LeanKit Enhancements & Bug Fixes – Nov/Dec 2012

If you haven’t noticed, our pace of development has picked up a lot recently. We’ve got some awesome new team members. We’ve borrowed/adapted a great new 1-page product management approach that we heard  from Mattias Skarin at Lean Kanban Central Europe. And (gasp!) we’re really limiting our WIP of “management-sponsored projects” pretty severely to force ourselves to focus and to allow slack time for inevitable interruptions and creative problem-solving space for the team. Who knew this Kanban approach worked so well?

We’re still not as fast as we’d like (could we ever be?) but better-and-better all the time. We’re now pretty consistently releasing new capabilities or non-critical bug fixes on a weekly basis. (Critical fixes go in immediately, of course.) But, we don’t want to bombard you with spam updates. So, while we’re releasing code all the time, so long as the changes don’t require you to do something right away and/or won’t create any downtime for you, we’re bundling the announcements. So, in case you haven’t noticed already, here’s what we’ve released recently:

New Features / Enhancements

Staleness Filter

You can now filter your kanban board to show cards that have stayed in their current lane for more than a specified amount of time. It’s called the Staleness filter. The idea is to help you easily see which work is stuck in your process. It could be that, while your over-all cycle time is great, certain types of work take longer and people kind of work around them. Maybe that’s OK sometimes, but now you can see where the rocks are in your process flow and remove them if you wish.

Invitations

We’ve made it easier for you to add new users to your account. Instead of having to go into the admin screens and fill out all the information for a new user, users with the right level of permissions can invite them from the home screen or a board simply by clicking a single button (it looks like a head-and-shoulders with a plus sign), inputting one or more e-mail addresses, and clicking Send Invitation. The invitee can then fill out the rest of their information. PS You can still create users the old way.

Our First Board

We introduced a feature called Our First Board. This is a sample kanban board, populated with sample cards that we designed to help new users more easily understand the key ideas in Kanban and the key features of LeanKit. This was designed initially for new customer accounts, but we decided to put it in the template library just in case you might find it helpful in training new users joining your LeanKit account. If you are a Basic Edition customer, the Welcome board doesn’t count toward your limit of boards.

Saving Cards with Board Templates

In the process of creating the Welcome Board, we “accidentally” added another feature, which we made available to Portfolio Edition accounts – the ability to save a set of cards when saving a board as a template and to decide whether to clone those cards when creating a new board from the template.

Each card will be recreated in the same position on the new board as on the original – unless it was in the archive. We don’t save archive cards because there can be SO many! The re-created cards will include: title, description, priority, size, card type, class of service, blocked/unblocked with reason, tags, external link, and external card ID. We don’t save/clone attachments, comments, history or due date.

We think this feature will be great for organizations that have standard tasks or deliverables that are required each time a certain type of project is done. Now you can save those standard deliverables as cards on a series of “checklist” board templates. Each time you need to do a project of a standard type you can create a drill-through board using the right template. In our world of IT, things like server builds, third Saturday maintenance, deployment checklists, Scrum planning meetings, stage gate governance reviews, etc. spring to mind. We know our friends/customers in the Lean manufacturing world are very big on standard work. Used in conjunction with lane policies, we hope this will be a powerful project portfolio management tool for encouraging consistent workflow without “enforcing” compliance.

Faster Board Refreshing

We changed how we handle refreshing your board with updates made by other people. “Why should I care?” you might ask. Two reason. One, this will allow our infrastructure to support many more customers. Which will keep our hardware costs down as we expand and allow us to spend that money on building cool new features instead. And two, more tangibly, it will improve the speed with which you see changes made by other people. It was already pretty fast. 5-10 seconds. Now it should be 1-2 seconds. A much nicer collaboration tool and great for a stand-up meeting. No more standing around waiting for the updated card to move! This change is being rolled out gradually to ensure system stability so it may be a little while before everyone sees the change.

And a Few More

  • Users had requested that we display the current number of cards/card size total when hovering over the lane, not just when hovering over the lane header. Now we do.
  • If a card has a parent card (for Portfolio Edition customers) you now see the parent card when looking at the card edit dialog.
  • You can now asssign a parent card via the right click menu

Bug Fixes

  • If you opened and closed the archive during the process of editing a board, sometimes the last lane on the main board wrapped to the bottom of the screen. That’s now fixed.
  • Sometimes icons from the parent card were showing “through” when you opened a task board
  • When drilling through from a parent card on one board to see its child cards on another board, the view is supposed to be filtered to highlight only those cards that are children. In some cases, a user’s other previously-set filters were also being applied at the same time.
  • We fixed an issue with the GetCardById API call where we were returning the wrong status code.
  • We handled some issues with wrapping of lanes depending on how far in/out you were zoomed in the Google Chrome browser
  • We made the system display properly in IE 10
  • We corrected an issue with file attachment downloads in IE 8
  • We dealt with an issue with persistent cross-site scripting. So far as we know this was never exploited maliciously. Just something uncovered in an external security audit. We’re constantly working to ensure the security of your data.
  • We also closed a very small security issue related to phishing – content spoofing
  • We blocked users from uploading executable files and created a back-end admin tool for blocking specific file types upon customer request.
  • We can now turn-off the RSS feed through our back-end admin tool for customers whose security departments don’t like this feature. We’ve already been able to do this for file attachments.

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