21 June 2017

Lead QA Becomes A Father On Father's Day

Vijayant Rimza's newborn daughter The team is happy to congratulate Lead QA Vijayant Rimza and his wife Monika to their newborn baby girl. The little princess was born right when Father's Day was celebrated in India, and we cannot imagine a better gift.

Reliable team member
I first met Vijayant when I attended his brother's wedding in 2010. At that time Vijayant was still studying for his Master of Computer Application exam, but the following year we could welcome him to the team.

Now Vijayant has been with us for six years, and he plays an important role in leading the QA team in the testing of new features and products. Vijayant is also an active member of the support team, as he often assists with the troubleshooting when a user reports a problem.
Peter Kalmström and Vijayant Rimza
Finally Vijayant makes sure that the solutions are user-friendly and fit well into SharePoint and Outlook, the platforms we build on.

In December 2015 I attended the wedding when Vijayant married his Monika. It was a wonderful party with more than 1000 guests, and I told you a bit about it in a blog post.

Next time I visited the team in Indore I was told that Vijayant and Monika were expecting a child, so it was no big surprise when they announced the birth of a baby girl this last Sunday.

Vijayant Rimza with his newborn daughterHappy family
The image to the right was taken at the hospital, and even if is dark I hope you can see Vijayant's happy smile when he for the first time holds his newborn daughter.

The Rimza family has given us two more team members. Now Jayant has become an elder father, or bade papa in Hindi, and Rituka is the baby's paternal aunt, bua. The bua is always a respected person, as she is the one who decides the name of the child.

The whole team wishes baby Rimza a bright future!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

07 June 2017

Enforce A SharePoint List Business Rule

SharePoint iconAll organizations have rules and guidelines for processes and procedures, and in an ideal world all employees follow them. In reality rules are forgotten, and in such cases it is convenient to have a reminder sent out automatically. When the business rule involves SharePoint, both can be done with a workflow.

In a new Tips article, I have described how a SharePoint workflow can reverse a forbidden action and send out a reminder about the correct process to the user who forgot the rule.

Tasks list
TimeCard for SharePoint icon I have taken a list in one of our products as an example. The default tasks list in Kanban Task Manager has no "Minutes worked" field, but new fields can be added just like in any other SharePoint list.

If a manager decides to add a "Minutes worked" field, it is probably important to have it filled out also – maybe so important that a task with "Minutes worked" set to 0 should be impossible to mark as completed. That is where the workflow come in.

Two conditions and two actions
SharePoint logoThe workflow that I create in the demo below has two conditions: the task status must be set to Completed and the "Minutes worked" value should be 0, which is the default value.

Two actions are performed when both conditions are met: the task status is reversed to In Progress and an e-mail with a reminder about the rule and a link to the task is sent to the person who last modified the task.

Even if I have used a tasks list in the demo and the Tips article, the workflow method can be used in many different ways. Regard my demo as an inspiration, an idea that you can adapt so that it suits your organization and its business rules.

Peter Kalmström,
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

31 May 2017

Kanban Task Manager Screen Efficiency

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Kanban Task Manager, the product for tasks and projects visualization in SharePoint and Outlook, can be optimized to fit different requisites and screen sizes. In the first demo below I show some of the methods to adapt the kanban board.

The Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions also have options for showing just "My Tasks" on any page, and our ShareTask app gives a user friendly interface in mobile devices.

The SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager runs in a browser, so each user can easily change the size of the kanban board by using the Control key together with the plus or minus key to zoom in and out.

In the latest versions of the single and organizational editions for Outlook, we have given the same possibility to use Ctrl + minus/plus to either see more tasks or zoom in on a few tasks only.

The SharePoint editions can also take advantage of the inbuilt SharePoint feature "Focus on Content" to hide the navigation and top banner.

Multiple columns and hidden completed phase
Administrators can set any phase on the kanban board to contain more than one column of task cards. Kanban Task Manager does not limit the number of columns you can have in one phase, so it can be decided for each installation.

Another way to have more room for task cards on the horizontal level is to hide one of the phases (or more) from the kanban board. Organizations often opt to hide the completed phase. The tasks are still kept in the tasks list, of course, so that they can be used in the Kanban Task Manager statistics.

These two features belong to Kanban Task Manager, so they are available in all editions, both for Outlook and SharePoint.

My Tasks
To give best possible interface to users who only need to see their own tasks, we have added a button for an embed code in the configure page of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions. The code can be embedded in any page, and with the sandboxed edition "My Tasks" can even show tasks from all Kanban Task Manager installations in the farm or tenant.

ShareTask for SharePoint logotypeWhen users often manage their tasks in mobile devices, Kanban Task Manager can be combined with another product: ShareTask.

This mobile app gives users an interface that is adapted to small screens, and it is not only intended for Kanban Task Manager. It works with all lists built on the SharePoint Online Tasks or Issue Tracking template. The admin just has to activate the sandboxed solution on the list site, and then users can download their free apps to their Android, iOS or Windows devices.

Our Medium and Premium subscriptions give free access to both Kanban Task Manager and ShareTask, so for organizations who use SharePoint Online this is a valuable combination of products.

As you see there is a lot to be done to help users get an efficient screen for their tasks management, whether they are working on a kanban board or just handle their own tasks.

Peter Kalmström,
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

24 May 2017

Space And Speed In New Outlook Kanban Add-in

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotypeToday I am happy to announce the release of Kanban Task Manager Single V6, the fourth edition of our popular kanban board product.

The single edition of Kanban Task Manager is intended for one-man businesses, consultants and anyone else who requires a way to visualize and keep track of projects and tasks but don't need to share their kanban board with others.

Outlook tasks
The Kanban Task Manager ribbon group in the Outlook mail viewOn a kanban board, task cards are moved between the phases of a project as work proceeds. In Kanban Task Manager we use the kanban board idea with Outlook tasks, so that you can see your tasks in Outlook and group them in various ways.

You can either  create new tasks directly on the kanban board or use the Convert button in the Outlook mail view to convert e-mails into tasks.

Space and speed
In Kanban Task Manager Single V6 we have redesigned the kanban board to give room for more tasks without scrolling, and we have also managed to speed up the loading of the Kanban Task Manager load tasks, views and settings. It was not slow before, but now it is really quick!

Features from organizational editions
As you might have seen in earlier blogposts, we have already updated the three workgroup editions of Kanban Task Manager, for Outlook and SharePoint. The single edition build on these and has the same features except those who are intended for sharing.

This means that Kanban Task Manager Single is more advanced than other products on the market that also build on the kanban board idea. We also give support and free upgrades to the single users, just like we do for organizations who subscribe to the workgroup editions.

Upgrade upgrade iconIf you already subscribe to Kanban Task Manager, I recommend you to upgrade your installation to get the enhanced kanban board and the faster performance. The upgrade is quick. Just download the .msi file and run it. The installer will find your earlier installation and upgrade it automatically. Refer to the Revisions page for a list of all the news in Kanban Task Manager Single V6.

Try it download iconDo you need to get an overview over your Outlook tasks and want to use the kanban  method to visualize the work process? In that case you are welcome to try Kanban Task Manager Single. There is plenty of documentation on our website, and should you still have questions I hope you will contact us.

Peter Kalmström,
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

11 May 2017

V6 Released After Five Years With Kanban Task Manager For Outlook

Kanban Task Manager logotype The two SharePoint editions of  Kanban Task Manage have recently been updated, and now the time has come to the Outlook edition for workgroups, Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. The responsible developer, Jitu Patidar, will tell you more about this update.
Jitendra Patidar image
When I joined the team in the spring of 2012, I came right into the development of our very first Kanban Task Manager product. It was intended for kanban style collaboration on tasks and projects in Outlook.

Five years of kanban development
Our color coded kanban board for Outlook became a success, and later we have also developed a single edition for Outlook and of course the two SharePoint editions. I have been included in all Kanban Task Manager development, but the two Outlook editions have been my responsibility for the last five years, so I know them quite well by now!

Design enhancements on the scene and behind it
Last time Peter came to visit us here in Indore, we discussed a prototype for a new design of the Kanban Task Manager kanban board. That first glimpse was promising, so we were excited to implement it.

When working with the new versions, we also wanted to make some major design changes at the SharePoint/database level, to improve the performance. While the new design is visible at the first glance, users will notice the better loading speed when they start working with the new version. I am sure they will be happy with both!

Share via database or SharePoint
Kanban Task Manager for Outlook offers three options for sharing of tasks and settings: an SQL Server or Access database or a SharePoint site. When the SharePoint option is selected, the Outlook edition can synchronize with one of the SharePoint editions, so that users can choose which edition to work with at each occasion.

Several subscribers use Kanban Task Manager that way. It is easy for users to feel at home in both editions, because we have used or built as much shared code as possible to give a similar user interface in all editions.

Team project
The spirit encourages cooperation, and I have had great help from my co-workers in the development of the new version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. Together we have solved many problems, but I think the most difficult one was to make the kanban board in Outlook work well in different resolutions.

Subscription icon Now our QA team has ensured me that everything works well, and I am glad we can offer subscribers to upgrade their installations without cost.

If you are new to Kanban Task Manager, you are welcome to try the Outlook edition for workgroups. We give free support to evaluators, as well as to subscribers, so my colleagues and I are always here to assist you if needed!

It has been a privilege to follow Kanban Task Manager from the first idea to an advanced product with many users all over the world, and I am sure that new ideas and technologies will keep me busy with Kanban Task Manager for many years to come!

Jitu Patidar
Senior Developer, Support Lead Business Solutions