ProjectCards Evaluation and Installation
What do I hope to gain from using ProjectCards?
- I would like to have a management and user friendly dashboard for reviewing project/release/iteration/task status.
- Be able to determine how much time there is in unscheduled stories. This can be accomplished by creating an "unscheduled" iteration and moving all unscheduled items into it.
- Be able to easily review and work with unscheduled stories -- release planning? There are numerous filters and planning group options available.
- Be able to link to detailed information in OneNote. Using the custom fields URL type I can link to OneNote or a HelpDesk ticket. However, with anything other than a standard web URL you end up with a funky empty "error" browser on your screen. The ProjectCards staff said they would change this in the future so it will let the OS handle the URL.
- Be able to determine overall project time
- Be able to set up multiple users with various access rights. Besides being able to easily set up and manage users, there are a handful of default roles built-in to the system which seem to do the job nicely.
- Be able to identify in what release a feature was added/enhanced or changed
How will OneNote continue to be a part of the process?
Detail information - notes, pictures, technical data, etc for the stories will reside in OneNote.
The installation instructions were a little confusing for the windows server since it talked about needing TomCat. It ended up being a very simple install. No configuration was needed.
Hm. How do I specify where the repository is located?
I later discovered how to configure the project data directory in the following post:
I pointed out to the ProjectCards guys this oversight in the manual and they agreed that it was a pretty big omission and belonged in the next manual. On the down side it seems that the install directory for the web reports is fixed, UNLESS you use another different web server.
The first time I used the client to connect to the server I took their advice and changed the admin password. It then promptly gave me a "corrupt license key" error. I quit and logged back in with the new password--everything went through OK.
So, now I can take a look at the product and the manual to determine if it will meet our requirements outlined above.
Sketch out the project using "themes" and putting cards under them. For example, the Search feature theme may have search by name, search by room number and search by parking spot under it.
You have to go into each individual story to set it's time and status. It'd be nice to be able to do this from the dashboard grid.
Use drag and drop to schedule a task in an iteration.
Filtering in the theme view allows you to quickly see unscheduled stories.
I'm finding it annoying that a single account can only be logged in from one location. So, when I'm working at the desktop pc and then I go over to the TabletPC to do something, I'm logged off of the desktop and any unsaved changes are lost!
I can link to a OneNote section using a custom field of the URL type. However, it thinks it's a bad link format. Also, it tries to open it in a ProjectCards wrapped web browser. So, you end up with an empty blank browser and the correct OneNote document open. Maybe, "dumbing" down this feature may be appropriate. ProjectCards guys indicate that they will do this in a future release.
Manage users can be used to create users that are used through out the ProjectCards application--that is they are good for all projects. You can use Manage Project Access to set a users access level in the project--that is you can set what role they have in this project. You can create custom project roles. Unfortunately, they are only good for that project.
If you have a single team that is working on multiple projects (a program in PM parlance), then you'll want to check out the "planning groups" feature. This same feature also works well for multiple teams working on a single project. Tip: once you have one item of the planning group type on the release plan, drag and drop other items under the planning group and they will have their planning group automatically assigned.
I'm still warming up to how the iterations work. Basically, you set your start day and then specify how long each iteration is in length. So, you don't have the flexibility to say nothings going to happen this couple of days so we don't want to start the iteration until the 1st of the month.
I've emailed with the developers on a number of occasions and they have either provided an answer to my query, engaged in a dialogue to better understand what I was trying to do and added items to their feature requests.