It’s been two full months since we announced TeamPulse to the world!  Since the launch of our first public beta, the TeamPulse team has been extremely busy consuming the amazing feedback we’ve received from all of our private and public beta customers.  Combined with our original plans for the product, the feedback that we’ve received has really helped to re-shape the product, as well as help focus our approach, resulting in a product that we believe will provide our customers with even more value.

If you don’t know much about TeamPulse, you should check out some of our videos online.  In a nutshell, TeamPulse will help your team capture requirements as well as plan and track your agile project. 

TeamPulse is a Silverlight 4 application that runs wonderfully in all supported browsers and operating systems.

To Sync or not To Sync

Perhaps the biggest change to TeamPulse since the beta is that we have decided to separate the core TeamPulse application from the Team Foundation Server synchronization engine.  The installation of TeamPulse V1 will be provided without any reliance upon TFS or the TFS Team Explorer allowing customers who have yet to invest or fully leverage TFS to start gaining value from our product right away.  This will allow customers who do not use TFS to gain project efficiencies from the use of TeamPulse –based largely on feedback we heard from customers who stated “looks cool, but I don’t have TFS!”

The second reason we decided to separate the TFS synchronization engine from the core TeamPulse engine was due to complexity and time.  Our TFS synchronization engine has easily doubled in complexity in order to support the scenarios our beta customers have been asking for.  In order to provide you with a more robust and reliable synchronization service, we decided to take more time to ensure we get it right. 

We anticipate shipping the synchronization engine as a separate component in the early fall of this year.

Templates and Rules

New TFS synchronization scenarios also made us take a second look at the core architecture of TeamPulse (emergent design works well in these circumstances).  In order to facilitate synchronization, we had to figure out a better way to map and respect TFS work item rules (state transition rules, primarily). 

We now have TeamPulse project templates.  These project templates will help you configure TeamPulse in a way that will allow for data to more naturally synchronize with different types of projects in TFS 2010.  We will ship with three TeamPulse project templates (possibly 4) that map to MSF Agile, MSF CMMI, and Scrum.

TeamPulse project templates also provide rules for TeamPulse that are somewhat equivalent to work item state transition and field rules in TFS.  These rules help respect the rules you would need to adhere to when synchronizing with TFS to minimize synchronization errors and increase reliability.  Of course, if you don’t plan on using TFS with TeamPulse, the templates are a handy way of having different types of projects with different workflow rules and validation requirements.

Task Driven Navigation

As we started to work with teams using TeamPulse we realized  a need to change navigation a bit to better reflect the main behavior patterns we are targeting for V1.  TeamPulse will now have three primary navigation areas represented in the ribbon; Requirements, Tracking, and Planning. 

The Requirements area will be where you can manage your complete set of stories and personas – in short, this is where you would go to manage your product backlog. 

Tracking will contain functionality that makes sense for day to day usage of the tool and will be focused on providing you with visibility and control into your current iterations.  In fact, tracking is where you will now find our story board that will only show work in progress for the currently active iterations.  Tracking will also display a grid view of stories and tasks for the current iterations and show you only what is required to track the progress of your team from day to day. 

Planning is where you will go to define your iterations as well as to load up your iterations with work.  We’ve done a LOT of work on the planning screens to make them easier to use and to understand.

More Features, Too!

Of course, there are new features that you haven’t seen yet!  We are currently working hard to allow you to add attachments to stories, decompose stories into tasks, and specify high level  test cases for your stories to better define what “done” means to your team.  Tasks, attachments, and test cases will all be synchronize-able once we release the TFS synchronization engine. 

One of our favorite features is the “What’s New” feed that will provide your team with a short sequenced summary of  what has changed in the project (eg, updates to Stories, plan changes, etc).  This information is also available via RSS, allowing you to monitor the project without even having to run TeamPulse.

How Much?

Perhaps the second most asked question of the team is “how much will TeamPulse cost?”. To be honest, this is always the toughest part of releasing a new product into the industry and we agonized over countless hours on how to best approach this problem while providing the most options and most value to our customers. 

As with most software packages, our plan is to have a few different flavors of TeamPulse, building upon each other similar to a Russian Doll.  It’s very clear to us that “one size does not fit all” and we are going to work hard to support all of our customers over the next few releases. 

For V1, expect a 60 day full featured Trial version, a FREE limited use Community version, and a Standard version that has no Team Foundation Server synchronization ability.  Once we release the TFS synchronization engine you will be able to obtain it separately. 

We are also working on a TeamPulse Professional version that has more storage, reporting, and integration options; however, we don’t plan on releasing this version until the late fall or perhaps into the New Year.  TeamPulse standard will allow you to install on a full Microsoft SQL Server 2008 instance or, if you don’t have a full SQL Server instance, on an MSDE instance.  In any case, the TeamPulse Standard version will be limited to 10GB of data if you are using MSDE, not including attachments due to limitations of MSDE and not TeamPulse.  TeamPulse Standard will cost approximately $249 with discounts to larger teams and volume purchases.

When?

The single most asked question we get is “so, when can I get it?” The simple answer to that question is that we are targeting a July 2010 release. 

As always, we’re committed to continuing to innovate, learn, and adapt to our customer’s needs and we are planning very regular release cycles that will continually add more value to all of our product lines.

We're excited to hear from you.. what do you think?  Let us know.


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