Kovair Agile Solution is an implementation of Agile based on SCRUM methodology using Kovair Platform. Kovair has extended SCRUM methodology to implement various tools necessary to implement Agile in a distributed development scenario. One major differentiator of Kovair Agile Solution from some other Agile products from other vendors is its configurability – using the Kovair platform the Agile Solution can be extended and further configured to incorporate any organizational need which go beyond the definition of SCRUM and Agile methodology. Moreover, since Kovair uses the same platform for implementing ALM Studio for more traditional iterative methodology and ITSM Studio for ITIL V3 implementation, all three solutions can be mixed in a tightly integrated manner within a single tool interface.
List of Entities
Kovair Agile Solution supports the following Artifacts/ Entities/ Objects:
- Projects – contains multiple Releases
- Releases – contains multiple Sprints
- Sprints – With multiple durations from 1 week to 6 weeks
- Product Backlogs – Categorized as Epic, Features, User stories
- Daily Scrum Meeting – In a distributed development daily SCRUM meeting happens remotely even sometime asynchronously. Kovair implementation of virtual daily SCRUM meeting captures all the major meeting aspects.
- Test Cases – Implementing more traditional Test Management approaches integrated with Agile to enforce testing of selected Product Backlog by Traceability Relations.
- Issues/ Changes – a complete Issues management solution integrated with Agile including custom visual issues process design and implementations.
Gathering backlogs from varied sources
The User Stories can be created from various sources – selective import from previous projects, import from Microsoft Word and Excel, manual input through custom forms of Kovair Agile Solution, submission from integrated web pages from corporate websites or portals.
Kovair Agile Solution supports multi-Sprint Releases. The Backlog items belong to multiple Releases and multiple Sprints. At each Sprint and Release level the total estimated efforts are summed-up. A Roadmap report shows Backlog items in a Hierarchy of Release and Sprints.
The Backlog Items are assigned to different users independent of their locations. Kovair Agile Solution being 100% browser based, any user can access it from anywhere anytime. Reports show Backlog items grouped by Release, Sprint and Assigned Users. Kovair offers a number of tools to manage a large number of Backlogs. Backlogs can be categorized into Epics which are very high level requirements, Features that an Epic is broken into and further User Stories that are linked to a Feature. These include custom Views, Filters, Text Search, ID Search. The Views allow dynamic multiple nested grouping of Backlog with custom display fields and ordering.
A Release consists of multiple Sprints. Each Sprint consists of multiple Backlog items. Each Backlog Item has an assigned user and estimated effort. Kovair Agile Solution calculates the Sprint start and finish dates based on the included Backlogs. The Backlog items may be moved from one Sprint to another to manage the Sprint schedule.
Issues and Change
Kovair Agile Solution has a built-in Issues/ Change management which allows users and project members to enter various Backlogs as Issues/ defects/ change and enhancement requests. Kovair’s industry leading process engine allows routing of these items through appropriate workflows based on the Backlog types. In addition the various Backlogs can be imported from MS Word, Excel documents, parsed from Email and submitted from different websites integrated with Kovair.
Kovair Agile Solution includes a separate Risk Management feature. The Risks can be entered, Tracked and related to Backlog Items.
Versioning Backlog Item
Kovair has built-in versioning and also implicit and explicit locking mechanism. Built-in versioning allows tracking of all previous versions, comparison between two versions, a version diagram to show the progression, cloning of artifacts, branching and merging of versions. An artifact is implicitly locked when a user opens it for editing. A user can also explicitly lock it for a longer time period. All other users can see who has locked an item but still can access it in read-only mode.
Estimating effort for a Backlog item
Kovair Agile Solution supports Story Point as well as Feature Points as an extension of Function Point Analysis. A planning Poker implementation allows estimation of Story and Feature Points collaboratively and what is more important, by a distributed team.
Using Kovair’s industry leading Traceability Relation, feature linking can be done between User Stories, between User Stories and other Backlog items, Sprints and Risks.
- Using Kovair’s Traceability relations the User Stories can be linked to Test cases
- Using Kovair’s Traceability relations the User Stories can be linked to Defects.
- Using Kovair’s Traceability relations the User Stories can be linked to Codes or Change Items.
The following screenshot displays Kovair Traceability View by which users can get a complete visibility to all the artifacts that are linked to one another which eventually would facilitate in either tracing forward or backward starting from any particular artifact.
Ranking of a Backlog Item
Kovair Agile Solution has a collaborative ranking tool which allows multiple users to rate each backlog item in a 1 to 10 scale against various business values. These business values may include ‘Additional Revenue Potential’, ‘Competitive Advantage’ etc. Each value can have a weightage factor. Based on various ratings from multiple users Kovair automatically calculates a normalized score for each Backlog which can be used for prioritizing Backlog.
Collaborating concurrently with Kovair Tasks
Kovair Agile Solution has built-in task management. Tasks can be created manually or automatically by Kovair’s Process and Policy engines. The basic Metadata for a Task are Activity, Owner(s) and Status (Open, Completed, Work Started). Additional standard metadata includes % complete and various planning fields like estimated and actual work, start, finish dates. Users can add custom fields to Tasks as well. In Kovair Tasks are linked to various Artifacts e.g. Backlog, Issues, and Defects. There can be multiple Tasks related to an Artifact item. The Artifacts can be entered into the system in a number of ways as indicated earlier – selective import from previous projects, import from Microsoft Word and Excel, manual input through custom forms of Kovair Agile Solution, submission from integrated web pages from corporate website or portals or through integration with several IDEs or other tools – Visual Studio, Eclipse, RequisitePro, ClearCase, Quality Center… A Task linked with an Artifact allows users to access the information of the Artifacts directly from the Task. Each Task may be assigned to multiple owners. Kovair supports three multi-owner Task Assignment Policies – ‘Queued’, ‘One Task for All’ and ‘Independent Tasks’. Queued tasks mean any one user can become the owner and the Tasks from the other user’s home page will be removed by the system. One Task for All means multiple owner work together on a single item. Independent means when each user works on the same artifact independent to each other but in parallel. Tasks are linked to the development artifacts. For example a backlog of type defect can flow through a Kovair process and generate Tasks linked to that defect. The Tasks may include ‘Review of defect’, ‘Fix defect’, ‘Test fix’ – all related to the same defect and at each Task the team members work on it. Kovair includes a built-in Timesheet module. Users can enter actual time spent for each task using this Timesheet.
Multi-threaded Discussions among the Stakeholders
A primary activity of any team is to make a series of decisions based on comments and opinions of its members. These are sometimes done in synchronous meetings (either in-person or using technologies like teleconference or online-meeting). Whereas such meetings have their place, multi-threaded discussions (in the context of each collaboration item) provide a forum to share such comments in a more structured way, reducing the need to have costly meetings. These discussion-threads allow one to capture a complete history (and hence the intellectual property) of the decision making process.
Kovair supports multi-threaded discussions in terms of Contextual Comments. Kovair has a built-in Comments section that can be exposed to the users via system pre-defined or custom defined forms. The purpose of this section is to enable users to carry out multi-threaded discussions in the context of each Backlog. The discussions are entered either as a New Comment or Reply to an existing comment. Comments can be in the form of rich text with all sorts of formatting and even embedded images. Kovair allows users to include multiple attachments to their comments. The attachments can be – simple Notes, any type of Files (Word document, spreadsheet, image etc.) and URL. These multi-threaded discussions are saved in the context of the version of a Backlog.
Kovair has the industry’s leading Process Engine – Omniprocess. Using a drag-and-drop graphical designer an Agile process can be designed, implemented, enforced and automated. The process will automatically create Tasks for one or more users based on Roles they play. When the tasks are completed the process creates a new set of tasks for a new set of users. The following is a screenshot of User Story process.
Automation through Policy
In Kovair advanced notification Policies can be set with custom email content with embedded macro variables for the Artifact metadata. The notifications are generated in the context of Artifacts and Tasks.
Kovair Agile Solution includes multiple reporting engines – HTML, Crystal, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. Both textual and graphical metrics reports can be displayed on custom Dashboards. Each user can have several custom Dashboards based on his/ her role. Various reports include:
- A dashboard with all relevant reports of Agile like Velocity, Burn Down, and Burn Up chart are given below.
- Kovair provides various textual reports to show the status useful for Scrum meetings.
- Kovair supports various graphical distribution reports