How to get the most out of UpWave – Introduction to Agile Process Frameworks

UpWave – Task Management for Teams Made easy


Here at UpWave we are dedicated to empowering teams to get more done together and simplify work processes. If you already are a user of UpWave there’s a chance you are familiar with agile processes, and may have heard about Scrum and Kanban. If the previous sentence filled you with confusion and terror, fear not! We will make it a breeze to learn a little bit more about these techniques. They have made teams of all shapes and sizes more effective.

Kanban vs. Scrum

So what is Scrum and Kanban any way?

Put simply, Scrum and Kanban are two different methods to help you work more effectively by giving your work structure and simple processes to follow. Kanban and Scrum are two terms that are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably but in reality, they have significant differences.

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Scrum on the surface

Scrum is a tool used to organize work into small, manageable pieces that can be completed by a cross-functional team within a prescribed time period, or a so-called “sprint”. A Sprint is typically between 2-4 weeks long.  

For you to plan, organize, administrate, and optimize this process, Scrum relies on at least three prescribed roles:

    1. Product Owner-  responsible for initial planning, prioritizing, and communication with the rest of the company.  
    2. Scrum Master – responsible for overseeing the process during each sprint.
    3. Team Members – responsible to carry out the purpose of each sprint.

Additionally, the Scrum Board is a vital part of this methodology. The Scrum Board is a visual presentation of the workflow, broken down into manageable chunks called “stories”. The stories can be moved along the board to signalize state of work – from the backlog, which is the “to-do list” into work-in progress (WIP) and on to completion.

Kanban at the surface

The Kanban methodology dates back more than 50 years. Same as Kanban, this tool is used to organize and visualize the workflow for the sake of efficiency.

There are four fundamental Kanban principles:

  1. Visualize work to increase communication and collaboration.
  2. Limit work in progress to avoid an endless chain of non-prioritized open tasks.
  3. Measure and optimize the flow, collect metrics, predict future problems.
  4. Aim for continuous improvement as the result of analysis.

Similar to Scrum, Kanban encourages work to be broken down into manageable chunks and use a Kanban Board. The Kanban Board is very similar to the Scrum Board – it is used to visualize work as it progresses through the workflow.  A basic Kanban Board has a three-step workflow

  1. To do
  2. In Progress
  3. Done

Depending on Team´s size, structure and objectives, the workflow can be adjusted to meet the unique processes of any particular team. The Kanban Board is broken down by Kanban Cards. These cards feature critical information on given work, who is responsible for what, estimated time period for work to be completed and so on.

The difference at a glance

Kanban and Scrum share similar concepts but have different approaches.

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Difference between Kanban and Scrum: (https://www.atlassian.com/agile/kanban)

The board itself: On a Scrum Board, the columns are labeled to reflect periods in the workflow, beginning with the backlog and ending with what needs to get done. All the stories added to the board at the beginning of each sprint should be found in the final column at the end of that sprint. After completion of the sprint, the board is cleared and prepared for the next sprint. On the Kanban board, columns are as well labeled to illustrate workflow states. But the difference from Scrum is that they allow only for a maximum amount of stories for each column as well there are no required time boxes, such as the sprint length. The Kanban board will continue to flow for as long as the project continuous, stories can be added and edited throughout the entire time

Scheduling: While Scrum place heavy emphasis on schedule, limitations to time allowed to accomplish a particular task, meaning sprints, as well there are set deadlines. For Kanban, there are no required time boxes, while there are limits to the amount of tasks that can be ongoing.

Roles and responsibilities: Scrum Team requires at least 3 roles that need to be assigned for effectively process the work: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Members. Kanban on the other hand has no set roles. Normally, the roles evolves with the needs of the project and the organization. The team in Kanban is not required to be cross-functional as in Scrum.

Who can benefit from it?

While these two methodologies is known as being popular framework used by software and engineering teams. It is however shown that these processes have been gaining steadily popularity in other fields. The processes can be beneficial for anyone working on any sort of complex project, for example if you work in Marketing and you are working on an ad campaign, it could definitely be beneficial for your Team. 

No tool is complete, no tool is perfect

So you might end up asking – which methodology is the best approach? There really is no way to answer this, the final rank depends on the problem you are trying to solve.

Both Scrum and Kanban are powerful, proven processes tools that can vastly improve whatever you are working on. Luckily, UpWave has the flexibility that suit your workflow needs, so the best option is to become familiar with both Scrum and Kanban and experiment to see which approach is better for your overall strategy.

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Not already a user of UpWave? Get started with a 30-day free trial


Useful resources:

Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business

The Scrum Guide

http://scrumguides.org

https://www.crisp.se/file-uploads/Kanban-vs-Scrum.pdf

https://realtimeboard.com/blog/choose-between-agile-lean-scrum-kanban/#.WDbDiuHhC8U

http://www.informationweek.com

Announcing new November features

UpWave is Task Management for Teams made easy. Sign up for your 30 day free trial today!


Here at UpWave we are always striving to improve your experience. One of our most important principles is to develop UpWave to suit your needs, which is why we appreciate all the feedback we receive from our customers.With that in mind, we are thrilled to announce our biggest update so far, designed solely to make UpWave more useful and help you get more done, together.

Activity feed on Boards

Simply click on the Board name (in this screenshot, that is “Marketing Q4” and in the drop down menu click on Board Activity. All activity history within that board will now be displayed. This means you can quickly and easily track who did what and when.

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Activity feed on Cards

Click on any card and scroll down to the bottom of the comments section. Here you’ll find the “Show activity” button which will give you details on all activity that has happened on this specific card since it was created. This gives you an even more detailed overview of who is doing what and when, at the click of a button.

In addition, comments you have made can now be easily edited through the 3 dot menu at the right of each comment.

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Drag and drop your colors

This feature makes sorting your colors easier – simply drag and drop as you want and arrange colors to suit your workflow.

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Other highlights include:

  • Invoices are available as a downloadable PDF
  • New language! UpWave is now available in Dutch – heel graag gedaan!

Thanks again to all our growing international user community for providing such fantastic feedback! Any features that you would love to have in UpWave, we encourage you to get in touch with us at https://www.upwave.io/contact . We are always happy to hear from you, it is more helpful than you think.

Sincerely,

The UpWave Team


UpWave is Task Management for Teams made easy. Sign up for your 30 day free trial today! 

The NSBF – an UpWave success story

Ever wondered who is using UpWave and- how they use it? We had a chat with Lisa Maria Watson from the the Norwegian SnowBoard Association and got the answers to these questions.

Skjermbilde 2016-11-01 kl. 10.09.49.png“Our main goal as an organization is to improve team collaboration. Since we started using UpWave we have seen great improvements to both our communication and how we work together. The team is becoming more involved and engaged.”  Lisa Maria Watson, The Norwegian SnowBoard Association. 

The Norwegian SnowBoard Association´s mission is to show the world how important it is to have fun. The Norwegian SnowBoard Association (NSBF) is affiliated with both the Norwegian Confederation of Sports and the World Snowboarding Federation. NSBF´s purpose is to promote snowboarding in Norway at all levels. This includes representing snowboarding internationally and helping to develop positive communities where snowboarding is part of a versatile and comprehensive leisure activity for all ages and levels of ability.

Before UpWave, the NSBF relied on using spreadsheets such as excel. However this solution was too difficult for organizing and structuring work. Additionally, several attempts were made to integrate different project management tools, but these were perceived as too complex and unengaging for the team.

The NSBF chose UpWave as the best solution. “UpWave gives me a better overview of what my tasks are, what my team works on and their tasks. It helps us stay on track on what needs to be done and how to prioritize our work” says Lisa Mari Watson.

Easy Onboarding

The NSBF uses UpWave for internal planning of projects, organizing both long and short term events, and during weekly meetings to get an overview of the present week. Today 8-9 full time employee use UpWave and additional members join during the high season. One of the advantages that the NSBF has seen with UpWave is the easy onboarding. “When we add new members, no training has been required thus far”.

Increased Team engagement

The Norwegian SnowBoard Association can report that the team is getting more involved since starting to use UpWave. What is interesting to see is that on UpWave Boards with more members, there is a higher level of activity and engagement as well as efficiency in communication.

Better work flow

“We see that there is more flow in everything we do – we have seen a huge reduction in emails, facebook messages, and long sms threads –  thanks to the integrations such as Slack and Google Drive we now simply get more things done and we can keep everything in one place. UpWave helps keep us more organized and on track”.

Want to work like the NSBF? Sign up for a 30 day free trial today at www.upwave.io

 

 

We are pleased to announce the launch of UpWave´s new website

We are delighted to officially announce the launch of our newly designed website -upwave.io.!

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The past months, our team has been dedicated working on improvement of the content, structure and layout of our webpage. Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about UpWave and find it visually appealing.

We aim to continue the improvement by constantly updating with content and useful information, blogs, newsletters, company announcements and client success in the testimonial section.

We would like to thank everyone that has contributed in this process.

For any questions, suggestions or feedback feel free to contact us!

Sincerely, The UpWave Team

 

Guideline for UpWave on mobile

 

We know that a lot of our users access UpWave through their phones. So far, UpWave has yet to launch an application for mobile phones. However accessing UpWave through your mobile browser is easier than you might think.

Simpy just follow this simple guideline:

1 . In your browser go to UpWave.io.

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2. Click on sign in 

  • First you will be asked to enter your Team URL.
  • Then the next page that pops up is where you enter your email + password or you can sign in with Google.

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3. Once you have entered your log in information and hit sign in, a new page will pop up.Her you will have to select save password.

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4. Now that you are logged in, there is one final step remaining. And that is to add an icon for the displayed website on your home screen. It’s a visual bookmark – when you touche the icon, it will launch your browser and navigate directly to your Team page.

Tap by tap guide for iOS

  1. Select the Share button at the bottom center of the iPhone screen. The Share button is shaped like a square with an arrow coming out of the top.
  2. Select the item labeled “Add to Home Screen”.
  3. Another screen will appear where you can choose a name for the Home screen icon. Either keep the default name provided or type another name you prefer. When you are ready, tap the Add button in the top right corner to create the icon on the Home screen.
  4.  See the shortcut appear. You’ll return to the home screen, which is now showing a new icon, the icon can easily be moved around and placed wherever you want.

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Tap by tap guide for Android

  1. Hit the settings button – it’s three vertical dots, locating in the top right of the screen – from here press the star symbol.
  2. Pressing the star symbol will bring you into the bookmarks menu. From here you can edit the web page’s name and select which bookmarks folder you want to save it into.
  3. From here go back to the Browser settings menu, and then open the Bookmarks folder. From here locate your newly created bookmark and press and hold your finger on the bookmark you want to place on your home screen. Once you’ve done this you will see a new menu appear and in the list will be an option Add to Home screen. Press this option.
  4. The icon will appear on your home screen like any other app shortcut or widget, so you can drag it around and put it wherever you like

And you are all sett- works almost as an app.

Ps- We have improved UpWave for iOS devices. However, feel free to give us feedback so we can even improve more: https://www.upwave.io/contact

Sincerely, UpWave Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing our newest features

We have rolled out new features silently since August 17th. Many of these have been requested by our most active users. Thanks!

Some highlights:
– Subtasks – just enter subtasks on any card
– My assigned cards – see your overdue cards and upcoming workload
– Public api – https://www.upwave.io/api/ (for integrating other services)
– Set board background image (see screenshot)

Screenshot note: remember to use a neutral image to ensure good readability.

  • Copy card – Click “more options” (the dots) on any card, and copy card.
  • Import board – click “import board” lower left on main team page.
  • Export board – click the dots top right on any board (in team view)  or in the drop-down menu if inside a board.
  • Icons on cards displaying subtask progress and if the card has comments or not.
  • A “toast” that gives a confirmation on saving card/color/columns etc.
  • New board settings – makes navigation between administrating the board and actually working on the board much easier. All users may also see the settings but some users may not be able to edit the settings. The settings can in addition be opened from the dashboard. In the participant list on this panel, you can see when a participant last visited the board.
  • We added a new option to “Leave board”.

Thanks once again to our international and growing user community for providing feedback! Please continue keeping in touch.

The UpWave team

UpWave is growing

Last month a new member joined our team here at UpWave. We are happy to welcome Ane Skjerpe to UpWave.

Ane has a background in Marketing and Sales and she will help us grow our online presence, PR and communications.

Interested in finding out more about Ane? Then visit her LinkedIn Page – here.

UpWave Receives 2016 SaaS Awards From FinancesOnline

We are excited to announce that UpWave has been awarded with the 2016 Rising Star Award​ and the Great User Experience Certificate​ ​by FinancesOnline, a leading review platform for B2B, SaaS and Financial Solutions.

The Rising Star Award is given to new SaaS products that have just recently appeared on the market. Products that are getting good traction with the customers and viewed as giving high value. The second award, ­Great User Experience Certificate, ­is granted to products that offer especially good user experience.

In their UpWave reviews FinancesOnline’s review team writes that “UpWave is a moderately priced, advanced task manager for small and medium business which offers a variety of unique features for you to consider. Rather than being exclusively pipeline­ organized, UpWave strives to convert standard project management into an entertaining process, and does so with a modern interface, detailed tutorials, and a responsive and experienced support team.” Currently, UpWave is ranked as #8 in their best agile project management software category.

At UpWave we strive to deliver an easy to use Task Management tool for Teams keeping them informed, connected and happy. For the evaluation, visit the complete review page.

FinancesOnline.com is one of the most recognized and reliable online review platforms and the reviews are based on an independent and unbiased evaluation.

How to connect UpWave with Slack

UpWave is the easiest way to collaborate on projects with your team online. Sign up for a free trial at www.upwave.io today.

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Here at UpWave, we want to support your team wherever and however they work. Many of our teams use Slack for instant messaging in their worklife every day, and we do too. You can read more about it at www.slack.com .

We’re pleased to announce we’ve made it even easier to connect your UpWave projects with Slack and keep updated on activity within UpWave no matter where you are. Just a couple of clicks and you’re done. But, before we show you how to set it up, here’s 2 things to remember:

Ground Rules:

You’ll need to set up a new slack channel for each project. That way you can keep updates separate and easier to track. 

You need to be an admin of your UpWave account to set this up – Go to your Company Settings page to check.

How To:

1. In Slack, create the channel where you want your UpWave project updates to posted. In this example, our slack channel is called “upwavesprint6″

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2. In UpWave, go into the project you want to integrate with slack and hit the drop down menu. In this example, our project is called “Sprint 6″.

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2. Go to “Integrations” in the drop down menu

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3. Hit “add to slack”.

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4. You’ll be asked to authorize access to Slack, just make sure to connect to the channel you made in Step 1 and you’re good to go.

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5. You’re done! 

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Getting Started in UpWave

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UpWave is the easiest way to collaborate on projects with your team online. Sign up for a free trial at www.upwave.io today.

Running a team online and managing priorities can feel like an overwhelming task. We want UpWave to give you a feeling of control and to simplify your work day, using some very clear principles.

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2 Simple Rules

The UpWave approach to organizing your work is based on something called “Kanban”, which has 2 very simple rules:

  • Visualise your work
  • Limit your Work In Progress (WIP)

Over time, your understanding of how to get the best from UpWave will evolve and you can customise each project to your needs, but these two rules are the most important to remember.

Of course, you can be as creative as you like with UpWave, but here we’ll just cover the basics.

Navigating UpWave

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This is your team homepage, where everyone in your team can see your open projects. Remember, UpWave is designed for team collaboration and works best when you are not on your own. You can invite new team members by clicking the “invite new members” link on the left of the screen.

Step 1: Creating your first board.

We recommend starting with whatever project is your biggest priority or whatever it is that makes you feel most stressed (if you want to create a private project, just check the box and only you and those team members you invite will be able to see it).

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You can name your board whatever you like, we recommend something that’s related to the end goal and easy to understand for the team. Articulating the purpose of the board can be enormously helpful for everyone on the team. 

This is how your board page will look at first. A clean slate, ready for all those thoughts you have bouncing around.

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“To Do”: Visualising your work

First, take some time to consider everything that needs to be done to complete your board. Hit the “+ Add card” in the “To Do” column and enter all the individual tasks or ideas. Work with your team to decide when these tasks need to be delivered and who is responsible for them. Use the taskbar at the bottom of each card to set due dates and assign them to one or more team members.

“In Progress”: Limit your WIP

Multi-tasking is overrated! Research by the American Psychological Association shows that switching between tasks can slow a person’s productivity by up to 40%. Try to limit yourself and your team members to maximum 2 tasks each at a time. This is where prioritisation is key. To help, we have a very simple colour coding – red for high priority and green for low priority. Try colour coding your cards, you might be surprised by how much it helps. These colours are fully customisable and you can be as creative as you want with them, give it a try and see what works for you.

“Completed”

Seeing your completed cards stack up is motivating. In UpWave we encourage to celebrate each other’s successes so don’t forget to “High Five” each other for cards completed.

That should be enough to get you going. Good luck!

Dan and the team @ UpWave – support@upwave.io

P.S. Are you using UpWave differently? Great! We’d love to hear how you’re using it, send us a mail and let us know – maybe you could even inspire other teams to achieve more.