Two weeks ago we started a tradition we are continuing today! 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. Last time, I described how we apply sprints, this week I will tell you about how we manage our backlog.
Managing the backlog at FastPortal?
We are extremely ambitious. That also means we have a ton of features we are really excited about, but do not currently have the resources for. Some of them are really futuristic and will make the world go “Wow!”, while others are less flashy but just as important for business or scaling reasons. So how do we keep track of the thousands of hours of future work? Trello.
Trello is a web based project management tool that we also use during the sprint (more on that in the next Sprint Report in precisely two weeks!). It allows us to create custom columns that can contain a “card” with a feature. These cards can be dragged from one column to the next. During sprints we use it as a Kanban board, but Trello can do much more. So for our backlog we created a board that has columns Dreams, Soon, Urgent, Unreproducible bugs & Questionable necessity.
Dreams is for stuff we really want, but won’t be able to add in the near future. Soon will be in a sprint in the 3 months. Urgent will probably be in the next sprint. Unreproducible bugs are bug reports that might be user error or cannot be explained yet. Questionable necessity is stuff that one of us (or a customer) deems necessary, but the rest of us aren’t quite convinced.
In order to plan our future sprints, we write the specifications and user stories for all the tickets in Soon and Urgent. Based on these specs, Theodor and his team estimate the required time to design and build the feature. Dylan (as product owner) then uses that information to prioritize the tickets for future sprints. If tickets are a lot of work and/or hard to estimate, they need to be more important for the business than a smaller ticket. In can also happen that a ticket is demoted from Soon to Dreams, if it is more work than we think it is worth at this stage.
Time for another morning rave, because we finished this awesome sprint on time as well! Last report I mentioned we are working on making FastPortal even more user-friendly and intuitive. So this week the Primary Features are again related to the implementation of our app redesign: we have new filters and Quick Notes.
Primary Feature 1: Filters
The filters we used were always a bit of an eye-sore and some users were even having trouble finding them. Not good! So Dylan and I stepped into the brainstorming room (more about that some other time!) and worked out a great way to make our filters both easier and better looking. (Too bad for Maxim and Theodor that our ideas were a huge pain in the ass to implement, but they got it down to a tee. Perfect teamwork yet again!)
As a bonus to our users we added a whole bunch of additional filter options to our Invoices, Clients, Team Members, Documents and Dossiers pages. It should now be really easy to find whatever you need!
Primary Feature 2: Quick note
This sprint we had not one, but two primary features! Catalin did an amazing job on our Quick Note function. It now looks, feels and works awesome. This really makes FastPortal even more enjoyable. Catalin even went ahead and implemented our new upload function, so that is now possible to drag-and-drop as many files as you like right into the note.
- It is now possible to scroll through the list of upload files preview modals with the arrow keys on your keyboard;
- We fixed error handling within the new Upload function (we had some small issues);
- You can now create invoices with negative amounts for easy crediting to clients;
- We added some security measures we can’t tell you anything else about (ssshhhhh!);
- We now ask for confirmation before a user can leave the page if an upload is in progress;
- It is now possible to add worksteps that are hidden for clients;
- DocX previews are now supported as well.
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!)