One of the new features introduced with TeamPulse R2 2011 is the Email Notifications. 

With this feature we aimed to improve how TeamPulse handles the most important pillars in the Agile process – collaboration and communication. With TeamPulse R2 2011 you can now subscribe to receive email updates whenever a work item (user story, bug, issue, or risk) is updated. This way you can automate the process of tracking work item progress and save time. 

With Agile teams, the desired method of communication is face to face discussions, but with today’s distributed teams, this is not always easy to do outside of the daily standup. That’s one of the reasons we created TeamPulse: to give teams a central location where they can collaborate on their work. But we know that many people don’t live in TeamPulse. It’s not the kind of application that you keep open all day and use intensively. It is (for now) mostly a place where you go when you need to see what you are going to work on next or to check on the progress of an existing item.

So how does one know that something in TeamPulse has changed? Until now we had two options – you either go the TeamPulse itself and check the Dashboard / My perspective screens, or subscribe to the What’s New RSS feed. But we also needed something more tailored and universal. And what’s more universal than email?

Enabling notifications

Before you start using email notifications you need to have a SMTP server accessible from the TeamPulse web site. Then you need to enable and configure the feature from TeamPulse itself. 

Go to the Settings Ribbon Tab and click the Edit Server Settings button.

Enabling notifications screen in TeamPulse

Once you are ready entering the configuration details you can verify that your settings are ok by sending a test email. 

So it is really simple but if you want detailed instructions, you can consult with our documentation about setting up notifications.

Subscribing for notifications

If you want to stay informed about the changes happening in TeamPulse here are your options.

Subscribing to a particular item

On each story, bug, issue, or risk screen there is a new option in the Properties pane:

Notify me option in TeamPulse

When you check this, you will start receiving notifications each time someone updates any of the item’s properties or related items. So if you subscribe to an item and another team member changes its description, or adds a new task, or posts a comment – you get notified. If there are multiple changes within 5 minutes (this time is configurable), all changes are combined into one email, so your inbox doesn’t get cluttered up with a lot of small changes.

And here is how the emails look like:

Sample notification email

Subscription rules

If you want to track everything that is happening in your iteration here are the other options:

Edit personal email notification settings in TeamPulse

When you select the first option “Email me when my work items change”, you will receive a notification every time an item assigned to you changes.

This rule will also notify you if someone assigns an item to you. No more “Didn’t you check your My Perspective screen?”

The other four options – "Email me when stories / bugs / issues / risks in the current iteration change" is useful when you want to track all the work being done during the current iteration. Email notifications will be sent when anyone makes changes to an item assigned to the current iteration. This is useful if you want to track the progress of all the items in the current iteration, regardless of whom they’re assigned to. It also helps to see if new items are being assigned to the current iteration.

Some hints & tips

  • All emails sent contain Project name in their subject line. This could be helpful if you work on multiple projects simultaneously and want to create some custom rules in your email client. 
  • We also thought that it might be useful to include a summary of the most important properties of an item – like its status, estimate, who it is assigned to – so that you have a better context when you see the changes happening.
  • You can subscribe to multiple items more quickly if you use our new Backlog screen and turn the preview pane on. You can then filter the backlog to the items you really need to keep track of and then quickly subscribe to them clicking the notification checkbox in the preview pane.

We encourage you to create a TeamPulse hosted trial if you still haven’t tried this feature. It takes less than 60 seconds. And if you already have a hosted trial, it is automatically updated and includes Email Notifications.


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