Zoho Sprints Manual
Zoho Sprints is a great tool to manage work in an Agile manner.
Zoho Sprints Overview
There is much written about the Agile Methodology and the Scrum Framework. If you want to go into the background to Zoho Sprints I suggest a good starting place is the Scrum Guide (
https://scrumguides.org/) from the co-creators: Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.
My quick overview to set the scene is here as a quick version.
Baz’s Ten Minute Guide to Agile Dev and Scrum
There is an often quoted and modified saying “the first casualty of any engagement is the plan”. In other words as soon as you start trying to follow a plan you will need to change it. Agile software
development and the scrum framework offer one of the better and simpler methods to do this.
In order to make something we have several components; some are well-known clearly defined, others, typically future “phase 2” requirements are less well defined. We start by making a list of
requirements, the things we need to do to build their solution. We know that this list will change, as a result of earlier steps and the knowledge we gain from that work. This requirement list is called the backlog.
The Backlog and Tasks
The backlog is just the list of tasks. Each task should have a name and an Item Type. Item Type is configurable but is typically:
● Story – a small feature which needs changes to several parts of the whole product.
● Task – a small task to one area.
● Bug Fix – a single piece of re-work.
● Epic – a large feature which will need breaking down into several tasks or stories in order to complete.
Breaking down an Epic and planning it into Tasks/ Stories can be a task in a Sprint.
A sprint is a period of time during which we will do work. Ideally a Sprint should be given a name describing what we hope to achieve by the end of the Sprint, e.g. User Management. The sprint should have a start and end date. Tasks are moved from the backlog into the sprint. An established team will now how big a job they can do during one sprint so can tune the size of the
sprint into something realistic – see discussion on Story Points below.
This sprint is then started and we look at the task board. This shows a list of all tasks on the left-hand side key members will pick up a task, assigning it to themselves in the process and move the task to the in process column. When the task is complete then move it to the completed column and pick up another task. During the sprints the number of items in progress and completed should reduce gradually over the lifetime of the sprints. Hence tests should be small enough that they can easily be completed in one sprint, ideally you would complete at least three
tasks per sprints to give you a guide to the size of a task. The scrum framework describes a burn down chart which is a counts of the number of “story points” remaining in the sprints; this should start at the Sprint size and decreased to 0 by the end of the script.
A Story Point is a generic unit of size for a task. The name comes from the idea of a user story; a
description of something the user does. When a lead developer sees a user story they can
estimate the size of it in starry points. After a few sprints, a team will no how many story points
they can complete in one sprint (this is known as the Sprint Velocity), this assumes the ideal
situation that a sprint team is the same each time and the sprinter duration is the same each time.
They are called story points partly to avoid telling people down to fixed timeframes, though users
cannot help thinking in terms of days or even half day development time.
End of Sprint
At the end of the sprint the sprint will be closed and all completed tasks marked as done. Any
uncompleted tasks should be put back into the backlog. The results of the sprint can now be
demonstrated to the customer. After this demo, in the light of the customer’s reaction and is
experience learned during the earlier sprint(s) the next sprint can be created and tasks from the
backlog dragged into it. Based on the initial demonstration, the customer may choose to prioritise
other areas of development hence sprints cannot realistically be planned too far ahead.
The full version of the scrum framework includes sprints retrospectives, and end of Sprint meeting
to see what went well and what went badly. The Scrum Framework also includes daily stand-up
meetings known as date daily scrum, were the team can discuss any issues or blockers they have
and how the work is progressing.
Using Zoho Sprints
Zoho Sprints easily supports the simplified version of scrum described above.
A backlog is created, then a sprint. Tasks are dragged into the sprint to create sprint plan.
The sprint is started:
The Task board becomes the main focus of the team:
Tasks are dragged from status to status . Hovering over the user icon, shows a plus button to
allow the user to assign themselves to a task .
The developers make frequent reference to the task board to update tasks and select the next
task to be done.
Create a Template for Future Projects
● Create a Sprints Project in the usual way
● Populate with tasks
● Click on the triangle next to the create button and select Template:
● Give the template a name (1) and select the project containing the tasks to copy into the template (2):
● Wait for processing to complete:
● On completion click yes (a slightly confusing message); the yes button reloads the page to ensure the template is loaded correctly:
Project Template Contents
The Project Template contains the following:
● All work items from the backlog – including their Item Type, ie Epic, Story, Task or Bug.
● All Sprints
● All Task allocations to those Sprints.NB do not plan too far ahead, it is only Agile if you can react to reality by changing the sprint plan during the project.
● Task allocation to users.
Creating a New Zoho Sprints Project using a Template
● Starting on the project page, click on Projects (top left) to show a list of your projects:
● Click on Create (top right); or click on the triangle next to Create and select Project:
● Fill in the Project Name (1), click on select Template (2) and select the template for this project (3):
Enable Client Portal
Go to Settings -> All Users:
If the Try Now button appears for Client and Vendor Portal, click it:
If not it means this has already been enabled. At the time of writing this feature is in BETA testing and must be requested via this button. We expect it to be enabled for all customers at the end of 2021.
If the Client Portal Pages are not available and this button does not appear, please contact Zoho Support or CloudPerfect for assistance in enabling this feature.
In the All Users page now, there is a drop-down to select Client Users:
After selecting Client Users, Client Companies and Contacts can now be added. There are 3 steps to adding a Contact to a project:
● Create the Client Company
● Create the Client Contact(s) inside that company.
● Inside each project, add the relevant to those contacts.
NB: There is a limit of 5 free Client Users for your organisation. Additional licenses can be purchased if required.