Jim and myself have been on the road for a couple of weeks, talking with new, existing and future users of Milestone Planner. We’ve learnt lots, and back at the office the coffee bill has gone down!
A lot of the new learning has gone into our latest release wave, now live, with more to come. I feel like we should call it the “shiny jazzy” release, even though it is mostly been about removing distractions, increasing the functionality and speeding the workflow of Milestone Planner – kind of a tall latte – all the coffee without the froth. Can you tell I haven’t had my morning coffee or put my headphones on yet? Anyway, here are the key changes:
Crisper Milestones and Actions
On the dashboard and milestone pages we have resigned the way milestones and actions are displayed. The new design is (hopefully!) much cleaner, clearer and more compact. That means you can see more at once, especially on netbooks and tablets with smaller screens that seem to be becoming more and more popular with road warriors.
The way dates are displayed has been enhanced too. The due date for milestones and actions is now highlighted when they are past due. It’s just a gentle reminder that the commitment needs to be renegotiated and adjusted – just click on the date.
Breadcrumbs are great little bit of information that let you know where you are. At the top of each action and milestone we have a new “breadcrumb” design. The breadcrumb is designed so you can easily see which project, workstream and milestones each item belongs to – a little trail of context. Clicking on the breadcrumb will focus the activity stream on that it, so you can see what has been happening. On a milestone you can also click on the workstream name to move the milestone into another workstream.
Jazzier People Bar and Sleeper Activity Stream
The pictures in the people bar now have a name on them, to help identify those people who haven’t uploaded a profile picture yet – there’s always one! At least now you’ll have a name to identify them by. To upload a picture, simply click the ‘my account’ button at the bottom of the page, then click on the profile picture.
We have added a ‘view all users’ button on the people bar for milestones and dashboard views, in the professional edition. Clicking the icon will show the milestones and actions for all of the users in the project at once.
The clearer design extends to the Activity Stream, which now allows you to see more clearly who made what changes, and when. There is more space between items, and each change gets its own line.
Activity Reports – Phase I
If you’ve sign up to the tracking features (go to your account settings page), you’ll be able to preview our new activity reports, which show what has changed on a project between now any any given date that you choose.
The dashboard now defaults to listing the first few most relevant items in each stack (this saves a few mouse clicks every day). Milestones and users that have had activity since you last logged in have a star by them, so you can check out changes at a glance.
Auto Extending Project Timeline
The concept of project length (in weeks) is now separated from the length of the timeline view. That’s a very technical way of saying “if you move a milestone beyond the end of the project, we’ll make room for it. Automatically.” The same happens if you click on the scroll right button, past the end of a project.
The appearance of the menu has been tweaked a little, there are some bandwidth optimisations to help with mobile and slow connections, and a more touch friendly display for ipads, ipods, iphones and touch screen phones.
Keep sending us feedback, inviting folks and requesting new features – talking to people about how they use Milestone Planner has really energised us. Lots more things coming very soon!