What’s New in 14.3?

We’re excited to announce Axosoft’s Version 14.3 Release! Here is what you can expect in the newest version:

  • TeamsMake team management a breeze by organizing your users by teams and sub-teams.

  • SMS settingsLet Axosoft send you text notifications on your mobile devices.

  • UX boost Drag and drop images into text fields, copy and paste images into large text fields, see user gravatars in card view and more.

Teams

This is a big one.  Many of our customers (that’s you!) need the ability to group users together in the system to manage their progress more easily, gain better visibility, and include the whole team. Hence the introduction of team management.

Welcome to Teams with Axosoft.

Welcome to Teams with Axosoft!

You can now assign items to teams, filter by teams, send notifications to teams and more. Teams are located under the Users and Teams section of the Organize panel. This is where you group your main team and create smaller teams within a larger grouping of users as well.

Create as many smaller teams as you need.

Create as many smaller teams as you need.

In short, anywhere you could assign an individual user to something, you can now assign a team. Plus if the team ever changes it’s easy to update the roster for the next cycle.

 

SMS Settings

Ah texting. For those of you who love your mobile devices, we now give you the ability get text notifications from Axosoft (US and Canada only). Go to Tools/ System Options/ SMS settings to enable SMS settings. For hosted customers, that’s all you need to do. If you’re an installed customer, you will need to create a Twilio account to configure the SMS feature in your network.

This will enabled by default for hosted customers.

This will be enabled by default for hosted customers.

Once enabled, go to Tools/ Notifications/ Manage to edit a notification template and enter a phone number in the recipients box.  You will then get a text from Axosoft anytime an item is created, changed, or deleted.

Type the phone numbers you wish to include in your notifications. (US and Canada only.)

Type the phone numbers you wish to include in your notifications. (US and Canada only.)

This functionality will be free while in Beta.

UX Boost

It’s the little things that count. That’s why we’ve updated several smaller features to boost your everyday use of the Axosoft Suite. We’ve introduced Global Dashboard Settings to allow quick changes to your whole dashboard. For example, by clicking the gear by the huge plus sign in your dashboard, you can now update the release or sprint for a particular dashboard once you’re ready to start the next cycle.

 

Update the release, time unit, item type and a few extra things all in one place.

Update the release, time unit, item type and a few extra things all in one place.

Here’s a quick list of other new functionality you can try with this release:

  • Copy and Paste into large text fields (drag and drop images too, yay!)

  • Right click to add a worklog

  • ID and title always in view when scrolling in edit mode

  • Gravatars now included in card view

 

Plus join us for our API Webinar on September 3rd to learn about the latest version of our API. That wraps up what’s new in 14.3. Stay tuned for more awesomeness!

 

Axosoft at the Agile2014 Conference

Agile 2014

We traveled to Orlando, Florida last week for the Agile 2014 conference. It was a blast!

As Arizonans we are no strangers to the heat, but dry heat is an entirely different experience than being immersed in 80% humidity. Upon arrival in Orlando, we braced ourselves for the balmy weather and were much relieved to arrive at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center. For those of you who have never been, Gaylord Palms is like a biosphere: a temperature controlled, naturally lit, plant thriving oasis!

gaylord palms resort

We were happy to set up in the expo hall right in front of the entrance doors. If you were there, there’s no way you could have missed us! We readied our booth with plenty of Axosoft swag – Scrum mini guides, Agile Notetakers, Tego Audio Nova speakers, and stress-ball ladybugs – then welcomed the first wave of conference attendees.

Axosoft booth

We had lots of great conversations with project managers, developers, Scrum masters, agile coaches, and the like. Many were drawn into our booth by our cute ladybug stress-balls representative of our recent decision to price Axosoft Bug Tracker at only $1!

Axosoft Bug Tracker

With ladybugs in hand, people wanted to know what makes us different from our competitors. Many of you who are already familiar with Axosoft know that we are much more Scrum focused than JIRA, Rally, VersionOne and other Agile softwares. For instance, we have a new Daily Scrum feature that no other agile or Scrum software has to facilitate daily standup meetings. Lots of attendees started envisioning their teams using this feature.

Daily Scrum

People also loved our clean UI and many people stopped at our demos when they recognized our custom dashboards from the hit HBO show Silicon Valley.

Scrum Dashboard

All in all we had a great time talking to current and prospective Axosoft users at our booth. We were also happy to mingle with many  more great people and even a mermaid!  We came away from this conference with lots of great insights and ideas we will be bringing to Agile2015; hope to see you there!

mermaid

Talking Scrum with the Founder of Axosoft

msdn magazine

Recently, our founder Hamid Shojaee sat down with MSDN Magazine to talk about Axosoft’s $1 bug tracker, passion for Scrum, and  the company’s future. Hamid has guided Axosoft to becoming the #1 Scrum software for developers by focusing on the core features Scrum teams need to ship great software on time and on budget. Read what he had to say about Scrum and Axosoft below!

scrum in 10 minutes

Learn Scrum in under 10 minutes with this video!

Q With the #1 Scrum product and video, it’s clear Axosoft is really invested in this framework. Why did you decide to go “all in” on Scrum?

A Because Scrum works. It’s that simple. Scrum helps deliver software faster and better than any methodology, which is why we have wholeheartedly embraced it. Plus, we appreciate the simplicity and adaptability of its core concepts. As the makers of a Scrum tool, we are always trying to integrate these traits into our product so we have created a straightforward, one-page interface that also allows teams to customize fields and create flexible workflows.

Q What are some of the new things Axosoft is doing to support the Scrum community?

A In addition to hosting local Scrum User Groups in our office, we’re really proud of the traction our new Scrum education site, ScrumHub.com, has gained. We believe Scrum concepts should be presented in an easy to learn way, so we’ve made a bunch of awesome free guides, webinars, videos and infographics that illustrate the fundamentals.

Q Aside from the Scrum piece, your company also recently decided to give away the Axosoft Bug Tracker. Why did you decide to do this?

A There are two big reasons why we decided to give away Axosoft Bug Tracker: First off, we wanted to improve every dev team’s ability to track defects and build better software—even when budgets are tight. The second reason is a little selfish, but we also wanted to introduce Axosoft to the world! We expect that the people who use Axosoft Bug Tracker will love it and consider checking out our other products too.

Q Axosoft has been consistently voted one of the best places to work in Arizona. How do you develop an exceptional workplace?

A I just try to create the kind of work environment I would want to work in! After all, I’m going to spend most of my life at work, so I want to surround myself with smart people who can have intelligent conversations and a little bit of fun too. That’s pretty much the foundation of every work environment decision we make, and it helps us bring on even more great people.

Q What are Axosoft’s plans for the future?

A As a company our purpose is to help dev teams ship software on time and on budget. Though that’s a really simple statement, there’s a lot we can keep doing to improve the way developers work. We will continue making enhancements to the Axosoft product suite to achieve that singular purpose. A recent example of this would be our new “Daily Scrum” feature that helps dev teams conduct daily Scrum meetings more efficiently by showing the work the team has done in the last day.

Scrum and Quantum Physics

In Project Management, if one thing is for sure, it’s that nothing is certain. You can try to plan everything to a ‘T’ and account for every possibility, but there will invariably be things that pop up unexpectedly. Sometimes this leads to project managers thinking, “If only I held more planning meetings and spent more time talking things over with my guys, then their best laid plans wouldn’t go awry“.   Instead of looking back at the project planning as the issue, we can perhaps learn more by better understanding the nature of uncertainty itself. Uncertainty is a very important topic in quantum physics and understanding the nature of the universe. Since Scrum already uses some physics terminology, like velocities and projected values,  I thought it would be fun to run with this idea and take some of the implications of quantum physics and see how they would translate if applied to project management.

Breaking_Bad_logo.svg

 

Before Breaking Bad brought him back, most of us remembered Werner Heisenberg for his uncertainty principle from high school physics. Mostly that you can you can never fully know the position and momentum of a particle at any given time.  This is often misused or confused with the ‘Observer Principle’ meaning that you can’t measure something without actually affecting its outcome.  For example if you have an electron traveling in space, the only way that you would be able to detect it would be by having it react with some other particle or detector that would then relay that information back to you.

observer

In order to detect an electron to tell us where it is, we have to transfer or absorb some momentum from the electron, thus changing its momentum.  It’s like if you have an overbearing manager demanding constant status updates. Just by getting a status update (taking a measurement to get the team’s position), he or she is consequently affecting the team’s momentum.

So what does the observer effect have to do with uncertainty? Nothing, really, but it’s often misrepresented as a result from uncertainty, so I thought I would address it first.   This principle also has common classical examples, like how you can never accurately take your temperature using a mercury thermometer.  Because the heat from your mouth flows into the thermometer and slightly cools your body, you can never get a truly accurate measurement.

Heisenberg’s actual uncertainty principle is represented by the formula:

Δx · Δp ≥ ℏ/2

Where Δx is the uncertainty of position, Δp is uncertainty of the momentum, and ħ  is Plank’s constant over 2π.   If either of these values were completely knowable, then the right side of the inequality would be 0, rather a constant!  The fact that it is a positive number means the more you know about an object’s position, the less you can know about its momentum. Granted ℏ is an extremely small value (~1 × 10−34 J·s !), but the more you are checking up on a team’s progress there comes a point where you’re not learning anything new and are just affecting their momentum.

A lesser known relationship (and one that also has implications in Scrum) is:

ΔE · Δt ≥ ℏ/2

Notice that it has the exact same form as the previous equation.  That’s because these are conjugate variables and also have to abide by the limit of uncertainty.  Just as there is an inverse relationship between the uncertainty of position and momentum, there is a similar relationship between energy and time.  The more you know about how much work is required for a particular task, the less you know about the time it takes to complete the task.

Many Scrum teams already account for this by using Story Points for estimates rather than using hours.  Story Points removes the rigid constraint of estimating work in hours, and instead allows estimates  based on similar user stories you’ve done in the past.  I’m not saying that one method is better than the other, or would be the best for your team, but you’re not constrained by cosmic forces like uncertainty.

Since Scrum is an iterative process, you can have great success by focusing on things that you can say with a fair degree of confidence, while still allowing for some uncertainty in all planning and estimates. 

Devs on a Diet? The 28 Day Challenge

Axosoft is all about being healthy, from our tower gardens in the kitchen, to our daily workout classes in our office gym. But last month we took it to a whole new level…

THE 28 DAY CHALLENGE

Confused? You should be, I haven’t explained what it is yet.

Let's break it down!

Let’s break it down!

The 28 Day Challenge is a healthy eating initiative that we decided to put into effect at Axosoft. We thought it would be a great way for everyone to start eating right and getting healthy in a supportive team environment.

The challenge involved 3 different steps:

1. For 28 day we would give up one, or all, of the TEN DON’Ts:

1. No wheat
2. No corn
3. No dairy
4. No soy
5. No refined sugar
6. No caffeine
7. No alcohol
8. No dried fruit or fruit juices
9. No artificial sweeteners
10. No fat-free “diet foods”

2. We would eat only the foods from 3 phases, spaced throughout the week:

Phase 1: Eat only Fruit, Veggie, Protein, and Grain
Phase 2: Eat only Veggie and Protein
Phase 3: Eat only Protein, Fruit,Veggie, Grain, and Healthy Fat

3. While eating the foods in these phases, we follow the TEN DOs:

1. You must eat five times a day. That’s three meals and two snacks per day.
2. You must eat every three to four hours, except when you’re sleeping.
3. You must eat within 30 minutes of waking. Every day.
4. You must stay on the plan for the full 28 days.
5. You must stick to the foods allowed on your phase. Religiously.
6. You must follow the phases in order.
7. You must drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of water every day.
8. Eat organic whenever possible.
9. Meat choices must be nitrate-free.
10. You must exercise three times per week.

Our amazing Lawdan Shojaee pitching the diet to the company.

Our amazing Lawdan Shojaee pitching the diet to the company.

I’m not gonna lie, it was tough, really tough. There was a lot of good stuff we were giving up and a lot of rules we had to follow. Many of those DON’T items were in our stocked kitchen and had to be removed… that almost caused a riot. The items were replaced with healthier and phase approved snacks, but they did not have the same sugary, salty goodness we all liked.

The fact that there wasn’t a caffeine deprived murder in the first week, is amazing. Also you have no idea how hard it is to eat every 3 hours while drinking half your body weight in fluids, the combo caused some impressive lines at the restrooms.

Axofit classes with Jake!

Axofit classes with Jake!

But we stuck with it, and at the end of the 28 days there were some awesome results.

  • Mike lost 13 pounds.
  • Mona lost 12 pounds.
  • Allen lost 15 pounds and his wife, who decided to do the challenge with him, lost 13 pounds.
  • Gus started losing so much weight that he had to drop out of the challenge or his wife threatened to divorce him.
  • Lawdan began sleeping better and no longer needed her allergy medicine.
  • James liked having the healthier snack options in the kitchen.
  • Jonathan lost 10 pounds and admitted feeling a little sexier towards the end of those 28 days.
  • Hamid was surprised at how easy giving up coffee was.
  • Sara liked how the plan helped her figure out healthier snacks and meals.

Everyone agreed that having the team environment made the challenge much easier. And probably the best result of all is several people have kept following the healthy eating initiative, even after the 28th day!

GO TEAM AXOHEALTH!!!