Dev Diary 29 – Summer planning

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Hi hacknplanners!

We welcome the summer with a little but interesting update. The main improvement coming today is the new syntax for writing and reading time-based costs, something you have been asking for some time which definitely improves the time management and avoid possible mistakes. We also added a comment section to the GDM, fixed several bugs and introduced many other interesting improvements.

By the way, we launched our first Summer Sale, 50% off on yearly subscriptions and updatesSUMMER SALE!

Let’s take a look at the new stuff!

Features and improvements


Time cost syntax

Before this update, the cost values when the metric was time-based (hours or days) were just a decimal number. This meant when you wanted to input one hour and a half, you had to write 1.5. This way of defining cost values was coming from the very beginnings of HacknPlan when we had a very simplistic approach to costs, which were working exactly the same regardless of the cost metric used (days, hours or points). However, as the tool evolved and we started to introduce metrics, work logs, a time tracker, charts… this became a bit confusing. With this update, we introduce a more human-readable and smart way of defining costs for day and hour metrics, including the concept of “hours per day” to make day-based costs more meaningful. Examples:

  • Defining one hour and a half (hour metric) goes from “1.5” to “1h 30m”.
  • Defining two days and a half (day metric) goes from “2.5” to “2d 4h” with an 8 hours per day configuration.
  • Defining three hours (day metric) goes from “0.125” to “3h”.
  • Defining 10 minutes (hour metric) goes from “0.16” to “10m”.

As you can see, the costs are more clear and readable now.

Another important aspect of this improvement is that you can now switch between day and hour cost metrics while keeping the same absolute time. Before, if you switched, 1,5 hours became 1,5 days, as we didn’t really have a way of translating the values. Now, with the implementation of the “hours per day” concept, we can translate between metrics while keeping the same absolute time, so 9h become 1d 1h with an 8 hours per day config.

Editable work logs:

This feature has been requested by many of you too. Together with the new cost system, the work logs are now editable by the project admins, including editing the logged cost or removing them. This way the administrators will be able to fix incorrect logs without having to use negative values which add noise to the lists.

Game Design Model comments:

Many of you requested a way to discuss the design of your game, so we added a comments section to the design element panel. Your designers and the rest of the team can talk and keep the conversation linked to the specific mechanic, character or whatever else you defined as part of your design documentation, which gives an extra source of information and context to the element. Like the task comments, they support Markdown and user, attachment and task references.

movetoMove tasks to top or bottom (Studio & Personal Plus):

A little but extremely useful feature for cases like reorganizing a milestone board or the backlog. Premium users can now send tasks to the top or the bottom of the list on the kanban board by using the context menu (right click).

Other improvements:

  • We added buttons for expanding and collapsing all the design elements on the GDM section.
  • Added a special case to the filters, which allows you to filter tasks which are not assigned to anybody.
  • We included the starting date of the milestones everywhere (before only the due date was shown in most places).
  • Improved the performance of the activity logs.

Bug fixes


  • Some people experienced issues in the backlog when coming from Studio back to Personal (after the trial for instance), caused by some inconsistent custom stages.
  • The previous update added a bug to the milestone dropdown on the kanban board, causing only open milestones to be listed.
  • The project templating was not working when the option of copying users was not selected.
  • Some issues with the scope of the burndown charts and overestimated tasks have been fixed.
  • When deleting a milestone from the dedicated Milestone section of HacknPlan Studio, the button didn’t show a spinner nor any other visual feedback about the process.
  • The progress bar of the game design elements was not being updated after adding a new task to the element.
  • In some scenarios, the attachment list of a task or design element was not being updated after deleting one item.

What’s next?


This update hasn’t been very big because we started working on two important features which will be our priority this summer (and will take some time to deliver): the first version of our Public API and the rewriting of our drag and drop system to improve usability and performance. Besides those two big updates, we will keep working on usability, performance and some features Scrum practitioners will love: User Stories (which can have tasks as children and be assigned to the boards) and Sprints (as children of Milestones).

Happy planning!

Chris Estevez

HacknPlan Founder

This entry has 3 replies

  1. Anh Le says:

    Honestly, I don’t think we need User Story in hacknplan because the game design element should be the Users Story (think about the meaning of an User Story: a feature). There will be duplicated work for the member: create GDM element and User Story.
    Sprints as children of milestones are awesome!

    • That was our initial thought, but many people still miss a user story item they can assign to the board, prioritize on the backlog… Anyway, it will be optional so you can choose if you want to create stories or use the design elements for that.

      • Anh Le Giang says:

        That would be great. Thank you Chris.

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