Workload chart, print preview, extended import/export
Thursday, 30 July 2009 00:00

In the latest release Banana Scrum comes up with some new handy functionality. It includes the workload chart, print preview and completed tasks filter. For those who have been waiting for extended import/export features, we have some good news. Now you can store your backlog items along with tasks in a CSV file and then load them back to product or sprint backlog.

 

Here is the list of all the features:

 

  • print preview helps to give you a neat looking, suitable for printing product and sprint backlog,
  • workload chart shows how much work each particular user in your team has left,
  • completed tasks filter which allows to filter out all completed tasks from your sprint backlog,
  • new user profile to change some profile data like email address or password,
  • extended import/export to load and store your items and tasks using CSV format.

Below you can see an example of the workload chart. It gets redrawn whenever one of the estimates changes.

Workload chart

Please note there was also some minor functionality added:

  • Wherever the live backlog update feature is used, you will see a flag indicating synchronization server status. After loading a page it should change its color from yellow to green.
  • Now you can use checkboxes to assign all tags to an item you're creating. It's more handy than it's been before.
  • Account activation will prompt you to set a password.

Exporting the project backlog into a CSV has been long available in Banana Scrum. In previous release we extended this functionality by allowing importing the backlogs and also exporting the sprint backlogs as CSVs. You can export all your user stories along with the tasks assigned to them.

Quite handy if you have a long backlog already prepared and you want to avoid a long and frustrating copy&paste session. All you have to do is to format your backlog in a way Banana Scrum would understand.

Here is the supported format:

A single item is represented by a line consisting of four separated values. Please not that in following examples we use semicolon as a separator.

"story name"; "story points"; "description"; "tags"

Which is:

  • story name - concise name of the user story,
  • story points - number of story points assigned to each item,
  • description - detailed description (extended formatting allowed),
  • tags - comma separated list of tags assigned to the item.

An example below should illustrate this:

"User story 1";5;"Simple item with description";"tag1,tag2,tag3,tag4"

You can also have some of the fields blank. In that case just leave a blank space between two semicolons.

"Silly story";0.5;;"tag1"

You can leave almost all fields blank! In that case importing boils down to writing each user story per line, like:

User story 1
User story 2
User story 3
User story 4

Note that there is no need for using separators if the values at the end of the line are blank.

"Other silly item";40;"Description";

There are two special values of estimate field 'inf' and '?'. 'inf' denotes a task that cannot be done and will be displayed as a red infinity inside Banana Scrum. The '?' value can be used for a task with unknown estimate - it will be marked as not estimated on the backlog.

"A special user story";inf;"Not doable"
"Yet another user story";?;"User story with unknown estimate"

If you want to use special characters remember about the following rules:

  • separators (e.g. ;) should always be used within double quotes, e.g.
    "User story with semicolon; simple?"
  • double quote (") need to be prefixed with another double quote , e.g.
    "Double quote in user story description "" is also correct"

What if I want to import my tasks also. Nothing simpler. Follow each backlog item with as many tasks as you want. To differentiate between backlog items and tasks each task line need to start with four separators.

Example below illustrates that:

"User story 1";5;"Simple item with description";"tag1,tag2,tag3,tag4"
;;;;"Task 1";"1"
;;;;"Task 2";"5"
"Silly item";0.5;;"tag1"
"Other silly item";40;"Description";
;;;;"Task 3";9
"User wants all";inf;"Not doable"

Separators are followed by task summary, task estimate and the name of the user the given task is assigned to. You don't have to choose a CSV separator. It will be automatically detected. The only constraint is that CSV separator should be one of the following characters:

  • semicolon ( ; )
  • comma ( , )
  • tabulation

Once you know the format and have prepared a proper CSV file you can go to the backlog page. You will find there "Export to CSV" and "Import CSV" button. The whole import/export process is intuitive and straightforward. It's nothing more than saving and opening a file.