never stand up as a guru and claim – my people, I’m your guru, I know all about this tool –  and then – ooops.. – I’ve got some essential flaws in my knowledge of this tool.

Now, let’s see what Boris Gloger overlooked. Comments on Boris’ page do not work(!!!), unfortunately.

Target Process is a tool created by Target Process Inc. to manage agile process. They can support Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean and others. The tool have a good set of features and some nice ideas to speed up the addition of data for your project. They also provide a Eclipse and Visual Studio add-in so each developer can see their to-do list right on the IDE. If you like to try it for yourself there’s a 30 day free trial available.

Ehm.  TargetProcess comes for free not only as a 30 days trial. It’s free for small agile teams up to 5 people. It’s our humble donation to the growing agile community. Boris, it’s a fully functional free copy with free updates and subscriptions for agile teams of 5.

The “Features” works like an Epic or Theme for your stories and if don’t care for that it can be totally skipped. If you’d like to use it’s possible to determine an estimation and priority for the features but it really doesn’t make much sense to me.

The Features DO work like Epic or Theme and you can rename Features to Epics or Themes or any other name of your choice. The names are completely customizable and it’s up to you which name to choose.

I’d prefer to see something simpler like tags for the stories.

What??? We’ve got tags for user stories and for all the other entities! We’ve got bundles of tags. Tags board. Tags are powerful tools for categorization and filtering, so if I were a certified Scrum Trainer I would have quadruple checked before making such a blunt statement about no tags in any agile tool.

We talk about estimating feature so, of course we can estimate stories also. That’s the first problem i think the tool have, it’s only possible to estimate using time units, ideal or not. That’s no mentions to story points at all, this miss, pushes Target Process to field of time tracking tools, which is not a good thing.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. You missed the point with story points. They’re there, and you can choose between ideal time units and story points. This bold statement of no user story points in TargetProcess pushes you, Boris, to field of shallow reviewers that do not take enough time to study the agile tool they’re reviewing, and then spread this distorted knowledge to their students on Scrum trainings.

Target Process is supposed to work with different agile models, so they use the term iteration instead of sprint.

Foul and a miss. As I already mentioned, one can customize terms and rename the term “iteration” to “sprint” or whatever. TargetProcess is supposed to work with different agile models, so we’ve made our terms and processes completely customizable.

On the Taskboard there’s an awkward choice, there’s only two columns available Open and Done, where’s the WIP ? It’s on another tab Kanban Board, I really don’t understand why they went that way, but it’s no good at all.

Ugh. I really don’t understand how Boris could have overlooked such essential part of TargetProcess as customizable states and processes flow.  Two columns Open and Done on the task board are available for dummies. For advanced reviewers, all the states they want are available. Users can introduce as many states as they need to their development process, and they can give any names to those states. Kanban Board states are customizable as well. It’s no good at all that our honorable reviewer missed this..!

It’s hard to say what I think about Target Process, they had good ideas, like the shortcut flows, but really bad ones like the Kanban Board. Overall the tool is ok but not very intuitive, could be more polished on the user experience, and of course the common problem of too much focus on time tracking hurts a lot.

Boris, I promise you will not be that hurt as you take a closer look at TargetProcess. You seem to have some special inkling with too much focus on time tracking, that’s why you see it where there’s no special focus on it. Time tracking in TargetProcess is just in the right amount, no less, no more. IMHO, it’s rather less of it, than more.  As for user experience – draw the curtain… look in here :)

5 years ago

Kanban: Why 3 States in Cumulative Flow Diagram

We have implemented cumulative flow diagram in TargetProcess v 2.15 as a tracking/reporting chart to get a quick overview of user stories in To Do, In Progress and Completed state:

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Why we have only 3 fixed states for cumulative flow diagram while all the states for User Stories and other entities are customizable? We could have enabled showing the count of User Stories in all the customized states, be it 6 or 7 or 8 states. But the visual diagram would have been too clogged this way. We would have had to either follow the reporting stats meticulously,  replicate all the states and counts in the digram and lose the visual UX of this chart, or to get it down to 3 basic  states such as ToDo, InProgress and Completed (all the customized states are just a variation for those 3 states, one way or another) and retain a good info-design.

Some people asked us to enable more detailed views in cumulative flow digram and we will consider implementing this in the future.

You’re welcome to submit your requests on cumulative flow diagram and other features to TargetProcess HelpDesk or to TargetProcess UX Group.

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