Coming soon: Groups, to enable cross-functional teams to collaborate faster, at scale
Our team believes that collections of individuals in a company are a critical component of helping a company ship value to customers and advance their business. Tools and processes are important for an organization, but ultimately individuals collaborating together are responsible for innovation and meeting customer needs. Back in June, we blogged about how we were removing the previous Teams concept in Shortcut, to help make the concept of Workflows even more clear.
We've since removed Teams, and spent a lot of time, speaking with many Shortcut users, and thought deeply about how we want to make collaboration first-class inside of Shortcut.
The first iteration of Groups in Shortcut
We're excited to share that we are working on a new feature called "Groups" to make collaboration even easier in Shortcut. Similar to other first-class objects in Shortcut, Groups are scoped to a Workspace. In our first release, you'll be able to @-mention a Group in a Shortcut comment (using the Group's @-mention name), which will notify all users who belong to that given Group. Individuals will be allowed to belong to multiple Groups.
Groups throughout Shortcut
Going forward, we see Groups as a great way to model cross-functional product-development squads in an organization. This should be especially helpful to software-shipping organizations where product squads are an intrinsically effective structure for advancing business goals.
For example, the "Billing Squad" may consist of 4 engineers (2 backend and 2 frontend), one designer, and one product manager. Since the Billing Squad has its own 2-week time-boxed periods of development, they will associate the Billing Squad with their Iterations in that Workspace, i.e. you will be able to assign a Group to an Iteration. Furthermore, since the Billing Squad is responsible for shipping self-contained units of value to customers, they leverage Epics that have been associated with the Billing Squad too.
Additionally, Groups may also be associated with individual Stories. Group filters will thus be added to the various pages throughout Shortcut (similar to other objects), enabling folks to quickly zoom in on work relevant to a given Group.
Departments vs cross-functional squads
We also recognize that not all companies are organized as cross-functional squads. Some companies may scope work along department lines, such as the Engineering department and the Marketing department.
If your organization is a bit larger, it's likely work is split across cross-functional, and product-driven, while others will be department driven. We think that Groups should be flexible also to support these different scenarios and having a Group represent the Design department would make a lot of sense. So for example, Connie would belong to both the Engagement product squad, as well as the Design department, both of which would be represented by two different Groups in the same Workspace.
What about Projects?
Projects have been part of Shortcut from the beginning, as a way to categorize work within a Workflow.
Over time, a good number of customers naturally gravitate toward using Projects in Shortcut to represent collections of people, both departments or cross-functional squads. We're focused on leveraging Groups going forward to represent collections of people, especially with their unique functionality of group membership.
We recognize that Projects do have many capabilities that many existing customers find very useful, especially with regard to organizing people. In the coming weeks and months, we'll continue to study Projects more closely, interviewing many of you on how you use them currently and how you want to use them going forward, and steer this feature toward a vision that helps teams collaborate and ship quality software, faster.
Should you change how you are using Projects? No, not at all! We continue to encourage customers to leverage Projects as they see fit within their Organization. Within Shortcut, we use Projects to categorize Product Components within the Engineering Workflow, and Feature Areas within the Feature Request Workflow. This is the power of Projects - they are a flexible and custom dimension within Shortcut.
We view Groups as a way to expand upon Shortcut's multi-dimensionality. As we continue to build out features for Groups, we will listen to your feedback to ensure that the recommended divides and overlap between Projects and Groups are clear.
Let us know how you want to use Groups!
To recap, we're currently working on Groups (and group membership) within a Workspace and the @-mention functionality as a first release. We think this sets up a great foundation for continual improvements to bring the Groups to different parts of Shortcut.
Plug: Shortcut, a fast and enjoyable software project management tool. Now free forever up to 10 users.
Shortcut is the first project management platform for software development that breaks down silos and brings teams together to build better products. Shortcut is simple enough that anyone can use it and flexible enough so software teams can keep their processes lightweight and productive. Shortcut is fast to load, quick to configure and incredibly quick to navigate, all so we can get out of your way.
Zoom-in to pinpoint status updates on a single project, or easily zoom-out and filter across multiple teams so you have all of the information at your fingertips. Shortcut ties into your existing tools, services, and workflow. Get notifications or create a Story in Slack, attach commits, branches and PRs with Stories, build your own integration with our API, and more.