Process Dashboard Version 1.10

The development team for the Software Process Dashboard Initiative is pleased to announce the availability of version 1.10 of the Process Dashboard. Version 1.10 includes many significant new features.

  • The Process Dashboard is now released under version 3 of the GNU General Public License.
  • For new team projects, created after the installation of this update, a new task structure will be used:
    • Previously, the process phase of a task (e.g. Planning, Code, Test, etc) was recorded via a final “stub” that appeared at the end of each task in the hierarchy. Now, these stubs are no longer created. This change reduces clutter, makes it easier to subdivide existing tasks, and reduces the memory usage of the Process Dashboard.
    • In a new-style team project, individuals will have a project plan summary report similar to the one on the team side: it can be edited to include custom charts, reports, and tables of data.
    • Important: Data from new-style and old-style team projects can still be rolled up together into master projects.
  • For a new-style team project that is underway, new columns will appear in the Work Breakdown Structure Editor to display actual metrics:
    • Actual time spent on each task
    • Actual completion date
    • Percent complete
    • Percent spent

    Among other things, this makes it possible to see which tasks have been completed, which are in progress, and which have not yet started.

  • When changes are made in the WBS, individuals use the “Sync to WBS” operation to copy those changes into their personal plan. In a new-style team project, the synchronization is now bidirectional. When individuals make changes to the following data in their personal plan, the changes will be propagated back into the WBS automatically:
    • Changes to the planned time for tasks
    • Changes to the planned hours in the schedule
    • Changes to task notes/comments
    • Changes to the phase type of a task (e.g. Planning, Code, etc.)
  • The colored bars in the WBS Editor are a useful tool for balancing work between team members. For a new-style team project that is underway, these bars can now be toggled between two modes:
    • Show End-to-End Plan: This mode takes all tasks into account. The dates calculated for each team member will correspond to the “Planned Completion Date” for that individual in their personal earned value schedule.
    • Show Remaining Work: This mode subtracts out tasks that have already been completed, as well as effort spent on in-progress work. The dates calculated for each team member will correspond to the “Replanned Completion Date” for that individual in their personal earned value schedule.

    The new “Remaining Work” mode is a powerful way to rebalance work during a relaunch. Teams can also use it throughout a project iteration to continually rebalance work.

  • The Process Dashboard now supports baselines for earned value data. You can save a baseline for any earned value schedule, then view baseline metrics in the task list and EV charts.
  • The WBS Editor now includes support for project milestones:
    • It is possible to define a list of project milestones, and optionally enter commit dates
    • Each component and/or task in the WBS can be assigned to a particular milestone
    • Marks appear on the colored balancing bars to indicate when each individual could potentially finish their work for each milestone
    • The colored balancing bars can be configured to balance work for the entire project or just for the next milestone(s)
    • Future milestones can be marked as “deferred,” and the sync operation will not copy the associated tasks into team member plans.
  • A new icon on the main toolbar makes it easy to attach free-text notes to any component or task in the Process Dashboard. On a team project, these notes are shared by the team, and accessible in the WBS Editor.
  • Play and pause now appear as separate toggle buttons.
  • A new “timing reminder” feature is available. This feature can periodically display pop-up alerts, reminding the user to start or stop their timer or to change the active task. (This feature is not enabled by default, but can be turned on by individuals who wish to use it. To enable this feature, right-click on the tray icon and choose “Reminder > Enable Reminder.”)
  • The WBS Editor now allows you to enter detailed schedules for each team member, to include start dates, end dates, and planned time exceptions on specific weeks. This information is bidirectionally synchronized with each individual’s personal earned value schedule.
  • Previously, the WBS Editor would not allow you to assign a task to an individual until a time estimate had been entered for the task. Now, it is possible to assign a task to an individual even while the task’s time estimate is still zero. Agile project teams may use this feature to support on-the-fly cost estimation.
  • The Team Dashboard Users Manual is now included in the dashboard’s searchable online help.
  • When starting a new project or iteration, you can now bring forward the data from historical earned value schedules. As a result, the dashboard can calculate forecast dates and prediction ranges during a team project launch, even before any actual data has been collected.
  • The weekly earned value report now includes a “Tasks In Progress” section. This section displays tasks that have been started but not yet completed, making it easier to spot problems such as overspent tasks.
  • Historically, “PSP Tasks” were required if a team wanted to capture planned and actual LOC for their project. Now, LOC can be captured for “code” tasks as well.
  • Installation and operation of the dashboard on Mac OS X is greatly improved.
  • On Unix/Linux systems, the default web browser has been changed from Netscape to Firefox.