Announcing the Agile Collaboration Desktop

Posted on November 12th, 2009 in Agile, Agile Desktop by siddharta || 3 Comments

Here is the first look at an upcoming product – the Agile Collaboration Desktop.This is an add-on to Silver Catalyst that enables better communication and collaboration between team members, product owners and stakeholders, especially in a distributed team.

The desktop is a native cross-platform app that integrates views into multiple tools so that you don’t have to juggle a lot of browser windows to get your work done.

This is a walkthrough of a preview version of the desktop. Expect to see the final version in about a month. There are three concepts that we are focusing on in this product – Awareness, Collaboration and Conversations. We’ll walk through each one in turn.

(Click the thumbnails to view in full size)

 1. Awareness

Agile Collaboration Desktop 0

The desktop consists of three columns. The left column shows the tasks that are assigned to the team member and the feature to which it belongs. The right column shows a live stream of events that are happening in the tool. The stream is updated once a minute and includes everything from the central notification system in Silver Catalyst, including third party tools that are hooked into the notification hub. It gives everyone a peripheral vision into the activities and events that are going on, even it if doesn’t affect them directly. Taken together you have the local view on the left, and the global view on the right.

2. Collaboration

Agile Collaboration Desktop 1

Clicking a feature on the left column brings up the content area in the centre. The content area contains three tabs – Documentation, Coversations and Chat. The documentation tab pulls up a wiki page for the feature. The on-site edition of Silver Catalyst allows you to install a wiki-link plugin that automatically links each feature with a page on a wiki. If you have the wiki-link plugin installed, then the desktop will pull in the appropriate page from the wiki tool and show it on the desktop.

A wiki is the perfect tool for managing agile documentation. It is easy to view, can be collaboratively edited, you can attach files and images and you get version control for free. The product owner can add in more details about the story, UX folks can attach screen mockups and so on. You can both view and the documentation page right from the desktop itself. No need to start a browser.

3. Conversations

Agile Collaboration Desktop 3

The second tab takes you to the conversations page. This lists out the comments for the feature. Comments are a nice and simple way to attach asynchronous conversations to a feature. You can both view and add comments right through the desktop and it will be synchronized with the server for anyone who access Silver Catalyst, either through the browser or on another Agile Desktop instance.

Agile Collaboration Desktop 4

The third tab goes to the chat. This page embeds a jabber client within the desktop. Why jabber? Jabber is an open messaging protocol, so it is easy for companies to setup their own private messaging infrastructure with Jabber. Setup a jabber server, add your team members and you’ve got a nice team messaging setup that you can use for communication. Jabber also allows you to connect with google talk if needed (both use the same protocol).

Need a clarification on the feature you are working on? Want to start a discussion with a remote team member? Head to the chat tab and you can directly message the person you want and start a conversation.

Bonus: Once you are done with the chat, hit the documentation tab and immediately update the wiki page with your chat log.

Looking Forward

Awareness, Collaboration and Conversations. Distributed teams tend to suffer on these three counts, and the collaboration desktop brings everyone together into the loop. By pulling in information from multiple sources and bringing them together, the agile desktop allows team members to get a holistic view of the project in relation to the activity they are performing.

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3 Responses to “Announcing the Agile Collaboration Desktop”

  1. Jaggy Says:

    Congrats Folks! All the best! The images could have been bigger.

  2. siddharta Says:

    You can click it to see the full size

  3. venkat Says:

    This collaboration will be very useful for telecommuting members. Great going!

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