RotaBoard – the simple work planning tool

The paper calendar on the back wall of a business is an easy tool to use, just grab the pen and write on it. When it is done make a photocopy to everybody on the staff and youre done.

Work schedule

Some time goes by and you end up with this

Work schedule

You know how it goes, people get sick some want to exchange their shifts or youve lost your paper copy and cant remember when you have to work next time. The shortcoming of the paper calendar is that it is difficult to keep everybody up to date on the changes – and change always happens. Enter Rotaboard

date picker screenshot of rotaboard

A week ago we launched RotaBoard the first of Arb Designs own products. RotaBoard is a simple work planning tool for the business or team were you have to coordinate and distribute a weekly workplan.

With RotaBoard we wanted to retain the ease of using a simple paper calendar but add the benefits of having it online. Take it for a spin and let me know what you think. Wed love to hear your feedback. All you need is to sign up and you are ready to go

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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.

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