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Updated: 3 hours 6 min ago

Deprecating private impediments

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 17:01

Good day everyone!

In our efforts to continuously improve the Targetprocess experience for you, we're analyzing the performance of some core features, such as visualizing your data on dozens of different views or accessing that data through our API. It's a well-known fact in the software engineering industry that every feature comes with a cost. Unfortunately, sometimes the features we build become obsolete or just don't fire off at all. In a perfect world, such features would be free or extremely cheap to maintain and we could simply ignore them. However, the real world is much more cruel, and quite often there is a cost associated with the ongoing support of these features.

Our "private impediments" feature is a good example of this. According to our analysis, its usage is close to none, but it adds a significant performance overhead to our data querying operations, most notably for inbound/outbound relations lookup. Therefore, we'd like to remove private impediments from Targetprocess in our upcoming release.

So, what does this mean for you?

If you don't use impediments at all, then nothing changes for you. If you use impediments but don't use the "Private" flag on them, then once again nothing changes for you. If you have private impediments, they will be deleted from your Targetprocess account, unless you make them public before the new release.

Wait, what? Are you really going to delete my private impediments?!

Well, yeah, but we've thought this through. There are basically 2 options: either delete them, or make them public. We assumed that it would be terrible to make someone's private data publicly visible. Also, given the fact that the private impediment usage is quite low, and we also continuously make backups for our on-demand instances, we'd be able to restore the data for individual customers if you ask us to.

Hopefully, this all makes sense for you. Don't hesitate to get in touch and contact our support if you have any questions!

Categories: Companies

How to open views with the currently selected Projects and Teams

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 10:22

Some time ago, we redesigned the Projects-Teams selector. It became a part of views, and the global selector was removed. This helped to standardize and simplify views, but made it impossible to set Projects and Teams just once and navigate through several views with that selection.

To make this scenario work, in v.3.11.0 we’ve implemented a keyboard shortcut that lets you navigate to a new view with the currently selected Projects and Teams.

As usual, you can select the needed Projects and Teams in the selector on the top of the view (this selection won't override the predefined Projects and Teams for this view).

1selectcontext

Explore the data. If you need to navigate to another view with the same selected Projects and Teams, simply hold Alt and click on the view you wish to explore.

3altclick

As a result, the view will be opened using the Projects and Teams that were selected on the previous view.

4viewopened

You can use Alt+Click to navigate through any number of views with the currently selected Projects and Teams.

For more details on how the Projects and Teams selector works, see the guide post.

Categories: Companies

Targetprocess v.3.11.0: multiple final states, team mentions, Project selector in Reports, and plenty of fixed bugs.

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 20:09
Redesigned Settings

We've done some housekeeping over the last few months. As a result, the Targetprocess Settings page has a new look and feel. We hope we've made it more pleasant to work with.

As before, you can reach Settings by clicking the gear icon at the top right corner. 

settings-gear

We've regrouped all settings into logical sections to make it easier to quickly find the options you need. You may need some time to get used to new grouping, but it makes much more sense arranged this way.

We have completely reworked the Tags section. You can read more about this here. We've also removed the Team section from Settings, as it's more easier to assign multiple users to Projects and Teams right from the Project or Team view. You can read more about this here.

Regular users have access to Import and the Diagnostic and Logs section. Admin users will see the following groups:

admin-global-settings

 

Multiple final project states

There used to be no easy way to find out if a closed bug was rejected or fixed.

You can now use multiple final project states for this. For example, let's say I want to set a new kind of resolution for a Bug or Request. I would go to Process Setup > Bug Workflow, set up Rejected and Duplicate bug states, mark them as final, and set the Completed state as the default final state. All 3 states have the semantic of a “final” state — cards in this state will be grayed out, end dates will be set automatically when the entity moves to these states, and filters with 'IsFinal' will be applied. 

Multiple final states are not supported if you use Team Workflows.

Mention Teams in comments

When you start typing several symbols after an '@' symbol, you will now not only see a list of users, but also a list of teams above the users. If you mention a team, then all its members receive an email notification. In the comment, the mentioned Team (or User) becomes a link to the Team's (or User's) view.

Shortcut 'alt+click' opens next View with the current Team/Project context applied

This is a solution that will be helpful for anyone who uses the same set of boards for different Teams or Projects. You can now set your Projects and Teams selection just once and navigate through several views with that selection.

To make such scenarios work, you can do the following: Select the Projects and Teams you wish to see using the selector at the top of the view. To open another view using the selection you just applied, you can hold the ‘Alt’ key and click on the new view in the left menu. For more details visit the post.

Project/Team selector added to Process Control, Cycle Time Distribution, Relations Network charts

You will no longer have to set the proper Project or Team before you go into Reports, or have to close a Report to reach the context menu. Now you have a Team/Project selector right in Report Settings.

reports-project-team-selector

Cumulative Flow and Burn Down charts:

You can now easily change the selected Project using a dropdown list.

project-selector

Project board now shows active and inactive projects in different shades

Inactive project cards are now slightly greyed out, as disabled elements usually look like. Hover your mouse over the card to see its details pop-up; all of these units will be greyed out as well.

inactive-projects-board

CSV import Features

We've improved CSV import a bit. Now when you import a batch of Features, you can map them to a parent Epic so that they get to the right place in your work hierarchy.

Cards and Axes sorting order unified

We groomed sorting inconsistency a bit. Earlier, Release lanes were sorted by Creation Date while Release cards were sorted by Project. That was a bit weird, so now cards or lanes of the same entity type have a unified sorting order - Releases are sorted by Start Date.

Service Desk Widget in Targetprocess

We migrated from UserVoice to our very own Service Desk and updated the 'Contact Us' widget. Now you can post your issues and ideas right from the widget and navigate easily to our Service Desk portal.

screen-shot-2017-03-07-at-5-06-18-pm Fixed Bugs
  • You can now send images and attachments in comments with email notifications
  • Fixed DSL filters to find items with attachments. The following filters will now work: '?attachments.count>0'  and '?Attachments.Where(Name is 'log.txt')'
  • Timesheet: time improperly associated a NULL role if added by a user whose role was not responsible for that entity
  • Fixed possible effort inconsistency when applying metric results
  • Fixed comment losses which occurred if the 'Source' button was clicked twice.
  • Timesheet: Fixed transfers to states which require a comment
  • Fixed Team state transfer for non-admin users, which failed if Team states were mapped to the last Project state.
  • Fixed cache for List views to support complex filters by custom fields
  • Fixed effort recalculation for a User Stories if their Tasks are removed or moved to/from another User Story
  • Fixed Dashboard TODO widget: filter by entity type apply on first load only
  • Fixed Epic > Feature > User Story List views which showed only 25 items and no 'show more' link
  • Fixed Requests and Test Plan Run effort units in a List view to be consistent with the entity views
  • Fixed improper Initial estimate field population with an Effort value when User Story copies to a new Project
  • Fixed export to CSV so that it takes the axes filter into account
  • Added the ability to filter entities by a 'None' option in a Multiple selection field ('?MultipleSelectionCustomField is None)
  • Fixed Quick Add failures if there are no teams in the system yet
  • Fixed mixed Test Plans/Test Cases lists sorting by Business Value column
  • Non-required dropdown custom fields which do not have a default value could be saved with an empty value now
  • 'Last Run date' unit gets back
  • Fixed 'Add & Open' button in quick add in the new inner lists and Relations
  • Improved performance of hierarchical test plan run creation
  • Fixed a calculated custom field creation error in case its formula uses another custom field but with the same name
  • Corrected the error message for an unsuccessful attempt to attach a file that's too large
  • Fixed reply comments that could not be deleted if their parent comment was deleted first
  • SMTP password length limit expanded
  • Fixed Time add from a list in the 'Work Hierarchy' tab
  • Fixed Tabular Report 'Assigned Effort' to show names properly (when there are multiple users assigned under the same role)
  • Fixed CSV export: checkbox custom field 'false' value used to export as 'null'
  • Fixed occasional failure to save Description changes which would sometimes occur even when only one user edited it
  • Fixed issue with renaming tags
Categories: Companies

Targetprocess Mobile for Android, Releases 2.4 and 2.5

Thu, 03/09/2017 - 17:07
View and edit Custom Fields from entity details view

Custom fields are widely used by our customers, so we've finally added them into the entity details view on our Android app. You can view and edit Custom Fields of all types (except for the Multiple Targetprocess type, because it’s hardly ever used).

You can find the Custom Fields section in the same place as our main desktop app: scroll down the entity view and you will see Custom Fields panel under the Info panel.

custom-fields

Planned Dates

Since release 2.4, you may notice that Planned Start and Planned End dates have appeared at the bottom of  the ‘Info’ panel. You can now plan work items directly inside the app:

planned-dates

Some other useful improvements include:
  • Added the Initial Estimate field to Epic views and the Run Estimate field into Test Plan views
  • Estimation fields will now display Effort units

If you have anything you want to share with us, just use the Feedback form in the ‘Me’ tab, or send us a message at mobile@targetprocess.com.

Click here to download the Android app.

Categories: Companies

Join Our Product Update Webinar on March 15, 2017!

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 18:08
Q1 Product Update Webinar graphic

We invite you to join us for our Product Update Webinar on Wednesday, March 15 at 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT.

It's already been a busy year here, and we want to make sure that everyone is up to speed with all the recent changes.  We'll also be going over some of our immediate plans for the future, and there will be a team of Product Specialists available to answer your questions.

At the webinar, you can expect to see a demonstration of all the latest features and improvements, including:

  • lane suggestions and the new "My Recent" tab in the left menu
  • new connectors for integrating Targetprocess with ALM tools such as Jira, TFS, CA Agile Central, and DevOps tools such as Git, GitHub, Jenkins, and many others
  • how to setup the Service Desk and use Custom Request Types to expand its possible use cases
  • improved Project and Team assignments for Person, Team, and Release views
  • the latest releases for our mobile iOS and Android apps, and more

You can register for the webinar here. We hope to see you there!

Categories: Companies

Targetprocess Mobile for iOS Release 3.3: Notifications tab, view setup, follow entities

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 20:10
List of notifications inside the application

Previously, you could get push notifications sent to your device, but you couldn't view a list of them inside the application. We've now put all notifications into one place, so they are much easier to find.

You can find notifications for:

  • State changes for entities assigned to you
  • New comments where you are mentioned
  • When you are assigned or unassigned to an item

notifications

View setup

For those who aren't sure what's going on with their board, such as why certain cards or lanes are not displayed, we’ve added the possibility to see the view configuration. This includes:

  • Cards selected on the board and filters applied to them
  • Horizontal and vertical lanes and filters applied to them
  • Projects and Teams and selection that is applied to the displayed cards and lanes

You can see it all in read-only mode plus and also choose to reset your personal filter applied to cards:

setup

Some other useful improvements include
  • Copy the link to an entity
  • Follow an entity
  • Save Attachments

actions

If you have anything you want to share with us, use the Feedback form in the app's 'Me' tab, or shoot us a message at mobile@targetprocess.com.

Click here to download the iOS app.

Categories: Companies

How to introduce Agile to non-IT teams

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 00:00

It’s clear that the Agile Methodology is not restricted to software development teams. Countless organizations have improved their flexibility and delivery speed with an Agile mindset, and many have successfully scaled Agile through every department. Agile is already widely used in marketing, education, and even auto manufacturing.

If you’re a non-IT team that wants to adopt the Agile mindset, you will likely encounter some resistance to change. This is good. Criticism of Agile can help your application of its values to improve.  To encourage non-IT teams to embrace Agile, you should first demonstrate the value that an Agile mindset can deliver. 

Don’t prescribe; encourage

The Agile methodology has (unfortunately) been fairly well-saturated with buzzwords and prescriptive practices. As Dipanjan Munshi puts it, “The process whose manifesto declared ‘People over Processes’ has now became a standardized prescriptive process in itself.”

To avoid putting anyone off unduly, don’t introduce Agile as a set of prescriptive processes. Instead, frame it as a cultural practice and a mindset for approaching work. Note that a successful Agile culture will help to increase employee independence, trust, and personal responsibility. In a traditional environment, management ends up being responsible for both failures and successes. In an Agile environment, responsible individuals shoulder this responsibility.  

It’s important for Agile transformations to happen more-or-less organically. Nobody wants to put up with another vague strategy change that’s been mandated by management. This is the the sort of thing that an Agile mindset is supposed to eliminate.

Don't transform; iterate

There are a lot of practices that have formed around Agile; introduce them iteratively, and you’ll be able to the avoid the culture-shock that has stagnated many transformationsTo get started, research Scrum and Kanban. Try to understand which practices might work for you, and why:

Kanban - Kanban uses a board with cards that represent work items. As a work item progresses from idea to completion, it is moved forward through the board's swimlanes. It's great for helping teams adjust to frequently changing priorities. Setting WIP (work in progress) limits helps teams to reduce context switching and avoid getting bogged down by an ever-expanding scope of work.

Scrum - Scrum is great for organizing teams and for making continuous improvements to your work process using Retrospectives. It's fairly heavy on planning (compared to Kanban), and uses fixed iterations to help teams understand and improve their velocity. Most teams utilize a Scrum Master - an individual whose job it is to facilitate meetings, remove impediments, and generally help the team get their work done.

If you're aiming for a large scale shift to Agile, take extra care when planning change. Peter Merel, a long-time Agile consultant and founder of the XSCALE Alliance, advocates the use of steel-thread squads: A small number of progressive people adopt Agile practices and measure their metrics to prove the productivity benefits. The team then divides like a cell and spreads to other teams. This allows for a natural change that doesn’t disrupt the established organization. The transformation is iterative rather than sudden; Agile is adopted using Agile.  

Bridge the gaps between software development and the domain of your teams

Some Agile coaches have noted that it is difficult to link the idea of “delivering working software” to other fields of work. Opposition tends to come in the form of rebuttals such as “We’re too quality-focused to adopt this practice.”  This line of thinking comes from a lack of understanding about the core principles of Agile.  Keep in mind that Agile does not mean sacrificing quality for speed. Rather, it means you should deliver the highest quality you can, without getting bogged down by process or bureaucracy.

The concept of developing “Working software” can easily translate to any field. It simply means the first point where you can deliver real value to your customers. Define the variables of what "working software" and "end user" means to your team. Figure out what what could be considered as one of the basic building blocks of your final deliverable so that you can get feedback at an early stage. 

You also shouldn't feel obligated to use the vernacular of Agile. It was created in an IT world, and might be irrelevant or confusing for your teams. Consider changing the terminology of your tool or process to reflect the vernacular your team already feels comfortable with. For example, a marketing team might rename Features as Campaigns, a sales team might rename User Stories as Leads, etc.  

Synchronize, but don’t get bogged down by ceremony

When you have multiple teams practicing Agile, you run the risk of creating what has come to be called "Agile silos." These are teams which are practicing Agile internally, but lack cross-team or cross-departmental coordination. This is not a good recipe. There needs to be some sort of unifying vision to help turn these different teams into a collaborative ecosystem. There are multiple frameworks to help you plan this out, including SAFe, DaDLeSS, and LeadingAgile

So, it's important to synchronize your teams, but you also have to be careful to not get bogged by ceremony and bureaucracy. A central pillar of Agile is replacing processes with interactions. Adopting the ceremonies of Agile without understanding their purpose is a huge red flag. Don't constrain your teams by trying to over-synchronize them with processes that they don't need. 

“Humans are of very low value as cogs in a machine doing identical things in interchangeable ways. That's for robots. Humans are most valuable when they have high autonomy, and able to play to their unique strengths and histories, particular sensitivities, op-tempos, and patterns of privileged information. The idea of "wisdom of the crowds" in fact rests on humans having diverse, unique private knowledge bases. The madness of crowds kicks in with synchronization and imitation.”  -Premature Synchronization is the Root of All Evil

Final thoughts

One of the biggest pitfalls you can fall into is looking at Agile as a cure-all panacea that will help you do more work in less time. This is not what Agile is about. It's about breaking out of the rigid structures that constrain individuals from completing their work in the best possible way. 

Dilbert on Agile

Learn the various techniques and strategies that Agilists have accumulated over the years, and pick the mixture that works best for you. Above all, don't lose sight of the values in the original Agile Manifesto.

Categories: Companies

We’ve moved from UserVoice to Service Desk for Idea Management

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 18:13

Our new Service Desk application can be used to manage almost any kind of Request. One of its most common use cases is Idea Management, which allows you to gather feedback and prioritize features in your product based on your customers’ needs.

For the past several years, we’ve been using UserVoice for Idea Management. Now that our own Service Desk provides the same functionality and more, it’s time to move on. Last week we carefully moved about 10,000 users and 2,800 ideas to https://helpdesk.targetprocess.com to make sure your feedback is not lost.

This means that the forum at https://tp3.uservoice.com is now deprecated. You are welcome to share your ideas at https://helpdesk.targetprocess.com.

migration_complete
The other thing we want to highlight is that you can also use the Service Desk + Targetprocess combo to collect and manage ideas for your own projects. Service Desk has all the usual features such as voting and comments, it allows you to easily link ideas to particular work items in Targetprocess, and it’s free. Also, as our own Product Owner observed, it's much more convenient to manage incoming ideas when you have all the power of Targetprocess to back you up.

Service Desk can be enabled from the Settings page in Targetprocess. Take a look at our guide if you need help getting started, or send us a message at support@targetprocess.com.

Tip: You can create Custom Request Types to expand your use of the Service Desk for almost any kind of application. If you’re not using Service Desk for customer support, just remove the Issue and Question request types and rename them to something that corresponds to your needs.

 

In addition to all that, we have just released a widget that can be handy if you have your own system and don’t need the full Service Desk application, or if you just want users to submit requests without leaving your website.

widget_plan

We understand that you might need some flexibility from the default settings, so we made the widget customizable. You can hide elements like top requests, description, and attachments, define default request types and privacy, and change the form's subject text. It is already available for you and you can embed it anywhere – all you need to do is to provide a link to your Service Desk with the correspondent parameters. See our guide for more information.

Categories: Companies

Targetprocess Mobile for iOS Release 3.2: Entity view redesign

Mon, 02/06/2017 - 09:10

We finally did it! A new release for our iOS app is now available in the App Store.

Entity view

We’ve changed the way that entity details views are displayed on Apple devices. These views are now much better adjusted to iPhone and iPad screens, so it’s much more convenient to use Targetprocess on your phone or tablet:

card-view

Custom Fields on entity view

You can now view and edit an entity's Custom Fields from its details view:
custom-fields

Some other useful improvements include:
  • The ability to open links from Description and Comments
  • A "share" action for Attachments
  • A progress bar for Release, Iteration, Team Iteration, and Project entity views
  • A state selector for Projects
  • Multiple teams selector on entity details views.
  • Projects list on Release views

If you have anything you want to share with us, use the Feedback form in the app's 'Me' tab, or shoot us a message at mobile@targetprocess.com.

Click here to download the iOS app.

Categories: Companies