Barvas has thousands of possible uses within an organization to help individuals and teams to plan more thoroughly, stay on track and get the right things done on time.
Barvas does this in 3 simple but highly productive and engaging interfaces (which can be used independently or in synch):
- A brainstorming, idea-capturing, mapping interface to allow the quick capture and visualisation of ideas – ideal for scoping and planning any task or project
- A Task Board area for quickly creating Task Cards (with typical task data) and placing them in “swimlanes” to enable them to be monitored and managed on a pathway or journey to completion. A highly visual and effective way to manage priorities, tasks and projects through to completion
- A Timeline calendar view which automatically converts the crucial task information from the other two interfaces into a time-bound plan or schedule – very important for people who need to visualise and manage tasks with start and end dates as a focus
Note: Initial use of Barvas to plan out a block of work can be either by entering the tool and starting from the very start with no data; or you can select one of our many useful Templates (e.g. a step-by-step process) as a guide to help you get started. Feel feel free to push the boundaries of how Barvas can help you once you understand how the product works and apply it to other challenging tasks
STEP 1: UNDERSTAND YOUR OBJECTIVES
In this “How To” example we will demonstrate Barvas functionality using a pre-prepared Template outlining a typical process for managing the task tracking of a development team. As with all “Projects” created in Barvas, the first starting point is to include important background information such as Objectives and Outcomes, as well as adding other Team Members to collaborate with.
STEP 2: GATHER REQUIREMENTS
The Template is in a highly visual Map format, accessed from the “Map” Tab on the main menu bar. It is designed to be used as a guide to ensure a thorough approach to the task management of a development team. Use the map to capture the list of all the ideas for the team to consider.
Using the Barvas Template, with the Branches acting as “Prompts”, you can now carry out two simple functions:
- Navigate the map Branches – to assist in navigating and moving through the Map to follow the process, the Map Explorer function is extremely valuable. It replicates the map structure and any item can be isolated on the map view by clicking on the Topic within Map Explorer. The +/- symbols on both Map Explorer and mapped Branches can be used to expand/collapse the desired level of detail or hierarchy.
- Capture all the ideas and answers to each question – by clicking on each Branch to highlight each question and easily and quickly using “Type and Enter/Return” functions on your keyboard to record the answers.
Notes can be added to any Branch (e.g. to provide further guidance, explanation, areas of importance, etc) – using the “Write a Note” area in the Branch Properties panel (expandable / collapsible from the right-hand side of Map area). Notes are identified by an icon on each Branch.
As a team initially just capture all the ideas and answers to the question using type and return functionality (shown in the image below) highlighting the branch for the question being answered
STEP 3: IDENTIFY (TAG) THE KEY DELIVERABLES TO AGREE SCOPE
Sometimes the output from these discussions can generate a lot of ideas that may need sorted and/or prioritized. Barvas provides the ability to use “Tags” to help clarify and make sense of the information as well as Filter to help focus on the emerging discussions and outcomes.
You can use tags to give extra meaning to tasks. e.g. Mark it with a red tag to show it a bug, Mark it with a High tag to show it needs to be expedited across the board e.g. critical bug fix.
The template has also been prepopulated with some tasks to illustrate how seamlessly tasks that are identified on the map are instantly created on the task board.
Use this board as the basis for a software development team’s workflow. Modify the lists and order to suit your team’s needs (e.g. you might want a column for blocked tasks).
Prioritise work by re-ordering card within a list with drag and drop. The card at the top of the list is the top priority item. Try to keep your work in progress to a minimum by doing more finishing and less starting! Focus on getting tasks on the right-hand side of the board to done.
Add cards, assign them to team mates and get your team to move they across the board and re-assign them as work progresses.
You can add notes and links to tasks to give extra details e.g. specification, acceptance criteria, links to UI designs. You can also use comments to start discussions with your teammates.
Once a task is fully complete you can tick it off to remove it from the task board.
The Task Board is designed to bring a high degree of visibility, process flow and all-important tracking to this stage. Task Cards are used to record the key task properties / data, including owner, start date, due date and status. Progress of Tasks through a pre-determined journey is visualised and tracked by simply moving the cards along “swim lanes.
Once again, the Template has been pre-populated to give you some idea of how Barvas can manage the process. However, you can customise the “swim lane” headings to adapt or create your own process / project flow or journey through to completion.
You will note that any Tasks created using the mapping interface have been synchronised through to the Task Board. You can, of course, add new Task Cards within the Task Board simply by using the green + icons.
Barvas provides the ability to create Tasks, including assigning ownership, timescales and deadlines.
Task information can easily be applied to map Branches (as shown pre-populated in the Template) and / or using the Task Board (Tasks tab).
Tasks added to a Map are automatically added as Task Cards to the Barvas Task Board.
As start and end dates are added to the task cards the timeline will also give an alternative view for understanding the project current status. The example shown (from the Template) shows how the Timeline has interpreted the Task Start and End Dates from the Task Cards, but importantly portraying the project data in an alternative view to aid understanding of the overall project flow and current status.
STEP 4: DELIVER THE PROJECT
The all-important tracking of priorities, tasks and the overall process or project is a key element of Barvas and can be done through the use of either (or both) the Task Board area or the Timeline (Calendar) view. The Timeline has been building up automatically in synch with the data being input into either the Map branches of the Task Cards within the Task Board.
Ongoing task management, including instant and live collaboration with Barvas is another productive way of managing and progressing the project. At this stage, the Task Board will be a prime visual guide to progress, with the detail and team collaboration contained within the Task Cards.
The seamless transition from map, to task board and timeline in Barvas makes it easy to plan any development team's workload.