Manuscript’s suite of Agile Development tools give you the resources you need to plan at the project, sprint, epic, user story, and task levels. The most elemental unit of work in Manuscript is the case, which can be used for epics, user stories, and tasks. Cases have full audit history which helps you track your team’s work, thoughts, customer correspondence, and even their Git and Mercurial commits.
Start in the Iteration Planner
To visit the Iteration Planner, find the Planner name under the “Planner” menu in your navigation bar. New accounts, or those who’ve never used the Planner before, will have a single option named “Sample Planner”, containing the first project and global Undecided milestone. If you’d like to create a new planner instead, choose “Create Planner” from the overflow menu (three dots), and in the window that appears, give it a name, and add whichever projects you’d like to include. You can change the name and what projects are included in your planner by clicking on “Edit Planner Settings” on the far right.
The first time you visit the iteration planner, it’ll look blank. You’ll want to start by adding a column for your backlog. If your project already has a Backlog, you can select it from the “Add Milestone” dropdown. If not, you can create one using the same button (“Add Milestone”). Make sure you designate it as a Backlog by enabling the “Backlog milestone” checkbox in the “Create Milestone” dialog. If you want this to be a global milestone, accessible to all projects, add it to the “Global” project.
Your Backlog milestone is the home for every case in projects that you aren’t ready to work on yet. If you’ve been using Manuscript for a while and are just starting to use our Agile Development tools, you may want to use our bulk edit feature to move any cases in each project that aren’t already assigned to a milestone into your Backlog milestone. You can also order the backlog column as a way of keeping track of and communicating your priorities for even those cases that aren’t assigned to a milestone yet.
Next, you’ll want to add your next few sprints to the Iteration Planner. Like the Backlog milestone, you can add existing sprints or create sprints using the “Add Milestone” button. As you’re working, you can drag cases from the Backlog into your sprints.
Group By: Assigned To
You can sort your sprints by “Assigned To” to get a feel for how you’ve distributed the workload in each sprint, and you can assign cases from the planner by clicking on the avatar on each case.
Group By: Kanban Column
Group cases the Kanban Column to see how your work as progressed through your Kanban workflow.
Group By: Priority
Group cases by Priority to see the distribution of your work across priorities.
Group By: Project
Group cases by Project to see which cases belong to which project.
Group By: Status
Group cases by Status to see the distribution of your work across your statuses such as how many cases still need to be completed, and how many are completed.
Changing the view
Clicking on the “Show View Options” on the far right of the Planner lets you filter your view. This is helpful, for example, when you’d like to drill down into what’s happening in a single project or area, without having to create separate Planners.
Filter by: Project
Select the project(s) you’d like shown in the Planner. If a Milestone or Filter Column contains cases that aren’t associated with the selected project(s), it will helpfully indicate that the Planner is only showing cases from these selected projects.
Filter by: Area
Select the area you’d like shown in the Planner. As with filtering by Project, if a Milestone or Filter Column contains cases that aren’t associated with the selected Area, it will helpfully indicate that it’s only showing cases from the selected Area.
Display: Hours or Story Points
Change the Display between Hours and Story Points to show those hours or story points on each of cases. A summary of the total story points or remaining hours will show at the top of each sprint.
Adding a Filter Column
Finally, you’ll want to add a filter column. A filter column is a way to sort for new cases that should be placed in the backlog or directly in a milestone. At Fog Creek, the support team has a “Triage” filter. We take a look at this filter in the Iteration Planner during our standup meetings and pull urgent fixes straight into a sprint. For less pressing issues, we discuss their priority relative to other items on our backlog and place them in the appropriate place there.
Once you’ve completed this, you should have a road map for the direction of your project with upcoming cases placed in Milestones, and an ordered backlog of cases that are yet to come.
Zooming in with the Kanban Board
Accessing the Kanban Board
While the Iteration Planner is meant to give you a broad overview of priorities and direction for your project, the Kanban Board lets you get into the nitty gritty of planning a sprint. By clicking on the Kanban icon for any milestone, which can be found in the top-right corner of the milestone column, you’ll jump into the Kanban Board for that milestone.
Your “Planned Cases” are all of the cases for the milestone that haven’t been assigned to a Kanban Column. Many teams choose to have columns for “To Do”, “Doing”, and “Done”. As a team picks up cases in the sprint and starts working on them, they can move the cases across these columns so that their teammates and manager can track their progress.
You may find that it’s helpful to add columns for things like “Blocked”, “Awaiting Code Review”, “Awaiting Deploy”, or “Shipped”; a case in “Awaiting Code Review” might get moved to “Awaiting Deploy” if the code passes muster, or back to “To Do” if the code still needs work. Our assumption is that your workflow within a Planner will remain relatively constant from one sprint to the next, so once you add a column to a Kanban Board, it will be available for every milestone in that Planner. However, you can hide any Kanban columns that you’re not using at the moment.
Adding Cases to the Kanban Board
Clicking on the “+” button in a Kanban column provides a nice interface for adding cases to the Kanban board. You can either type the name of a brand new case to create it on-the-fly in that column or you can start typing the name of an existing case in the milestone and the case will appear, allowing you to select it to be added. You can also click on “Cases in this milestone” to see a list of cases in the current milestone from which you can select cases to add.
Keeping track of your cases on the Kanban board makes it possible for anyone in your organization to get an at-a-glance update on the status of your sprint.
Managing Epics, User Stories, and Tasks
Add Epics, User Stories, and Tasks by customizing Categories here.
Tracking Progress with Burndown
At the top of each Sprint, the total number of cases and remaining hours is displayed. To see the burndown of hours over time:
- Hover over Time Tracking on the Manuscript sidebar
- Click Schedules
- Select a project from the dropdown menu on the top of the page
- Choose Burn Down Chart from the dropdown neat the displayed chart
What does “95% Probability” mean? Read more about EBS here.