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Assembla 2013 Year in Review

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Jan 09, 2014
  
  


Happy New Year from the Assembla team! As we start another year, we wanted to reflect on some improvements and announcements from 2013 that can help you and your team work smarter and faster in 2014.

epic story view

Organizing Your Work

Story and Epic associations were released for tickets, allowing teams to organize large chunks of work in a hierarchical structure that is more manageable and provides better visibility into the progress of initiatives.

Ticket tags were introduced making it easier to filter tasks by features, teams, or clients.


epic story view

Managing Multiple Projects, Teams, and Clients

The Space Manager tool was released (now called Subprojects) to help companies where many client projects are serviced by a small number of development teams OR large complex projects are being developed by several development teams. Tasks are organized in a master project that trickles down to child projects, allowing managers to manage the "big picture" while keeping teams more focused and efficient.


epic story view

Managing Your Code

Protected branches for Git and Subversion repositories now provide complete control as to who can submit code to specified branches. Assembla also became the first and only repository provider to allow Server Side Hooks to be installed on a hosted repository, and we even allow you to contribute your own hooks to build an ever growing library.

For our Subversion users, our servers were upgraded to Apache Subversion 1.8 which provides many improvements, specifically with improved merge operations. 


epic story view

Sharing Code Snippets

The Snippets tool was released, providing a lightweight way to create and share code snippets with team members. This tool supports a variety of languages, provides full syntax highlighting, facilitates social collaboration, and allows you to embed code snippets into tickets, wiki pages, messages, and more.


epic story view

Improved Reporting

  • Velocity Report:  See the weekly velocity of tickets and estimate future capacity

  • Cycle Time Report: Pinpoint what parts of your task management workflow are inefficient


epic story view

Unblock! A Guide to the New Continuous Agile

Unblock! explains how to use these powerful tools for continuous delivery, or just more frequent software releases. It covers code management, continuous agile project management, team building, large projects, and a groundbreaking description of enterprise systems and "fast IT." For the next month, we will be offering the book free online as a preview of the upcoming full print release.

In 2012, Assembla moved from releasing once a month to multiple times per day. In 2013, we continued to learn from other industry leaders, resulting in Unblock! A Guide to the New Continuous Agile, a book written by Assembla's CEO, Andy Singleton.


Happy New Year and thank you for being a part of Assembla in 2013. We are very excited about 2014 and continuing to improve the Assembla experience. If you have any specific requests, please let us know on our feedback site

Thanks,
- The Assembla Team

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Webcast: How Lean Agile Changes the Product Manager's Job

Posted by Jon Friedman on Mon, Nov 04, 2013
  
  

On Thursday, November 7, Andy Singleton, CEO and Founder of Assembla, will be presenting a live webcast for the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA.org): “How Lean Agile Changes the Product Manager’s Job.”

Watch the video introduction below. For more information and registration, go to the PDMA web site. There is a registration fee.

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TimeLoggr Review: Time Tracking Chrome Extension for Assembla

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Oct 31, 2013
  
  

Disclaimer: TimeLoggr is a third party Chrome extension that is not affiliated with or maintained by Assembla in any way.

TimeLogger was recently brought to my attention and since a lot of Assembla users track their time in tickets, I thought it would be helpful to provide a walkthrough for this useful tool.

TimeLogger is a free Chrome extension available in the Chrome Web Store - click here to install. Once installed, you will see a clock icon in your Chrome extensions bar. The extension will recognize your Assembla session, so you must be logged in to Assembla for the extension to work.

Clicking on the extension will display an expandable list of your projects and tasks you are assigned within each project.

timeloggr3

A. Clicking on your profile picture or name will open Assembla’s view of recent time entries across all projects. This view also allows you to manually input time entries.

B. The orange tasks box will display how many tickets you are assigned. Clicking this area will open your active tickets view within Assembla, displaying all tickets that are assigned to you across all projects.

C. You can click on any tasks to open the Assembla ticket in a new browser tab.

D. From the extension, you can click on the ‘Start’ button for any task and to begin tracking time associated with that tasks. Once you have started tracking time for a task, the view will change:

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You can comment on the ticket from this view but it is important to note that entering a comment and clicking the ‘Stop’ button does not add the comment. To add a comment, you must type the comment and hit Enter on your keyboard.

At anytime, you can click the “Stop” button and your time entry will be created and associated with the ticket.

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If you track time in Assembla, the TimeLoggr Chrome extension is a simple, handy tool that can save you some time. Thank you optini for developing this extension and making it available for everyone to use. 

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Inserting Syntax Highlighted Code Snippets in Tickets, Wikis & More

Posted by adam feber on Wed, Oct 23, 2013
  
  

Last month we released a new Snippets tool that allows you to easily create syntax highlighted code snippets to share with team members. While the tool has been widely accepted, many users asked for the ability to insert these code snippets inline with wiki pages, tickets, messages, etc. We listened and just released this updated functionality. Here is how it works:

Create the snippet and copy the markup reference (see below).

snippet markup3

Paste the markup reference into any wiki page, ticket description, ticket comment, merge request comment, message, etc.

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Save and your snippet will now show inline. Any changes to the main snippet will reflect wher ever it is embedded.

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If you do not have the Snippets tool installed, check out the release announcement for instructions on how to install it. 

We hope you enjoy this new feature. Happy coding!

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Airbrake Releases Integration with Assembla

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Oct 17, 2013
  
  

airbrake assembla integration

Airbrake.io recently released an integration that will automatically creates Assembla tickets for errors detected via Airbrake’s monitoring and reporting. With this integration, your team can quickly begin correcting issues while documenting the progress and status in an Assembla ticket.

To learn how to connect your Airbrake account with an Assembla project’s ticket tool, check out the documentation here.

If you are not familiar with Airbrake, they are one of the leading exception reporting services available for tracking application errors. Their reports tell you what errors are happening, what bit of code are responsible, and allow you to recreate the error for rapid debugging. At Assembla, we use and love Airbrake!

Back in May, Assembla and Airbrake put on a joint webinar on “Production Monitoring: The Key Steps Towards Continuous Delivery.” To learn more on how and why Production Monitoring is the most important process in any application, but particularly online applications when practicing Continuous Delivery, check out the recorded webinar.

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Sharing code snippets with team members just got a whole lot easier

Posted by adam feber on Fri, Sep 27, 2013
  
  

Today, Assembla rolled out a new tool for quickly creating and sharing code snippets with team members. The new Snippets tool supports a variety of languages, provides syntax highlighting, and allows team members to comment and interact with the snippets.
 

snippet 1

While there are many snippets-type tools out there, we wanted to provide a quick way for team members to share and interact with code snippets securely from within the Assembla ecosystem. The new tool is fully integrated into Assembla’s stream, email notifications, and search just like all other tools.

To install the snippets tool, visit the Admin tab of your project > click on the Tools section > scroll to the bottom of the page and click ‘Add’ next to the Snippets tool. Now all team members can quickly create snippets and share the snippet urls in tickets, wiki pages, messages, or external communication such as email or IM.

We hope you enjoy this tool as much as our team has been. Let us know what you think in the comments.

If you do not have an Assembla plan, sign up for free and check out our many tools, including snippets.

UPDATE: You can now embed snippets into tickets, wiki pages, messages, and more. Learn how here

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Kanban Metrics: Measure Cycle Time To Stay Lean

Posted by Titas Norkunas on Thu, Sep 26, 2013
  
  

Every Project Manager wants to reduce waste on their projects. The problem usually lies in detecting which parts of the process are ineffective. We are introducing the Cycle Time Report to help you deal with this exact issue.

cycle time report

End To End Lead Time

First of all, the End To End Lead Time is there to show you the overall pace of your team. It is the median time in which the ticket goes from being created to being closed. This includes all the steps in your process - analysis, planning, delivery, etc. This metric is great for strategic planning and the overall overview on the team's efficiency.
 

Delivery Lead Time

Delivery Lead Time helps you drill down to only the delivery step. You are doing analysis and planning while the ticket is in the Assembla Planners Backlog Milestone and moving it to Current Milestone when it is ready to be worked on. Delivery Lead Time will show you exactly how much time a ticket spends in your delivery pipeline. This metric (when compared to End To End Lead Time) will show you how effective you are at planning and analysis.
 

Cycle Time

Analyze the delivery step further with Cycle Time. This will eliminate all the waiting. In a pull system, tickets in status "New" are waiting until a developer picks it up and works on it. Cycle Time will show you how much time a ticket spends in every other status, waiting in "New" eliminated. This metric (when compared to Delivery Lead Time) will show you how much waiting you have in your Current pipeline and which steps on the process are the slowest.

For each of these metrics, we show the median value and the standard deviation. If your standard deviation is high, you can not trust the median. First step in optimizing your process will usually be making sure that you can get standard deviation as low as possible. Most common reason for this is tickets being too different in development effort needed. Try to break down bigger tasks into smaller ones.
 

Quality

What is the relative cost of a software bug fix? Some sources state up to 150-fold increases in costs of fixing bugs in latest steps of the pipeline. Time Cycle Report will show you the quality percentage in your tickets. 85% means, that 85 out of 100 of your tickets go through your pipeline without any hiccups - developers do not throw the issue back to analysis, Quality Assurance does not find bugs, etc. Any status regression in the ticket will decrease the quality. This is the best place to start with the Time Cycle Report.
 

Use Cases for the Time Cycle Report

This is far from everything an insightful manager will do with this report, but it might give you some ideas:

  • Reduce disruption that impacts efficiency, quality, and value - look at what parts of the process are slowest and ask yourself why that is

  • Create Service Level Agreements - agree with your team that tickets should be delivered on your prefered time scale and easily monitor your team's success

  • Continuously improve - track the overall Quality rating of your tickets. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you are improving

You can find the Time Cycle Report in the Metrics subtab of your Tickets Tool. Share the insights that you have got from the Time Cycle Report in the comments!

This report is available with the Renzoku feature pack. Subscribe for your free project here!

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The Compare Report for Git & Subversion

Posted by Titas Norkunas on Thu, Sep 26, 2013
  
  

We have improved the Compare Report for Continuous Agile use cases. The Compare Report can be found via the "Compare" subtab of you repository. It can show you recent changes (for instance, changes that you just released), or it can show you changes between two branches or forks (for instance, changes that you want to submit for merge).

Continuous Use Cases

In continuous workflows it is very common to use the master branch as the "production" branch. Here are three common actions that we recently made very easy to accomplish.

See what was recently released

If you are using tags, it’s very easy to see what your team has recently released - just click on recent tags and you will see what your team has merged to master recently. If you want to see a more fine grained view, go to the commits tab and scroll through the commits to find the one you want.

See released tickets easily

Protip: Select the most recent tag to see if your team is really following your process and keeping master in production (if they are, there should be no changes).

See released tickets:

You will also see a subtab that links to the affected tickets list. This can be used as automated release notes that show you what actually got out. Our CEO Andy loves this feature.

 

Create merge request after seeing changes:

Simply select your branch and a new merge request button will appear. If you want to create a merge request against master, just click “Create Merge Request”, fill in description and send the request!

We hope you like our freshly improved compare report. Let us know in the comments!

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Continuous Agile: Release More Frequently Workshop [Video]

Posted by adam feber on Thu, Sep 12, 2013
  
  

In this recorded webinar, Andy Singleton, CEO of Assembla, describes key techniques for implementing Continuous Agile and releasing software every day.

Topics covered include:

  • Gaining a competitive advantage by releasing continuously 
  • Task management as it changes from Scrum to Scrumban to Kanban
  • Centralized vs distributed continuous delivery
  • Test layering, product switches and "unveiling" new features
  • The changing roles of product managers, developers, QA and senior managers
  • Questions and answers - Scroll to 25:00 to listen to Q&A
If you are interested in releasing more frequently, check out the Unblock! ebook, a free ebook that covers how to adopt and manage a Continuous Agile process

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Using Assembla Repositories with Jenkins via the CloudBees Platform

Posted by adam feber on Wed, Sep 04, 2013
  
  

As a CloudBees Technology Partner, connecting your Assembla Git & SVN repositories with Jenkins CI via the CloudBees Platform is pretty straightforward. The video below or verified CloudBees documentation will walk you through the setup.

By utilizing Jenkins CI in the CloudBees DEV@cloud, you eliminate the need for additional infrastructure and administration. Simply sign up online and configure. Once up and running, the build possibilities are endless. Happy coding!


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