Pivotal Tracker, a TooI I Recently Encountered

Two months ago, I was first introduced to the tool Pivotal Tracker (Thanks, Andela!). It was my first time using any type of story-based project planning tool.

If you’re not familiar with it, here’s a brief summary from Tracker’s site:

Tracker is a story-based project planning tool from Pivotal Labs that allows teams to collaborate and react to real-world changes instantly. It’s based on agile software methods, but can be used on a wide range of projects.
Tracker maintains a prioritized backlog of project deliverable, broken down into small, estimated pieces, called stories. It dynamically groups these stories into fixed segments of time, called iterations, and it predicts progress based on real historical performance (velocity).

How it works
The smallest unit of every project is called a story. Stories will usually be one-line descriptions of either a feature, chores or bug, that should be implemented in the project. The description can be further expanded in the story’s details.

Stories are arranged by their priority, the most important ones will be on the top of the list. They are also divided into a few panels based on their status. The Backlog contains all of the project’s stories.

From left to right there are three panels: Current, Backlog and Icebox. The Current panel is the list of stories the team is working this week. The Backlog contains all the stories that the product owner (also known as the customer) has prioritized for the team to do next. Ideally, the stories at the top of the backlog have already been estimated as well. This is where the team looks for additional stories to work on once they’ve finished what’s in the current pile.

Based on the velocity of the project (how quickly features are implemented and approved), the most important ones will be moved to the Current section, so you have easy access to them.

The Icebox is where you collect all of your stories. Whether you are starting a project or are adding new stories to an ongoing project this is where all unprioritized stories live. It is up to the customer to maintain the icebox and feed stories from it to the backlog.

There is also the My Work section that is connected to all the stories you are currently working on.

Hopefully, that gives you a pretty good understanding of how Pivotal Tracker works. Some of it may be a little unorthodox, but the beauty of Tracker, in my opinion, is that it’s designed for agile teams but is flexible enough to accommodate your own approaches as well.

Thanks so much for reading.