Fortunately when some of our customers feel that way, they share the results. Here’s a roundup of recent test related Third Party Tools to help you make the most of your bugs in Tracker.
Bugherd is a website annotation tool, that lets you capture bugs, feature requests, etc., by clicking the offending element on your pages using BugHerd’s simple overlay. With this integration, this feedback can be sent straight to Tracker.
Bugsnag allows you to automatically create bug stories in Tracker when a crash is detected in your web and mobile applications.
HoneyBadger error management app users can link their apps to their Tracker projects. When a bug comes in, they can press a button to create a story. The bug stays linked to the story so that users can easily jump to Tracker from Honeybadger.
PivotalFeedback can be hooked up to a “Feedback” link, for example, to allow users to easily submit bugs, features, and chores to Tracker, with all the information you need.
Testrail is a test management tool for QA and software development teams. It integrates with Tracker so you can link test results to stories, push bug reports and look up the details of stories directly from TestRail.
Redline allows anyone to point out bugs directly onto a web page without having to sign in to Tracker. Instead, their notes auto-generate a story in Tracker, along with a URL that shows the markups on the original web page.
Don’t forget to look in on the integrations we’ve created as well, including Bugzilla, Lighthouse, Jira and the ability to create connections to other tools in Tracker.
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We’ve just released version 1.6.1 of the Pivotal Tracker iOS app, which includes fixes for a number of text input problems.
Most importantly, it fixes Romaji input for Japanese users. While we don’t officially support non-English localizations, we try our best to allow Tracker to be used in any language. This release also fixes a similar bug that prevented auto-completion, spell-checking, and text shortcuts from working in text fields.
Dragging stories is also snappier in this release, because we’ve reduced the delay before beginning a drag. To recap, stories can be dragged to a new location by touching and holding a story for a short time with one finger. We include a momentary delay, otherwise stories would get moved while scrolling through story panels. Touching a story with two fingers will immediately begin dragging a story, which I find really convenient and useful on an iPad.
The post Pivotal Tracker for iOS 1.6.1 fixes Romaji and other text input issues: 失礼しました｡ appeared first on Pivotal Labs.
We can’t wait to get all this into your hands quickly, and continuously improve Tracker based on your feedback. As we all know, though, making web applications work well in all of the web browsers out there can be extremely time consuming, even impossible in some cases. In order to focus our energy on product improvements, and take advantage of modern open source technologies, we will be limiting “official” support to recently released versions of the most commonly used web browsers, specifically:
- Google Chrome (version 22 and above)
- Mozilla Firefox (version 17 and above)
- Apple Safari (version 6)
- Internet Explorer (version 9 and 10)
The good news is that most of you are already using these modern browsers.
Tracker will likely work reasonably well in other types of browsers, or older versions of the above, but you will soon see an unsupported browser warning in Tracker, and may run into issues, including slower performance. Hopefully upgrading to one of the supported browsers above is not too much of an inconvenience.
If you’re limited to using an on older version of Internet Explorer, we recommend installing the Google Chrome Frame plugin, for much better compatibility with modern sites and web applications.
We will be gradually rolling out under-the-hood modernizations over the next few weeks, and getting started on the first batch of new features. Stay tuned!
Tracker Tracker is an open source web app that allows you to see and work with stories from across multiple projects in one Kanban style view, with search and filtering. That’s huge. We have nothing else to say on the matter really. For anyone juggling multiple projects in Pivotal Tracker this is a must consider app.
On a side note, rumor has it Tracker Tracker was built to prevent a team’s possible migration to another tool. We’re literally speechless when our community does stuff like this, but not so tongue tied we can’t say thank you!
Here are just a few of the cool features and benefits we’ve lifted directly from the Tracker Tracker github page:
- Simultaneously view and manage stories across multiple projects
- Scrum-like UI displays one column per story state
- Search across all projects simultaneously
- All labels for all projects are visible and have epic-like mini progress charts
- Columns can be rearranged
- Labels, searches, column order, selected projects all survive browser restart
- It’s pretty easy to write custom columns and filters
- Forecasting charts
The post Tracker Ecosystem: Tracker Tracker – cross project visibility and panel customization appeared first on Pivotal Labs.
Today we’ve released Pivotal Tracker for iOS 1.6 to the App Store. With this release we’ve thoroughly refined the app to make updating stories easier and more enjoyable. While there are all kinds of refinements, we think you’ll be most excited about the following:All text can now be edited inline
A story’s name, description, tasks, and comments are all editable inline, without transitioning to a new screen and losing context. While editing, text now wraps gracefully across multiple lines as you type.
For example, previous versions of the app provided a separate screen for creating a comment. In version 1.6 this now happens inline, right where the comment will be added. This allows you to continue to scan other comments or details about the story as you write.Managing labels is easier
Finding and adding labels to a story is much improved, especially for larger projects. The label list now filters as you type, which helps avoid duplicate or mistyped labels. Adding a new label is also much more obvious and easy.Moving Tasks doesn’t require a separate mode anymore
All tasks can now be moved using the standard move controls, without the need to go into “move” mode. This gets rid of a needless extra taps. To remove a task, simply swipe it and tap the “Delete” button.Moving or Deleting a story are both more accessible
We’ve gotten rid of the separate “Action” screen, and replaced it with a pair of buttons to move or delete a story. You’ll find these at the very bottom of the story editor, rather than the old icon in the title bar.
We hope you love this release! Please don’t be shy about letting us know in our community about how we can continue to make the app better.
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Volatility is what Pivotal Tracker uses to measure the consistency of your team’s work output. You can use that number to help you estimate the first approximation to answer the eternal question, “Will I make the deadline?”One fine day at the office…
You’ve scoped out 100 points worth of stories for the Next Big Release™. Pivotal Tracker shows your velocity is 10 points per week. Your annual review is in 3 months and on-time delivery of this high profile project will figure prominently.
Then the CEO walks over to your desk and asks, “Will I make the launch date, 10 weeks from now?”
What do you say?
- “Yes, my lord. Of course we’ll make our date! I’m 100% certain of it; Behold; Tracker says we’ll finish in 10 parsecs.”
- “Probably; We had some iterations that cleared 30 points, but last week we were working on bugs and only accepted 2 points. A couple weeks of those and we might miss the deadline.”
- “There’s no clear answer. There are so many other uncertainties, technical debt, QA, deployment work.”
Hopefully, you answered with “none of the above.” Velocity is just one measure of how your project is performing. Staking your career on it would be foolhardy. The second answer is honest, yet hopelessly vague. The third reply is why many people still think Agile is a way to duck your responsibilities as a software professional. There is hope, however; We can use Pivotal Tracker’s tools to make a better (albeit imperfect) estimate.Past Performance is No Guarantee of Future Returns, but Yesterday’s Weather is Often Good Enough
Velocity, week over week, varies; sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. It depends on the project. Ideally, each iteration would have the same mix of stories, bugs and chores and Velocity would be very consistent. Steady velocity is a good thing™. In the real world, however, all sorts of things crop up; Your head-count goes up (or down), business priorities shift (or pivot), deferred technical debt demands payment, quality assurance files a slew of bug reports, user testing reveals flaws in product, visual design changes. The real world creates volatility in your Velocity.
A simple measure of this is standard deviation, which Tracker constantly computes for your project. Using that metric, you can decide what you should watch or change in order to meet your goals. Let’s go back to our example and look at the velocity charts in Tracker.
Assuming that we have a normal distribution of weekly velocities, the first sigma (±35%) will fall into the range of 10±3.5 points each week. That is, there is a 70% probability that your project will deliver all 100 points somewhere between 8 and 16 weeks. Why so much spread? 40% volatility is a big number! In the worst case scenario, where every iteration delivers only 6.5 points, it gets you to your goal in 100 ÷ 6.5 ≅ 16 weeks.
I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
By now, you’ve had your meeting with the CEO. You’ve shown him the stories left in the backlog, the volatility of the project, and the range of estimates for delivery. This is the beginning of a conversation. If you’re team is not comfortable with the worst case scenario, something must change and, really, you have only two choices; you can reduce volatility or you can reduce scope. You will probably need to do both. Alas, there is no simple formula here. This is where skill, experience and insight will come into play. Here are some suggestions:Reduce Volatility
- It’s critical that stories are accepted as soon as possible after they are delivered. Is the project manager unable to accept stores as they are delivered, so they don’t get credited in the iteration where they started? You can backdate acceptance to reflect when the stories were ready (rather than when the PM accepted them), but it is not something I would do on a regular basis.
- Are the stories marked as bugs and chores *truly* overhead, or are they “stealth” features? Does the story add business value to the product? That’s a feature. Flaws introduced by feature stories are bugs. Design changes surfaced by testing is a new feature.
- Are there too many stories in flight? Can you deliver stories more reliably by starting fewer at a time? Study after study shows that human beings do not multitask well at all. Do one thing, do it well, then move on.
- Are there blocked tracks? Do stories get stalled because of dependencies? Can you reorganize your backlog so each story is independent.
- Are there outside resources, out of your control, that are introducing volatility?
- Multiple rejected stories are toxic. If your team is getting more than one or two rejects each week, this may be a sign that your stories are not accurately representing what your product manager intended. It’s time to look at your work flow to prevent them from happening so often.
- Are you not refactoring enough? Constant, steady refactoring, delivered during each story is much better than giant refactors that last a week. You should consider refactoring as critical to your process and something to do “later, when you have more time for it.”
- Make all of your projects small by breaking them up. Delivering a project on time is always tricky business. I’ve discovered that it is actually easier to work on projects with short time-lines (6 weeks seems to be a good number). Urgency and a looming dead-line focuses the mind in wonderful ways.
- As a tactical measure, simplify your pointing strategy. Pivotal Tracker offers many pointing “styles;” linear, quadratic, fibonacci, or you can customize your own. Try going simpler (instead of finer granularity); a 0-1-2-3 scale (easy, medium and hard), might give you a more accurate picture.
- What’s really at risk if you miss the deadline? Often, the perceived urgency is far greater than the actual risk to the project.
- Are there features that you can jettison?
- Are there features that you can defer?
- Are you spending too much time on “pixel-perfect fidelity?” Talk to your designers; look for ways to reduce complexity. One good way to reduce complexity is to lean more heavily on standard user interface libraries (which might affect the unique visual design of the project).
- Can you make “soft releases” where you deliver fewer features, earlier, to reduce risk?
- Look at your project goals again. Are the stories in the backlog truly delivering features that will meet your goals?
- Are there parallel “tracks” that allow you to add man-power to the project (but see below).
- Do you need to stand up a new production environment? That will take time. It’s a point-able story. Make sure that all the necessary steps to release are in the budget.
- Are you refactoring as you go? Have you been postponing technical debt? Those interest payments will start to pile up as you get closer to release time. Make sure you and your team know that keeping the code clean is an essential part of every story.
- Anything that changes your team will change both Volatility *and* Velocity. Are you adding a new team member? (Remember Brook’s Law, “adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”) Vacations, holidays, sick days and babies will affect your velocity. Remember to account for it in Tracker.
This article should give you a lot to think about. Good project management is hard work. When projects are just getting started, everything feels fine, and later you start to wonder when everything went to hell. Remember, volatility kills.Notes
- Just like a speedometer that measures how fast you’re hurtling through space, Tracker’s velocity is a measurement of how fast your team completes stories. Instead of miles or kilometers per hour, Tracker expresses velocity as the number of points completed per iteration (normally a week).Because Tracker stories are assigned point values instead of due dates, Tracker calculates velocity by averaging the number of points you’ve completed over the past few iterations. In Tracker, past predicts future.
- Mathematically, Volatility isStandard Deviation ÷ Mean Velocity
- If stories languish in the accept/reject state (a field of red and green buttons in the backlog is a strong indicator), several bad things may happen to your project: You lose the fast feedback loop between delivery and deployment. Developers will move on to the next story and may have already lost “context” about past ones. Unaccepted stories can not be deployed, so there’s less and later feedback about the feature in the full project.
- What makes a feature or a bug or a chore is worthy of an entire article on its own.
January has gone by quickly! Hopefully the new year is already off to a great start for you and your entire team. I’d like to share what we’ve been up to recently, and give you a preview of what to expect in 2013.
The Big Picture
To put our plans in context, it’s important to understand our ultimate goal. We want Pivotal Tracker to be a fun, yet indispensable and transformative tool for software development teams everywhere; from the startup next door to the global enterprise, for small single backlog teams as well as larger, multi-team projects.
We believe we’re on the right path. In the last 8 years Tracker has grown organically to over 500K users around the globe, and is now an integral part of a thriving and growing software development ecosystem. But this goal is no small task for an app that began as an internal tool and an exercise in learning a promising new web development framework at the time – Ruby on Rails. So instead of simply charging ahead and piling on feature after feature we took a hard look at ourselves and acknowledged that we had accumulated a certain amount of “drag” and decided to make some long term, foundational investments.
This took some time, but the good news is, we’re almost done and have already started rolling it out to some of our projects here at Pivotal Labs. While you may notice some minor UI improvements and polish when it’s rolled out fully, it will be the same Tracker you already know, but on a better foundation, ready for the future. And shortly after, we’ll be opening up that brand new API, with more endpoints, support for epics, fine-grained access to all project activity, JSON, cross-origin resource sharing support, improved webhooks, much better documentation, even an interactive console!
New Design, New Features
While all this has been going on, we’ve been busy planning the main attraction, a redesigned “next generation” of Pivotal Tracker, to be rolled out gradually over the course of 2013, starting with some long-awaited features including story following, historical project analytics, and improved icebox management. In addition, we’re looking to improve how you collaborate and plan in Tracker with features like better search and filtering, in-app notifications, cross-project visibility, new integrations, and more.
While we’re not quite ready to share details yet, the next generation of Tracker will be a major step forward in terms of overall usability, and help your teams with the various challenges that arise as projects grow beyond a single backlog.
We’ve got a number of other things in the works for 2013, for example a shiny and more organized directory of 3rd party tools and extensions for Tracker, as well as special programs for consultancies and universities. Stay tuned for more news, including information about the new API and how to request early access to the Tracker next-generation beta. If you’re not already, please follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook!
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With all these APIs floating around don’t you sometimes wish that apps would just talk to each other and keep us humans out of it. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close with CloudWork.
It’s so straightforward I feel it’s something the Hulk might say – “Cloud Work!, Hulk no Smash puny keyboard”. If I were to use more than a noun and a verb to describe it, CloudWork connects apps via their APIs to help automate business processes. Yeah, I prefer the Hulk version. Also it doesn’t require any programming knowledge to use it (yes, there are people that read this blog that can’t code).
RIght now they connect Pivotal Tracker with Toggl, Google Calendar, Evernote, Zendesk and desk.com. I’m sure if you ask them to link to something else they’ll get to it pretty fast. They’re a cool team that is pretty on the ball. Please give it a try and tell us what you think.
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