This is the first update of the year and, as we promised in previous dev diaries, it comes full of new features and improvements. During the past months, we worked on some systems and backend stuff we couldn’t release yet but was the foundation for many other features, so you can expect bigger updates from now on until the grand release in March (most likely at the end of the month). One of the most important things coming in this iteration is HacknPlan Personal Plus, the premium tier for individual users we announced in December, which is available for pre-order and early access. You can get a 1-year subscription plus early access for 24€, this week only, don’t regret it later!
Besides this, we have added some interesting premium features like the Burndown chart and the Calendar, user mentions for the markdown editor, a configuration panel for default behavior, and more improvements and bug fixes.
Features and improvements
Event calendar (Studio and Personal Plus)
Studio and Personal Plus users have now the possibility of viewing their events on a calendar, displayed in a brand new section we added to the left menu. This is just the first iteration of this feature, but you can now see when milestones start, their deadline and when past ones have been finished. You can also view deadlines for individual tasks. The layout is quite similar to Google Calendar (which we will integrate soon) and allows you to display monthly, weekly and daily views (the default one is weekly at the moment, but will be configurable in the future).
As of now, this calendar is read-only; however, we want to add some interactivity to it, and will allow you to modify deadlines or start dates by just dragging and dropping the events on the calendar. We will also support manual notes.
Burndown chart (Studio)
This is one of the features development studios who use Scrum were missing the most. A burndown chart shows the progress of the team compared to an ideal line, which is a very visual way of finding possible issues like over or underestimation, parallelization and prioritization problems, bottlenecks… You can use it no matter if you use time or points to measure your effort, it’s quite a useful insight either way. We provide a burndown by cost and another by task, along with a combination of both.
You can now mention users in task descriptions or comments, using our markdown editor, and be notified when someone else mentions you. When you press @ on your keyboard, a list of users is displayed, which is also filtered as you type. This is the first of many references we will support in the markdown editor, like tasks or attachments.
We have added several new configuration options to you user settings you can play with:
- Default selected section for Personal and Studio projects. It’s been the kanban board so far, but if you have a different workflow when you open the tool, you can select here what better suits you.
- Default selected task editor tab. Many of you requested comments or attachments to get more visibility on the task editor. Everyone has a different taste, but crowding the editor with lots of info displayed at the same time is something we don’t really want to do. So our solution was allowing you to decide which of those tabs is more relevant to you and make it default.
- Default milestone for task creation. You can now decide if you prefer to always add tasks to the backlog, to the default milestone or let the system choose for you.
- Default assigned user for task creation. You can set yourself, the project owner or nobody as default assigned user of a task.
- Log work on moving a task to completed. If you want that dialog asking for cost input to pop up automatically or not.
- Autosave enabled by default. If you want autosave for markdown editor to be active by default or not.
- You’ll love this one. We’re finished with the annoying sync error message. We have built an autorefresh mechanism that is always retrying when the connection is lost and won’t bother you unless the site is down.
- We have added buttons to navigate from the task editor on the kanban board to the task editor on the game design model, so you can quickly see the task you’re editing in a different context.
- We added a close button to the informative popups (those that come in from the bottom right border of the screen), so you can close them if they are covering something you need to click or drag.
- Added estimated cost variation to milestone metrics, so you know when you added or removed estimated cost after the milestone was started.
- Some visual changes like the milestone icon.
- Fixed some refresh issues after updating your user full name.
- Some cost fields showed really long decimal numbers due to a rounding issue.
- We fixed a bug on the data export feature making it fail for some users.
- The attachment button was not working on some versions of Firefox.
- The backlog name disappeared from the task card in game design model section after clicking on it.
- The “Send to milestone” feature for task cards was displaying finished milestones.
During the next iteration, we are going to work on many premium features like batch processing of tasks, project templating, Google Drive support, quick filters… We want also to add some useful improvements for everyone, like a file manager, task references for the markdown editor, documentation… We share many development screenshots in social media, stay tuned.
I also wanted to remind you we opened a community in Reddit where you can ask questions, help other users, suggest… We would like to have a place where all this information is publicly available so the community of HacknPlan users can contribute and learn. We also started a new blog series about teams talking about how they use HacknPlan for their projects, with the goal of sharing ideas and motivate others.