NOTE: In order to make understanding our new premium plan more intuitive, we have renamed it from HacknPlan Professional to HacknPlan Studio. We hope this makes more evident that only one account per studio is needed, which will pay for seats for the rest of the members.
It’s been a while since the last entry in our development diary was published. As you probably know, we have been working intensively on the pre-order of HacknPlan Studio plan (we have renamed it, as Professional seemed to cause confusion) and the early access program that comes with it. This is the first one where we showcase the new features both in the Personal and Studio plans, and that’s how it will be from now on. If you have been following this project long enough, you already know that we work in 2/3 weeks iterations and we always detail here what the new features are after the iteration is over. Now that we have the early access program for the Studio plan going on, we will be working in parallel in both sets of features and will present the changes here the same way, clearly specifying which one belongs to each plan.
The most obvious change you probably noticed is we updated the UI, but we also made more changes, take a look:
Features and improvements
UI style updated:
We removed the roundness and borders from panels and cards, going for a flatter design similar to the one we had at the beginning (but waaay prettier). We also reduced margins and spaces between elements and redesigned many panels to contain the elements inside, instead of having a header and the elements separated, among other details. We think it will help to maximize the space available and is more pleasing to the eye.
With the new Studio plan, we now have the concept of “organization”, an entity that represents your game development studio which can contain projects, users and teams. An organization is created when you upgrade to Studio plan, and you can currently create projects inside, import your existing personal ones and add or remove users (depending on your available seats). In the future, the organization page will hold many really interesting features for multi-team and multi-project management, like global permission definition based on teams and roles, sharing configuration and data among projects and many others.
New project sections (Pro):
The projects under a Studio organization have a different organization and new sections available on the left menu. Basically, the current Summary page is split into 3 different ones: Project, Team and Milestone pages. These pages will hold many of the features announced and will offer much more info and control over the project. The Metrics page goes away, as the graphs and stat panels will be added to each one of the individual pages. Probably a little confusing at first, but will be definitely worth it once you get used to it. Let’s take a quick look at each of them:
- Project page: The project page offers an overview of the project including progress and stats about the current status of the project, similar to what the Summary page offers but with a more brief description of the team members and the milestones (with links to the extended information). It also provides a tab for the general project metrics, one for the activity stream (not available yet), and another one for the project administration panels, which no longer have their own dedicated section.
- Team page: The team page is one of the most interesting new features in the Studio plan so far, as it gives you a quick overview of which tasks you (or any team member) are working on and which ones are completed, including the big numbers and a progress bar. This is a great insight. This page will also have other tabs to show more advanced user metrics, an activity stream and an administration page to set permissions and other details.
- Milestone page: This page contain, as the normal Summary one, a list of the open and closed milestones and a set actions available (if you’re admin of the project). Now we also have some general metrics and other tabs, one for metrics (like the project one but for the currently selected milestone) and other two under construction, in this case for activity and for adding general notes or comments about the milestone.
Non-blocking real-time connection error popup:
This has annoyed many of you, I’m quite sure. When there was any cut in the web socket connection with the server (used for the real-time updates on the boards, notifications and connected users), a blocking modal dialog appeared, forcing you to refresh the page. This has now been replaced by a small non-blocking popup at the bottom left corner of the screen. Most of the times those are micro-cuts and you can keep using the application normally (without the real-time updates), so you can finish whatever you were doing and refresh the page afterwards.
Project members historical data:
Before this improvement, when a project member was removed from the project (or left), all its information was completely removed, their tasks unassigned… However, when you are analyzing the history of your project (and especially when an activity stream is available), you can see that the information is incomplete. From now on, the users are kept in the projects as inactive, so even they no longer have access to the project, they still exist in the tasks they worked on and their activity is still there. This is also very nice because if a user leaves and is added to the project again, everything will be exactly as before.
We have fixed many bugs, many of them were deployed into production during the iteration:
- A memory issue caused some bad performance and cuts in our real-time sync using web sockets.
- Mail notifications were not working properly due to a bad configuration of the delivery in the background.
- Tasks were not refreshed sometimes after being unblocked.
- Problems rendering some attachments and avatars.
- We had some issues using drag and drop in Firefox (task was selected on drop).
- The user dropdown menu was placed below the task search field when both were open.
- After removing a milestone with tasks inside and sending them to the backlog, some of them were not visible due to a status inconsistency.
- When editing the description of a game design element or task, if you selected another and then saved, the content could be wrongly displayed.
We plan to work a lot on documentation in the next few weeks. We have been asking for your feedback using surveys recently, and we have detected that are many people that are not aware that some features exist, so enough is enough. We’ve been postponing it for so long (writing documentation is boring), but a clear user guide is very much needed at this point. Now that the user history is kept in the project, we also plan to rebuild how the task cost is set for those who use time, allowing only the assigned users to input time and keep a history of who worked how long in a task. This way we will be able to get nice productivity and time management metrics.
On the other hand, we will add more cool features to the Studio plan early access program. The upcoming ones are category color and icon customization, board card configuration (fields displayed, colors…) and GitHub integration, among others.