Introduction to Uzility

Here is a 5 minute video showing a quick introduction to Uzility Agile Workflow Management Software.

Take a look and learn about Uzility.

-Steve

Introduction To Scrum – Video

Here is a video that I produced to introduce software development teams to Agile Scrum.

 

This video covers

  • Agile vs waterfall.
  • 3 roles of scrum
  • 3 artifacts of scrum
  • 3 ceremonies of scrum
  • User stories
  • Software options

 

Also, please take a look at Uzility for scrum software.  http://Uzility.com

 

Scrum Workflow

I have been working on a video as part of the Uzility product. One of the diagrams in the video is scrum workflow that shows the scrum process from the product backlog all the way through to sprint review and retrospective.  Here is the diagram, what do you think?

ScrumWorkflow

The video will be coming soon.

New Uzility Card Designs. Which do you prefer?

As we have been building the Uzility agile product, we have been following agile development principles, following the release early, release often and get customer feedback.

There have been things that we have tried, and things that we have learned from, and updated or changed. Its interesting when you have a design for part of the system that you think looks good, then the graphics designers and UI/UX team takes a look at it and they provide new designs. It goes to show how valuable it is to have great designers on the team.

Here is an example, the card design prior to last week:

SimpleKanban
And the new look of cards in the Uzility system based on the designs from our graphics design team:

New Style 1:

newCards1

 

New Style 2:

newCards2

 

With both styles, the color of the card represents who the card is assigned to. Each user can choose their own color. Also with both, there are 4 icons that can be shown that represent Comments, Acceptance Criteria, Point Estimates, and File Attachments. If the icon is shown it means that those items have been entered on a card.

For instance, the following card which shown first with style 1, and style 2 has three icons. One that represents that there are 3 comments on this card / user story, the second shows that there is one acceptance criteria, and that the card has been estimated at 8 points.singleCard1

singleCard2

 

I hope that everyone agrees that both of these designs are better than the original, but that I am trying to decide on is which one to use as the default.  Both styles are available to the Uzility user, but which one should I set as the default for new customers.

 

New Style 1:

singleCard1

 

New Style 2:

singleCard2

Please cast your vote by posting a response to this posting, and let me know which style (1 or 2) should be the default.

This is part of what I love about agile so much is getting customer feedback.

 

thanks!

-Steve Stedman

Founder Uzility

New feature added to Uzility – The Daily Scrum

A new feature has been added to Uzility and is now available to everyone using Uzility.

This new feature is called the Daily Scrum and it is available from the current sprints page as shown here. The intention is to assist in the daily scrum or daily standup meetings to highlight what people are working on or where they may be blocked.

If you run your Daily Scrum meetings near a large screen or a projection screen you can now use Uzility to easily report on your status.  If you don’t have electronic access, just print off your page and you will be ready to report at the Daily Scrum meeting.

DailyScrum1

 

When you click the Daily Scrum button you are taken to a page that lists all of the changes by anyone working on cards assigned to the current sprint. First you get a list of all changes, but when you click the names of people on the team you can see their contribution to the sprint in the last day (Since this is the daily standup).

DailyScrum2

Selecting the name of a team member the results are filter to show their latest contributions to the sprint.

 

 

DailyScrum3

 

As each team member reports on their status they get a quick refresher of the cards they have contributed to on the current sprint.

If a user has cards that they haven’t been able to work on they will be shown at the bottom of the daily scrum page.

DailyScrum4

 

This new feature will allow teams using Uzility to more accurately report on the status of their work at the daily scrum or daily standup meeting.

 

For more information visit Uzility.com

 

How Kanban Software Makes Backlog Grooming Simple

By: Steve Stedman

CEO at Uzility Software

Some of the first backlog grooming meetings that I participated in as a scrum master were extremely painful. I would be working with multiple product owners and many of them weren’t using the same system to manage their backlogs. Some were using Excel to manage their back log, others using a text file, or a Word document. With any of the typical office tools, it was challenging to organize the backlog into a way that workflow could be updated, allowing the product owners to get their backlog items to the state defined in our definition of ready. Then, once the backlog items were ready, someone would have to transfer the items from Excel or Word into some other system, or to eventually print cards. I had a hard time understanding the value of agile when so much time was being spent just copying and pasting in Excel.

I began to realize quickly that creating a uniform location and structure to building a backlog was an important part of the agile process. There was a need that was not being met within my project teams and I decided to fix it. Part of the reason that I started down the road to the creation of Uzility was to eliminate the need for the painful copy and pasting from excel to other systems, and instead have an easy drag and drop process that integrates card creation and backlog management into the Kanban board.

The way the backlog grooming system is structured means that the product owner can put as many cards into their backlog as they want. The most important cards get dragged to the top of the column, indicating their priority.  The backlog items with the highest priority are given a final edit, and dragged into another column where developers can then take the prioritized backlog and use it in sprint planning.

Your backlog may look something like this.

BacklogGroomingBlogPost1

 

If you want to prioritize card #20 “Add a support page” as the highest priority, simply drag it to the top of your backlog. The prioritized list would look something like the following:

BacklogGroomingBlogPost2

Now that “Add a support page” is the top user story, you can click the edit button, or double click the card to get more details. Keep in mind that the numbers shown on the cards are the card number, not the sort order. In this case as shown below, there are no more details, the user story has not been completed yet.

BacklogGroomingBlogPost3

To complete the card, fill in the details section. It might look something like this:

BacklogGroomingBlogPost4

Next click the “Acceptance” tab and hit the “Add Acceptance Criteria” button to start adding your acceptance details.

BacklogGroomingBlogPost5

Notice the “Save and Add Another” button. This allows you to quickly add several acceptance criteria without having to leave the form and come back in.  After adding a few acceptance criteria your acceptance page may look something like this.

BacklogGroomingBlogPost6

If you have files to attach, you can use the “Files” tab.

At this point your new card should be finished and ready to go to the Sprint Planning Stage.  Repeat this process for the rest of the User Stories in your backlog an you will be ready for that next sprint planning meeting.

Related topics:

  • Uzility
  • Planning Poker
  • Backlog Grooming
  • Acceptance Criteria

Sprint Planning