Last week we completed sprint 50 and, today, the changes went live on the service.  You can read more of the details of what’s new on the service news feed.

One of the things I’ve had to get used to with a service is the notion of publishing features that aren’t nearly finished.  In all my years of working on software I had developed a notion of what “done enough” was to ship a product.  That notion was somewhat based on the development model we used and somewhat based on the deployment model.  The result of it was that I have always had a pretty high bar for “done enough” and we’d work incredibly hard to get in all the features that we thought someone would need to be successful.  With a service it’s different.  Our next release is only 3 weeks away.

On June 3rd one of the many things I announced was a new “Agile Portfolio Management” capability.  On June 19th, it got a little better.  Today we’ve introduced another critical piece – one that in my pre-services days I would have called mandatory to ship: a mapping panel.  One of the key capabilities of our Agile Portfolio Management feature is organizing work hierarchically and managing it at the appropriate level of granularity – aggregating across teams, etc.  Our first exposure of APM showed this but, it presumes that you break things down hierarchically and that wasn’t easy.  It was many clicks (I haven’t counted them but I’ll bet 5 or 6).  With the mapping pane we introduced today, it’s just a simple drag gesture and viola!

We still ask ourselves “what’s the minimum we have to have before the features is useful” but the way we think about the answer is very different.  Knowing that we can make it better in 3 weeks and then again and again, allows us to take risks – try things and see if people are excited about them, get feedback to help drive the direction and priorities, etc.  People who don’t find the feature useful yet can ignore it.  It’s amazingly empowering.

Try the new Agile Project Management features and let us know what you think.

Brian