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Hygger for Software Development

How to develop software using

Alexander Sergeev avatar
Written by Alexander Sergeev
Updated over a week ago

This guide demonstrates opportunities from collecting and prioritizing ideas to development processes based on the popular Kanban and Scrum methodologies.

Setting Up the Project

1. Create the Project

The first thing you need to do is to create the first project:

2. Add Collections

If your company consists of different departments, create several collections at once where you'll later add different boards: Development collection for development boards, Production collection for strategies and planning, Marketing collection for promotion boards.

3. Invite Colleagues

Before building any process, invite your colleagues to Hygger:

Collect, Organize and Prioritize Ideas

Now we are ready to collect all the ideas together. Hygger uses Backlog to collect and prioritize ideas. 

1. Create Backlog

Use a Kanban type board to create Backlog, add to the Production collection:

2. Make Backlog Structure

Let's adjust the Board. Select two groups among the ideas: one that we will do first and one that will be postponed. You may use Swimlanes for these purposes. Just create two Swimlanes on the board - "Now" and "Later":

3. Add Lablels

Besides, each idea refers to different components and initiatives. For example, we want to simplify the registration to increase the conversion or want to increase the retention. How to separate such tasks? In this case, Labels look great. This is like a colored tag that is visible outside the card. That is pretty convenient - it can quickly filter out tasks on the board. 

Let's create some typical Labels, for example, "Boarding", "Retention", and "Income". This should be enough for the start. You can assign the following Labels:

4. Evaluate and Prioritize Tasks

It's a high time to put all the ideas together. In Hygger, you can evaluate tasks using the Value (benefits from the feature implementation) & Efforts (labor efforts for the feature implementation) metrics. After you set these parameters to several tasks, you can view them on the Priority Matrix

Thanks to this kind of visualization, you can quickly filter out all the unimportant (Time Sinks) and see the most valuable tasks (Quick Wins) and as a result - be successful in maintaining Product Backlog.

5. Push and Track Progress

There’s one useful feature that will help you track a development stage of your idea. It’s a Push option. It allows you to send a task from a Backlog to Sprint/Kanban board for its implementation with a help of task link. The pushed task is linked to the original one from a Backlog board which shows you its development status. 

With a help of tasks link pushed items will be automatically synchronized. Once a pushed task is completed and moved to the Done column, its parent task will be automatically moved to Done column on Backlog.

This connection also work backward. You can link a task from development board to a task on Backlog. 

You can push several tasks to different boards at the same time. For example, you gathered all the requirements and created an Epic or a Story and splitted it to 10 tasks for a realization. Some of them can be pushed to a Sprint board, the rest - to a Kanban board. After the push, you can see the cross links in a parent and copied tasks. This helps you to track the status of the epic/story and their subtasks.

Usually you should have 3 sprints planned ahead so you can create 3 columns for each of them. I.e, the columns on your Backlog represent future iterations. Once you are ready to launch a new sprint, just Push All Tasks from a certain column to a board where your development is happening, with no need to manually add those tasks. These items will be automatically linked between each other.


Customize the Development Process

1. Set Up the Process 

Now it's time to configure the processes in development. First, let's define what steps should the task take from the moment when we started its development, until the moment of deployment.

  • To Do - the line of nearest tasks.

  • Developing - currently in development tasks.

  • Ready for Testing - the task is developed, can be tested.

  • Ready for Deployment - the task is tested, you can deploy it to production.

  • Live - the task to production.

...and some additional statuses:

  • Reopened - for the tasks that need improvement.

  • Paused - for the tasks, that were paused.

Here's how the described processes will look like on Kanban board:

It may seem that the Board lacks two statuses - Ready for Testing and Ready for Deployment. We've replaced them with composite columns - Developing and Testing. When developers finish working on the task, they move the card within the Developing Column from In Progress subcolumn to Done. The Done subcolumn from Developing column is the line of tasks that are ready for testing. 

The same things is with Ready for Deployment column: when testing is completed without defects and the task is ready for deployment - move it from Testing In Progress to Testing Done. It reduces the visual "noise" on the board and makes the process intuitive.

2. Divide Tasks into Groups Easily with Swimlanes

If we need to divide the tasks into groups, then we can take advantages from Swimlanes. As an example - splitting the tasks into regular and blocking ones. 

Let's say, something was broken in the product and you have lost customers. In this case, you need to postpone the current regular tasks and immediately put out a fire. That's why we create at least two Swimlanes: Blockers and General. 

Another example: The board includes many unnecessary "trash" tasks - those tasks that are not so important. In this case, you can add a third Swimlane called Later, where you will move everything that was postponed for later.

3. Set up Work In Progress Limits

It's not a secret that frequent switching between tasks can be disastrous for productivity. 

For example, a programmer has 2 tasks at a time. To fully switch from one task to another and get the context, he/she needs up to 15 minutes. And what if such switching happen 3, 5, 7 times per day? We can not afford this, therefore we will make sure that each programmer works only on one task simultaneously. It can be easily done with the help of WIP limits. This feature restricts the number of simultaneous tasks in the column.

For example, if 5 programmers work within one board, then we set a limit of 5 tasks. If there are 6 tasks in the column at the same time, then we'll see a red indicator, which notifies there are more tasks in the column than are supposed to be:

We can also track the minimum number of tasks in work.

In this case, if the column consists of fewer tasks than it was set, then we will see an orange indicator:

4. Apply Quick Filters

You can filter your tasks on the board by various criteria using Quick filters:

  • Recently Updated - the tasks that have been updated in the last 24 hours.

  • My Tasks - all tasks assigned to me.

  • Overdue Tasks - expired tasks.

  • Members - a quick filter for participants. 

  • Labels - filters tasks according to Labels assigned to them. The principle is similar to the Members filter.

In addition, you can create your own Quick filters in the menu of the board. Then they appear in the general panel of Quick filters:

5. Manage Versions and Releases

You can use Versions to logically link a group of tasks. Versions are created in the project settings:

For example, you are developing a large product module and need 10 tasks. One of the options to track the progress of the module is to "pack" these tasks into a general version. Now you see the progress on this version in the separate section:

After all tasks are completed, you release this version - the tasks are moved to the versions’ archive and do not occupy useful places on the board.

6. Dive deeply into the Task

A task in Hygger: what does it consist of?

Let's dive into the main components of any task and define what they are used for.

  • Task key is a compound field that is set automatically. It includes the short name of the project and the sequence number of the task. It can be considered as a unique task's identifier, which accelerates communication processes within the team ("how are you feeling with defect 137?").

  • Title - briefly formulate what this task is about and enter this info in the field.

  • Task description - here you will describe all the details of the task with nice Markdown.

  • Checklists breaks the task into logical parts or stages.

  • Set Due Date if you need to track the deadlines.

  • Your tasks can be evaluated in hours. This is especially useful if you combine ratings and time tracking - for example, you can track errors in estimates.

  • It is quite convenient to conduct discussions in Hygger tasks - the comments are organized into a two-level structure.

  • Use Labels to specify task characteristics. In the future, this will allow you to filter out all the tasks tagged with such Label.

  • You can download attachments from your PC or Dropbox.

  • If you want to keep abreast of all updates on the task - subscribe to it. You'll receive all updates directly to Hygger Inbox and to your account's mailbox.

7. Integrate with GitHub and BitBucket

In Hygger, you can associate commits from GitHub and BitBucket with the tasks within which they were made. It works like this: John, the developer, has pushed a commit for the task with the TESLA-333 key. In order to make it clear which task commit is related to - he pointed this key in the Commit message. After he made a push to the repository, an attachment of that commit appeared in the Hygger task with the TESLA-333 key. Now it's needless to use the search or remember the header of the commit to find the ends - just go to the link:

Pull requests is attached to the task in the same way, provided.

8. Use Notifications 

  • Receive the most important notifications directly to the Slack channel - connect the integration with Slack in the menu of the board, select the changes that interest you.

  • If you only need to receive notifications for mail or Hygger Inbox, then subscribe to the updates of the board.

  • If you do not want to receive notifications, but simply sometimes find out what's new on the board - in the menu of the board at the very bottom you can find the Board Activity, which reflects the latest events on this board.

Try Scrum

Hygger provides a wide toolkit for working with Scrum. Let's start configuring Scrum by creating a Sprint board:

1. Plan Your Sprint

Now we have a platform for running sprints. All we have to do is fill the board with tasks, evaluate them and launch the first Sprint.

The tasks of future Sprints can be planned on Backlog. Let's go to the Backlog from the example above and send the tasks to one of the iterations on the Sprint board:

Now you need to run Sprint planning - if you have not yet evaluated the tasks while they were in Backlog. You have several options for evaluation - both in Story Points and in hours. Time Tracking does not depend on the chosen estimation option - you can also log working time.

Once all estimations are finished - you can start a new Sprint:

2. Run Sprint and Track Its Progress

You can control the Sprint progress on the Burndown Chart:

In addition, in the board header you can quickly get basic information about the state of the Sprint: how much work needs to be done more, how much time is worked out, when the Sprint ends:

At the end of each Sprint, you release it. All tasks of the Sprint are marked by the Version you have chosen and you can find them both on the Sprint board itself and in the Versions and Releases section of the project settings:

3. Analyze Sprints' Results

Sprint board also provides a historical summary of all the Sprints that were released on it - in the History section of the board menu. Here you can see the detailed Sprint history in the Released Sprints report and the speed of each Sprint in the Velocity Report. 

The first report will be useful if you want to analyze in details the amount of useful work done for a particular Sprint, what tasks your team managed to complete, and which ones were necessary to postpone. The second report will show the average amount of work done for all Sprints. It will help to accurately predict how much work the team can perform in the new Sprint.

4. Tell About the Closest Deploys to the Whole Team

Use the Timeline board to ensure that the entire team is aware of the nearest updates.

In fact, this is a Gantt chart or Roadmap, where you can build the order of tasks to make other departments (Marketing, Support, Sales) aware of an approximate schedule of product deployments. 

You can also use it for personal planning - for example, if you need to split the tasks among the team members in a balanced way.

The Timeline board in Hygger allows you to reference existing tasks. Just paste the task URL into the task creation field or use the Task search directly in this field.

If you want to know more about Scrum method and opportunities, read our Scrum tutorial. You may also get more details about how to drive Kanban projects.

General Options

1. Apply Inbox

We've repeatedly mentioned the section Inbox above. Hygger Inbox is the notification center on the Overview page where only the most important events are notified. For example, someone mentioned you in a comment or a task that you are a member of, for some reason was returned to To Do (it's a signal to understand who and why postponed the task). You'll also get these messages by email. But do not worry, there won't be spam here.

2. Sort out Completed Tasks

The same Overview page but the feed with activities is on the right side of the page. Here you can see what your team has really done in recent times:

Actually, such statistics is possible only if you correctly configure the columns on the board. This setting is very trivial - you just need to specify the correct category of the column when creating it. There are three categories of columns - To Do, In Progress and Done. 

The names of the categories speak for themselves. So, when the task falls into the column of the category Done - Hygger understands that the task is "completely done" and creates an appropriate event in the feed for Overview.

Lost the task? Remember that you've wrote a very important comment but can't recall where exactly? 

If you face the similar questions, then it's time to use the Global Search option. Everything is simple: start writing the beginning of the word, which is used in the title, description or comments to the task and Hygger will find this task for sure. You'll also see the tasks you have opened last.

If you need more advanced task search opportunities, use the "Quick link" to Tasks Browser:

You could also notice the quick link My Tasks - with its help you can see all the tasks that were assigned to you with different statuses:

4. Use Time tracking Report

Time Tracking Report is available for each Hygger company. The report shows all the time that your company participants logged in tasks. You can find it in Reporting:

5. Invite Colleagues

You can invite colleagues to Hygger at the different points of the app: through the company settings in the "Members" tab, in the left menu through the Add New button, in the app header and even through the menu of the board - if suddenly you realized that you need someone who is not in Hygger yet. 

At the same time, Hygger has the option of quickly inviting colleagues through a special invite-link - in case you do not remember all email addresses or just do not want to waste time filling them out. Just share this link with your colleagues.

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