Feature releases

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!

Contacts - A new kind of app!

It's not everyday that Podio gets an official new app type, but today we are delighted to herald the introduction of the new Contact app!

Just to clarify, there are three distinct app types in Podio. Standard, Event and now Contact. When the folks at Podio create a dedicated app type, other than standard, it's a rare thing indeed.

Arguably the very point of Podio is that teams can and should create their own apps with a set of fields that uniquely represent their quirks and requirements.

However, some use cases are so pervasive that they justify their own app type. More specifically, in order to guarantee reliable integration with other products and protocols, certain field types must be present. Having a dedicated app type guarantees that. So just as an events app must have a date field, a contacts app must have a name and email address field in order to work. In fact, in the case of contact apps, Podio has specified no fewer than nine fields which you cannot remove (it's for your own safety!) from the app. These fields are critical to the understanding that other platforms have of what to expect from Podio. 

So why the change? Well, for years now one of Podio's key strengths has been its flexibility. The problem is that although users do want flexibility, they only want a certain kind of flexibility. They want to build their own apps, but want to know that they're getting things right. So if they ask the question "how should we 'do' contacts in Podio?", they want and need a clear answer. They want the right answer. Until now, there hasn't been one. We have always recommended that folks use their own contacts app, rather than native Podio workspace contacts, but that has always left the residue of a discarded native feature lurking in the shadows. Now things have been rationalised and tidied up.

The benefits are that contacts can be easily linked across apps and workspaces, and exploited to the max with Podio's lovely new(ish) reference badges. It's also easier to sync contacts with other platforms via PieSync (we're yet to review it) and certain data, such as address data is more beautifully and consistently structured. The only negatives are a) that we have to wait for a conversion tool to magic our existing contacts apps into Contact apps with a capital C, and b) we would have liked to see separate First Name and Last Name fields. It's overall a very very welcome feature release though.

Well done Podio, thank you <3. This has needed addressing for a while, and you've done it! Next up fully integrated email? Enhancements to dashboards and reporting? We'll let you choose :-)