I was out riding my road bike recently in the unseasonably warm 73-degree weather in northern California. After hitting a large pothole during my ride, I started to think about the importance of the spokes in my bicycle’s wheels. They support both my and the bike’s weight, connecting to the wheel hub and the rim, which supports the tire, which rolls on the road.
Working in VersionOne back at my computer, I thought about how the spokes are a great metaphor for one of the unsung hero features of VersionOne, that being Links. In VersionOne every asset has a set of relationships that can be set up between assets within VersionOne. For instance, a story has relationships with its tasks and acceptance tests. VersionOne also provides the ability to establish relationships with external artifacts that support an agile software development project. The most useful feature for doing this is Links.
Links in VersionOne allow the customer to associate any artifact that can be referenced by a URL to an asset within VersionOne. This is a great fit for the emergent design nature of agile software development. Designs emerge as more conversations and collaboration occurs. These collaborations often produce artifacts that further the understanding of design, be it architectural design, user interface design, test design, algorithm design or whatever. Often these artifacts are captured and shared in tools other than VersionOne which makes sense because VersionOne is a project planning and management tool, not a word processor or a diagramming tool or a graphics tool.
Links allow VersionOne to be the hub of the project wheel. It connects those on a project to a common set of artifacts that can be referenced when project team members collaborate to further a design or to solve a problem.
Within VersionOne, Links can be accessed in the details dialog of each asset. The details dialog for an asset is brought up simply by clicking on the asset title (name). A shortcut to getting at an asset’s Links or to add new Links is to simply hover over the title of an asset and a popup will appear as shown below.
Notice the second icon at the top right of the popup. It looks like two chain links. If you click on this icon, the Link dialog will open and allow you to access the Links for the asset you’ve chosen, or allow you to create new Links as you can see from the image of the Links dialog shown below.
So, don’t forget about the VersionOne Links feature. It allows you to keep your artifacts in the system of record you like — on a Wiki or in Sharepoint, for instance — to link the artifacts to the project hub. The Links feature supports the weight of understanding in the same way that my bike’s spokes support my weight when I’m riding.