ProjectCards is a tool created by ProjeNova, an IT company from Quebec, Canada. The goal for ProjectCards is to be used by anyone involved on the project and with any flavour of agile process. ProjectCards have a Eclipse look and feel and is also available as an Eclipse plug in. If you are familiar with the interface it will be easy to learn how to work with this tool.
When you open ProjectCards for the first time you can open a Sample Project or create a new one. It will present to you 2 views, as we say in Eclipse lingo, Themes view, where we can organize your stories in themes and sub-themes and Project Planning view, where most of the action happens, that’s where you have your Release Plan, the Task board, etc.
The Themes view is basically a way to see themes, stories and task on a tree organization, nothing more, so we don’t need to talk more about it.
The Project Planning view is divided in three tabs, Release Plan, Dashboard and Velocity. On the Release Plan tab we see a different organization of you backlog. You are free to create your folder hierarchy, respecting the following: Top-Level folder, Mid-level Folders, Story cards, Tasks, so you can create something like , Release (top-level), Sprint(mid-level), Story, Task. There are also something information available on the grid like status, task estimate, sprint duration, velocity, etc. The problem is that you don’t have a priority property for your stories so you can’t easily see a prioritized backlog. Another problem is that you have to create a sprint (mid-level folder) to create a story card, so you can’t see your backlog as a simple list of stories, at least is easy to move a story from a sprint to another, just drag the story card and drop it on the sprint folder.
The Dashboard tab is our taskboard, with the well known columns, To Do, In Progress and Done besides that ProjectCards creates sub-status to each one of this columns, this isn’t really useful, just creates another layer of bureaucracy. Another big problem with the Dashboard tab is that you move stories, not tasks, through the status and columns and again we miss the prioritization to make clear which story to work first.
At last the Velocity tab is just a grid to register week velocity data. I really don’t understand why they create this the way they did. You have to input the data manually when it should be generated automatically based on the information the team provides every sprint and you have to do it every week, but your sprint could have 2,3,4,5,etc. weeks, that’s not a clear relation.
Projects comes with the possibility to create custom fields on the story creation, this could solve the prioritization problem, but it would be a mere informative property with no effect no other views. You can also generate a Project report, with information about the project, it’s a good way to organize all data on a presentable view to management.
The use of Eclipse look and feel makes ProjectCards more intuitive to many people, but they made some real bad choices, like the the lack of a real prioritization, no use of tasks in the dashboard, no charts of any kind, etc. Just a good presentation is not enough if you don’t bring good functionality and on that matter ProjectCard falls short.