New Feature Beta Release: Progress

Tags have always been an important tool in Sprint.ly. Tagging items allows for targeted filtering and is a central feature for organizing and prioritizing sprints and iterations. Today, tags get even a bigger spotlight.

Our team is excited to announce the beta release of a major new Sprint.ly feature: Progress. We designed this report to show burn down and measurable progress over time for each tag in your product.

  • “Give me a progress report.”
  • “When will we be done?”
  • “How much work have we finished so far?”
  • “Who do we have working on this?”
  • “What tickets are we working on?”

Progress answers these are the critical project needs and questions.

Progress has been released in beta to a handful of our customers and we will be spending the next few weeks gathering feedback. We’ll incorporate the feedback and release it to the rest of our customers on select plans within a few weeks.

I’m thrilled to share this new feature and as always, I had a great time working with our Sprint.ly design and development team on it. In the words of our founder Joe Stump  “Wow. I am excite.”

Cheers,

Phuong

P.S. Progress told us when we would be done with this feature and yes, it was right!

6.25.2014 Sprint.ly Product Update

It has been a while since I’ve posted an update on what the Sprint.ly team has been up to. We have been busy looking at our pricing, fixing bugs and last but not least, developing an awesome new feature (more details to come)!

Annual Pricing Plans

We’ve heard a lot of great feedback from everyone about our tiered pricing plans. Today we are happy to announce new annual pricing plans. Sign up for an annual plan and save by getting two months free! Annual Plan FAQs.

NOT DONE Button

In this release, we made a small change to the Reject button for items in the Complete status. The Reject button has been changed to an orange NOT DONE button.

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This minor change was made to better delineate a ticket’s reject flow. Tickets from Someday or Backlog can still be rejected via the red Reject button whereas tickets in Complete status can now be sent back to Current with the new Not Done button.

This small UI change is a part of our ongoing effort to add more polish to the Sprint.ly application.

Other Miscellaneous Changes

This release also includes the following changes:

  • We fixed a defect where the Completed and Accepted sort options were not displayed in their respective Dashboard and Organizer columns.

  • We fixed an intermittent bug where duplicate notifications appeared after a new item was added. 

  • When an item is unassigned, an entry is now added to the item’s history feed as well as to the Activity Feed page:

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I hope you enjoyed these updates and as always, we’re here to listen to your thoughts and feedback. The team and I can be reached at support@sprint.ly.

Cheers,

Phuong

Security Update on CVE-2014-0160 Heartbleed

OpenSSL, the open source cryptographic library reported the Heartbleed vulnerability on April 7, 2014. The vulnerability allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by SSL/TLS encryption.

We have had no evidence that this vulnerability was used against Sprintly but we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure the continued safety of your information. 

Actions We Have Taken 

  1. Within hours of the official report from OpenSSL, we patched and verified all our servers for CVE-2014-0160. 
  2. We use Amazon’s ELB product for load balancing. They patched our region a few hours before we patched our servers. 
  3. We have re-issued new SSL certificates to all our servers. 
  4. We have rotated all of our SSH, Chef, and AWS API keys throughout our infrastructure. 
  5. We have rotated all 3rd party API keys we use to provide services, such as Transloadit (file processing) and Postmark (email).
  6. We have set up our Chef nodes to re-key themselves every 24 hours. We suggest you do the same
  7. Friday night we flushed all active sessions. This means you will have to log into Sprintly again when you get back to work Monday. Apologies in advance for any inconveniences.

Additional Precautions 

You may consider taking these additional precautionary measures on your Sprintly account: 

  1. Change your Sprintly password 
  2. Reset your Sprintly API key 

Both settings may be found in the Profile menu under your Gravatar. 

Again, we have had no indication that this vulnerability was used against Sprintly but do feel that it is a good habit to keep your passwords and security keys regularly updated. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at support@sprint.ly.

Sprintly Among Favorite UIs

Sprintly was recently recognized by Software Advice as one of the top five favorite user interfaces in agile project management. Software Advice researched 100s of project management interfaces, selected their top five favorite and in the review called Sprintly’s interface “remarkably attractive.”

I had a chance to catch up with author Noel Radley to ask her a few questions about herself, how she found Sprintly and what were her primary drivers for selecting Sprintly:

Phuong: Will you give us some background on yourself?

Noel: I’ve been researcher since 2001 (PhD in English), covering topics of technology since 2007. I’ve also taught writing for over a decade at University of Texas at Austin and Santa Clara University. At both campuses, I led research in teaching with technology, including work in Drupal, electronic portfolios, and media production. In February, I joined Software Advice, where my primary research is project management software.


Phuong: How did you find Sprintly?

Noel: It was a rigorous process to select our five favorite softwares. We surveyed 100s of project management interfaces, and we deeply researched about a dozen.

Sprintly showed up as a popular project management interface, and repeatedly we found users commenting on the visual design. As we evaluated the interface, we agreed that it had earned its reputation for compelling design. It really stood out among project management softwares.


Phuong: What were the primary drivers for choosing Sprintly?

Noel: First, we were looking for interfaces that wowed us with beautiful design. Secondly, we were searching for interfaces that helped teams think in critical and productive ways about workflows. We liked Sprintly because it did both. The interface was stunning, while it also provided real insight to project teams.

It’s true there are many interfaces to help track development processes, but we wanted to search for ones that helped developers think in a new way. We feel Sprintly offers unique dashboard views that are conducive in prioritizing, decision-making, and adapting a development workflow.

For example, the Kanban style board is designed in such a way it doesn’t look like your typical card wall, which is refreshing. It also has functionalities your typical card wall may not have, since the cards are more obviously interactive and social than other boards we’d seen.


Phuong: From a UX and UI perspective, do you have any opinions on what a good agile project management tool should provide a team?

Noel: Our article focuses on UI design. To demonstrate great UI, we feel that an agile project management tool would have powerful visual metaphors to help the team conceptualize their work. The tool would be accessible with clearly labelled and categorized features. Finally, in terms of color and composition, the design would make it easy for the team to identify what aspects of the development were the most important at any given moment.

For development teams, the interface should make it easy for teams to view and adapt workflows in real-time.

From surveying these tools, we got a sense that agile project management interfaces are becoming more user-oriented in general. This seemed to indicate an innovative moment for these kinds of software, and the interfaces we selected were leading the way. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

Our UI wouldn’t be this incredible without the talents and hard work from our designer Grant GarrettRead more of Noel’s article from Software Advice’s website.

Pull Request Templates Make Code Review Easier

Last week Justin, our Director of Product Engineering, shared how instituting a simple template makes code review easier for our dev team.

From Justin:

We do a bunch of code reviews at Sprint.ly. One of the things we’ve done to make that process a little easier is institute a code review template. This template is a free-form list of questions that every person filling out a pull request uses.

Read more from our Quick Left blog and get the PuRTy template from the Chrome Web Store or from GitHub

Help Getting it Right

After shipping out new features and changes to our product, we often get to hear how our customers feel about the changes. There are times where our customers love the changes and then there are times where the changes are just plain disliked.  

This was the situation we found ourselves in after we rolled out an update to our Item detail page. We moved the comment & attachment upload box up the page and changed the item’s activity stream into a reverse-chronological order. We had actually made the changes to address customer comments that there was too much scrolling needed on that page.

It turned out that the changes, although well-intentioned for one group of customers, really disrupted another group of customers and their own Sprintly work habits. The number of complaints that came through support, Twitter and our Sprintly Customer Community had the highest velocity we had received to date. So we got together, spec’d out a solution and moved the work up our backlog.

Today we deployed a new option on the Item detail page that allows you to sort the activity stream in chronological or reverse-chronological order:  


This new option will help our customers use our system more effectively. Thanks for your feedback and persistence because it has helped us get it right! Now we’re back to work on more improvements, bug fixes and new features.

By the way, we’re hiring designers and full-stack developers in Portland, San Francisco and Boulder. If you’re interested in joining the Sprint.ly and Quick Left super awesome teams, Joe and I would love to hear from you!

2.19.2014 Sprintly Product Update

The Feb. 19, 2014’s update to Sprintly included a number of key changes.

Change to Item Detail Page

We moved up the comment and attachment upload box on the item detail (permalink) page. It is now located right below the item description:

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It was formerly at the end of an item’s activity stream, at the bottom of the page. An item’s activity stream will now display from newest to oldest. We heard feedback from our users that it took too much scrolling in order to add new comments and attachments.

This is second in a series of updates for the item detail page. We rolled out a big performance boost to this page on February 5th that enabled quicker and more efficient loading. We will continue making additional changes to make this page so it is more user-friendly. We will be incorporating a lot of the feedback we have received from our user base in future releases. 


Performance Update - Dashboard

Included in this release is a significant performance patch to the Dashboard that enables quicker page loading. Also, some users were experiencing issues loading new items or items that recently changed state on the Dashboard. We have removed all local caching for the Dashboard to ensure that all item updates are accurately reflected at all times. We will be deploying this same performance update to other Sprintly pages (e.g. the Organizer) in upcoming releases. 

Also included in this release is a fix for a display bug where new items would sometimes appear twice on the Dashboard and for a short period of time or until the page is refreshed. This display bug has been resolved in this latest release.


Other Bug Fixes

Other updates include a fix to the email notifications check boxes in Settings. We also added back in a second warning prompt for deleting a product from the Sprintly system.


Phew! Now we’re back to working on more performance updates and bug fixes! Please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@sprint.ly with any questions or concerns.

Raygun Integration

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Sprintly is excited to announce yet another awesome integration! Today we feature the Raygun.io integration from our friends at Mindscape. Raygun notifies you of your software’s bugs as they happen. With this integration you can attach an error group to a Sprint.ly issue that already exists, or create a new item in Sprintly from an error group. All directly from within Raygun. Read more about the integration here on their blog.

Bugsnag Integration

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Sprintly is excited to announce the Bugsnag integration. Bugsnag detects and diagnoses crashes in your applications and now you can set up Bugsnag to automatically create defects within Sprintly. Read more about Bugsnag and the integration on Bugsnag’s blog!

Flora Worley: My First 4 Months at Sprintly

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I’ve been at Sprint.ly for four months, and what better way to celebrate than with a little reflection in the form of a blog post! As those who read my initial “welcome” post know, this is my first official job as a developer. Though it took roughly two years of web-hacking and self-hacking to put myself in the position to get hired somewhere like Sprint.ly, I’m still in shock that I’m actually here now.

Not that I’m resting on my laurels. There’s a lot of hard work involved in transitioning into a new career in a new field. For starters, trying to find my bearings in new piece of software has been like being lost in the garden maze from Alice in Wonderland—just like Alice in the Looking Glass, I sometimes find myself running very fast for a very long time and getting nowhere. There are curious bugs that seem to grow or, if I’m lucky, shrink without much warning. (Just in case you’ve never personally experienced the pleasure of working with Javascript, I’ve come to think of it as the programming equivalent of a fair weather friend: nice when things are neat and simple, but prone to disloyalty.) There’s learning a new culture and the particularities—some might say peculiarities—of our startup: Burrito the Bulldog and a yodeling Affenpinscher playing gatekeepers to the door and the fridge; the subtle pressure to produce hilarious and timely GIFs, a skill that I’ve yet completely and utterly failed to master; the feeling that you’re always running late on a seemingly never ending list of todos.

But for all of my Tweedle-Dum moments, and there have been many, I’ve made some serious headway as a developer since I’ve been here. When I started at Sprint.ly the majority of my experience resided in Python and Django work, and the process of ramping up on Javascript and Backbone has helped me to understand web applications in a whole new way. Our code base is much larger than any project I have previously worked on, and one of the ongoing challenges I face is keeping track of how different parts of our app interact so that I don’t introduce regressions in one part of our code when fixing a bug in another. I’ve poured so much effort into gaining fluency in Mocha, Chai, and Sinon at this point that I now feel that test-writing is one of my strongest skills. And while our team puts a lot of effort into thinking through the architecture of our app as well as our build architecture, I’d like to think that I’m absorbing information around the more meta issues of software development too.

For all this, the highlight of my first few months hasn’t been learning a new language or library; it’s not crystallized in a particular pull request, and has nothing to do with overcoming a particular set of fears (though that’s pretty awesome too). The real highlight of my tenure so far at Sprint.ly has been finding my way into a team of people who care deeply about the product we build, and who care deeply about each other’s success. I’m lucky to work with more seasoned developers who, without having to ask, will take time out to explain technologies that I may not even directly work with, and I never feel like I can’t ask any of my fellow developers a question, or expect to get a thoughtful answer when I’m stuck on something new.

Choosing to be a developer is committing to a lifetime of learning—and there’s a shared understanding here at Sprint.ly, and as we become part of the larger Quick Left team, that we can all help each other to be better craftspeople. If this sounds good to you, take note: we’re hiring!