Registering actuals in Mingle

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    Benjamin Butler-Cole

    I've got a few thoughts about this.


    Firstly (and I'm sure that this isn't the answer you want), I don't think that tracking actuals is a good idea. I understand that the data can be useful for historical analysis, particularly as input for improving estimation; for example you might find that stories relating to a particular piece of functionality often take longer than expected. However my experience is that the negative effects of gathering such data outweigh the benefits. Asking people to track how they spend their time against estimates inevitably results in them feeling that they have failed if they exceed the estimates; this has lots of bad effects on team dynamics and effectiveness.


    Rather than explicitly recording time spent, I prefer to use the historical staus of stories as an estimate for the amount of time spent on them. Obviously this is not accurate (for various reasons stories may be "in progress" when they are not actually being worked on), but this gives roughly accurate numbers without having any of the negative pressures (because Mingle automatically records the information you need).


    However, if you really do need to track the time spend on a story, I can see that manually recording hours would be tedious. It would be fairly easy to write a macro to make it much easier. The combination of the custom macro facilities in Mingle with the API make this sort of thing possible. I could imagine a macro which produces a list of cards assigned to the current user, with buttons to allow the hours for each one to be easily incremented.


    Technically the best way to implement this would be to write a small macro which just spits out the list of cards along with a bit of JavaScript. The JavaScript does the work of calling the Mingle API to update the details for each card. I posted an example of this approach (JavaScript calling the API) here: http://community.thoughtworks.com/posts/97a2c29d6e.


    -Ben

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    Ilyse Kazar

    Well, some of us need to log actuals because we bill hourly. :-)


    I think the Tasktop connector is great, if you're programming in Eclipse.


    kazar

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    Jay Mitchell

    A few approaches to quickly changing data across a number of cards. (All of these techniques assume you filter the list of cards down to the cards you are interested in.)

    1. Bulk edit the cards on the list view. If you are updating the value of several cards to the same value, this is a handy technique.
    2. If you filter the list to only the cards you are interested in, then you can open the first card in the list and change its value. Then use the navigation buttons to move to the next card, and continue that way. This is a quick way to move throw a series of cards and update properties.
    3. Create a grid view and group by the property you are interested in assigning. You may want to "Add / remove lanes" to show all of the available values for the property. This technique only works if the property is a managed property - which may be an issue for you in this case. This is increasingly becoming my favorite way to update several cards in a group.

    Do any of those ideas help your situation?

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