We’ve just published a new video that introduces the concepts behind Pivotal Tracker. It talks about the agile process that works best with Tracker, including story breakdown and estimation, prioritization, and workflow. If you’re new to Tracker, or would like to make sure you’re getting the most of out of the tool, this should be 8 minutes well spent!
We recently launched a Facebook fan page for Pivotal Tracker. If you’re on Facebook, check it out, and give it a like! Not only will you get to keep up with all the latest news and updates, you’ll also be able to share feedback using the integrated, Get Satisfaction powered, Pivotal Tracker community forum.
It’s been six months since we announced pricing for Pivotal Tracker. As Tracker grew to become the world’s favorite agile project management app, and an essential service for thousands of companies around the world, this became a necessary step for us, in order to continue providing a great product with world class support.
Since then, we’ve rolled up our sleeves, and went to work on a long backlog of features, as promised. So far, we’ve rolled out a number of core usability improvements, as well as new features such as custom point scales, multi-story drag and drop, a brand new iOS app, and more.
As part of the pricing introduction, we offered all existing users 6 months to continue using Tracker for free, in order to give everyone plenty of time to evaluate their options.
This week marks the end of this 6 month free period, and we really couldn’t be more grateful for the fact that the majority of you have chosen to stay with Tracker – thank you! You’ve given us the mandate to make Tracker the best possible collaboration and project management software for development teams of any size, everywhere.
For those still considering options, Tracker price plans start at just $7/month, for up to 3 collaborators and 5 private projects. Public projects are free, with unlimited collaborators. Individual use (no other collaborators) is also free, and we offer sponsored plans for non-profit organizations and academic institutions, by request.
Paid plans are managed with accounts. Accounts are not the same as logins – they are a mechanism for grouping projects together for the purpose of sharing access and administration. You can read more about accounts in our FAQ.
Note: Projects at your organization may belong to a number of different accounts – we have an article on the Tracker blog that outlines the steps to consolidate these projects into a single account, as well as how to manage administration and subscription plans in one place.
Transition to Free Plan
Accounts that were on the six month extended free period were completely unlimited in terms of projects, collaborators, or file storage. As the free period ended on July 19, any accounts that were not explicitly upgraded to one of the paid plans transitioned to the free plan automatically. The free plan allows for up to 5 projects for individual use (no collaborators), and up to 200MB of file attachment storage.
As described in recent emails to account owners, accounts that are over the limits of the free plan have become read only. You can still access them fully, but you will not able to add or edit stories until you either reduce collaborators/projects/file attachments, or upgrade the account to a plan that allows for your account’s level of use. See the FAQ for more information on this.
Note: If you’ve already upgraded your account, but find that some of your projects are still in read-only mode, the projects may be in a different account, and will need to be moved. You can see which account(s) your projects are in by going to the My Projects page. Projects can be moved to a different account easily, via the project settings page – more on that in the article mentioned above.
If you have any questions at all, or have problems accessing any of your projects, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us, by email to email@example.com. We generally try to respond within a few hours.
Again, we’d like to thank all of you for your continued support. We’re looking forward to getting that next big feature out soon!
In this week’s update to Pivotal Tracker, we’ve made it easier to apply and remove labels to/from stories, with a new auto-suggest and click-to-remove widget. We’ve also made the Google Accounts sign-in integration more flexible.
Easier Adding/Removing of Labels
Labels in Tracker allow you to tie stories with a common theme together, or to convey something special about the status of a story (for example, “blocked”, or “needs discussion”).
In the future, labels will get even more powerful. As a first step, we’ve improved the usability of applying and removing of labels – it now takes fewer mouse clicks, and you can use the keyboard more efficiently.
There are now two ways to apply a label to a story – by typing into the Labels field (above story description now), or by clicking on the down-arrow and picking from labels that already exist in the project. Typing into the Labels field allows you to create a new label (hit enter when done) or to choose an existing one that matches what you type (hit the down arrow and enter to choose one).
To remove a label from a story, click on the small ‘x’ in the label itself, or use the left-arrow key to highlight it, and then delete (or backspace).
The same new auto-suggest labels widget also appears in the Stories menu at the top of the project page, which allows you to add or remove labels to/from multiple stories. Remember – to select a story, click the checkbox to the right of the story name (in the story list panels), and use shift-click to select a range of stories.
Note: To see all of the labels in your project, open the Labels and Searches panel (from the More menu). Here, you can also rename and delete labels.
Improved Google Sign-in
The first time you sign in to Tracker with your Google Account, you’ll be presented with two options – to sign up as a new Tracker user, or to associate your Google Account identity to an existing user in Tracker. It is no longer necessary to use the same email address in your Tracker profile and your Google Account in order to link them together.
If you’ve already associated your Google Account with Tracker, but you’d prefer to remove that association and tie your Google Account identity to a different Tracker user, you can do that on your Profile page in Tracker. Scroll down to the Google OpenID section, and click ‘remove’ to the right of the identity URL.
Pivotal Tracker for iOS is available now as a free app in the iTunes App Store. After downloading and installing it, sign in with your Pivotal Tracker email address (or username) and password. If you’re not a Tracker user yet, you can sign up here – it only takes a few seconds.
After choosing a project from the projects list, you’ll see the familiar story panels, but streamlined for the iOS touch interface. The current iteration and the backlog are combined in one panel, and you can swipe sideways to move between panels.
You can create stories, edit them, reject them, delete them, add comments or tasks, and view attachments. The interface is designed exclusively for iPad and iPhone, incorporating the seamless transitions and animation you expect from a native app, but it’s also familiar to anyone who’s used Pivotal Tracker on the web.
Drag stories to move them using one or two fingers. With one finger, touch a story, hold it until you see it’s shadow, and drag. If you’d rather not wait for the shadow, use two fingers to drag the story immediately.
Finding the right spot for that story is easy – the multi-touch interface lets you easily scroll through your stories, even while you’ve got a story in your other hand.
Pivotal Tracker for iOS keeps a copy of your project offline, allowing you to access your stories even without an internet connection. You do need to be online to edit stories, though.
We’ve got lots in store for the app, and you can expect frequent updates. We’re starting with features that will bring Pivotal Tracker for iOS closer to parity with Pivotal Tracker on the web, including search, improved panel management, and My Work, but we also plan to add unique features that take advantage of iOS and the mobile platform. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, we’d love your feedback. Let us know what you think of Pivotal Tracker for iOS in the comments here, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or in our community forum. And if you do enjoy the app, please post a review at the app store!
Note: If you’re using TrackerBot, the app will continue to work, but it’s no longer supported – all future development will be focused on the new Pivotal Tracker for iOS. Download it now for free from the iTunes App Store!
Happy Friday! We’ve just rolled out some changes to Pivotal Tracker, which we’re hoping will have a very noticeable impact on usability, especially for those of you who manage large projects. You can now select multiple stories with a few clicks, using shift-click, and drag them together to a new location. Also, iPad usability has been greatly improved – for example, story panels can now be scrolled with one finger, and you can move stories via drag and drop
Dragging Multiple Stories
Changing business priorities on large projects has always been a bit painful for us, having to drag stories one by one. Cloning panels helps with this, but really, what we’ve always wanted to do is just select a whole group of stories, and drop them in their new place in the backlog or the icebox with one action. You can now do this, and it’s even possible to drag stories that are in-progress to the backlog or icebox and it just does the right thing (un-starts them).
Click on the screenshot above to see a larger version.
To select multiple stories, use the small checkboxes to the right of story titles. If you’d like to select a range of stories, select the first story in the list, then shift-click on the last story. This will select all in the range, and allow you to drag them together, or use some of the other actions in the Stories drop-down, such as export to CSV or move to another project. Note: range select with shift-click only works in a single panel at a time, but you can select multiple ranges of stories across the whole project.
The Stories drop-down menu has been changed – it now shows the number of selected stories more prominently, and we’ve removed the old bulk story move actions (move to icebox, etc), since this is now possible (and easier) with drag and drop. Note – the Stories menu allows you to unselect all selected stories, which can be useful if you’re moving a lot of stories around in steps.
Note: We realize the that the checkboxes are a bit small, and hard to click on – we’ll be addressing that in an upcoming release. Also, in certain panels and/or browsers, shift-clicking on a checkbox highlights text on the page, we’ll be fixing that as well.
We’ve addressed most of the major usability issues on the iPad, and Tracker (the web application) now supports one-touch scrolling of panels, drag and drop, easier expanding and collapsing of stories, and displays properly in both orientations.
In horizontal orientation, you can see up to 3 panels at one time, and 2 panels in vertical orientation. But, you can open others, and the panel section will slide sideways to reveal newly opened ones. Dragging sideways will move the panels left and right.
To drag a story, touch it for a brief moment, until it turns yellow, then drag it.
One of the reasons that all these usability changes were possible, and fairly easy, is because we’ve changed the underlying drag and drop library that Tracker uses. We’ve tried to test thoroughly, and there are some minor issues, but there is fairly good chance that you’ll find some as well. Please let us know, by email to email@example.com, in the comments here, or over at Twitter.
We’d love your feedback on these changes. There are more new features lined up!
Pivotal Tracker is a founding member of NetworkedHelpDesk.org, a new initiative to help “create a seamless communication stream among multiple partners and suppliers to deliver an awesome customer experience.”
Led by Zendesk, NetworkedHelpDesk.org is on open application programming interface (API) that will make it easier to connect disparate systems in areas such as project management, customer relationship management, issue tracking, and customer support.
We’re excited to be part of this initiative, and look forward to building richer, bi-directional integrations between Pivotal Tracker and other applications in the product ecosystem that help our customers collaborate across their entire organization.
If you’re interested in joining the initiative, check out the API, and join today!
As we blogged about last week, all pages in Tracker that require you to sign in are now served exclusively over secure HTTPS.
As part of this update, we’ve also improved how “remembered” sessions work. Select the remember me checkbox on the signin page, and you’ll stay signed in for two weeks in that browser. This now works across multiple browsers .To clear all of your remembered sessions, just sign out anywhere, and resetting your password will clear all remembered sessions as well.
We’ve also made it easier to keep with all of the latest and greatest 3rd party tools and add-ons for Tracker, with a new RSS feed. Follow this link to add the feed to your feed reader, or click the RSS link at the top of the 3rd party tools page.
If you haven’t been there recently, there are now around 80 third party tools listed, including the popular TrackerBot, an iPad/iPhone client for Tracker, Pivotal Tracker Analytics, an on-demand business intelligence application from GoodData, the Pivotal Tracker Story Board, a Chrome extension that shows your current iteration as a card wall, and many others!
About six months ago, a certain Firefox extension made headlines by making it incredibly easy for people to intercept insecure web cookies and access private information on major web sites such as Facebook, as well as Pivotal Tracker.
In response, we made session-wide HTTPS enabled by default, but made it possible to disable it on your profile. We also left the option to force HTTPS only access for specific projects.
This partial HTTPS approach required us to use a somewhat complicated secure cookie scheme to prevent secure session hijacking (aka “sidejacking“). While this did close the door to this particular attack vector, it introduced some session instability, especially in Safari, due to intermittent dropping of secure cookies. Also, full HTTPS is generally considered to be more secure.
In next week’s release, Tracker is going all HTTPS. The static front pages will remain non-HTTPS by default, but all internal pages, for example the dashboard and project pages, will now be HTTPS-only. This will make Tracker more secure, and it allows us to remove the extra cookies related to session hijacking prevention, which should help with unintentional browser session expiration.
In addition, we’re improving how the “remember me” option works – it will now allow you to stay signed in for 2 weeks in multiple browsers.
Note: You will continue to be able to use the API via plain HTTP, unless the project you’re accessing has the “Use HTTPS” option set.
GoodData, provider of an on-demand, cloud-based business intelligence platform, has just launched Pivotal Tracker Analytics, a brand new application to help you measure your agile development process.
Powered by the GoodData cloud BI platform, Pivotal Tracker Analytics allows you to analyze your stories, burndown of the backlog and icebox, as well as velocity. It takes weekly snapshots of your data, and allows multi-dimensional analysis across iterations, stories, and time. You can also create custom dashboards, with the metrics that matter the most to your team.
As part of an early access program for Pivotal Tracker Analytics, GoodData is looking for help from Tracker users to to design reports and dashboards that will benefit the entire community. The top three dashboard designs will win an iPad 2!
Check out the GoodData announcement blog post for all the details, and to sign up.
You can now create custom point scales for your Pivotal Tracker projects. This is one of our most commonly requested features, especially from teams that practice, and/or use the planning poker form of estimation.
The default point scales of 1/2/3, 1/2/4/8, and 1/2/3/5/8 remain in place, unchanged. To use a different set of point values for your project, go to your project settings, choose ‘custom’ in the point scale dropdown, and enter a list of numbers, separated by commas.
When using a custom point scale, the estimate values will appear as numbers, instead of the usual bars that you see when using one of the default point scales.
Unestimated stories will show the first 5 point values as buttons. If your point scale has more values, you can choose one of them to estimate a story by clicking the ‘+’ button on the right.
In general, we believe in breaking down projects and features into fine grained stories, with small point estimates. This gives your team an opportunity to uncover and discuss all of interesting, and potentially risky parts of a feature early, and allow you to de-prioritize parts that are less important. However, we’re also fans of having choices when it comes to process, and customizable point scales will allow you to experiment.
We’ve made a few improvements to how story tasks work in Pivotal Tracker. They’re now turned on by default for all new projects, they can be added to a new story before it’s saved, and you can drag them to rearrange their order.
If you haven’t used story tasks before, they allow you to maintain a checklist of all of the specific things that need to be done before a given story can be considered finished. Typically, these are technical tasks, for example, a feature like “As a user, I can reset my password, so I can get back into the application” might break down to tasks along the lines of “Create new password reset controller”, “Add reset password link to signin page”, “Write functional test for resetting password”, etc.
To enable tasks for your existing project, go to Project Settings, and click the ‘Enable Tasks’ checkbox near the top of the page.
Once enabled, you can create tasks for a story by typing into the ‘add task’ field, and hitting enter. Drag a task to move it to a different position in the task list, click the checkbox next to it to mark it as complete, and hover over a task to edit or delete it (you’ll see an edit and delete button to the right of the task when hovering over it).
Stories that have tasks will now show a balloon icon next to the story title when collapsed, indicating that there is some more info available.