26 April 2017

Quick View Switches In New Kanban Task Manager For SharePoint

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype We are updating all editions of Kanban Task Manager, the product for tasks and project management in SharePoint and Outlook. Today we have released the SharePoint sandboxed solution, Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint V6, and my mother Kate will share her first impression.

New design
SharePoint iconWhen Peter visited our Indian colleagues in December, they discussed next Kanban Task Manager version, and soon after that he showed me the first draft for the new kanban board and asked for comments. I therefore knew well that there would be smaller and cleaner task cards and that some functions would be moved to left and right panes.

The design changes aim to let users see more phases, lanes and task cards on the kanban board without scrolling, and I like it very much. Even though the cards are smaller, they still give a lot of information.
The Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint kanban view
New views
In the new Kanban Task Manager users can see the tasks in five other views: month, year, timeline grouped by project, timeline grouped by responsible and a project view where each project is visualized with a pie chart.

In the month and timeline views, users can also work with the tasks. For example, when a team member is absent, it is very convenient to open the Timeline Responsible view and drag the tasks assigned to that person to another member.

Quick loading
The developers have tried various methods to make Kanban Task Manager faster, and with version 6 they have really managed to make a difference. The switch between the views is really quick, and I find that the new Kanban Task Manager overall is very fast. Drag and drop tasks cards, opening and creating tasks, filter and search – everything works smoothly.
The Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint configuration page
All settings on one page
In earlier versions of the Kanban Task Manager SharePoint editions, the values for phases, lanes, projects and so on have been entered in different lists and dialogs, but now everything is done easily on one page. Here managers can enter, edit and remove values, change tasks list, decide color coding, WIP limits, columns per phase, add a custom parameter and much more.

Upgrade upgrade iconThe  upgrade process has not been changed, so current subscribers can upgrade their Kanban Task Manager installations in the same way as before. Free upgrades are included in all three subscription levels.

Try download iconKanban Task Manager has a free trial period of 30 days and if you are interested in the sandboxed solution you are welcome to download it from the website. For a rapid test you can use the example data, but believe me, with the new configuration page it does not take many minutes to add your own data.

We will release new versions of the SharePoint add-in edition and of the two Outlook editions during the next few weeks. Until then, please have a look at the introduction to the sandboxed solution above! The design of the other editions will be nearly the same.

Kate Kalmström
CCO Business Solutions

19 April 2017

Scalable, Cost-Effective SharePoint School Solution

SharePoint iconA huge amount of information flows through a school, not only from teachers to students and vice versa but in all directions between students, administrators and other staff. Controlling and managing all this information is a daunting task, but in SharePoint it can be handled well.

During a recent series of remote control workshop sessions with the SharePoint admin at a chain of US sports schools, I have made some good progress. Below is a summary of what we have achieved within a rather low budget.

Base of site collections
For permission reasons we decided to divide the information into site collections, so we set up one collection for each school location and also some collections that were shared among all schools. In each site collection, we created SharePoint groups for students at the location, for staff and for Enterprise admins who should see everything.

We also created various document libraries with default Enterprise Keywords sets. Thus, users will be able to tag their information simply by uploading it to the proper document library.

Two site collections, with different editors, are intended for reading by everyone. The Enterprise collection has announcements from the company management, policy documents and a graphical site map. The main content of the Development collection is a video list and an Exercise Plans library, and I will share some details about both of them.

SharePoint iconTeachers and trainers in these schools often create videos to illustrate a drill, move or technique, and there are literally thousands of them. Managers had tried to organize the videos into folders, but the shortcoming of folders soon became obvious to everyone involved. The same video could be used to illustrate several different techniques, and having the same video in many folders is wrong in lots of ways.

Therefore, instead of using folders, we built a series of managed metadata fields. The metadata will make it easy to find exactly the right video for a specific subject. To make it easier to tag each video, the edit and display form of the list was customized to embed the video.

Office 365 has a Video app that would have been useful, but it demands a more expensive SharePoint license than the one this organization is subscribing to. Therefore it was decided that the actual video files should be placed on a 3rd party video host.

PowerPoint library
The Exercise Plans library contains PowerPoint files, and a special template is used for new files. This template allows for several special layouts. One of them shows an embedded video and its description. Another layout has a background picture of the sports arena, where the trainer can draw movements and patterns.

Each location site collection has been given a contact list, where users can drag and drop their contacts using Outlook. We have also put some work into a mobile friendly contact search page in the Enterprise site collection. It allows users to search for contacts and click-to-call the phone numbers of the found contact. The search results will be permission trimmed, so that each person only can see the contacts shared with him/her.

The school chain had a limited budget but huge needs, so it was a real challenge  to find the right solution. We went through several iterations and ideas and ended up with a cost effective, scalable and very useful solution. I am looking forward to working more with this school to enhance it further.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions