A new release is in the air along with the occasional snow flake here in Stockholm. This post is about what has changed in Projectplace in the latest release and a little about our plans for the future.
Actions in all projects
Over the last year we have been working really hard on creating tools for planning that support the planning process in a way that we believe is useful and brings real value to projects. We believe that there are different time horizons for planning and that planning needs to be done continually, collaboratively and transparently. In project circles this approach, that planning has to be done in waves or phases, is sometimes called Rolling-wave planning.
We have different tools for different time horizons – for the long plan, the goal and how to get there, we have the time line that is at the top of the interface at all times.
For the detailed, day-to-day planning we have kanban boards that you find under the tool tab Boards. It is key for project success that everyone knows what needs to be done and how we are progressing. Kanban boards are a powerful way of visualizing the work including commitments in time and who is in charge; they are digital Kanban boards with social features. Because we believe that this is the best way of planning, we want as many of our users as possible trying it out. Therefore, we now turn Boards on in all projects except those that were originally created from a project template. For those that have not yet experienced Action planning in Projectplace, please just try it out in the new Actions tool. Projects that don’t currently use the tool will have an example board for you to get started with.
Labels for Actions
In Actions we also introduce labels for action cards. Labels are colour codes that represent a connection between actions. In my example action board, for instance, I use blue for actions that are related to the quotation and red for actions that are related to the testing.
The label names can be set up by administrators but anyone can label an action:
Future development in Actions
In the next few releases we plan that you should be able to see actions grouped by label on the board. You will also be able to group actions by end date and assignee. We also plan to make it possible to attach documents and other files to Actions, both from Documents in the project and other sources such as your computer or iPad.
Simpler interface and @-ref all in Conversations
We have removed some of the check-box choices when posting in Conversations on the Project Overview. You are no longer able to distinguish posts as more or less important. The option to email all members is replaced by a virtual @-reference group called all_members. The advantage is that this @-reference group is available in all places were you can @-reference, for instance in comments to actions. To use the group simply type @all and select the group all members in the drop down list that appears automatically.
Implemented user ideas and performance boost
Exporting members to excel like you can do with Contacts has been a long standing request from our user community and in the latest release it has been implemented. You will find the button to export selected members on the toolbar in Members.
Another user initiated development is the possibility to remove moods in the Our Spirit widget. Like on the Project Overview, you will be able to remove your own posts and administrators can remove anything.
Another focus for this release has been to improve performance and the system should feel quicker, especially for those of you who have rather complex folder structures in Documents.
Like I mentioned above, we have plans for further developments in the Actions tool and we also have an internal prototype out for a gantt-like expansion of the timeline that will be used for detaling the steps on the timeline and/or displaying action boards in the project on the timeline. I hope to be able to show you a picture of what that might look like soon.
We will also soon introduce web notifications in the service. This means that a lot of the notifications that are currently sent to you via email, like when you get assigned something, or when a deadline is coming up will be accessible straight in the interface.
There are always a few things that you can think about after a release. Emptying the cache is usually the first thing we do at support when you call us and this can solve a lot of problems. The cache is a function in the web browser that saves files for faster browsing. After a release some of these files are obsolete and need replacing with new files to display Projectplace properly. This site is great for showing how you empty the cache in various browsers:
Please note that Actions does not work in Internet Explorer 7 or if you run Projectplace in compatibility mode. To see sites run in compatibility mode in Internet Explorer 8 or 9 please check under Tools -> Compatibility view setting.
If Projectplace is in this list, please remove it and restart your browser.