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.


Sunday in Malmö

For the first time ever I went to Malmö this Sunday. It looks like a really cool city with a lot of interesting architecture, so Im definitely going back to check that out another day. The reason for this trip was that David Black, author of Ruby for Rails was in town. David was giving an eight hours workshop on the Ruby on Rails framework – and since Femi and I were in the process of starting a side project in Rails this was just what we were looking for. The seminar was held by the up and coming Polar Rose who are working on a very interesting project about facial recognition. Mikkel from Polar Rose gave me a demonstration of the magic they can do and for a flickr fan like me Im really looking forward to their beta.

The seminar was a crash course for me since I had only had very limited experience with Ruby on Rails so very educational and informative day – this is something that I will have to use more. – Thanks to David and Polar Rose for putting this together :)

Today Femi and I are on the road again this time its a hitchhiking trip to Aalborg. We will spend most of the week up there so if you are in Aalborg let us know and well see if we can meet up.

Update: After trying for two hours to get a ride we gave up hitchhiking and went with train, delays and everything.