Category Archives: Team

OnTime 13 is Here!

I’m excited to announce that we have released OnTime 13 for OnDemand customers (and will be releasing it for OnPremises customers this Friday). It’s a tremendous upgrade that adds lots of new features and fine tunes others. Here are my favorite features:

New Card View (Kanban/Scrum Board)

My most favorite feature is the new “Card View” that replaces our Visual Planning Board. It looks like this:

OnTime Card View

The new Card View is an order of magnitude more powerful than the Visual Planning Board that it replaces. Cards are more compact allowing more cards to fit on the screen. Group headers now provide much more detailed information about the status of the cards in a given group. You can also filter the cards by project, release or assignee using the standard organization panel on the left. Drag-and-drop to reassign cards to different releases, projects, sprints and team members. If you expand the details section, you can even see the details of the currently selected card including description, attachments, work logs and more. The new Card View works exactly like the super powerful grid view did and that’s what makes it a lot more powerful than before.

Stack Ranking

With OnTime 13 we are also introducing a new Stack Ranking feature where you can drag-and-drop items to re-order how they appear. Since you can sort view items by any field in OnTime, stack ranking in OnTime is essentially another sort order. You can view your list by Stack Rank sort order and of course, you can drop into “Ranking Mode” to re-arrange the stack. It looks like this:

Once an item is stack ranked, the ranking of the item is maintained regardless of what group of items are viewed within OnTime. So you can stack rank the entire V5.0 release or just Sprint 3. Either way, the items that get ranked maintain their rank as you move up or down the release tree. When viewing items sorted by stack rank mode, you can also group them by other fields such as Assignee so that you can see all the items assigned to a particular person stack ranked appropriately.

Release-Based Security

A lot of you have been asking about release-based security and filtering releases based on what projects a user has access to. We can’t believe we lived this long without this feature. Now that we’ve been using it internally, we can’t live without it.

Here’s how Release-Based Security/Filtering works. For each of your Projects, you can assign which Products from your releases tree are associated with the project. This is done from a new tab in the Edit Project screen:

Once you’ve said which products/releases belong to a particular project, OnTime will do the rest. Each time you select a project, only the appropriate releases that are associated with that project are shown. If a user doesn’t have access to a particular project, then they can’t see the releases associated with that project branch. It’s super simple and works extremely well. It’s nice to have your releases tree filtered down to just the releases from the project you are looking at.

Lots of Other Stuff

There’s lots of other stuff too. Like the update to the Security UI, new REST APIs (documented at developer.ontimenow.com) and better help options inside the product. So check it out and let us know what you think.

You can also watch a video of the new features here:

Video: Two Startups in Thirty Days


Watch Two Startups in Thirty Days on YouTube

“What does not kill me, makes me stronger.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844 – 1900)

Let’s face it: we all spend a lot of time doing the same things. Even in dynamic roles where “everything is always changing,” we often find ourselves trying to solve the same kinds of problems, while working in the same kinds of environments. Although this is immensely practical, and to some degree necessary, it can possibly hold your team back insofar as strengthening and enhancing important skills.

hor • mes • is noun
the phenomenon in which low doses of toxins produce stimulating effects.

Hormesis is a theory, by which it is believed that exposure to a little bit of something that is bad for you, can actually be good for you — i.e. a little stress is a good thing.

Exercise is a great example of a stressor. Not only do people who exercise get better at the act of performing the exercise itself, but benefits are often seen in other areas, such as a reduction in depression and anxiety disorders. Hormesis is also the fundamental theory behind other health strategies: calorie restriction, cold therapy, heat therapy, even radiation therapy.

As professionals, can we can benefit from this concept, too? If we can change things up a bit, throw in a little randomization from time to time, maybe we can fire up parts of our brains that we normally don’t get a chance to trigger. These little sparks can lead to improved professional health and growth in ways that we otherwise cannot easily achieve.

For example, how about throwing yourself into a situation where you have to do this:

This is exactly what we did at Axosoft in the month of July. Our development, QA, and marketing teams all stepped away from our familiar, if not cozy, work areas and projects. Our month-long hormetic ice bath was an exercise in creating new things from scratch, tight schedules, bootstrappy work conditions, and a lot of unknowns.

As a participant, I can say without pause, that we came away from this experience stronger. We created Dashzen and Pure Chat, but perhaps more importantly, we learned to work with each other in new ways, we all picked up new skills, and we were able to get a good glimpse at what we are capable of doing.

In the end, we were all glad to return our focus to Axosoft’s core products, ready to apply what we had learned and to face our day-to-day challenges with sharpened instincts. In fact, the next version of OnTime will immediately reap some of the benefits of what we learned in July — more on that to come soon.

So is a little hormesis in order for your team? If not a month-long stressor, perhaps building some randomization into your normal routine? Be sure to watch Two New Startups in 30 Days — Dashzen & Pure Chat and let us know what you think.

Leveling Workload for Your Development Team in OnTime

Leveling the workload for your team or seeing someone’s allocation at a glance is important to any project manager. It should also be important to any team that’s looking to ship a product whether they are agile and self-organizing or use a more top-down traditional methodology.

Unfortunately, many tools make leveling your team’s workload complicated, and when new teams come to us they expect a complicated solution. Usually, I tell them the same thing: Because of the way that OnTime is designed, managing the team’s workload is simple and very much like managing any other aspect of your project.

So let’s say I want to take a look at my team’s workload.

First thing I’m going to do is switch to the Planning Board in OnTime and group by “Assigned To.” I’m now looking at an aggregate amount of work in front of each of my developers and I can easily see if one person has more work than the other.

That might be enough to level workload amongst my team, but very often I’ll be interested in just the work over a given period of time. Say, for the next two weeks, I’m on the lookout for potential bottlenecks for my sprint. Maybe even next month if I’m trying to figure out what my workload will look like for an upcoming release that I’m planning. This is pretty easy to do, I’ll simply create and apply a filter to find items that are due in the next two weeks.

Running the filter or just clicking on a particular sprint will trim the hours down to items relevant in that time span. If it’s two weeks that I’m interested in and a team member has more than 80 hours worth of work, then I know I’ve got a problem.

The neat thing about managing workload in this manner is that it’s simple and interactive. I’m doing more than just finding potential bottlenecks, I’m avoiding them completely by starting with a visual snapshot of my team’s workload and making appropriate adjustments.

Managing my team’s workload doesn’t have to be hard; I don’t need to run reports all day and do some kind of complex analysis. Instead, I see a problem and I fix it right then and there. Rethinking how you level your team’s workload simplifies the whole sordid affair, and that’s okay. I’m sure you’ll find some way to use the free time.

New Axosoft Software Engineers now Get the Ultimate Toy Set on Day 1

Our new OnTime 12 product has caused an unprecedented number of new signups for OnTime OnDemand. As a result, we have a TON of fantastic new features and customer requests in our backlog, which means we need more software engineers to hammer through that growing backlog.

The problem, of course, is that great software engineers are hard to find, so we want to do something that will help awesome software developers find us.  Check this out:

1) Every new software engineer that we hire between now and August 1st will receive ALL of the items in this ultimate geek toy set:

Ultimate Geek Toy Set

That’s right. And this gift set will be for personal use and it’s yours on day 1 if you are a software engineer who gets hired between now and August 1st at Axosoft. No strings attached. The gifts are yours to keep…at home! At work, you’ll get the ultimate iMac 27″ with SSD drive and the works. Plus, you’ll get to work with some of Arizona’s smartest people and top software engineers in a pretty cool environment.

So the full list of the toys you get on Day 1 are:

2) Not a software engineer yourself? No worries, do your software engineer friends a favor by sending them to Axosoft. If they get hired, they get the cool toys listed above and you get a $600 Best Buy gift card so you can get some cool toys for yourself.

Ready to join the Axosoft Team? Apply Here (no resume needed!) or see all of our Company Benefits and Openings Here.