For the last 8 months, I’ve been using SEP TeamWorks as a front-end for my all digital, TFS-backed Kanban board. The experiment has been relatively successful, and I’m constantly revamping my model to make it fit for our style of projects. The real success of using Kanban with this tool has to be its adoption to other projects within the organization. While my hand-waving evangelism has played a part, this expansion is largely due to the position of my desk: I’ve been sitting directly between the Project Management group and the developers and see a fair amount of foot traffic every day. Every developer, project manager, designer and executive has walked by my multiple-monitor, touch screen environment and eventually, like bees to honey, they ask, “what the hell is that??”
While I’m very pleased to see Kanban adoption within our organization, I’m also very glad to see that SEP is using an iterative release cycle for their TeamWorks product. Late last year they added an auto-update feature and now surprise updates makes it feel like it’s Christmas all year long.
Here are two of my favorite new features from the latest release:
Revamped “Add new” menu
There are two ways you can add new work items inside TeamWorks. The first way is through a main menu at the top of the screen; the second is a context-menu that you can bring up on an existing work item. This context-menu option has been completely reworked.
The new version opens a dialog window that let’s you specify the WorkItem Type (Bug, Task, etc) and relationship (Parent, Child, Related, etc) to the current item.
This dialog is very similar to how it appears within Visual Studio, which means I can do more from the touch screen. The other clear advantage to using the context-menu is that the newly created work item inherits the iteration and area of the linked item.
This release has a brand new feature that allows you to edit the appearance of your Kanban cards. This is a very simple but very welcome addition to the tool. The tool allows you to customize the fields and layout for each type of card, and you’re able to reuse your layouts from other queries or projects.
Here’s an example of a Task that I’ve customized by placing the Remaining Work field in the bottom right hand-corner, horizontally right-aligned.
Here’s a few customizations that I’ve used on my most recent project:
- User Stories: add the Story points to the bottom of the card
- Tasks: Original Estimate, Completed Work, Remaining Work
- Bugs: Priority and Severity
Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got Inglorious Basterds queued up on my DVR and a nice cool drink waiting for me.