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In my last demo of Planbox, I found myself spending more time than usual describing why we introduced two-level projects. So in this post, I’ll describe and show how you can leverage that in your organization.
The top level is called an initiative. It is akin to a product or service: it associates a team of individuals to one or many projects. At the second level are projects which contain to-do items (and items contain tasks). Let me refer to this picture pulled from the Features page.
It is a Gantt-chart-like depiction of how we setup the Planbox initiative to manage Planbox itself. Notice we have three projects; a first for development of the web application, a second for marketing and commerce, and a third for the regular run of business.
Why do we manage non-development activities in Planbox? Simply because management and marketing also have items which affect development of Planbox. So tracking items for everyone in the same tool allows us to plan a common iteration. It also allows us not to forget anything and it maintains open communication between departments.
The Power of Filtering
On the Plan page is where two-level projects come in handy. You can quickly filter to-do items to see one or multiple projects. For example:
There are things which need to stay private. In Planbox, you can only see items for initiatives and projects you are involved in. For example, only allowed Planbox managers can see items in the Run of Business project. So I can manage employee confidential items directly in Planbox by putting those items in the Run of Business project, and be assured they remain unseen by employees.
Permissions are easy to setup in Planbox. Go to the Manage page, open your initiative and then the project. You simply include a person in your project to grant him/her access to those items. Remove a person from your project and he/she will no longer see those items.
Of course, only administrators have the ability to add or remove projects and people. We provide administrator privileges at the initiative-level. And you can have many administrators on a same initiative. An administrator is able to create, modify and delete projects. An administrator can also add/remove people from projects. And administrators can see all items in all projects in the initiative, regardless of whether they are on a project or not.
Initiative or Project?
Now that these concepts are clear, how to decide whether to create two distinct initiatives, or two projects inside an initiative? Try to answer these questions:
Will there be overlap between team members? Do the two need to keep separate identities?
If the two involve different teams, create distinct initiatives. If the two involve the same teams, create one initiative with two projects. What overrides it all is if the two need to keep distinct identities (i.e. two clients in a consulting firm). In that case, create distinct initiatives.
For example, in Bolidea (Planbox’s incubator) each incubating company has its own initiative. Here’s a look at some of those I can see on my Manage page. Notice I even created myself a personal initiative. No one but me can see that one.
It would be the same for a larger company with distinct products; one initiative per product. A consulting firm could create one initiative per client. That allows you to personalize it by attaching the client’s logo. You can then grant the client access to see how his project is evolving. He would only see that one initiative.
And if you’re not sure because some resources will be shared, be assured that Planbox was built to support that.
So as you can see, Planbox provides all the means for an organization to manage their activities in one tool. So go ahead and give agility to your entire organization.
New ui goodies
New toolbar [ui]
Starting today in Planbox, freshly baked new UI changes have been introduced.
The tooltip provided to help you edit/add/delete an item as been entirely designed. The new slicker look consumes less space and doesn’t overlap on other items on the page. We thank our mighty designer David for this concept, we hope you will like it. Here is the look for the item editor:
Let the team know what’s released and what’s not! [status]
Also, very few people knew that they could actually do stuff to mark a story “completed”, “verified”, “released” or “approved”/”rejected”. We decided to make these “hidden buttons” look more like actual buttons. When you hover a row you will now see that everything clickable looks like a button, clicking on the hourglass will then reveal a menu that looks like this:
Getting the clutter out of item editor [item, labels, description]
As some of you might have realized, creating a new label implies that every time you open an item, this label will show up. While it shouldn’t be an issue for small projects, it definitely is for projects that have been around for quite a while like Planbox. The label selection screen is now better organized and consume less space. The label section will now only show up the labels selected for that item. The regular full blown view of all the labels will be available on mouse hover..
You might also have noticed that is an item doesn’t have description, we now show a + Description link instead of a big white box so you can focus more on your stuff and less in empty white boxes.
Show me what I still have to do [filters]
Also, we are introducing a new filter to help people working on large projects. “Items I still have work in” under the story filter will reveal only stories for wich you still have tasks to complete in.
So that’s all for todays, most of these improvements were planned after being suggested by our users! Would you like to see one of your idea implemented in Planbox? Submit feedback now to get your voice heard.
Good news! Planbox officially opens up its door today to all users who subscribed to the beta. In addition, we decided we would also open the door to the general public so everyone will be able to be agile in everything they manage: projects, product, people and feedback.
To register now for free, just follow this link:
Don’t hesitate to tell us everything that you would like us to add or improve – we attentively read all the feedback we get and use it to get better.
Planbox’s features are innovative and easy to use in order for you to spend more time getting things done and less time playing in a complicated spreadsheet.
We encourage you to take the time to find out more about how Planbox’s features can help boost your productivity:
Planbox is 100% free while in Beta so it’s worth inviting whoever you think might find the product useful.
Martin Drapeau & The Planbox Team