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!

Announcing the New Voltron in Agile Software Development: Sprint.ly and Quick Left

Those who’ve worked with us at Sprint.ly - as customers, colleagues, and partners - know that we’re committed to our craft. We enjoy pushing the envelope on UI/UX, development methodologies, and technology. At times, this has meant needing to pull in specialists who are working at the very edges of their field to help us deliver. This is how we met Sam Breed and the Quick Left team in Boulder, CO.

Sam is a core contributor to Backbone, which lays at the foundation of our frontend architecture. His contributions to our recent performance refactor have dramatically improved the responsiveness of our application. After completing this project, two things were clear to me:

  1. Sam and the Quick Left team are consummate craftspeople. Delivering quality code and actionable advice took precedence over their bottom line.

  2. I wanted to spend more time working with Sam and the Quick Left team.

Sadly, I couldn’t recruit Sam and he couldn’t recruit me. This mutually sad realization, coupled with Sam’s confession that Quick Left was keen to start building their own products, led me to invite Sam out for beers.

I had an ulterior motive, though, which was to propose that we combine Quick Left’s chocolate with Sprint.ly’s peanut butter. We were building a great product, which Quick Left and their clients used, and Quick Left had an enormous engineering team ready to be aimed at the treasure trove of products swirling through our collective brains.

When our CSO, Matthew Work, first heard the idea he said simply, “That’d work.” Matt’s background at Pivotal Labs running Pivotal Tracker gave him great context to see that this symbiotic relationship had real potential.

Today I’m enormously proud, and exceedingly humbled, to announce that this potential has been realized. Sprint.ly and Quick Left are now one. We will operate offices in San Francisco, Portland, and Boulder. Our mission is to deliver great products - our own and our service customers’ - using the very best technologies and development methodologies available.

Wow. I am excite. Much coding ahead.

Cheers,

Joe

Joe Stump
Founder, Sprint.ly
@joestump

P.S. You can read more about this awesome news, along with FAQs, on our homepage.

Sprint.ly’s New Pricing Model

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Most companies in the business-to-business SaaS model work on a freemium model or a trial model. We are going to try both.

Gone are the days when you could make a simple software product that serves all customers the same way. We now have to design the whole product and the user experience around it.

These days, a complete product entails marketing funnel, onboarding, discovery, add-ons, and communication. Now we are trying to make a product that offers distinct benefits to different sized teams and people with different roles. Our design challenge is to create a product that can grow with the customer and retain them, while not being overwhelming at the start.

This complexity plays out in our pricing model as well.

We need a pricing model that gets us in the door, charges more as we provide more value to larger teams, and makes enough money to keep us in business!

So we’ve talked to our existing customers, former customers, and prospective customers and have tried to imagine and build a total spectrum product that addresses the problem of “graduation” - the movement of successful growing teams onto more enterprise- focused products.

Today, we’re happy to announce that we have launched a new pricing model. It’s sort of a hybrid between freemium (very small teams are free) and low-cost tiered plans, with high-value add-ons coming soon at most all levels.

We decided that our new pricing model must:

  • Have a free tier for small teams
  • Present compelling up-sell opportunities
  • Match price to value, and not be gimmicky
  • Encourage the adding of people to teams
  • Make sense for both makers and managers
  • Allow existing customers to retain old model if they prefer

We hope you love it. Let us know either way:

twitter: @sprintly​  / support@sprint.ly

Have some questions? Read some common questions from the Billing sections of our knowledge base

New Feature: Reports

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Sprint.ly rolled out a beautiful new collaborative feature today called Reports. Reports is a great way to view items within one product, across all phases and in a grid format.

Features & functions available in Reports:

  • Pie Chart
  • Ownership Bar
  • Full Card / Minimized Card
  • Sort Columns
  • Filter by different item criteria
  • NEW! Filter by Date

Reports is available to existing customers who are on the $14 per person per month subscription plan and for new customers on the Medium and Large tiered pricing plans.

Also included with this Sprint.ly release is an important name change to the existing Items view. We changed it to the Organizer. It is the same great tool but now with a name that is more descriptive of its purpose!

We hope you enjoy it!

Sprint.ly Performance Update

Last week we launched a dramatic increase in performance for our front end. We are built on Backbone.js and, over time, our rendering times have slowed down. Luckily, using some of the great tools in the latest versions of Chrome and a few additional tools for instrumenting how the Sprintly frontend was performing, fixing it was dramatically easier than it would have been just a few months ago.


Analyzing the Refactor

After some initial testing of rendering times and analyzing performance data gathered with Caliper, we determined that the best way to get out from underneath lethargic performance with large item-sets was to rethink how item cards were being rendered throughout the app, with a focus on item columns. Item columns are containers for groups of item cards (stories, tasks, items and defects) and show up on the dashboard and items pages.


Item column views do *a lot* of heavy lifting in Sprintly, and since they were initially developed a myriad of features have been added, subtracted, balanced and adjusted, leading to optimizations for some scenarios but not others. We sped up item columns primarily by optimizing how item columns rendered and cached the individual cards that go into them—rather than re-rendering column contents when changes happen, cards are inserted, removed and re-rendered individually, leading to better overall performance everywhere item columns are in play.


Better Tooling

The new Flame Chart view for CPU profiling made it easy to spot and optimize areas in our app that needed a dose of micro-optimizations. Given that many of the performance enhancements focused on customers with the most items, relatively small improvements can have a big impact on the most intensive parts of the rendering stack: smooth scrolling / lazy-loading, resorting and switching between the dashboard and the items view.

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The notion of JavaScript and browser rendering “frame budget” was a focus of the performance refactoring and much of the speed improvements can from recognizing when the Backbone application was attempting to do too much during a given frame. Actions that trigger rendering/repainting, requesting data from local cache or from the API or binding events to the DOM are common culprits when trying to improve framerate.

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By using the timelines panel in the Chrome developer tools we were able to identify where bottlenecks were forming, and were able to move many rendering actions to be asynchronous, either by delaying them with a set timeout or a using requestAnimationFrame.


A big shout-out to Addy Osmani and his spectacularly titled blog post Taming The Unicorn: Easing JavaScript Memory Profiling In Chrome DevTools, which provided an excellent set of sign posts for wandering through the jungle of JavaScript heap dumps and CPU profiles.


It’s worth noting that while we were primarily measuring in the latest version of Chrome, there are good alternatives in the Firefox devtools, which we were consulting from time to time to make sure gains in one browser weren’t causing regressions in another.


Performance Monitoring and Measurement

We were able to consistently and accurate measure performance characteristics, which greatly influenced how we went about re-writing how item columns and item cards were being rendered to address these framerate, load time and rendering concerns.


Here are some of the results that were measured using Caliper from before and and after the performance release:


Before the performance refactor:

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After the performance refactor:

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Following the performance release, average rendering time was decreased on average of 30%, with an 11% decrease in 90th percentile rendering time and a 6% decrease on the median response. We’re going to continue measuring and quantifying frontend performance—and still have more speed improvements in the works.


We’ve noticed palpable difference in performance and have been hearing the same from some of our customers already. Rob Munro, CEO and Scotch Aficionado of Idibon, told us “We stress-tested Sprint.ly over the last couple of days a few times with multiple people searching/browsing/editing all at once. It went really smoothly - thanks for the great product updates!!”


Let us know if it feels good for you too.


Thanks so much to Quick Left, our pals in Boulder who helped bring all this impressive JavaScriptiness together.


About Quick Left: Quick Left is a consulting agency of technologists and designers located in Boulder, Colorado. Quick Left specializes in building custom web and mobile applications through a transparent agile workflow process. Contact hello@quickleft.com for more information on project estimates, developer resources, developer training and UI/UX design. Follow @quickleft on Twitter.

Sprint.ly Closes Seed Financing Round

We are pleased to announce the closing of our Seed financing round.  The financing yielded about a million dollars in new money for Sprint.ly to expand marketing and hiring.

We’d like to thank Freestyle Capital, our long time supporters, for leading the round that included some of our mentors and friends, completely new folks from AngelList , and for the first time, a few actual, living, breathing, current customers.

When a customer buys into our round we feel especially gratified that their experience warrants backing our company and efforts. We care deeply about improving the way software gets made. When a customer gets it, we feel great. When they literally “buy in” we feel even better.

The tools for financing companies continue to evolve (AngelList, KickStarter, etc.) and increase the democratization of company financing. We enjoyed using AngelList to reach the Angel investor community; we can see that this is world-changing, and we love it.

Now we will put our noses down and our fingers back on the keyboards. Hopefully it will be several months before we have to do another pitch meeting!

New Sprint.ly Search Backend

Hey Sprinters! We rolled out a new search backend today. This big win with ElasticSearch will allow us to greatly expand our search features in the course of the coming months.

In the meantime, our new search offers you some great immediate benefits:

  • Items and comments are indexed within a second or two. This means searching for keywords and terms from newly posted comments, updated items, etc. will turn up results immediately.

  • The Search field’s type-ahead will also return ALL results. We previously returned the top 20 hits and this may have inadvertently caused confusion.

  • We’re also weighting certain fields. For instance, we “boost” title over description, which means items with “internet explorer” in the title will show up before items with that phrase in the description. Additionally, we’ve boosted Backlog and Current items over other items. We’ll be continuing to play with these weightings in the coming weeks.

We’re very excited about this first step towards expanding our search capabilities and look forward to rolling out more search features for our Sprinters.  

You may learn more from our knowledge base article. As always, please contact us at support@sprint.ly with any questions.

Sprint.ly Backlog Management

Managing your project’s backlog can be an unwieldy process when you’re facing a long list of items. At Sprint.ly, we are project managers as well and use Sprint.ly every single day to manage our long list of iterations, releases and internal projects.

We created this simple walk-through on how to effectively manage your project backlog. Keep in mind that Sprint.ly was built for many different styles of project management. What we show you here what works for our team. We encourage you to use the flexibility built into Sprint.ly towards a method that works best for you.