We are starting a new tradition! From now on, every two weeks on Monday we will release our summary of our latest sprint. These write-ups will tell our users about the changes that were released that Monday morning around 8:00 AM Amsterdam time. I’ll start with a brief description of what sprints are and how we do them.
Sprints at FastPortal. How do we work?
The last couple of months we have become more strict in our application of agile principles and as a result are now firmly committed to bi-weekly releases following a sprint. For those not in software development: a sprint is a set period of time (two weeks at FastPortal) in which a predetermined set of features and fixes is created from start to finish. That means a close cooperation between the business people from a marketing/sales perspective, designers and developmers.
Dylan Davies (our Chief Customer Officer) acts as the Product Owner. The Product Owner represents the customer in setting the goals for the sprint. The developers then focus on delivering the Potentially Shippable Increments (PSI’s) or better put: awesome features and fixes that we are proud to show off! Theodor Diaconu (our Chief Technical Officer) is the scrum master and lead developer. Check our Wikipedia for more information on sprints: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprint_(scrum).
At FastPortal we have added some of our tweaks to the classic sprint setup. Every FastPortal sprint has one or two Primary Features. These primary features are typically a fair amount of work and are meant to drastically improve a single aspect of the application. Primary features therefore always directly relate to our three company values: Reliability, Joy & Inspiration. We start these features first and they must be done, regardless of what happens. Besides the primary features, we also work on a bunch of smaller improvements that improve FastPortal in smaller ways. Bugs, of course, are treated special and do not need to follow sprints. We fix bugs as we find them and release the fixes immediately.
Party time! We finished another sprint and we are really proud of the work! As you guys might have noticed, we have been working on redesigning some aspects of FastPortal to make it even more user-friendly and intuitive. For the next couple of sprints our Primary Feature will be related to the implementation of our app redesign. This week we upgraded our upload module.
Primary Feature: Uploads
As Maxim, Theodor and Dylan will testify, it wasn’t easy, but the end result in amazing: FastPortal now supports drag-and-drop, multiple-file uploads of up to 25MB per file, with live previews, easy document-labels and user configurable-descriptions. And it looks insane too! We have completed tests with over 500 files in a single batch, including 25MB files (over 1GB in total) and not a single glitch. 🙂
- The invoicing system has been slightly redesigned.
- The PDF export for invoices has been improved a lot. Invoices look a lot better now!
- We fixed a small bug where, sometimes, people had to log back in twice after a session timeout.
- We have started adding some loading screens here and there to make things feel a bit snappier.
- We’ve fixed quite a few translations throughout the application. (This multilingual thing is a lot more work than it looks!)
- Some smaller changes to the document manager part of the application, especially how we show mimetypes, previews and file date.
- We made the salutation for clients and team members more flexible, to allow users to pick whatever they like.
- After creating a client or team member, you are now taken to their profile page instead of back to the client/team member list.
- When creating a new dossier from the Service Template editor, the new dossier is automatically pre-selected.
- We improved the way we show dates, so that the portal owner can decide how dates look throughout the application.
- We increased the validation rules for quite a few data fields based on popular request.
- We are still improving the functionality where a client can have sub-clients. Some bugs and inconsistencies were cleared up.
- We’ve improved some alignments and positioning issues for buttons and tooltips.
- We have added quite a lot to our BEHAT test suite for automated testing. This will help us avoid bugs in the future. Basically, we write a bunch of small scripts that pretend to be a regular user and then do stuff like creating a client, logging in, deleting a document, etc. Since it is all automated, we can quickly and frequently run these tests to determine if everything is still working. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavior-driven_development for more info!
If you have any suggestions on how we can improve FastPortal, please let us know. Just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our offices at WeWork Metropool in Amsterdam (The address is Weesperstraat 61, but please call ahead so we can make sure we can have your favorite drink ready for you!)