Silver Catalyst Features

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Dashboard

This is the workspace home page that is displayed immediately after you log in. The home page is designed so you get a quick overview of the entire workspace at once.

  • The current status of each board is shown in a widget. The cumulative flow graph is shown for Kanban boards, while the current sprint burndown is shown for Scrum boards
  • The alerts widget shows you all the blockers across all boards. This lets you manage open blockers throughout the whole workspace in one place
  • The My Cards widget shows you all the cards that are assigned to you, across all boards. You can easily see what you need to do, even if you are a part of more than one board
  • You can also see widgets relating to Silver Stories user story maps in the workspace. Learn more about Silver Stories

Backlog Management

Each of the items in the backlog are shown along with a colour indicating what type of item it is. You can create custom fields for features and the values you set will be shown as a tag on the right side of each feature, so that you can easily visualise the composition of the backlog along any of the custom field values.

You can re-order the backlog by drag & drop

Unlike many tools, the entire backlog is shown on one screen without pagination. Why? Because pagination makes it much harder to visualize across the whole backlog. Plus it makes it hard to drag and drop across pages. We've optimized the visualization so that it works well even with very large backlogs.

Many screens allow you to filter, and this is one of them. You can filter on any field, even a custom field that you created. In the backlog view, the features that do not match the filter are dimmed, so you can see the matching features in the context of the whole backlog. Filtering is 'instant' which means you do not have to wait for the page to reload. These are just a couple of small ways in which we make things easier compared to other tools.

Scrum Taskboard

The scrum taskboard shows the burndown of the current sprint, with the scrum taskboard underneath. Like most physical scrum taskboards, the first column contains the feature, while the other columns contains tasks. Cards can be moved on the taskboard by simply dragging and dropping.

Cards are visual. You can not only see the description, but also the custom field values, user assigned to, and the type. This follows our policy of making as much visible as possible.

The number in the black square is the estimate. We do not impose any unit of estimate. You can estimate in hours, days, story points, t-shirt sizes.. anything

You can break a feature down into multiple tasks. All the tasks belonging to a feature will be in one swimlane.

Scrum Planning

The scrum planning screen allows you to create sprints, and drag and drop features from the backlog onto the sprint. As move cards around, the Scheduled Velocity will be added up. You'll get a warning indicator if the scheduled velocity is more than the teams Average velocity.

Scrum Reporting

Besides viewing the burndown for a single sprint, you can also view the burndown for the whole backlog. All the stories from all the sprints are collected and a burndown is created. The burndown also 'predicts' the expected completion date based on the current average velocity and the number of points remaining in the backlog.

The velocity trend graph shows you the velocity of all the past sprints, so you can see if your velocity is stable or dancing up and down like in the picture above.

ScrumBan

Scrum taskboards can be modified with Kanban principles to create a ScrumBan board. You can change the columns of the board to suit your own workflow, and you can also assign work in progress limits for each of the columns. The tool will ensure that the limit is not exceeded, and will highlight if a work in progress limit override occurs (see the section below on Kanban boards for more on this feature).

Kanban Boards

This is a simple Kanban board with some columns and work in progress limits to each column. The 'Test' column is highlighted because the work in progress limit has been exceeded.

Like scrum cards, kanban cards are visual. You can not only see the description, but also the custom field values, user assigned to, and the type. This follows our policy of making as much visible as possible.

Slightly more complex board with some states having vertical lanes beneath them. Note that the wip limit is only set for the top states. The tool allows you to set limits at any level of the board.

This board has a combination of horizontal and vertical swimlanes. The 'Analysis' column contains two horizontal swimlanes under it, each of which in turn contains vertical swimlanes. Silver Catalyst's board designer is extremely flexible and allows you to create boards with any combination of horizontal and vertical swimlanes. If you can imagine it, you can create it!

The above is an example of a board which has WIP limits on both the 'Analysis' state as will as its 'User Experience' child state. And the cards are currently exceeding the WIP limits at both levels.

This is a truly advanced kanban board! Now we see what kanban boards the tool is capable of. View the Advanced Kanban Board webinar recording to learn more about this board.

Board Editor

The board editor makes creating complex kanban boards easy. Click, click, click, drag & drop.. done! Who knew that changing the board design electronically would be a lot easier than changing a physical board design!

Kanban Reporting

The cumulative flow graph is the mainstay of the Kanban metrics. Select a time range and Silver Catalyst will automatically calculate and show you the graph. Much easier than calculating by hand, dont you think?

Silver Catalyst was the first tool to implement Statistical Process Control charts. SPC charts are used to display throughput, lead time, and engineering lead time (cycle time) metrics. The charts show the mean time as well as the upper control limit.

Collaboration

Visualization brings collaboration. When everyone knows what everyone else is working on and understand how things stand in the project, then improved collaboration is inevitable.

This board shows the visualization in action, a blocked card highlighted in red, cards with colors, custom field tags, assigned tags and more. You quickly see the overloaded Analysis and Build states and the empty Test column. Even without reading the cards, its easy to see what is going on in this team.

A tester helpfully offers to speed the Build cards, while the manager sets out to resolve the block.

Now thats collaboration in action... collaboration driven by visualization.

With Silver Catalyst, it's easy to carry on a discussion by adding comments to any card. The tool supports rich, formatted comments.

Other Features

The small things make a difference. Silver Catalyst is the only tool that uses a flexible width display algorithm. That means if you use a high resolution widescreen display, then the board is expanded to take advantage of the real estate. And if you are on a smaller display, the board is contracted so you dont have to scroll to see the whole board.

Timesheets are a plugin that you can enable for your board. It allows you to enter the time spent on each card. Very useful if you bill clients by the hour

The timesheet report allows you to quickly view the time breakup of each card, and how many hours have been logged by each user

When users work in multiple boards, Silver Catalyst allows you to set a user capacity so that the user doesn't get overloaded in one board or the other. This report shows you how much a user is assigned to in each board, and if any of them are over the capacity limit.

The backlog breakup is a little report that shows you the composition of your backlog. Are doing more value adding work (new features, enhancements) or value fixing work (bugs, support)?