Card layout for agile project management

Not every Podio update is really big news, but with the recently released card layout, I believe, we have something new and noteworthy at our disposal.

Essentially, Podio card layout has ‘acquired’ much more of the versatility of a dedicated kanban-influenced application (like Trello, for example). Furthermore, Podio's powerful view configuration and filtering tools make for a significant level of flexibility, when combined with the new changes.

This is important, as it has a positive and material effect on one's ability to manage agile projects in Podio, with the support of easy-to-use visual tools.

Card layout features drag and drop, configurable field display and category colours.

Card layout features drag and drop, configurable field display and category colours.

Although card layout has existed in Podio for a while, it was hamstrung by a limited field display, showing only the first form field on the card, and it also had no colour coding. It’s now a significantly better beast!

Here are some example scenarios describing how it can be used to organise projects. These examples refer to - but are not limited to - the kinds of 'Features' or 'Product Backlog' apps that are typically used to track agile projects.

Organising sprints

Organise features into sprints, by dragging and dropping them into sprint columns. This setup requires a Features app with a category or relationship field for sprints.

Suggested configuration...

  • Columns: Sprint Name/Number
  • Rows: Optional/as required

Tracking status

Track and set the development status by viewing, dragging and dropping features into status columns. This setup requires a Features app with a 'Status' field (eg ‘Not started’, ‘In progress’, ‘On hold’, ‘Complete’); preferably colour coded.

Suggested configuration...

  • Columns: Status
  • Rows: Optional, but can work well with Project Phase (‘Phase 1’; ‘Phase 2’)

Resource allocation

Sharing out work amongst the team by dragging/dropping features into columns. This setup requires a Features app with a 'Lead Developer' field (contact or relationship field).

Suggested configuration...

  • Columns: Lead Developer
  • Rows: Effort Estimate (with Fibonacci sequence; useful visual check, to ensure features are shared by size).

No doubt you can think of plenty more useful scenarios, and the usefulness of card layout is not, of course, limited to product development or project management.

Here are some other important tips…

  1. Hit the F key in card layout. There's a much cleaner feel in full-screen layout.
  2. Use the screwdriver/wrench icon at the top of the view to tweak the columns.
  3. Setting a field to separate the rows adds a useful layer - eg status across the top, project phase or developer as the row.
  4. Save your own views or share them with the team.
  5. If you’re an admin, to configure which fields actually display on your cards, use the wrench icon in the left-hand panel.

Oval’s Podio maps tool improved and relaunched as ‘Landmark for Podio’

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We're delighted to announce that our hugely popular Podio mapping tool has been relaunched in a bigger, better, and more useful form than ever before.

We have retained the ability to use the platform cost-free, for the basic – but supremely useful – mapping functionality offered previously.

In addition, we are now offering a competitively priced premium account that allows user access to a wide range of exciting new features, including:

  • Sharing maps with other users
  • Choice of a range of themes and transitions
  • Increased plotting capability, of up to 10 000 items
  • Ability to embed maps within your own website
  • Save maps

As you would expect, the user experience is both elegant and user-friendly. The existing website for the tool has been retired, and you can now find it at https://landmarkmaps.io/

As before, users are able to log in with their Podio account, negating the need for yet another set of credentials. Please take a look around; we would love to hear your feedback!

GlobiMail aims higher - and hits the mark

Podio is a great platform for organising and collaborating on internal projects. It's also really good for working with people outside of your organisation...but for one thing (one BIG thing): not everybody 'gets it'. It's inevitably frustrating when you know you have an awesome way of centrally sharing information and communicating about your project, yet clients, partners or suppliers will often revert back to the comfort of the lowest common denominator - and that's good old email.

Let's not dive too deep into the reasons why this happens, suffice to say that, just because Podio is important to you, it doesn't mean it's important to them. I know! ("what, you mean the world doesn't revolve around my business?").

So, you're back to managing email as best you can. Traditionally, that has meant copying and pasting emails into the comments thread in Podio, setting up 'email to item' rules, or using the somewhat idiosyncratic earlier version of GlobiMail. Many folks just couldn't get along with it, and it felt like trying to plug a major feature gap in Podio, with... well, something too small, the wrong shape, and not quite fit-for-purpose.

That has emphatically changed, with the latest upgrades to GlobiMail. The product management team has now added the ability to compose new email messages to Podio contacts and replies to incoming emails, directly in the browser. This removes the need for mailto links opening the default client, and keeps users focused in their current context (though you do have the choice to launch your chosen mail client).

Furthermore, they have also added the ability to create boilerplate canned responses, allowing you to answer emails with complex common responses with three clicks. It couldn't get any simpler.

Needless to say, the folks at GlobiMail are keen for you to go back and give the revised version a try. We would concur that it's well worthwhile, and could be a much-needed panacea to the malaise of mail-less Podio.