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Setting Up Your Planio Account for Agile Project Management

Planio lets you use agile methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban or Extreme programming for your projects. You can read a case study on exactly how Software AG, a customer, uses Planio to implement scrum by clicking here.

1. Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies includes a group of software development methods such as Scrum, Kanban or Extreme programming. They’re all based on the idea that requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing, cross-functional teams.

This tutorial will help you set up your account for one of these methodologies.

2. What can you do with Planio's Agile App?

Once it’s set up, you'll be able to:

  • see all the sprint items on one board;
  • drag-n-drop items or update them on the board;
  • plan your sprints and create issue backlogs;
  • generate burndown charts, cumulative flow charts, velocity charts and more.

3. Getting Set Up

Make sure that the Agile app is installed. Go to the Apps tab and install the Agile app.

Make sure the App is installed

4. Start Simple

We've found that you'll have the most success if you start off with a simple setup. Once you've completed a few sprints with Planio, you'll be in a better position to see which customizations make sense for you.

5. Plan a Sprint

If you don't have any issues in your project, add some issues now. Then, once your project has issues, it's time to plan your next sprint. Go to your project's Agile board, then click on Sprint planning in the sidebar. Next, click on New Sprint.

Give a name to your new sprint such as Sprint #1 and set the start date. Now, you can drag an issue from the Issues without sprint column to the sprint you just created.

Drag and drop issues onto the next sprint

6. View Items on Your Agile Board and Create Sprint Views

Click on Agile board in the navigation bar and you'll see the issues laid out on the Agile board. By default, you'll see all issues in the project, rather than just the issues for the current sprint.

Therefore, we'll create and save a filter for the current sprint. Click on Add filter in the top right-hand corner and select the Sprint/Milestone. Make sure the Sprint/Milestone is set to the current sprint and click Save.

Set the filter to show the current sprint

On the next page, you can name this filter, make it visible to all users and set it as the default board, so you don't have to select this filter each time.

Save this board as the default board

It will appear in the right sidebar under My agile boards.

You can now drag and drop issues on your Agile board. You can also update items by right-clicking on them (Windows) or double-clicking on them (Mac).

Update issues directly from the Agile board

7. Story Points

Estimating stories in terms of hours can lead to unproductive discussions about the exact amount of time a story will take. Mike Cohn gives the example of two runners discussing how long a 5K run will take. For one it may be 25 minutes, whereas for someone else it may be 45 minutes. Everyone, however, can agree that a 5K run is much shorter than a marathon.

In a similar vein, story points let you move away from debating exactly how long a story will take and start talking about the relative investment for each story. In order to avoid points just being seen as hours, some teams use the Fibonacci sequence of 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, etc. Therefore, instead of arguing over whether a story is a 7 or an 8, you can quickly agree that it’s more of an 8 than a 5, but not a 13-pointer.

In Planio, you can switch on story points by going to AdministrationAgile Board and selecting Story Points as the estimate units.

Select Story Points as the estimate units

Then, select which trackers should use story points. For example, you could have a tracker called User Stories that is the only one that uses story points. Alternatively, you can use story points for all trackers.

Now, you’ll be able to assign story points to issues when you create them. You can display story points on cards on the Agile Board, and you can have story points as columns in the issue list. You'll also have story point burn-up and burn-down charts.

Agile Board with Story Points

8. Graphs, Graphs, Graphs!

Click on Add filter, select Sprint/Milestone and set it to the current sprint, so you can see the charts as they relate to the current sprint.

Burndown charts show you how a project is progressing. They highlight the impact of adding new feature requests, and they'll let you know if things aren't going according to plan.

Burndown Chart

The velocity chart shows you the output of a team per sprint.

Velocity Chart

Lead time is the time between an issue being opened and being closed. Teams using a Kanban approach often favor this method over the velocity chart, and they'll focus on improving the lead time rather than velocity.

Lead Time Chart

Cumulative flow shows how issues are 'flowing' through different statuses.

Cumulative Flow Chart

Cumulative flow charts help answer questions such as:

  1. Are issues reaching their final state?
  2. Is there a particular status that's taking a lot of time?
  3. How long does it take you to go from an idea to value?
  4. Is the scope of the project changing over time?
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