The New Remarks Message Board

Hi I’m Allison.

I would like to introduce our new Remarks Message Board.
As you already know, the Remarks Message Board enables you to submit messages related to the issues in a message board structure.



We are proud to release the new message board that adds more flexibility and options to the way you type your messages.

The new remarks message board includes the following new features:
• An ability to embed images into the remarks message
• An option to insert links to web pages and files.
• Control over the font formatting such as color, bold, background color, etc.

I’m going to show you how each of the new features work.

To embed images in the message please follow these simple steps:
• Click on the Insert Image button.
• Select the image on your computer.
• Click on Open.

To insert link please follow these steps:
• Type the link text in the remark
• Highlight the text
• Click on the Insert Link button
• Choose the link type from the three link options:
Http which is a standard web link
Https is a standard secure web link
File is a link to a file on your computer network
• Type the link location
• Click on Save and the link will be added to the remark

To change the font formatting please follow these steps:
• Highlight the text you wish to format.
• Choose from the formatting options on the toolbar.
• You can also first choose the formatting option and then start typing and the font will be changed accordingly.

When done click on the Update button to submit the remarks.

That’s it for now. We are developing additional new features that are planned to be released in the near future. Stay tuned…

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What is The Best Way to Define Task Priority?

It’s Allison here again.
In this clip I’m going to show you how you can improve the efficiency of your project development process so you can develop more in less time.



 

One of the main reasons why projects are late is lack of proper priorities.
It’s very common to see developers working on low priority tasks instead of focusing on the high priority tasks first.

I’ll give you an example:
Let’s say we develop a shopping cart.
The highest priority task would be to develop the credit card payment processing.
A lower priority task would be to develop the page design layout.

Why is credit card processing more important than page design layout?
Because you can’t process the transactions without the payment processing system, but you can process your transactions if the page layout is not done yet. Although, needless to say, it’s much better to have both of the tasks completed.

Another advantage of using priorities is having the ability to control the project schedule and deadline.
If you’re about to reach the project release date and several of the features are not ready yet, it’s much easier to delay low priority tasks to the next version and release the project on time.
But if you haven’t completed the major high priority tasks close to the deadline, you can’t delay them to the next release — and this means that your project couldn’t be released on time.

It’s very common to use priority categorizing such as:
Critical, High, Medium, and Low.

But what if you have 10 high priority tasks? Which one should you finish first?

To try to solve that, people add a second tier of priority. Often it is called Severity.
For example: Critical, High, Medium, and Low.

Using this system, you would first complete issues that are Critical Priority and Critical Severity.
Then you’ll complete issues that are Critical Priority and High Severity.
Starting to get complicated, right?
Furthermore, what if you have five tasks with Critical Priority and High Severity?
Which should you complete first?

I bet you’re pretty confused by now. It’s understandable, because these priority methods are confusing and too complicated.

This is why we developed the Priority List system that makes your life a lot easier.
The priority List enables you to define a unique priority value to each task in a simple manner of using numbers.
This means that an issue with priority value 1 will be developed first.
An issue with priority value 2 will be developed second, and so on.

With Priority List there is no way to get confused.
Each team member knows exactly what they should work on at any time by just looking at the Priority List and simply focusing on the issues based on their order.

Priority List gives the manager full control over the development process.
It’s easy to define and change task priority by simple dragging and dropping them on the list.
It is also possible to see the progress of each task right on the list itself, giving the team leader a full overview of the project progress.

So toss away the old complicated priority system and start using the quick and simple Priority List right away.

If you still don’t have an Elementool account, you should try a free trial by clicking on the Sign Up Now button below.

 

 

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What to Look For in Issue Tracking Software?

Hi, I’m Allison.

If you’re viewing this video, you must be looking for an issue tracking tool.
I’d like to help you with that and explain the features that you should look for when choosing issue tracking software.



 

 

Issue tracking is one of the basic tools used for project management and software development.
It is mainly used for task management, bug tracking, and defect tracking.
This is why it’s important to select the right issue tracking software for the success of your projects.

Here are the main features you should look for when selecting an issue tracking tool.

Make sure that the issue tracking software has a dashboard that enables you to view a snapshot of your project. This dashboard should be customizable and should use both text and charts to display details about your issues.
It should allow you to view the issues that are assigned to you and sort issues by their status, such as New, Fixed, Closed, and so on.

Another important feature is file attachment. You should be able to attach files to your issues. It is one of the most common features that developers and testers use when reporting and updating bugs. In many cases it is helpful to attach a screenshot of the bug or a short video that demonstrates how to reproduce the defect. It saves time when a team member views the bug report and helps them to better understand what it is about.

Next is issue reporting. Reporting and search is a very useful feature that is used often. It enables you to display issue reports based on search criteria.
For example, you can display a report of all the open bugs, or all the bugs assigned to a specific developer.
You want to make sure that the reporting feature allows you to easily set different query filters and customize the report display by enabling you to choose the columns that are displayed on the issue report.
Another useful feature is the option to create save report settings by creating a list of quick reports. This way you can select the report from the list and display it with the click of a button instead of creating the report every time from scratch. That’s a big time saver!

Email notification is also a handy feature you should look for when selecting an issue tracking tool. It enables you to send emails to team members when issues are updated. This way you can improve the communication between team members and enable them to respond quickly to bugs that are reported to the system.

These are the basic features you should look for in issue tracking software.

If you still don’t have an issue tracking account, you should try our free trial by clicking on the Sign up button below.

 

 

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How to Link Different Parts of The Project Stages

Today I want to explain how to link between different parts of the project stages.

A project is never just one thing. It includes many tasks and items that – if you do everything right – come together to form a single whole and a successful end result.



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Each project is performed in stages. You have to first define the requirements of the features that you want to develop over the course of the project. Then you have to break down each requirement into workable tasks. When the tasks are completed and the features have been developed according to the established requirements, you must run test plans to locate any potential bugs. If you find any bugs, you report them for fixing so that you can ensure that the entire project works according to plan.

Clearly this is a complex process and it requires you to keep track a lot of information along the way. And if all that information isn’t tracked correctly, your project can turn into a total mess very quickly. A poorly tracked project means you have a chaotic work situation, frustrated developers, massive delays, and, ultimately, an angry client. Needless to say, you want to avoid a nightmare like that.

To keep a project running smoothly, you want to make sure that every aspect of it is connected. That way, tasks and tests don’t fall through the cracks, get ignored, and create trouble in your development process. The best way for you to keep everything connected is to use Elementool’s record linking feature. Elementool makes it easy for you to link all of the various project components together, so you can track each item along the way.

Now let’s talk about exactly how you utilize Elementool to link those components.

As you know, Elementool offers a full set of tools that helps you run the different stages of the project.
We enable you to write feature descriptions using the Requirement Management system, then you can break down each feature description into workable issues and assign them to your team members. At the same time, you can define the testing plan by using Test Cases to write tests for the different features in your projects.
All these parts are linked together.

Let’s say for example that we build a shopping cart for the website.

We will create a feature description in Requirements Management that will describe how the shopping cart should work.
Then we define issues for the specific parts of the shopping cart. This way the developers can start developing it.
Finally, we write the test cases that we should run to make sure the shopping cart is bug free.

Using the Link Issue feature, we can link the Requirements to the Issues and Test Cases.
Under the feature list in the Requirements Management, we can see the issues and Test Cases that are part of each feature.
This way everything is grouped together and we can see the exact status of each part of the project.

If you still don’t have Requirements Management or Test Cases, you should click on the Update Now button below to add these services to your account to make sure your projects are run properly.

Upgrade Now!

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Most Common Mistake When Estimating a Project Plan

Hi, I’m Allison, and I want to talk to you about one of the most common mistakes that people make when estimating a project plan.



That mistake is underestimating the time that it will take to complete the tasks due to external pressure to make the project’s schedule shorter than it can actually be.

Let me give you an example: Let’s say that you need to travel from New York to Los Angeles for a business meeting. Your boss asks you how long it will take you to get there, and you reply “6 hours”. The boss says that 6 hours is too long and you should travel from New York to L.A. in 3 hours. You agree, because you want to please your boss, but guess what? After 3 hours of traveling, you end up in Chicago, not L.A. — because it’s impossible to travel from New York to Los Angeles in less than 6 hours!

Believe it or not, this same thing often happens with project scheduling. You set the project schedule proposal and present it to your managers and clients. Then they say that it’s too long and ask you to make it shorter. But the truth is that you can’t make the schedule shorter just to please the clients. Why? Because when you start developing the project, you’ll reach the deadline only half way through the development. And then the clients will get frustrated.

The only way you can truly shorten the project schedule is either by adding more people to the team, or by removing some of the project features. If you and the client are willing and able to do one of these things, then you can realistically plan for a shorter project schedule.

No matter how long or short your project schedule is, you need to be sure to track it carefully. Elementool Scheduling enables you to define project schedules and track the actual progress compared to the plan, which you’ll find is a great help as you try to keep the schedule on target. If you don’t have Elementool Scheduling yet, click on the Sign Up button below now to start your free trial account.

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[reality TV] The PMs of NYC Ep 4 – Will Hank Get Fired?

In this chapter of the PMs of NYC Hank will need to make a decision if he accepts the new project management processes or else he might lose his job.



 

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[reality TV] The PMs of NYC Ep 3 – How to Prevent Project Chaos

In the third episode of the PMs of NYC I explain how the team can solve the problems they’ve been having with their projects.

Bob is trying to soften Hank to get him accept the proposed solution.



 

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[reality TV] The PMs of NYC Ep 2 – Things Are Heating Up

In this episode of The Real PMs of NYC, Bob talks to the developers about both project and personnel issues, and he gets an earful from angry Hank. Bob and Allison are able to figure out the major problems that Intech’s team has with their projects.



 

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[reality TV] The Project Managers of New York City

In the first episode of the Project Managers of NYC Bob and me will meet the team of InTech, a web development company, and investigate the reasons that cause them to struggle with their projects.



 

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Game Changer Tip – Buffers

Sometimes a small piece of advice can be a game changer.
I’ve experienced this in the past when I received a tip from someone which helped me to take my project to the next level by fixing a business issue that I’ve been struggling with.



 

 

I would like to share a game changing tip with you that can help you complete projects on time.

Projects are often late. It is a well known issue that in many cases is accepted as something that we just need to live with.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. Projects can be completed on time if planned correctly.

So the game changer tip I’d like to share with you today is: Buffers.

A buffer is extra time that you add to the project’s schedule to take into account unexpected changes that might cause project delays.
We recommend using global buffers that are added to the schedule at different points, usually before milestone due dates.

Now how do you calculate the amount of time to add for a buffer, you ask? To come up with that figure, you should take the risk factors for each task into consideration. Think about what could go wrong and how much additional time it would take to deal with those potential problems. Once you have estimated a buffer time for each individual task, add them up to get the amount of time needed to create one large buffer at the end of the project.

Elementool can help you complete projects on time using the combination of Elementool’s project management software and our Project Management Formula education program.

I wish you a Happy New Year and hope that next year will be prosperous for you and your family!

And to make your New Year extra special, I would like to offer you the Project Management Formula for free if you sign up and purchase Elementool. This special offer will expire on December 31st, 2013, so you better hurry!

To sign up, please click on the button below.

 

 

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