Category Archives: Tools

How to add a Free Live Chat Widget to Your WordPress Website

We have received quite a few enquiries about how to install Pure Chat on WordPress websites, so I decided to create this quick tutorial. This simple step-by-step guide applies to installing Pure Chat’s free widget on your WordPress blog, however if your blog is hosted through WordPress.com, these directions will not apply to you because WordPress.com does not allow access to the template editor.

For those of you that don’t know, Pure Chat is a simple, yet powerful free chatting widget that allows your website visitors to instantly chat with your sales and/or support team.  I won’t go over the features in this tutorial, but you can learn more information by checking out the tour.

Important: When you update WordPress, the changes you make with this tutorial shouldn’t be affected. However, if you decide to change or update your theme, it will overwrite footer.php and you will have to add the Pure Chat javascript code again. Luckily, after the first time, it should only take you a few minutes to do.

I created a test blog for this tutorial. It uses the default WordPress template. However, this tutorial should work with any template.

WordPress Test Blog

Step 1: Log into your WordPress Admin dashboard. The default login url is /wp-login.php. Once you are logged in, you should see something similar to the image below.

WordPress Dashboard

Step 2: Hover over “Appearance” in the left-hand menu. This will open up a sub-menu. Click “Editor.” Note: If you don’t see the “Editor” option, you most likely are using WordPress.com (or another hosting provider), and they currently restrict access to “Editor” feature.

Word Press Dashboard Appearance

Step 3: You should now be in your theme editor. As you can see below, I am editing the default WordPress theme, Twenty Twelve’ Stylesheet (style.css). The content in the box and in the right menu labeled “Templates” will be different depending on what theme you are using. However, this doesn’t change what you are going to do. On the right hand menu, you will be looking for the template section named “Footer (footer.php)”. In the image below, it is highlighted by the red box. Click “Footer”.

WordPress Theme Editor

Step 4: Now, you can see that I am editing the Twenty Twelve: Footer (footer.php). Your footer content will be different, depending on the theme that you are using. However, you will still be looking for the “</body>” tag. In the image below, you will see a red arrow next to the </body> tag. Go to Step 5.

TIP: No matter what theme you are using, the closing </body> tag will be at the end of all content. Therefore, if your theme has a lot of content in the footer, you might have to scroll to find the </body> tag. If you have to scroll, I suggest scrolling as far down as possible and start looking for the </body> tag from the bottom up. You can also use the browser searching capabilities.

WordPress Footer Editor

Step 5: Ok, now that you have found the closing </body> tag in the previous step, you need to register for Pure Chat if you haven’t done so already. You can see in the image below that is is extremely easy to register. Not to mention…Pure Chat is FREE and includes an unlimited operators and chat sessions, all with no hidden costs!

Pure Chat Registration

Step 6: After you register, the first thing you will see is the javascript that you need to use in the next step. So, copy the code and go to the next step.

Pure Chat Javascript Code

Step 7: You located the closing </body> code in Step 4. Now paste the javascript code you copied in the last step right BEFORE the closing </body> tag. In the image below, the highlighted content is the javascript code for my Pure Chat widget. You can see that the code is BEFORE the closing </body> tag. To save your changes, press the “Update File” button.

Word Press Footer Editor

Step 8: You have now installed Pure Chat on your WordPress website. Below is an example of an active chat with myself. :-)

step9

Pure Chat makes it extremely easy to add live chat for WordPress websites. You can add and update your chat widgets right in the Pure Chat dashboard. I hope that this simple tutorial helps you add Pure Chat to your WordPress blog. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will gladly answer them.

NEW OnTime Release Changes the Game!

OnTime Dashboard at Axosoft

About 8 months ago, we were putting together a small library and lounge area in the Axosoft offices. We encountered a Costco deal that we couldn’t pass up: a super thin 60″ LCD HDTV for just $1,499 (I think the same TV is just $1,200 today). We placed it in a location that is highly trafficked, so we thought we would get a ton of use out of the nice, big-screen.

Boy, were we wrong.

For the last 8 months, that TV has been displaying a black screen 99% of the time! Every time I would pass by, I would try to come up with ways to make it really, really useful.

Then, a few months ago, we were in an OnTime feature planning meeting, and we started working on a feature that we thought would be a big hit with our customers — but it would also inadvertently fix our TV problem!  I  went up to the whiteboard and used my incredible drawing skills to sketch this:

I have to say that the team was never able to match the quality and polish of my beautiful whiteboard drawing, but their implementation of the new Dashboard feature in OnTime isn’t too shabby:

OnTime Dashboard 1

In fact, the team insisted on building a dashboard that was by far, the best dashboard on the planet for dev teams. They made the dashboard gadget-based and these gadgets have configuration options that go above and beyond anything I had even remotely hoped to achieve in our first iteration. They also created gadgets for all kinds of cool stuff, including a Twitter gadget that can stream any search term on the social network:

OnTime Dashboard 2

The really impressive part of the new Dashboard feature is the designer. And the best way for me to show you the designer is by demonstrating it as I did in this video (in front of a live audience of about 500 devs):

The new OnTime dashboard is truly a game changer. It’s an unbelievably useful tool to see where things stand, to spot anomalies, to remind everyone of ship dates — and all of it’s right there at-a-glance.

New Drag and Drop Field Template Designer

Another new feature that I am super excited about is the new Drag-and-Drop Field Template Designer. Now when you Add or Edit new items, if you have administrative privileges to edit field templates, you’ll get a new button on the top right:

 

Clicking the button will immediately allow you to edit the underlying field template, which looks like this:

The new field template designer makes it unbelievably easy to create and rearrange New Item forms, so you’ll collect exactly the data that you care about. You can also set default values for each field, and you can tell the system which fields are required. Required fields also show up when using Quick-add, which is done by using the keyboard shortcut “c” to create new items.

Powerful Workflow Updates

There is a lot of new power under the hood of the new workflow manager too. First, we’ve recreated the workflow manager from scratch, making it a lot easier to work with. Here’s its facelift:

But the most exciting new workflow feature is the ability to now either Block or Auto Advance Parent items (items that have sub-items) when certain criteria are met:

That means you can now do things like:

  • Automatically advance a parent item when all of its subitems are moved to a certain workflow step
  • Do not allow a parent item to move to a certain workflow step unless all of its subitems have been moved into a specified step (for example, disallow a parent item being moved to “Complete” until all subitems have been moved to “Complete” first.)

This is the biggest power boost we’ve given to workflows in years, and they were already extremely powerful to begin with.  I’m so pleased that we were able to accomplish this while making the user interface easier to use than ever before.

Other Improvements

There are a ton of other improvements too:

  • A new menu system that is click-based rather than hover-based (no more annoying menus that pop up when you don’t want them to)
  • A new toolbar system with crisper buttons. Some buttons now have a default behavior and other options.
  • A new filter-status bar which provides additional indicators for project, release, user and customer filters and the ability to quickly eliminate those filters with 1 click.
  • Under the hood improvements that include lots and lots of performance improvements that make the application snappier throughout
  • Bug Fixes too. There are a number of bugs that were also fixed in this release.

So what do you think? Watch this video to see it all in action and then tell us how we did.

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.

How Dev Teams Ship Software 24% Faster with Agile & Scrum

How is it that our customers estimate that they ship their software, on average, 24% faster using OnTime?  That’s what they told us when we surveyed them, and this amounts to dev teams getting an extra three months every year!

OnTime Scrum helps achieve this by answering a very basic questions.

What should I be working on?

This is one of the most fundamental questions every member of any team should be able to answer at any given time.  It’s not the starting point, nor is it necessarily the most important (how and why come into play, too). It is however a question that functional teams who ship products on time can answer.

It’s a beautiful thing, because if you can answer this question, it indicates that you’ve done a lot of things effectively:

  • backlog management and prioritization
  • project visibility
  • release planning
  • and real-time snapshots of progress being made
OnTime mobile ui

Focusing on the Work, Not the Process

Development methodologies and tools need to stay out of the way! Sometimes there is a fine line between a tool or system that helps us become more effective and efficient, versus a tool or system that just creates more work and ultimately gets in the way.

OnTime Scrum helps teams by providing:

  • Email notifications
  • Automated workflow
  • Real-time burndown charts that show the team’s progress

Finishing projects an average of 24% faster is huge.  It gets you that extra 3 months — maybe 3 more sprints — to improve your product.  OnTime Scrum takes care of the overhead and helps your team focus on writing great code and getting more customers.


Get started with a Free OnTime Scrum Trial »

Three Invaluable Tools No Agile Team Should Have to Live Without

Scrum first appeared on our radar for a different reason than it shows up for most teams. Since we’re in the business of automating software project management methodologies, we learned about Scrum early on. At first, we viewed it as just another methodology that we wanted to make sure our software, OnTime Scrum (back then, it was just OnTime), would accommodate. Since the day we began adapting OnTime for the Scrum process, it has been a huge priority on our roadmap.  Likewise, the more we dove into the methodology for development purposes, the more we realized that we wanted to adopt this methodology internally. Today Scrum is embedded within Axosoft’s company culture of getting things done. For example, our entire company participates in stand-up meetings — not just the dev team — as we strive to become an agile company, not just a company with a single department that uses an agile process. Along the way, we’ve created some tools to help people understand and implemenmt Scrum.

Invaluable Tool #1: Learn Scrum in Under 10 Minutes

Like many organizations, we sent several of our team members to Scrum training, but then we saw the need for a quick presentation to get everyone else in the company (and future new hires) up to speed with high-level concepts. So, to get our own team where it needed to be quickly, we developed what would become (much to our surprise!) the world’s most-viewed and highest-rated Scrum video ever created. As of this writing, the original video has been viewed over 650,000 times. Here’s an updated version that we released just a couple of months ago.

Invaluable Tool #2: The Scrum Diagram

The video did its job explaining the high level concepts of Scrum in about 8 minutes. Next, we challenged ourselves to create a visual tool that could a) summarize the process visually at-a-glance and b) could be referred to more easily than the video. Our Scrum Diagram was born, and it proved to be perfect for sharing and printing.

Want it? Download the Scrum Diagram PDF.

Invaluable Tool #3: OnTime Scrum

 Of course, the ultimate Scrum tool we offer is the one that our team eats, breathes, and sleeps: OnTime Scrum. Understanding Scrum is important, but once you understand it — it needs to stay out of the way so you can actually get things done.  That’s where OnTime Scrum comes in.  Backlog management, sprint and release management, and burndown charts exist to make dev teams stronger, not to give them extra overhead to futz around with. OnTime automates these important aspects of Scrum, and it has a lot of other features that make developers’ and managers’ lives easier: workflow automation, notifications and alerts, security roles, work logs, SCM & IDE integration, serious customization to ensure a good fit, and it’s mobile ready. OnTime is refreshingly easy to use, yet it has an enterprise-level feature set. It’s extremely fast, and we don’t even have to add the qualification “…for a hosted software product.” It’s gmail fast, keyboard shortcuts and all.  Rounding out the trifecta, it’s unbelievably affordable at just $7 per user (small teams of 10 or fewer users get it for even less!).

Sign up & start the OnTime Scrum Tutorial Now »

Learn more about OnTime Scrum »