20 October 2016

Easy Setup Of Multiple SharePoint Kanban Boards

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeMany subscribers use multiple installations of Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint, and we already offer them a PowerShell script to facilitate the setup. Now we will soon be able to give a script that helps with the configuration also.

Tasks Overview
Kanban Task Manager visualizes SharePoint tasks as color coded cards on a kanban board with phases and lanes, and with multiple installations managers can easily move between the boards and have an overview over how work proceeds in different projects or for different teams.

Customer request
We are currently setting up Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint on multiple sites for a new subscriber. This customer wants all installations to have the same basic configuration, so we have created a PowerShell script that sets default values for each site's phases, lanes, projects and colors.
PowerShell icon
The PowerShell script we use for this automated configuration can be used for both Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions: the sandboxed solution and the add-in.

Search all tasks
Using the configuration script is much quicker than configuring each installation manually, but it also gives another advantage: we can create the content type in the Content Type Hub instead of in each site collection. This makes it possible to search all tasks in Kanban Task Manager tasks lists across the whole organization.

Free of charge
Premium Subscription icon Kanban Task Manager Medium and Premium subscribers may request the installation script without any extra costs, and soon we will give them the configuration script too. Minimum subscribers normally have just a few installations, so the scripts are not included in that subscription level.

Please contact us if you are interested in the configuration script, and we will e-mail you as soon as it has been properly tested and is ready for distribution.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

07 October 2016

SharePoint Time Reporting With Summary And Mobile App

TimeCard for SharePoint logotypeOur SharePoint solution for time reporting directly from the calendar has been updated to support a recent change in Office 365. The installation and upgrade processes are a bit changed, and so is the summary of reported and future time that can be integrated into any page.

TimeCard for SharePoint logotypeOne of my first standard products was the workgroup edition of TimeCard for Outlook. This add-in has been on the market for 15 years, and several of the early customers are still using it! "We have loved TimeCard, and Kalmstrom, for 12 years!" one of them exclaimed in an e-mail a while ago.

I can understand that users like TimeCard, because TimeCard gives several ways to check the hours before you report them, and it is efficient to report time from the calendar where you plan your activities.

TimeCard Summary
The SharePoint edition of TimeCard is younger than the Outlook editions, but SharePoint gives possibilities that are more complicated to achieve in Outlook. For example, the SharePoint version has a TimeCard Summary, which shows an overview of recently reported time for all users.

TimeCard Summary is especially useful to organizations where users report time often, maybe once a week or even every day, because the summary also shows users' plans for the coming 5 days. These future appointments are updated every time the user reports, so then any change of plans will be reflected in the summary.

In earlier versions TimeCard Summary was a web part, but as Microsoft has stopped support for server-side code in sandboxed solutions we now instead give an embed code for the summary. This code can be inserted in a page in the same way as a video.

TimeCard Settings
The summary embed code is given in the TimeCard Global Settings, where the administrator manages settings that should be the same for all users, like which parameters users should tag their calendar events with to transform them into time sheets.

Each user also has his/her own Personal Settings, where they for example can decide which events should be excluded from the reporting. Most users want to exclude events that are marked "personal".

Mobile App
TimeCard for SharePoint logotypeThe summary is interesting for managers, but it is not the only extra feature in TimeCard for SharePoint. Many users appreciate TimeCard Mobile, the app that gives them a possibility to tag events with time reporting information in their smartphones and have a user interface that is adapted to mobile devices. TimeCard Mobile is free for subscribers to TimeCard for SharePoint.

Upgrade upgrade icon Upgrades are always included in the Subscriptions, so current users of TimeCard for SharePoint are welcome to upgrade their installations.

Try TimeCard! download icon You are welcome to download TimeCard for SharePoint and evaluate it for 30 days. If you don't want to create your own tag values and events, you can use our example data for a quicker evaluation. Study the TimeCard documentation and contact us if you have questions, and I am sure you will find the evaluation interesting!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

09 September 2016

SharePoint Study Manager With New Embed Option

Study Manager for SharePoint logotypeStudy Manager, the SharePoint solution for teacher controlled self-studies, has come in a new version. We now give an embed code, so that the course can be embedded in any SharePoint page within the site collection.

Make SharePoint a learning platform
When you install Study Manager in a SharePoint site collection, you will have a learning platform that make it possible for teachers to add study material, for students to work with exercises and tasks and for both parties to study statistics on the learning process.

As much as possible, Study Manager takes advantage of existing SharePoint features. This makes the solution easy to learn for both teachers and students.

Study Manager is a very flexible solution. It can be used for any subject, for distance education or as a complement to traditional, teacher-controlled tuition.
Study Manager study group creation

Study group sites
When a teacher or administrator creates a new study group for Study Manager, the solution creates a dedicated site for that group. The study group site can be used for discussions, news, videos and other things that should be shared among the students in the group.

The students can reach the course content directly from the home page of the study group site, and there each student can see which exercises he or she has finished and which exercise is the next one to work with.
Study Manager study group home page

Embed the course
Do you want to have the course contents embedded on another page than the group site home page? That is no problem. The new version of Study Manager gives the embed code in the administration page, so you just have to copy it and paste it on the page where you want to show the course.
Study Manager embed dialog
Upgrade upgrade iconThe Study Manager upgrade process is a bit changed, due to changes in Microsoft's support for sandboxed code. Now you have to click on a Clean-up button in the administration page before deactivation of the old version. The new upgrade page shows the process clearly in a step-by-step instruction, so current subscribers will not have any problems to upgrade their Study Manager installations.

Try download iconStudy Manager has a free trial period of 30 days. If you need a way to formalize and structure self studies within your school or company, please download Study Manager and evaluate it! The team is here to assist you with any questions you might have.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

30 August 2016

Power BI Tips: Start And Embed

Power BI iconPower BI is a Microsoft suite of business analytics tools for Office 365. It is very useful for exploration and visualization of data, for example data from usage of SharePoint or Outlook products. I have recently begun recording a series of demonstrations about Power BI, and the first two have now been published in the Tips section.

Power BI is based on a self-service concept, where users can analyze data in an Excel-like interface and create custom reports. The idea is that users should be able to interact with data directly, without having to go through an IT department each time.

Power BI sketch

Get started
Each user has to connect Power BI to their Office 365, so in the first demo about Power BI I show how to do that. I select the online version, but I will come back to the desktop version later. In the introduction demo I also show how to import an Excel file and start playing with the data. The Power BI dashboard reminds of the Excel pivot table, but the interface is much more user friendly and intuitive. Calendar Browser for Outlook icon Statistics
Power BI supports multiple data sources, but the reason I chose to use an Excel file is that most products Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon give various Excel reports on data in databases or SharePoint lists. The data in these reports can very well be explored and visualized in Power BI.

Thus you can study statistics about how resourcesFolder HelpDesk for Outlook icon are used within your organization, how time is spent, how support cases are followed up, how projects are managed and so on, depending on which product you are using. Different kinds of default reports are generated, and you can also create custom reports.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint icon
Embed Power BI in SharePoint
The second demo shows two ways to embed a Power BI report in a SharePoint page. The built in "Publish to web" feature is the easiest method, and it is good for public data.

The built in method should however never be used for restricted data, because it gives a link that does not require login. Therefore I also describe a more secure method where users have to log in to Power BI with their SharePoint work account to see the report.

It is always a good idea to use Power BI with SharePoint to have updated reports, and I will go deeper into that in a later demonstration. For now you are welcome to watch the Get started demo below and to learn more in the Tips section.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

24 August 2016

SharePoint Editions of Kanban Task Manager Updated

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeToday I am happy to announce that the SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager have been updated.  The main reason for the updates was to overcome the Office 365 limitation for sandboxed solutions that Microsoft imposed on us a few weeks ago, but we have also added a new feature: thumbnail photos in the details pane.

SharePoint kanban board in two editions
With Kanban Task Manager workgroups can cooperate on tasks on a kanban board in SharePoint, and managers can easily move between different installations and have an overview over how work proceeds in different projects. As the tasks are color coded and dragged between phases during the work process, it is easy to discover blockers and bottlenecks and do something about them.

Kanban Task Manager comes in two SharePoint editions: an add-in, or app, which works on SharePoint 2013 and higher, and a sandboxed solution, which also supports SharePoint 2010.
Kanban Task Manager kanban board in SharePoint

Major change hardly visible
Because of Microsoft's decision to deprecate server-side code in sandboxed solutions, the developers have made major changes in the installation and upgrade processes of this edition. Earlier we kept a very small amount of server-side code, to make installs, uninstalls and upgrades simpler for administrators, but with this server-side code our sandboxed solutions can no longer be activated in Office 365.

The rebuild of the Kanban Task Manager sandboxed solution have taken some time, because major changes were needed, but for users the new processes are hardly visible. Only in the upgrade and uninstallation we have to bother admins with some more clicks, to make it possible to continue supporting Office 365.

Rebuild of all sandboxed solutions Templates Manager icon
A week ago we released a new version of Templates Manager that included the new processes for installation, upgrade and uninstallation, and now when Kanban Task Manager has been updated we are taking on Study Manager. TimeCard for SharePoint icon

After that comes the SharePoint versions of TimeCard and Calendar Browser, and then all sandboxed solutions are fit for new Office 365 installations again. Calendar Browser for SharePoint icon

Note that only new installations are affected by Microsoft's deprecation. All existing installations work without problems in Office 365 too.

Thumbnails in details pane
When you right click on a card in the Kanban Task Manager kanban view, you can see more text from the task subject and body in a details pane at the bottom of the screen. Now you can also have photos there, of the person who created the task and the person the task has been assigned to.

Kanban Task Manager fetches these thumbnails from the SharePoint profiles, so when the profiles have photos these will also be visible in the details pane.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint details pane on kanban board

This new feature is introduced in both SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager. Therefore the add-in edition has been updated too, even if there has been no change to its installation and upgrade processes.

Upgrade upgrade iconThe new sandboxed solution upgrade page shows the process clearly in a step-by-step instruction and in a demo, so I don't think current subscribers will have problems to upgrade their Kanban Task Manager installations.

However, if you are using Kanban Task Manager in many sites, the upgrade process might feel tedious. Please contact us in that case, because we can give you a PowerShell script that takes care of everything.

For add-in user the upgrade process is the same as before.

Try download iconThe SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager have a free trial period of 30 days. The sandboxed solution is downloaded from the website, and the add-in can also be downloaded from

The add-in can be downloaded from Microsoft's SharePoint Store as well, but then you may have to wait a few days for the latest version. As we don't control SharePoint Store ourselves we have to wait for Microsoft's review, but they are usually rather quick. (Note added 25 Aug: the add-in has now been updated on SharePoint Store too.)

Kanban Task Manager is one of our most popular products, so be sure, we will continue to develop it! Subscribers give many good suggestions, and being the one I am, I have a few ideas myself too!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions