For the last week or so, I've been building a tool called TrackerDashboard (open-source, on Github) for managing enterprise projects in Pivotal Tracker. This post explains why I built it and how my team uses it.
At Case Commons, we've been using Pivotal Tracker for years. (We've been partnering with Pivotal Labs for years, so it's no surprise.) Two aspects of our project make Tracker difficult to use:
First, we've got 25 developers, 2 designers, and 4 product managers. That's a lot of velocity for one project, and it makes it difficult to plan and manage the work. One way we've coped with this scale is to break down our development into parallel tracks focused on separate parts of our application. Managing parallel tracks in Tracker is not well-supported, because Tracker is entirely built around the notion of of a single, prioritized backlog.
Second, although we're practicing pretty orthodox Agile, we serve enterprise market (state governments), and with that comes a need to plan out our work and deliver certain committed-to stories each week. Tracking these "scheduled" stories in amongst a prioritized backlog also violates Tracker's basic conventions.
This tool is primarily for our project manager (to identify red flags that help her keep the iteration going as effectively and efficiently as possible) and for our head of product (to help her get a sense of the week's progress, without wading through the detail). There are two primary views, for a given project.
First is the "track view" which shows progress in a set of independent parallel tracks (which are based on a configurable subset of your story labels). It highlights overall progress (stories done, in-progress, and scheduled) and red flags (stories that need estimated, stories that have crept into the backlog mid-week, etc):
Second is the "snapshot view." This view lets you take a snapshot of your backlog, and then go back to compare that to the current view of your backlog later. This is helpful for tracking deltas once or twice a day. It helps identify if unexpected stories have crept in, if stories are languishing for longer than expected, if stories are getting re-prioritized mid-week, etc.
Check it out and let me know what you think.