As Agilefant is quite rich in features, this guide covers the most important concepts and views.
If you’re looking for an explanation for a specific concept or feature, use the browser’s search (Ctrl-F) to find your keyword.
There’s also plenty of more detail on the frequently asked questions page – so take a look at it if something isn’t explained hereobth a !
You can also chat with us or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Accounts, users, teams and access rights
- Concepts in Agilefant
- Story tree
- List views: project planning, leaf stories, iteration (= sprint), daily work
Getting an account
Sign up by providing your email and an account name, and and you’ll get a fresh Agilefant account containing some example data.
Changing your password
To change your password, click your name in the top right corner of the page:
This will take you to your user page, where you can change the password by clicking on the area shown below:
If you lose your password, email email@example.com and tell us your login name and your account name.
To create a new user, click top left ‘Create new’ and then ‘User’. An automatically generated password is sent to the new user’s email address. When creating new users, you should define at least one team each user is member of.
Otherwise the user cannot get access to any backlog, as access rights are based on teams..
Agilefant Cloud is free for up to two enabled users. You can pay for more users in Administration->Subscription.
In the open source version, users cannot currently be invited to Agilefant, but you have to create them and send the credentials. Random.org is a good site for generating random passwords.
You can create teams using the ‘Create new’ link (top left corner of the page), or from the administration menu.
When you are creating a team, you will be asked to give the name of the team and users who will be part of the team, and whether the team has access to all products and standalone iterations (see below).
Agilefant provides ways to limit access of products and standalone iterations. You can define access rights based on teams basis. This is useful when you want to limit the visibility of certain products or standalone iterations. This can be done in Access rights under Administration.
- Admin users may do anything, non-admin users are limited to the products and iterations their teams have access to
- Non-admin users may create new products that their teams have access to and add new users to their teams
- All users may belong to as many teams as needed
As a default, we recommend that when you are creating teams, you grant them access rights to all products and standalone iterations. Likewise, when you are creating new products or standalone iterations, you grant all teams access rights to them.
Concepts in Agilefant
Agilefant’s concepts – Stories, Tasks, Backlogs, Responsibilities, Spent effort, and Labels - are explained below.
In addition, we briefly discuss how the access rights work, and how you can export your database.
A story is a piece of work that needs to be done. Stories can be created directly to a product, project or iteration, or from the Create new menu. Look up from Wikipedia a longer definition of the concept of user stories.
The relative size of stories is estimated in story points. For example a story with 4 story points is expected to be twice as complex as a story with 2 story points. You can read more about the concept of story points – and why they are useful compared to estimating in man-hours from a blog post by one of Scrum’s inventors, Jeff Sutherland. There’s plenty of useful material on story points around the Internet, so look it up if you have questions on how to use them.
Stories (as well as tasks) also have pre-defined states (yes, configurable states coming with our board view later in 2014); you can think about their meaning as follows:
The following states have ‘special effects’:
- Done – the final state of a task/story after it’s been completed. Affects the related metrics.
- Deferred – the task/story has been decided to be skipped in this project/iteration; the effort left / points are omitted in all metrics. This can be used to quickly scope out stories / tasks without having to move them to a different backlog.
The following states have no ‘special effects’:
- Not started – No work has yet been put into realizing this story
- In progress– ongoing and some work has already been put in
- Pending – waiting for something external that can reasonably be expected to happen without us taking any further action
- Blocked – can’t proceed; most likely some action must be taken by ‘us’ before work can proceed
- Ready – otherwise done, but some relatively minor definition-of-done criteria are yet to be met; e.g. the story must be demoed to the product owner / released to the public / brought up in the stand-up …and so on.
Stories may also be assigned a business value (‘value’ in Agilefant). Values are not currently used in any calculations, but those can be used as a support of decision making, for example, in planning.
A task is something relatively well-defined and effort-wise small that needs to get done. Each story can contain one or more tasks. In addition, there can be tasks which are not linked to any stories. This can be the case if for example something is so small that a new story is not needed.
Tasks can be created in all the those views that contain a list of stories: the Daily Work view, the Iteration view and the Project leaf stories view.
To create tasks, click on the plus (+) sign to open a story – there you will find the Create task button:
Tasks can only be added to stories in list views (Daily work, project leaf stories, or iteration), but not in the story tree view (on the product or project levels)
Tasks are estimated in man-hours. In Agilefant, the first estimate for a task becomes its “original estimate”. Original estimates affect the iteration burndown, but otherwise have no effect. You can reset the original estimate from the Edit button of the task.
Note, that while a story also shows ‘Effort left’, this is not a property of the story itself, but is summed up from its tasks.
There are three kinds of backlogs in Agilefant: Products, Projects and Iterations.
Think of backlogs as containers of stories:
The product backlog contains “everything” that may possibly be needed to be done. Out of this, you split and plan a set of stories to be done in a project, and move the stories into the project. There, you further split the stories, choose a scope for an iteration, and move the stories into the iteration.
Product is the generic term used for something the organization is developing such as a piece of software or service.
You can create new projects by clicking the ‘Create new’ link in the top right corner of the page. When creating a product, define at least one team has access to that product. Otherwise, no-one, including cannot see the created product. You can change this later from Administration->Access rights.
In Agilefant you can have as many products as you want. Some organizations using Agilefant use products to represent specific customers – or even entire business areas.
Products are developed in projects. You can also think of projects as ‘major releases’ or important milestones. Projects can be created from the Create new menu – or directly under a project.
Projects are always related to a single product, so you can not create projects before products. However, there can be parallel projects under a single product.
Project burn-up displays the progress of the project in terms of story points. it depicts the points in Done stories (the green area) against the total scope of the project.
The red line displays the amount of points in leaf stories, and the magenta line the total scope. The difference between these lines is the sum of work that’s still “too big” – that is, it should be split into smaller stories before it can be fed into development. If only the leaf stories have points defined for them, only the red line is displayed.
An iteration is a time-boxed period of time which is planned in detail detail in terms tasks and man-hours. Scrum calls iterations ‘Sprints’. You can create iterations from the Create new -menu, or directly under a project.
There can be parallel iterations for a single project – for example, when multiple teams are working for a single project. Think of for example Dean Leffingwell’s Scaled Agile Framework and the concept of Agile Release Train, where each team has their own “sprint backlog”.
You don’t have to create iterations if you don’t need them. Likewise, you don’t have to estimate – or even use tasks – if you don’t need them.
Iteration burndown is a graphical representation of tasks’ progress in the iteration as a function of time. It shows a linear reference based on the sum of the tasks’ original estimates. For more on how Agilefant calculates the iteration burndown, read the related FAQ entry. For more information on the concept itself, look up (for example) the related Wikipedia entry.
Agilefant also a special iteration type called ‘Standalone iteration’. Unlike regular iterations, standalone iterations can include stories from multiple products and projects.
Standalone iterations are created like regular iterations, with the exception that the ‘parent project’ in the creation dialog is simply left empty. For further info regarding standalone iterations, check out the related FAQ entry.
In Agilefant, you can log spent effort at the granularity that’s needed: to tasks, stories, iterations, projects, and products.
Logging effort to Products, Projects, and Iterations is done via the Actions link. This is located in the upper right side of the page.
There are several places where you can log effort for stories and tasks; the places available in the list views (project leaf stories, iterations, daily work) are highlighted in the pictures below:
In the story tree and the project planning views, click on the story and the info bubble opens; the spent effort link is in the upper right hand corner:
If the time from your last logged effort entry is less than 8 hours, re-fills the field with the difference. Thus, Agilefant makes it easy to log effort as you go.
Users can be set as responsible for Stories and Tasks. This can be used to to indicate who is working on what.
To do this, click the Responsibles field of a story or a task, and select users who will perform the story/task.
In some organizations, features are at first assigned for an entire team instead of individual users. If you wish to do this in Agilefant, simply create a user to represent a team, and assign the story to that “user”. Then, as the time comes, the team can assign the story – or parts of it – inside the team to individuals.
Stories can be labeled. For example, you might want to label stories according to whether they are bugs, usability improvements, strategic new cool things, being planned for release this-and-that, and so on.
This can be done from two places: the story info bubble (available in the story tree and the project planning views)
or from the list views by clicking the story open:
Unlike in most tools, where you are forced to use labels to group features into “business themes” or “epics”, you can in Agilefant use the story tree for that, and reserve labels for other purposes.
For example, we use labels to denote where a certain figure has come from (for example, our community forums, an important customer X, and so on). As another example, one customer organization conducts half-year product development projects, but does intermediate releases in between, and uses labels to denote the release in which a certain feature is estimated to get done.
Database export / Backups
You can create a zipped dump of the database of your Agilefant instance. This is
pretty handy if you want to create manual backups of your database, or search for something. To do
this, you need to log in as an Administrator and go to Database
export (under Administration) and click ‘Export database’.
The Story Tree is a view that displays how the smaller stories have been refined from the higher level epics and features.
On the product level, the Story tree displays all the stories of the product. On the project level, the story tree displays only those stories in the project, and their parents.
The story tree view can be filtered based on story states, names, the backlogs they are in, and labels.
Stories that have no children are called leaf stories. Iterations can contain only leaf stories. Likewise, the project backlog view lists only the leaf stories included in the project.
Prioritisation of stories is done in list views. On the product level, this Like products, projects have both the story tree view and a list view.
And if you’re looking for Kanban support, check out this FAQ item.
Project planning (product level)
On the product level, the story tree is complemented with a view called “Project planning”. This view shows all the leaf stories in the product, its projects and iterations. Prioritisation on the product level means moving leaf stories into the projects and iterations they are supposed to be done in. In the project planning view, this is done by drag and drop.
Using the project planning view as a Kanban board
Some organizations using Agilefant use the project planning view as a simple Kanban board. An example of how this can be done is shown below.
In this example, the organization has created projects and iterations to represent the states on the Kanban board, and drags & drops the stories accordingly.
Leaf stories (project level)
Like products, projects have both the story tree view and a list view. The project list view displays the leaf stories in the project and allows you to prioritise them in rank order, estimate the stories in points, create tasks for them, assign responsibilities, filter them according to states, responsibles, states and iterations, change the stories’ parents – and of course move the stories into and out of iterations.
On the iteration level, only the list view exists. By opening the stories from the plus (+) sign, you can create tasks, and see and change the story’s parents.
Daily work is a view for personal work management. In addition to the Load graph, it contains three lists: the task queue, the story queue, and a list of tasks without stories.
The task queue shows those tasks you have (or somebody else has) appended to your task queue. You can use this list to make yourself a short-term plan of what you intend to tackle in the very near future.
You can also use the task queue to keep track of what you have done for preparing for the next stand-up meeting - mark those tasks you have done as ‘Ready’, and once the stand-up is over, the tasks disappear from the list when you mark them as done.
You can prioritise the tasks in your task queue as you wish; the changes done here do not affect the tasks’ priorities in other views.
The story queue shows all those stories you are responsible for or which have tasks you are responsible for, and collects them from all projects and iterations whose start date is in the past into a single list.
Thus, the story queue may, unlike other list views in Agilefant, contain both leaf as well as non-leaf stories. For example, the story queue may contain both a parent story and its children, if you are responsible for them.
You can prioritise the stories in your story queue as you wish; the changes done here do not affect the stories’ priorities in other views.
The simplest way to use Agilefant is to create a single product and some some stories, and do your prioritisation using the daily work view.
Tasks without stories
This lists collects all the tasks without stories you are responsible for from all iterations whose start date is in the past into a single list.
Tasks without stories cannot be prioritised in this view. They are listed according to the iteration or project they belong to.
Unlike the iteration and the project list views, daily work may show stories which have children, if you are responsible for the parent story itself.
The daily work view also presents the total workload so that you can evaluate see how many man-hours are needed on a daily basis to get the tasks assigned to you done – assuming, of course that the effort left in the tasks has been estimated.
Load calculates the assigned load for a particular user and shows the estimate on how much work the user has on average in the coming days.
As a default, the load graph does not show anything. You need to estimate your tasks, and set your weekly hours by going to Administration -> My Account and define how many hours you have available per week.
Load is one of the more complex features in Agilefant, and many things affect it – see the FAQ for specifics on how it is calculated.
In Agilefant you can collect metrics of those projects, iterations, stories and user workloads into dashboards you are interested in get a quick overviews of what you’re interested in.
For example, if you are a product owner of and have a project with three teams working on it, you can add the metrics for the project and the each of the teams’ iterations to a dashboard to get a quick overview of the progress.
The picture below shows a project (1.0) and the ongoing iterations of the three teams working on it. You can drill down into the project and the iterations by clicking on the blue links at the top of the metric widgets.
As another example, the dashboard below shows how the four high level goals of a project are progressing as function of time compared to their planned scope.
It has been created by adding the metrics widgets for the four parent Stories representing the goals in question.