How are you using email at work? Right, you communicate with customers, colleagues, managers, etc. And if you are a project/product manager you communicate about projects most the time. How are you using TargetProcess or any other APM Tool? Right, to plan and track progress. Communication affects plans greatly. It affects iteration/release scope, requirements effort, priorities and many other things.
Now the idea is obvious: "There should be a way to have communication inside TargetProcess to see all related information immediately". No, we don't want to create our own communication channels or Chats or IM. But we can provide nicely integration with existing communication tools (voice is the hardest one, but still possible in the future 🙂 I can imagine how you bind phone call or video record to user story named "As a user I want to create my kitchen design". So far we aren't looking for the complete solution, but just integrating emails with APM tool.
The typical usage patterns for email integration are:
- Customer sends an email with feature, problem or idea; you want to create user story, feature, request or bug right from email.
- You want to see all related information for specific feature. You often communicate via email, so it will be great to have all emails combined with related user story.
Email integration concept is very simple. You may receive all emails and have complete inbox inside TargetProcess. Then you may do any action with emails like bind email to user story, create user story from email, reply to email, etc.
The most exciting thing is automation. Agile Project Management tool may create user stories from emails and bind emails to user stories automatically. For example, if email subject contains user story name "Login page", obviously it should be attached to the user story "Login page". If email has subject "[User Story 345] Implementation thoughts" it should be attached to user story with ID 345.
However you may receive email with information about many user stories. This case is more complex and likely will require some manual handling.
Benefits are just great. You will have complete trace of requirement discussions with all related information inside user story view. It will be easier to maintain Needs -> Requirements -> Implementation workflow which is a very, very important thing in software development and likely paramount for project success.
BTW, most CRM has an email integration and I can't imagine how you can use CRM without it.
Email Integration in TargetProcess
Basic email integration will be released in TargetProcess v.2.5 (July). Automatic rules and other interesting stuff will follow in next release.