Quick! How Do I… Add Values to a List Field, Add a Custom Field or Custom List Field?

VersionOne provides a comprehensive set of default fields and values to define items in the system.  Story Types, Defect Sources, Task Components or Test Methods are a few examples.

But – what if I need to add my own list value to a list field?  Or what if I need to define a custom field visible only to my project?  Here is a quick reference guide.

1. How do I customize Status values for an item, such as Story, Defect, Tasks & Tests?

  • Log in as a System Admin
  • In Administration > List Types, select the desired asset section (e.g., Backlog, Task, Tests, etc.)
  • Add/edit the list values for the desired drop-down menu in the respective section

2. How do I add custom fields to an item, such as Story, Defect, Tasks & Tests?

  • Log in as System Admin
  • In Administration > Configuration > Custom Fields, for the desired asset – e.g., Backlog – click on Add Field
  • Add the desired custom field(s) and click on Publish Changes (lower left hand corner)

3. How do I add custom list fields to an item, such as Story, Defect, Tasks & Tests?

  • Log in as System Admin
  • In Administration > Configuration > Custom List Types, click on Add List Type, enter the name for this List Type and save
  • Click on Publish Changes
  • In Administration > List Types > Custom, add the desired values for the drop-down menu
  • In Administration > Configuration > Custom Fields, add the new drop-down menu to the desired asset(s) by clicking on the Add Field arrow and selecting Add Drop-down
  • Name the new drop-down and select the new Custom List Type from the List Type drop-down menu; save
  • Click on Publish Changes (lower left hand corner)

Now that the new list values, custom fields and/or custom list fields are in, how do I enable these for project-specific visibility?

  • Log in as System Admin
  • In Administration > Configuration > System verify if Project Workspaces is enabled; if it is, move on to the next step
    • If Project Workspaces is not enabled, the new list type value will be available for use immediately
  • In Administration > Display Fields > Project Workspace Assets select the project-level for which you wish to display the new list value, custom field or custom list field/value and click on Create Project Workspace; the system will take a few seconds to refresh and enable said Project as a Project Workspace
  • With project level selected, expand the desired asset section (i.e., Backlog Item, Defect, Task, Test, etc.); notice that there are two main columns – one for Require and one for Project Settings Display
  • Scroll to the list item that you added; if list value, click on the plus (+) sign to Show Values for the drop-down menu and select the checkbox for the new value; the system will apply the changes and show the message “Field Configuration saved successfully” after a few seconds
  • The new list value, custom field or custom list field/value value should now be available for the item at the desired project level

Keep this reference handy! :-)

Posted in Admin, Getting Started, Product Tips & Tricks, Sprint Planning & Tracking | Leave a comment

Organizing and Associating Work to an Epic

We have many teams within VersionOne using the Epic functionality heavily to organize their work.  I often get asked questions like:

“What if I decide later on that my work is tied to an existing Epic?”
“What if I decide that my Story really is part of a bigger initiative?”
“Is there an easy way for me to quickly generate and Epic from that Story?”

Luckily VersionOne takes into account these scenarios and more.  See for yourself below on the different ways we allow you to organize and associate your work to an Epic.

Posted in Backlog Management, General, Product & Release Planning, Product Owner, Product Tips & Tricks, Program Manager, Project Manager | Leave a comment

A Transition Exposition

We are often asked about updating a story status when a task or test begins its progress.  While VersionOne chooses to empower the agile team to make these adjustments as opposed to doing it automatically, we do have a feature which many users may not be aware of that can assist with this.  To those who do not know, I introduce the concept of Transitions.

Transitions can be found in the Administration -> Configuration -> Transitions tab.

Transitions Page

Transitions Page

Transitions allow for certain movement of Backlog Items, Tasks or Tests when the Quick Close or Sign Me up actions are performed.    The Transitions page allows you to set the appropriate statuses of those items.  As you can see in the sample image, upon Quick Closing a story, the status will be set to Accepted, the tasks belonging to that story will be set to Completed and the tests will be set to Passed.

Once you set them, in order to take advantage of these actions, you can choose them from the action box to the right of each row in our grids, or you can choose them from any of the board views.

Grid view showing Action Box

Grid View

Board view showing Actions

Board View

So, now that you are a master of Transitions, allow me to drop some more knowledge on you.  You may notice when opening the action box, a value for Close and the aforementioned Quick Close.  “Whoa… stop the clock… two options?!”

When a user chooses the option to Close an item they have more control over the flow of that item.  They will be presented with the choice of which status the item should go to and furthermore, if you are doing Build Run reporting, you will have the option to assign that story to a particular build.  On the other hand, when you elect to Quick Close a story, you are taking advantage of the Transitions that you have already set up.

It’s important to know that in both cases, Close and Quick Close, the action will zero out the hours in the To Do field for any tasks or tests.

Search for more information on Transitions and other spring planning/backlog management tips at our VersionOne User Community site.

Happy Agile, Everyone!

Posted in Admin, Backlog Management, Product Tips & Tricks, Sprint Planning & Tracking | Leave a comment

New Winter 14.0.6 Point Release Available

As you’re all probably aware, St. Patrick’s Day is only a few short days away.  On this day that celebrates the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland, it is estimated that American revelers alone will rack up a staggering $255 million bar tab.  With that much alcohol being consumed, it’s pretty safe to assume that more than a few inhibitions will be misplaced that day.  Fortunately, this St. Patrick’s day, VersionOne has got your back.  While we won’t be able to help with the aforementioned misplaced inhibitions, we will be able to help with misplaced child epics and stories.

For this weekend’s 14.0 point release, new alert has been added when an epic’s children appear to be misaligned. When an epic is dragged into a release and the epic contains children (epics and/or backlog) that are in some other release/project, the system alerts the user and provides an option to unite all of the epics’ child items in the same release into which the epic has been moved.  In addition to this, we’ve got 10 new defect and performance fixes for you as well.  We’ve also got a 13.3 point release as well.  As always, check out the release notes on the community site to get all the details.

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“What’s in a Name? That Which We Call a ‘Project’ by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet”

With apologies to William Shakespeare – couldn’t resist, Bill ol’ chap…

So – what is a Project in VersionOne?  Is it a Product, a Project or a Release?  Is it a Portfolio, a Program or a Group?  The answer is – YES!

A Project in VersionOne, in simplest terms, is a repository - a backlog for work-related items.  As part of a tree hierarchy, this asset can be used to capture work items that pertain to an organization’s software portfolio (e.g., initiatives, features), a software program (features, themes), a software product (components, epics) or software releases (epics, user stories).  Items within a Project are organized, prioritized, ranked and scheduled for execution and delivery.  Let’s briefly analyze the graphic below, a sample Project Tree.

The image shows a Project Tree for a fictitious organization (no NDA required :-)):

  • Customer Intelligence Systems
    • Development
      • Aspire Product Suite
        • Desire
          • Desire v1.0
          • Desire v2.0
        • Dream
        • Endeavor
      • CI DynamixCRM
        • DynamixCRM v1.0
        • DynamixCRM v2.0
      • Corporate Web site
      • Maintenance

Each of the nodes in this Project Tree is a repository representing different parts or layers of the organization:

* Customer Intelligence Systems – the company; the portfolio for the organization may reside at this level

* Development – a group or a program; high-level features and themes to be delivered by product or project teams

* Aspire Product Suite – a suite of three distinct products: Desire, Dream and Endeavor

* Desire v1.0, et al – a release for the corresponding product; each product in the suite likely has equivalent nodes for each release

* CI DynamixCRM – a standalone product, with two defined release backlogs, DynamixCRM v1.0 and DynamixCRM v2.0

* Corporate Web site – work required to keep company’s Web site up to date

* Maintenance – supporting platform, IT or Operations

Use Projects to create an organizational structure that represents how work is captured, planned and managed.  And, don’t worry about what they’re called – your teams know what they represent ;-).

Posted in Backlog Management, Product & Release Planning, Product Owner, Product Tips & Tricks, Program Management, Program Manager, Project Manager | Leave a comment

Your Backlog Management: Filtered or Unfiltered?

The VersionOne Backlog is a powerful piece of the application that allows Product Owners to prioritize their work.  With many projects being worked on, multiple teams contributing and requirements that change, a backlog may start to contain hundreds of items.

We want to make sure that members who modify the backlog have the ability to quickly find the items they are looking for.  Many of our loyal readers may know about the Filter option on the Backlog grid to assist them in locating certain items.  Filters can be applied to look for items in a particular Epic, belonging to a particular team, or even finding items in a certain status.  However, many users may not be taking advantage of the “More Filters” list or the “My Filters” capability.

More Filters

“More Filters” exposes a list of additional filters that can be applied to the grid view you are on.  The window that comes up when selecting that option allows you to choose from other list types related to that asset.

More Filters selection window

So, if you were looking for all defects of a particular type, you can open the More Filters option, select the type you are looking for, and apply it to the backlog.  Very handy!

My Filters

With “My Filters” you can create a filter that persists so that you can apply it again and again.  “My Filters” can be created for the different drop-down values within VersionOne, even custom lists types!  The filters you create with “My Filters” can also be combined.  So, say you are identifying your stories by a particular “Type” attribute and now you want to filter the backlog to look for a certain one but only those that are high in priority.  What’s a Product Owner to do?

You can create a filter by accessing My Home-> Filters.  When you elect to add a filter, you will be presented with a window to pick and choose the values for the filter.  In the example below, I created a name for my filter and selected the appropriate values for “Type” and “Priority.”

My Filters Selection Window

After saving this, I can then apply this combined filter to my backlog by selecting it from the My Filters menu option under the Filter button:

More Filters Option Expanded

My results show me the combined data that applies to that filter and, best of all, it’s there when I need to run it in the future.

In this post, I showed the example off of the Backlog grid; however, filters as described can be created and applied to any screen in the system where the data appears in a grid format.

Happy agile, everyone!

Posted in Backlog Management, Product & Release Planning, Product Owner, Product Tips & Tricks, Sprint Planning & Tracking | Leave a comment

Project Scorecard Report

Once upon a time, I was a Senior Project Manager in a Development Department of a major retailer based in the Atlanta area. One of my jobs was to compile and distribute a weekly report on all the various projects we were working on in the department. I used to spend a half-day putting this together (usually Friday afternoon) and it was rarely easy. Sifting through Microsoft Project plans, status emails, etc. made it an onerous task.

In VersionOne, there is a report in Analytics that makes this happen with a single click. The Project Scorecard report gives you visibility into the key project metrics for a selection of projects:

VersionOne Project Scorecard Report

Some of the fields in the report (such as Budget) are Custom Fields on Projects, but the many of the others are calculated fields. Percent Complete is based on Open and Closed Story Points, and the Expected Complete is based on the dates of the particular projects. Expenditure fields are based on hours of Effort logged in specific projects, multiplied by a constant representing hourly costs.

In addition, because this was built using the Custom Reporting Module, it can be customized to reflect the metrics that are important to your organization. Once you run the report, you can use the buttons on the bottom to export it to Excel, PDF or directly to a printer. Put it in an email, and it’s out the door.

Would have been nice to have back in the day. Maybe I could have done something more productive with those Friday afternoons…

Posted in Product Tips & Tricks, Program Manager, Project Manager, Reporting & Analytics | Leave a comment

All for One, One for All! Approach to Managing Agile Projects with Shared Services

Yours is an organization delivering multiple projects for different customers through your various teams – shared services.  Though your teams practice agile – and enjoy it! – they do not truly have a dedicated backlog; their efforts are helping deliver value to multiple streams.

Consider the following approach to in setting up VersionOne to help you:

  • Capture multiple project backlogs
  • Assign work to several teams
  • Track progress against project timeframes
  • Allow teams to manage and track their work independently

The Project Tree

  • A root node represents your organization or group’s project repository – here you will capture your projects (more about that in just a moment).
  • Child nodes represent your shared services teams, working at their own agile cadence.
Root node is the organization's project intake/repository, child nodes are team-level backlogs.

Root node is the organization’s project intake/repository, child nodes are team-level backlogs.

The Projects (VersionOne Epics)

  • Captured at the root node level, each VersionOne Epic represents a distinct project, with their own start and end dates.
  • Child VersionOne Epics can be used to define features, capabilities or team level groupings of user stories.
  • Child VersionOne Epics and/or user stories within these are assigned to teams across the Project Tree.

VersionOne Epics at the root node represent projects.  Child Epics and Stories are associated to the shared services teams.

V1 Epics at the root node represent projects. Child Epics and Stories are associated to the shared services teams.

 The Planning Room (V1 Ultimate)

  • The Epic Tree shows the list of Projects (VersionOne Epics) and allows for quick inspection through drill-down.
  • The Epic Timeline tracks progress made on these Projects against a calendar view.
  • The Planning Room can be used to combine views such as the Epic Tree and Epic Timeline for a super charged perspective for project tracking.

Combine VersionOne Epic views such as the Epic Tree and Epic Timeline for a single view into project progress.

Combine V1 Epic views such as the Epic Tree and Epic Timeline for a single view into project progress.

 The TeamRoom

  • The TeamRoom is the dashboard of tools and visuals for tracking team project progress.
  • Displays work allocated to the team.
  • Allows configuration of views for managing project work that matches their team workflows.

Teams use their team dashboard - the TeamRoom - to configure, manage, and track their project work.

Teams use their team dashboard – the Team Room – to configure, manage, and track their project work.

Most progress-tracking reports – e.g., Burndown, Estimate Trend, Velocity, etc. – can be filtered by a VersionOne Epic (your project), so metrics are readily available at any level of granularity.

So, are you an organization with all teams contributing to a project – All for One?  Try this approach, a simple project tracking approach – One for All!

Cheers!

Posted in Admin, Backlog Management, Getting Started, Kanban, Product & Release Planning, Product Owner, Product Tips & Tricks, Program Management, Program Manager, Project Manager, ScrumMaster, ScrumMaster, Stakeholder | Leave a comment

New Winter 2014 Release Available: Analytics and Core

On this day in 1994 Lorena Bobbitt was released from a state psychiatric  hospital in Virginia, five weeks after being acquitted by reason of insanity for mutilating her husband, John Bobbitt.

Now, 20 years later, something else that’s insane is also being released…  Of course I’m talking about this weekend’s point release updates.  While we don’t have any new functionality related to Members or Attachments, we do have a whack load of valuable fixes for both Analytics and Core, with some going all the way back to 13.0.

For all the gory details, check out the full release notes on the VersionOne Community Site.

Posted in Point Releases | Leave a comment

Our Daily Standup is Stale – What’s the Point?

As a ScrumMaster I’ve had the opportunity to participate and facilitate many daily standup meetings – 6 years’ worth.  There have been excellent standup meetings and conversations – many led to useful and valuable collaborative sessions in which real work was accomplished.  Many were fun; some were tense; and still some were a bit… uninspiring.

It happens to the best of teams – don’t worry.  Some patterns are easy to recognize and provide room for adapting.  The goal of the daily standup is to share meaningful information that involves the team, and that quite likely leads to ACTION.  So, let’s consider the following two scenarios, where a team goes from stale to engaged!

A team member is delivering his daily standup ‘report’ (ugh) by stating what he did the day before, what he will be doing today and mentions no obstacles.  A few team members are looking at the floor.  A couple more are looking at each other, rolling their eyes and sighing.  The remaining ones are looking at the team member who’s speaking and looking past him, hearing but not really listening.  Some are thinking to themselves:

“How is this useful to ME?”

“Didn’t ALL of us make it to THAT meeting/lunch-and-learn/iteration review you’re mentioning?”

“Isn’t this what you do EVERY day/week, task such-and-such?”

The team member did not share any information that required action or engagement from others.  He repeated items that he does with regularity, as part of his role, perhaps, and mentioned his attendance at team meetings or other events in which everyone else took part.  Perhaps not every single daily standup will necessarily yield groundbreaking, actionable information.  But consider including in your daily standup delivery information that is relevant to the TEAM.

Let’s see how this team of 7 conducts a useful (not stale) daily standup:

A Database Developer begins…”Yesterday, I created a new schema definition and checked it in to Git; this new version accommodates engine and UI changes for Story X.  Today I will write queries for the new Java code, specifically for Features A and B.  And, I have an obstacle – the sandbox environment needs to be upgraded to support the new database version.”

On hearing this, the Engine Developer thinks to himself: “Ah, it’s ready – today I will begin to run data through the engine code with the new schema and write the unit test cases…”

The 2 Java Front-End Developers are thinking: “Cool – we can wire the new GUI input to the database…”

The Platform Developer is thinking: “Upgrade sandbox environment, deploy new database, nix impediment – check!”

And the 2 Test Engineers are thinking: “New code, new build – deploy and test!”

The Database Developer did not make mention of commonplace, daily tasks or occurrences, nor did he include information that, as exciting as it may be, might only be useful for him.  What he did mention were items that required action from the team – use the new database with engine and front-end code, test new changes, deploy required, new sandbox environment AND remove an obstacle.  Every member of the team was engaged, heard their call to action, and consumed the information to inspect and adapt their daily priorities. It was not stale; it was USEFUL.

Not every daily standup will have all of these qualities.  But this example highlights aspects of what will make it meaningful.  Oh, and be sure to laugh, crack a joke, plan lunch together – this is YOUR team meeting :-).

Posted in Developer, Project Manager, QA Tester, Roles, ScrumMaster, ScrumMaster | 2 Comments