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Kanban Flow: 5 Ways to Deliver Value Faster

“Don’t ‘over control’ like a novice pilot. Stay loose enough from the flow that you can observe...

The post Kanban Flow: 5 Ways to Deliver Value Faster appeared first on Blog | LeanKit.

Categories: Companies

New to agile – free learning

Growing Agile - Wed, 08/31/2016 - 12:10
If you are new to agile, here are some free books and videos to get your understanding started. FREE EBOOKS The Scrum Handbook The Scrum Guide The Scrum Primer Scrum and XP from the Trenches Scrum and Kanban: Making the most of both Lean from the trenches Do Better Scrum What every Product Owner should […]
Categories: Companies

Youth in Agile, Part 3: Visualizing Tasks at Home and in the Finance Team

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 18:00

Youth in Agile is a new blog series sponsored by SolutionsIQ that gives young Agilists a voice in a world that is constantly changing and asking increasingly more of them. The contributors to this series are college-aged individuals who are part of the SolutionsIQ community — interns, participants of a certification course, family to SolutionsIQ’s core community. As Agile becomes more and more mainstream, it’s imperative that we begin listening to the next generation of Agilists who have hopefully learned from us and our mistakes and can continue down the path of growth in the work place that this generation and previous ones have carefully laid out.

This blog was written by Izzy Quartararo who works in the Finance department of SolutionsIQ.


Izzy B&WI started working at SolutionsIQ, when I was 16 years old, processing employee expenses as well as performing a few other small tasks a few hours a week. I was still in high school at the time. When I was 18 and graduated, I decided to go in a new direction and went on to pursue something different for a little over a year. After I felt that I learned all that I could learn, I decided to come back to SolutionsIQ! I was welcomed back with open arms and I am so grateful for that. I have been back for about two years now and SolutionsIQ has changed so much! In a good way, obviously. They have acquired two new companies and nothing could be more amazing to watch. SolutionsIQ is always presenting me with new challenges as a result of these changes, which enables me to gain new and valuable knowledge from all of my experiences here. I am going to school to get my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources and it is always great to be able to apply the things that I am learning in school to what I am doing at work. I have learned so much about Agile and it has been so valuable to me, both inside the workplace and out.

Agile in the Workplace

Currently I work full time as part of the Expense Team in the Finance Department. The Expense Team processes employee expenses as well as assists the Billing Team with invoicing our clients for the billable expenses that our consultants incur. The Finance Team uses several important Agile activities in our day-to-day work as well as our near-term and long-term strategy. SolutionsIQ’s Finance Team does a standup every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00 am. Members of the team that aren’t physically in the office call in remotely to participate. Standup gives us a chance to visually see what everyone is working on for the next two days, reach out for help if it is needed and allows the team to connect, especially the ones who work remotely in other parts of the country. When the Finance Team gets together and everyone makes their tasks visible to the rest of the team, it significantly impacts the team in a  positive way. Because of the monthly billing cycle, the Finance Team has 30-day sprints ending on the tenth of each month. We also do occasional retrospectives when they are needed, mostly if there is a conflict of some sort. Every time we do a retrospective as a team, I always find them to be very useful and I leave knowing exactly what action items are my responsibility.

A few weeks ago SolutionsIQ’s Expense Team and Billing Team got to participate in a Value Stream Mapping session with our very own consultant, Jeff Nicholls. Our goal for the Value Stream Mapping was to make visible all of the impediments in our process. Even though the members of our team knew exactly what the impediments were beforehand, it was very useful to be able to sit down and make them visible for others that are not included in our everyday processes to see. Both teams left the meeting feeling that positive changes were going to come out of this transparent and collaborative session. Sessions like this make me feel so lucky to be able to work at SolutionsIQ.

Another reason I’m excited to work at SolutionsIQ is that I have been given a great opportunity to transition over to the Consulting Ops Department. As a result of growing so quickly, SolutionsIQ has many, many more clients, which should come as no surprise to the people who have been following our growth. Clients with a large demand require extra effort in monitoring their budgets, organizing their expenses, etc. and that is a large portion of what I am hoping to accomplish! I am looking forward to taking my past Agile experiences into this role, as well as learning a lot more as I go.

My CSM Experience

In June I took a Certified ScrumMaster course here in Redmond, taught by SolutionsIQ consultant-trainers Bryan Stallings and Jeff Nicholls. Going into this class I knew that I was going to be familiar with most of the material that would be covered, so I wanted to mainly focus on the idea of “How can I use these Agile strategies to improve my work processes?” As I participated in this two-day class, I took notes that were specifically applicable to me instead of trying to record all the information that was being provided, whereas most of the other students were doing just that. After the class, I left with several sticky notes with action items on them that I was able to work through in my own time. My main focus was on strategizing how to get the consultants to submit their expenses in a timely and accurate manner, for example, submitting them every week, rather than waiting until the end of the month. Overall, the CSM course was a very valuable experience, not only to watch Bryan and Jeff do what they love, but to get new perspectives on Agile and SolutionsIQ as a whole.

Agile at Home

Recently I decided to move into my own one-bedroom apartment, as well as take two summer classes. With that came the obvious bills, random and unexpected expenses and all around a lot of craziness. As if that wasn’t enough, I decided it would be cool to get a fish and then later a cat, which if you’re wondering, isn’t the best combination. I very soon began to get overwhelmed and stressed about all the changes in my life. So the other night I decided to use what I learned at work to get organized. I pulled out some sticky notes and put together a Kanban board (“To Do → Doing → Done”) on my dining room wall of my new apartment. The items going on the “To Do” section included bills, chores, assignments and responsibilities. I included deadlines (my version of the time box) for each of these items as well. I then organized each of the items by deadline and placed them on the chart accordingly. Instead of doing the typical two-week sprint recommended in Scrum, I decided that I would do a short, one-day sprint and that I would have a new sprint for each day of the week. After putting together my chart and setting up my five, one-day sprints, I was completely aware of exactly what needed to be done and by when. Being the OCD, overly organized person that I am, I began to feel much more relaxed and ready to tackle the tasks at hand. Had I not worked in an Agile work environment for several years, I might never have thought of approaching my at-home tasks in this way.

Using Agile practices at home can make it easier to complete chores and home projects.
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Flat Josh_IzzyAt SolutionsIQ, I also have the privilege of working with my amazing step mom, Kelly Quartararo. She works in the Consulting Operations department reviewing contracts and project margins as well as assisting with forecasts. Since we both work in an Agile work environment, a lot of the time we may have similar approaches to things. For example, oftentimes before we go on large family vacations, Kelly will create a large Kanban board on their dining room wall for everything that needs to be packed, made, put together, etc., before we leave for vacation. Also, since our family ratio is 5 kids to 2 adults, it’s always important that everyone is aware of the tasks at hand. The last time we did this on our family camping trip to Daroga State Park in Eastern Washington. What was most memorable about that experience was that my brother Josh couldn’t come and so we printed out a “Flat Josh” version of him that we took everywhere with us, even jetskiing! Because community is important, right?

This visualization of work is a key concept in Agile and works for any team in any workplace. It is a way for everyone to collaborate and accomplish what needs to be done, even if it’s just because the kids love to move the sticky notes from one section to another, which honestly I am guilty of myself. All in all, though, I feel that working at SolutionsIQ is helping me grow into a more collaborative adult with a more Agile way of thinking and being.

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

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The post Youth in Agile, Part 3: Visualizing Tasks at Home and in the Finance Team appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

New Blog Posting at

NetObjectives - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 14:54
A new blog us up at, focusing on TDD and framework components. Comments are welcome. -Scott Bain-

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Categories: Companies

Dockerised Jenkins 2 on Google Cloud Platform

Xebia Blog - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 14:03
Any company doing serious software development needs a platform. The platform allows the company to build and test software and support running all applications. I have had a lot of experience with a platform based on AWS, Docker, and CoreOS using Fleet for orchestration. But being as curious as I am, I wanted to look
Categories: Companies

Help Me Create a Better Way to Prioritise Features

Xebia Blog - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 10:37
Do you remember the legendary PID? the Project Initiation Document. The famous big binder that we used to create in the beginning of a project to satisfy governance and then bury in a drawer so we could get started. Then agile came and we broke things down. We learned story maps, customer journeys, vision statements,
Categories: Companies

Targetprocess v.3.9.3: Keyboard shortcuts, Owner as a lane

TargetProcess - Edge of Chaos Blog - Tue, 08/30/2016 - 09:22
Keyboard shortcuts

We've finally implemented keyboard shortcuts into Targetprocess. You can review all the available shortcuts by pressing: "ctrl" + "/"  (or, "cmd" + "/"  for Macs).

Keyboard Shortcuts

There are currently 3 places in Targetprocess where shortcuts are available: views (Boards, Lists, Timelines, One-by-one views), entity views (the screen that appears when you open a card), and Quick Add popups. You can read more about keyboard shortcuts at this User Guide page.

Owner as a lane

We’ve added the possibility to include an Owner lane when setting up a view. This means you can now build views that group entities by the person who created them. Users with admin permissions can easily change the owner using drag and drop. Owners in lanes are filtered by the projects and teams currently selected in the global context.

Minor Updates and Fixed Bugs
  • Added a view menu search placeholder and a "no results" search message
  • Fixed an error that would occur when trying to run a Test plan owned by a deleted project from the Team Iteration view
  • Fixed the absence of required custom fields in the project/program context quick add form
  • Fixed a problem with incorrect card counts in the Person lane when there are multiple user assignments
Categories: Companies

How to Get Started with Continuous Improvement

Not sure how to get started with continuous improvement? Understanding how to use data to drive improvement efforts...

The post How to Get Started with Continuous Improvement appeared first on Blog | LeanKit.

Categories: Companies

JIRA and Kanban vs. LeanKit

JIRA, Kanban Boards, and LeanKit
Kanban is used across many types of organizations to visualize work, limit...

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Categories: Companies

The Small Diet Coke: Coupling and Requirements

NetObjectives - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:29
When considering the quality of a design one of the things we focus on is the coupling between entities.  Coupling is both necessary (you create a system’s behavior by coupling entities to each other for collaboration) and often problematic (excessive or illogical coupling produces unpredictable side effects when changes are made). So, clearly, some coupling is good and some coupling is bad. ...

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Categories: Companies

Conference Thoughts

Growing Agile - Fri, 08/26/2016 - 14:13
This week I attended an Agile Conference. I’m lucky enough to have attended many of these over the last 6 years. Some were amazing and some were lacking. As someone who has organised a conference before I know that this is no easy task. And everybody has their own ideas about who, how and what. […]
Categories: Companies

Debunking Common Misconceptions About DevOps

BigVisible Solutions :: An Agile Company - Thu, 08/25/2016 - 18:00

Devops_WikipediaIf you’re reading this, odds are you’ve either already got a definition of DevOps in mind or you’re trying to find one. I’m of the firm belief that there is no one single definition that will adequately suffice. Instead there are multiple definitions that you “grow through” on your path. This post contains my thoughts on some of the experiences that individuals in several different roles and departments in an organization may have of DevOps, and a different perspective that may help you realize greater success at providing value to your customers.

But First: A Tangent

Before I get into definitions (wrong or right), there’s a little history on the concepts, practices, and behaviors discussed in “DevOps” circles. First of all, the practices predate the term, some by hundreds of years. Unlike Agile, DevOps is not “something” you are. It’s not the tools you use either. In the computing world, consultants with a sufficient understanding of the history and practices will be able to trace some of the concepts back to mainframe days, through the initial days of distributed computing, into the shared services structures of the 1980s and the outsourcing binge in the 1990s, and—yes—even into the Agile movements that came next. Indeed, in some respects, Agile and DevOps practices act like focusing mirrors for one another, but DevOps is best described as a culture.

DevOps is a culture.
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While early Agile transformations focus on delivery of new software services through personal interactions and incremental delivery of value, DevOps practices focus on building tools and technologies which remove distractions from the value stream discussion.  These DevOps practices provide enriched information upon which personal interactions can occur and decisions can be made and reduce delays between the actions of creators and the result of the usage of their results. More recently, enterprise Agile transformations have begun to focus on the development of new services beyond just software, while DevOps promoters have deeply expanded research and effort on understanding the pipeline of provisioning, delivery, and execution of services in a more generic sense.

DevOps Misconceptions and Truths

Here are some misconceptions, misunderstandings, and contextual views on DevOps in certain departments and roles. While they may not be true for you, these embody what I have encountered as an Agile/DevOps consultant.

Here are some misconceptions that certain org roles may have about DevOps
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Department or RoleMisconception of DevOpsA Better Frame of Reference IT OperationsThe use of containers and automation exists to isolate and limit the impact developers can have on on-going operational responsibilities, and avoid dependency and configuration management. This way we can impose operational responsibility on development, and minimize production issues through tight environmental controls.We, as operators, provide the tools and infrastructure that developers need so their primary focus is on providing value, and they are not distracted by things that have no direct impact on that value. Since developers are the ones responsible for value creation, we additionally help them understand the business value by helping them define the measure and meters to place in their code, provide access to those metrics, and help them understand how the environment affects them. This provides a means to create a bridge of trust between developers and end-users and directly links the value of dependable and trustworthy services to value propositions in the backlog. IT DevelopmentThe use of containers and automation exists so new services can be developed quickly without having to consider operational configuration, dependency management, or capacity planning. We can build it however we want, and when we hand it off to operations they just have to deploy our container as-is.Because we want to understand the value we are providing to our customers we work in collaboration with operations to get feedback on the application services we create, and the changes we make to them.

Developers want feedback on changes quickly and often, not just from an IT perspective, but on how it has impacted users, customers, and clients (both internal and external). Our collaboration with IT Operations helps us know more about how our applications are used and the value of the changes we make.
IT ManagementThe elimination of “development” vs “operations” arguments, budgets, and issues, which allows us to reduce staff, reduce budget, and let development teams add operational responsibilities (or vice versa) with a few simple tools.DevOps is a constant review of tools, practices, and techniques with the objective of enriching personal interactions, creating and improving a stable pipeline, and delivering of new value. As such we can only recognize quality by providing needed infrastructure, expertise, and information when they are needed, and ensuring a unified team from conception through delivery. Business OperatorDevOps is the latest buzzword that signifies collaboration between new service development and on-going operations that allows us to add new services while continuing to depend upon the services we need to continue providing existing services.DevOps, along with Agile in general, is a change from attempting to define a contracted deliverable to another team within our organization, to an ongoing collaboration between the members of an expanded team for the delivery of new services that can be used to meet revenue, cost, or business objectives over the long-haul. SecurityThe blurring of the roles and responsibilities of developers and operators, as well as the increasing of risk in the organization.DevOps is an opportunity to look at new ways to meet regulations with greater involvement from all stakeholders the new service development process, so Security can ensure the entire process meets regulations and is executed safely. As active participants in the team, we aren’t the last to look at the product; instead we are engaged throughout service development. This also means we have to become Agile ourselves so that our tools and techniques for identifying security risks can be incorporated into processes earlier, consistently, and reliably. ExecutiveA silver-bullet set of technologies and tools that will insure we can run more digital services for a lower cost, with fewer people, and less risk.DevOps is an organization-wide change in thinking that places emphasis on adding, changing, or more importantly removing tools and practices that distract from, hinder, or reduce the value of people and their interactions. Ideally the only tools in use are those that provide information rapidly on the effect of changes made by the people in your organization, enrich interpersonal interactions, and supports the organization’s needs to create and implement solutions to business objectives.

Ok, some of these are rather extreme, but they are a pretty accurate expression of what I’ve lived through in the past. What they all have in common is that each department has their own individual concerns about and aspirations for DevOps. Perhaps they had concerns about and aspirations for Agile and feel like DevOps will provide the missing piece to the puzzle, but chances are that the pieces are in place; it’s just that you’re not using them right, or you need a good coach. It’s a change in thinking not a changing of the guards.  The tools and technologies will change, but if you have more agility and a DevOps culture, then you likely already have the only real tool you’ll ever need: good dedicated engaged people.

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The post Debunking Common Misconceptions About DevOps appeared first on SolutionsIQ.

Categories: Companies

Reply to Comments with @ Mentions

Pivotal Tracker Blog - Wed, 08/10/2016 - 18:39

Last month, we made it so that clicking on a story comment notification (either in the app or in email) took you directly to the comment in which you’d been mentioned.

“That’s great and all,” we hear you saying, “but replying to that comment can be a bit painful when you’re trying to keep everyone already @ mentioned in the conversation.”
Fair point!

Hold onto your horses, because now you can quickly reply to everyone who’s part of a comment thread with one click.

Just mouse over a comment and click the new Reply button.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 9.37.26 AM

You’ll notice that the people previously mentioned are selected by default, making it easy to remove them if you meant to reply only to the comment author. To keep them, just hit the right arrow key and start typing to your heart’s content.

As always, please share your feedback via the in-app widget (in the Help dropdown when in a project), or email us.

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Categories: Companies

How to Rescue Yourself From a Risky Setback

Pivotal Tracker Blog - Wed, 07/27/2016 - 16:52

Did you ever take a risk and then realize, “OMG, I am in too deep?”

But by the time you realized it, it was too late.

There was no time for a do-over.

You were stuck and really the only logical thing to do next was to throw in the towel and call it quits.

Or was it?

Well, in today’s episode of FemgineerTV, we’re going to tackle the topic of how you can rescue yourself from a risky setback.

And to help us out, I’ve invited Jessica Mah, the CEO and Co-Founder of InDinero. She has grown InDinero from zero to multimillion dollar revenues with nearly 200 full-time staff, and has been on the cover of Inc. Magazine, and featured in the Forbes and Inc. 30 Under 30 lists. Jessica studied computer science at UC Berkeley.

Jessica went from engineering to entrepreneurship right out of college, but it hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses for her.

She’s had to overcome a number of setbacks along the way, including being on the brink of bankruptcy!

She’s been kind enough to share her story openly with us, and as you watch the episode you’ll learn:

    • Why it’s important to set goals (but not too many!)
    • How to respond to those
    • Why being direct with teammates and customers can help you work through a risky setback
    • How partners can be helpful, and how to nurture those relationships to withstand setbacks
    • How you can feel fearless and confident, but how it’s like a gas tank and needs to be replenished

If you’ve agonized over a significant setback, then I highly recommend watching this episode!

Listen to the episode on iTunes!

You can listen to this episode of FemgineerTV on iTunes. Please take a moment to leave us a review. Your positive review will help us get featured in News & Noteworthy and bring more exposure to the work we’re doing, as well as the talented guests we feature!

FemgineerTV is produced as a partnership between Femgineer and Pivotal Tracker. San Francisco video production by StartMotionMEDIA.

The post How to Rescue Yourself From a Risky Setback appeared first on Pivotal Tracker.

Categories: Companies

Comment Links

Pivotal Tracker Blog - Wed, 07/06/2016 - 23:59

Tracker’s notifications let you stay on top of story conversations as they evolve, whether you’re in the app or in your email inbox.

Now when you click a comment or mention notification, Tracker highlights and takes you directly to that comment.

We’ve also added the ability to grab links right from the comments. You can paste them into your favorite app like Slack so others can go directly to that comment.

Comment Link

We’ve also made it easier to open a story in a new tab. Just CMD-click a story or the arrow button in an expanded story (or the story preview hover).

Got feedback? Please get in touch via the Provide Feedback widget under Help in any project, contact us on Twitter, or email

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Categories: Companies

Tracker and Cross-Functional Teams: Where Do You Fit In?

Pivotal Tracker Blog - Tue, 07/05/2016 - 19:00

It takes a village to deliver a great software project. Tracker’s workflow accommodates a developer’s perspective well, but there can be many actors involved in delivering a feature. You’ll use Tracker differently and get different benefits depending on your role and competencies. For example, if you’re a UX designer or a business analyst, where do your activities fit in Tracker? You might have multiple roles and competencies; for example, maybe you’re a developer who also does design and/or testing. Let’s look at how you can use Tracker to keep your work visible and coordinate a variety of activities on a cross-functional team that’s collaborating to build a quality product.

Product owners and managers
If you serve as product owner, product manager, or you’re a line manager for your team, here are some features you can take advantage of to help you plan and prioritize.

Managing multiple projects and dependencies
Need to keep up with more than one project? Create your own workspaces so that you can check progress on several projects at a glance, make dependencies and blockages visible, and easily move stories between projects as needed.

My Work search to see individuals’ active stories
You can see what stories a particular project member has in progress by using the mywork search in combination with the member’s username or initials. This works across projects in workspaces, as well as in individual projects. For example, for the project member with username “chewbacca” and initials CB, type mywork:chewbacca or mywork:cb in the Search field. Some teams pin a My Work panel for each user and display it on a big monitor so they can see if anyone might need help with a time-consuming story.

My Work search across projects in a workspace

Epics are a great place to capture design assets, business rules, and examples that span multiple stories. When planning a new feature, start with the epic, and use the Epic Stories panel to add and prioritize related stories. The Epics panel provides a quick visual of progress and status of all the project’s active epics. You can mouse over the bar graph showing relative epic size to see how many stories are in each state, along with a projected epic completion date. You can use the Epic Stories panel to clearly see story priorities, and change them by dragging them within the panel.

For some creative ways to prioritize your epics, complete them more quickly, and make milestones more visible, see these epic tips for epics.

Managing priorities
You can choose from a variety of ways to make priorities visible in Tracker. If you need to move many stories around in your Backlog or Icebox, cloning the panel to more easily drag them to a new position helps. Selecting multiple stories for dragging to a new location—or for updating via the Bulk Actions menu—can also save you time. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can prioritize stories within an epic by dragging them directly within the Epic Stories panel.

Use release markers to group related stories and clearly reflect their priority.

Promote conversations and fast feedback with @mentions, and stay up to date by following stories.

Measuring progress and continually improving
Use Tracker’s Analytics to track metrics that may help your team identify pain points, shorten cycle time, and improve flow. This information gives managers as well as teams insight into project progress and trends. You can create your own custom reports with Tracker’s API, using endpoints such as Project History, Reports, and Story Transitions.

Working with design
Tracker is oriented towards software development work, where teams deliver agreed-upon desired outcomes for each story and feature. Managing design work presents a different set of challenges. You can try some alternative approaches to promote collaboration among designers and the rest of the team, and ensure design tasks are planned and tracked for each feature.

Design projects
Design teams often have their own backlogs, in a dedicated Tracker project for design work. They conduct planning meetings to discuss and estimate stories. A dedicated design project in Tracker makes design work more visible. Everyone on the delivery team can see what the design team is working on. They see the design ideas for upcoming features and follow the discussions and decision-making about each design. When a design story is delivered in Tracker, the product owner can accept the design or ask for more changes.

Development epics
Epics in the development project are a convenient place to attach design assets for each feature. Design updates can be recorded in the epic, so that every project member knows where to find the latest information.

Story tasks
One way to track design work for an individual feature story is to add design tasks to the story that can be checked off when completed.

Using labels to address design needs
Individual feature stories often require design work. Use labels to indicate that a story “needs design” or to inform developers to “pair with designer.” You can also assign a designer as a story owner. A “design accept” label alerts the designer to check the delivered story or pair with the product owner, tester, or other team member to review delivered work. When designs are implemented and approved, a label like “design accepted” denotes that all design tasks are completed for that story. Or, depending on your workflow, a designer can mark the story accepted.

Tracker and testing
Each software feature involves many testing activities. Just to give a few examples, developing a single story may require writing and automating acceptance tests, as well as functional, security, load, performance, usability, and end-to-end testing. Here are some ways to make your Tracker project’s testing activities more visible.

Description, tasks, and comments
Stories are a placeholder for conversations, and getting the right amigos together to talk about each feature is key. As your team discusses each story to achieve a shared understanding, you may want to capture some details in the story that can be used for writing executable acceptance tests, exploratory testing, and other testing and coding support.

You can put information such as examples, business rules, and outstanding questions in the description. Use Markdown to help organize the details.

Testing activities and notes can also be noted as tasks, so they can be marked completed as development proceeds. For example, if you link to a test script in a task, and check it off when it’s run and passed, the person accepting the story knows that the test has been run and passed.

Comments are also a handy placeholder for testing information. You can attach a test matrix, annotated mock-ups, testing charters, and other assets to make sure all necessary testing activities are done.

Links to executable test specs, information on a team wiki, and other documents can be embedded or attached to the story.

Another alternative is to create separate stories in Tracker for your tests. In that case you could use labels, so that clicking on a label will find the test case story or stories, and any related bug and feature stories.

Visibility and workflow using labels and @mentions
Depending on how testing fits into your team’s workflow, you can use labels to indicate if a testing task needs to be done or has been done. For example, a product owner can add a label “needs test” to indicate that exploratory testing is still needed. A tester who’s testing a delivered story can put a label such as “lisa testing” and a label like “test accepted” to show no more work is needed by a tester.

Combining labels with @mentioning team members in comments helps facilitate the workflow. A “design accept” label and an @mention to a designer ensures the designer knows to take a look or pair with a tester or product owner to do acceptance testing. If team members have a question about feature behavior and the product owner or customer isn’t available to ask right then, a @mention can help get the answer or arrange a quick meeting.

Stories for testing activities
A testing activity that extends beyond a particular story is often best represented by its own Tracker feature or chore. For example, exploratory testing charters can be added to the project, with a label that links them to the related epic or feature stories. These stories can be prioritized to be done at the appropriate time and are visible to everyone on the project so that anyone can do that testing.

Something’s missing or incorrect?
Tracker’s workflow assumes that a story that does not meet all specifications, or that is delivered with incorrect behavior, will be rejected. However, sometimes customers miss requirements when writing and discussing the story, or a bug found might not be directly related to that story. Then it might be appropriate to add new stories for the missed requirements or bugs.

Check out more ways to make testing visible in Tracker’s workflow and learn how we approach testing on our own Tracker team.

Supporting customer support
Your team’s customers will ask for new features and report problems. Tracker provides integrations with customer support tools and defect-tracking systems to help you prioritize and collaborate around stories to address them. These stories are created by dragging them in from an integration panel listing external bugs or tickets. They have a clickable link to take you back to the original item that they were created from.

Tracker generally updates linked tickets or items in external systems when the Tracker story changes state, and comments added to the Tracker story will be added to the linked item. However, subsequent updates to the ticket or item in the external system will not be propagated back to Tracker.

The person who has the ticket or bug in their queue in the external system, might update the Tracker story with anything new and relevant that was added there, or alert the product owner or manager running the project containing the story. The product owner or manager might also be watching support or bug system notifications so they can make any needed updates directly.

Typically, new bug reports and stories from external ticketing systems go into the top of the Icebox, which acts as an inbox. You can add a release marker to make this inbox more visible.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 3.09.03 PM

Use labels to indicate that a story is a “feature request,” a “production” bug, “reported often,” or other information to help the product owner and team prioritize the stories appropriately.

If you get a lot of feature requests from users, consider using a dedicated project for these, labelling each request so that you can track how many users have asked for a particular feature.

We encourage you to experiment with different approaches to using Tracker and its workflow. Be sure to check out the integrations that members of our user community have shared to see what might help. Whatever hats you wear on your delivery team, Tracker offers ways to keep your activities visible and stay up to date on the big picture.

The post Tracker and Cross-Functional Teams: Where Do You Fit In? appeared first on Pivotal Tracker.

Categories: Companies

How to Prepare to Strike Out on Your Own and Pursue Your Creative Calling

Pivotal Tracker Blog - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 18:30

Have you contemplated leaving the comforts of a company to strike out on your own to pursue a creative calling?

Perhaps you have an idea for a product or service. While there’s a strong pull to pursue it, hesitation maybe holding you back.

You’re worried about being good enough, attracting customers and clients, and how to make it all come together to find fulfillment, while at the same time tending to the practical side of things like paying the bills!

You’ve probably heard plenty of stories around striking out to build a startup, raise capital, and pursue a big idea. While that sounds exciting, you’re looking for an alternative approach…

Well, in today’s episode of FemgineerTV, we’re going to be tackling all these topics. To help us out, I’ve invited Jessica Hische, who is a letter, illustrator, and type designer.

Jessica began her career working for a design studio called HeadCase. She then went on to work for a prominent designer, Louise Fili, and eventually struck out on her own. Jessica has had notable clients like Wes Anderson, David Eggers, Tiffany Co, and Nike, just to name a few.

As you watch this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Steps you can take early in your career, such as how to reach out to people or companies you want to work for and learn from;
  • Why a day job can be immensely valuable and how to find one that is nurturing;
  • Why you don’t have to run a 10+ person design studio or a 100+ startup, and can be a solopreneur;
  • How to reconcile your client’s vision with your own creative desires;
  • How to get compensated fairly by conveying the price and value of your work;
  • Why learning tangential skills as a creative can be helpful when it comes to hiring; and
  • How to balance side projects and attract work with the day-to-day work that pays the bills.

Whether you’ve been in your career for 6 months or 6+ years, and have toyed with the idea of doing your own thing but weren’t sure how to set your own terms, this episode is for you!

For those of you who are interested in design and typography, check out Jessica’s latest book In Progress. We also talked about her popular post, “The Dark Art of Pricing,” which you can read here.

Listen to the episode on iTunes!

You can listen to the episode and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. Please take a moment to leave us a review. Your positive review will help us get featured in the News & Noteworthy and bring more exposure to the work we’re doing as well as the talented guests we feature!

FemgineerTV is produced as a partnership between Femgineer and Pivotal Tracker. San Francisco video production by StartMotionMEDIA.

The post How to Prepare to Strike Out on Your Own and Pursue Your Creative Calling appeared first on Pivotal Tracker.

Categories: Companies

Obscure Gradle Error: RSA premaster secret error

A little madness - Wed, 03/30/2016 - 05:30

Just a quick post in case anyone else runs into the same obscure scenario. Setting up a new Gradle project on my OSX dev machine, the build could not download any files from Maven Central. When trying to establish an SSH connection I was getting:

RSA premaster secret error

A web search didn’t turn up much, making it clear this was not a common issue. The only hits I found where outdated or unusual configurations, whereas I believed I had a pretty vanilla setup.

Long story short, the problem was I had globally set the java.ext.dirs system property to the empty string to prevent another, unrelated (and equally obscure) error in the past. That was too blunt an approach — the JVM at the very least needs $JAVA_HOME/jre/lib/ext to be included in java.ext.dirs to load some core jars, including sunjce_provider.jar which includes implementations of the encryption algorithms required to establish SSL connections. User error on my part, which I paid for with wasted time — I hope this post saves someone from the same mistake!

Categories: Companies

All the small things

Agile Zen - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 20:19

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve released a few small changes:

1) Links no longer open in the same window.

2) The backlog can now be pinned open. If you click the thumbtack in the backlog, it will stay open until you unpin it for that project.


3) You can now have cards default to the top of a phase instead of the bottom. Your setting will be persisted by project.



Categories: Companies

[Recap] Fast IT: Concepts and Examples from Assembla and Attivio

Assembla Blog - Thu, 07/31/2014 - 22:51

Last week, Sid Probstein, CTO of Attivio, and Andy Singleton, founder of Assembla presented a webinar about “Fast IT,” a new way of managing rapidly changing and Agile projects in areas like mobile, Web, analytics and marketing applications, while working smoothly with reliable core systems ("Core IT"). Andy discussed the dynamics of Fast IT, and Sid presented a case study of how Attivio spun up a major Business Intelligence app in two weeks with two people.

If you missed the webinar, view and download the slides

Want an overview of Fast IT in 60 seconds? Watch the video below:

Get notified about new and exciting content around Fast IT by completing the form below:


Categories: Companies