Agile methodology. Software development teams use it because it allows us to work efficiently in changing conditions — the result (if done right): we build fast and ship often. The result (if done wrong): we rightly get hung up on process, become annoyed, and complain.
Using Agile practices in Shortcut can help your organization do things right by keeping teams focused and on the same page, enabling you to ship faster and produce higher quality work. In this post, we'll cover how to use Agile concepts in Shortcut to support your team if you follow Scrum, Kanban, or a hybrid of both methodologies.
First, let's cover how Shortcut entities line up to Agile concepts.
Sprint and project plans can be laid out into larger initiatives using Epics. Epics typically map to a new feature or initiative. For example, you could create an Epic for a new feature initiative like “Groups v1” or “Growth Squad Quick Wins Q1 Let’s Do This”. Because Epics can contain Stories from different Projects and Workflows (meaning Stories from teams across the entire organization), they’re an excellent way for cross-functional teams to collaborate.
Workflows in Shortcut allow you to simply and clearly describe the steps through which Stories move, from their creation all the way to their completion. Customizing workflows will allow your squad and team to not only work the way they want to work, but also to drill into the views they want to view. Thanks to customization, your Frontend Project could have their own workflow, your Backend Project could have their own workflow, your Support Engineering Project could have their own workflow… you probably get the idea.
Use Groups to represent squads in Shortcut. Instead of tagging a bunch of people you can simply mention your Group and they’ll all get notified.
If your team follows Scrum...
Sprint planning with Iterations
Sprint planning is a great way to go gain clarity on sprint plans (naturally), milestones, launch dates, and backlog. Create an Iteration to prioritize your squad's work and keep everyone apprised of the most important work.
Use Iterations to prioritize your work during standups
Iterations are a great way to prioritize meetings and standups. To move Stories into an Iteration, filter either by Workflow State or a specific Epic through the Backlog Panel. The key here is that only the unprioritized Stories will appear, which, of course, makes it much easier to see what needs to be prioritized. Then you can drag and drop Stories from the Backlog Panel into your desired Iteration. If you need to re-prioritize work from a past Iteration you can drag and drop Stories into a new Iteration.
Monitor sprint progress with Iteration Burndown Charts and Cumulative Flow Diagrams
Use the Iteration Burndown Chart to see a visual representation of work completed/remaining over time, and when Stories/Points were added or removed during the course of the Iteration.
Use the Iteration Cumulative Flow Diagram to see work completed over time, grouped by Workflow. This report provides insight into which Workflow States your Stories are in and where bottlenecks might be occurring.
If your team uses Kanban...
Instantly visualize your work with Kanban boards
There are many ways to view work in Kanban. Head to the Stories page to see all work and filter by Workflow, Epics, Iterations, Projects, users, and more. You can also save a Space if there's a particular Kanban view you access regularly. Check out this Spaces blog post for more information.
Easily prioritize or shift work as things change from your Kanban view
Drag and drop Stories to prioritize or re-prioritize Stories from one workflow state to another. You can also move Stories up and down in a swimlane to ensure they’re properly prioritized.
Shortcut is flexible, which means there’s no need to choose between Kanban and Scrum. You can instead feel free to mix and match between both methods. At Shortcut we practice a mix of both, using Iterations to plan and Kanban views to visualize our work!
View Iterations in Kanban for easy progress reports
Head to the Stories page and use the left Navigation shelf to select your desired Iteration(s) and see the Stories in Kanban view. This view shows you the state Stories are in by Workflow, but you can also filter by other criteria like Epic, Milestone, Date and more.
Our team is in the process of researching and building the following features for Agile teams:
Timeline Views: We're building a new feature to help teams visualize their roadmap.
Cycle and Lead Time Reports: We don't support these reports (yet), but here are a few helpful resources:
WIP limits: Our product team is currently scoping WIP limits in Shortcut. Comment below or reach out to our team if you have any thoughts!
Have questions? Comments? Other tips to add? Head over to our Slack Community to ask questions and discuss how you're using Shortcut to support Agile methodology.
And check out help.clubhouse.io for more information. We're here to help. And also to project manage. But mostly to help.
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.