Agile planning tool on Rails

We have recently been working with Ruby on Rails and started Digital Planning Board a small pilot project to see what we could build with the Rails framework while building an application we could use for our project planning. We have been working with Ruby on Rails since we went to see David Black in Malmø and it has been a great experience so far and we will probably use it for a couple of our future projects.

The Digital Planning Board is basically an online edition of the analog originator that we used for planning at Menlo Innovations:

Analog planning board

The result became this online application:

The Digital Planning Board

The Digital Planning Board has a few rules it works by. It is for planning one week iterations using these basic rules:

  • Blocks represent a task
  • A lane represent a person or a team.
  • The size of a block displays the estimated time to complete the task.

The colors indicate the status of the card:

  • Not Started
  • In Progress
  • Complete
  • Blocked

Tasks can be moved around freely but adding a task to a lane will push the subsequent tasks further down the list.

Further development
Since this is just a side project I am not sure how much further we are going to develop it but based on some of the feedback we have received so far here is a couple of things we could implement:

  • Update board state real time so changes made by others show up on other collaborators views(without doing a browser refresh)
  • Current time indicator (some kind of way to show how far in the week we are now)
  • Hover on a task would show all the details
  • The equivalent of sticky notes could be added to show additional information and draw more attention
  • Faster editing of task details (right now you have to open a card and click edit)
  • Find a way to preserve the cards history. In real life you can cross out things or scribble additional info.

Read more about our planning board or feel free to try it out [update 27/06/07: Sorry the prototype is not live anymore] and please let us know if you have any feedback :)

Yesterday we spend the afternoon hanging out with Copenhagen Ruby Brigade at the office of Capteco for a hacker workshop. It was a nice laid back afternoon and the first time I met these guys but definitely not the last time I join the Brigade for some geeking.


Aalborg Inspiration

About a week ago Femi and I went on a road trip to Aalborg in the other end of Denmark (250 miles away). Aalborg is my college town and there is a lot of interesting things going on up there. Being set in Copenhagen it is easy to overlook or forget the things that go on other places.

Some of the people we met during the days in Aalborg were the CommunicateIT boys that have set up a thriving IT business in short time, the two wizkids Martin and Torben starting up there own thing and Andreas Haugstrup a Danish vlogger pioneer :) and organizer of VlogEurope. We ended up spending almost a day each place talking about setting up businesses and geeking about. I hope we have an excuse soon again to go up and play again

We also toured some of the departments and met up with Jan Stage and Ivan Aaen of Dept. of Computer Science. We had a very interesting discussion with Ivan about the paradigm of agile software development. The Software Innovation Research Lab they are setting up sounds like a really interesting project about how to facilitate continual innovation in a software project, and hopefully they will set up a blog so we can follow along in their experiences. At E-Learning Lab we ran into Thomas Ryberg who is doing the last stint on his Ph.D. on young peoples use of technology.
We spend an afternoon at the VR Media Lab that has some very neat 3D facilities. For the first time I had a chance to try out the 3D cave. This was an amazing experience I especially enjoyed the 3D drawing program where I could draw all the way around myself or draw an object and walk around it. Peter had arranged for our tour and we all had a blast. There is a lot of potential in 3D imagery but there are still a lot of difficulties in getting this technology out of the academic setting and in to entertainment – but maybe Peter is a man for changing that