Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Continuing on blog.twproject.com

This blog will be continued on http://blog.twproject.com. This because this blog has become more and more important, as a source of news and information on Teamwork and work/project management. So we want a more powerful content manager (Wordpress), and have the blog on the main domain (twproject.com).

Thank you blogger for hosting us up to now!

Monday, January 12, 2009


Teamwork 4 new beta available

You can now download and try Teamwork 4 beta. There is no user guide, but we are working on it and it will be released with the final, due this month (January 2009).

WARNING: Do not use the beta to upgrade your current Teamwork 3 installation. The upgrade procedure is not complete and not reversible. Of course it will be complete for Teamwork 4 final.

Get Teamwork 4 at the following links:

Windows (94MB): http://dl.open-lab.com/Teamwork_4BETA_windows.exe
Linux (97MB): http://dl.open-lab.com/Teamwork_4BETA_unix.sh.bin
OSX (83MB): http://dl.open-lab.com/Teamwork_4BETA_macos.dmg

Here is an evaluation license:


What's new:
- contains upgrade from version 3 (to be tested - do not upgrade production, only copies)
- a beta of a German translation
- fixed severe bug in working days "pushing" dates on tasks
- several minor bug fixes

Limitations of current beta:
- worklog analysis and move is broken
- resources search by login name does not work
- db2 installation is not supported


Saturday, January 10, 2009


Filling timesheets from Twitter feeds and Subversion commits

One of my dreams (and I believe, of many) is to somehow get time recording to be done easily from where I like to leave traces of my woring activity. Being a developer and a marketing man, my activity is recorded in Subversion commits and Twitter twits. Now from these there cannot be an automated filling of time sheets (it's not that simple), but it would be nice when filingl time to be somehow "surrounded" by your traces; well, now teamwork 4 does exactly that. Try it yourself here, using for example worklog day, or the worklog imports.

P.S. Teamwork does much more than that: you can link projects to SVN folders, export your worlogs to Twitter, ... .


Friday, January 09, 2009


Teamwork roadmap for 2009

This is our roadmap for Teamwork for 2009, after a splendid 2008 of constant growth:

1. Release teamwork 4 (really close); you can already try the beta here.

2. Build a personal productivity application that will use Teamwork as a backoffice (yes, this is a new idea - we'll blog more on this in coming weeks).

3. Teamwork online service - make it better.

Do you want to use your project management software online or in an internal server? We, up to a few years ago, nobody would dream of using such an intimate service online. But things have changed,

99% of customers currently use Teamwork on a local installation. or on their host For the moment, Teamwork 4 beta can be used only in a local installation. A local installation gives you more control, but also more maintenance burden.

In fact, we currently openly discourage to use Teamwork online service other than for testing, and we redirect customers to their hosting services to get a "closer" installation; that because we are aware that our online service is not great; its about ok to give a try to Teamwork 3, but a local installation is better, faster, richer in features, and last but not least lets you play with integration with services.

We are aware that the software as a service model is getting really very popular; we'll revamp our online service after release of version 4. We are now (January 2009) totally focused in releasing version 4, mainly for your local installations.

So our suggestion is for the moment is try Teamwork will a local installation: the installation process now is really simple. But in 2009, you will also get a concrete, fast and reliable option to use it online on our servers: it is one of our targets.

We have more in mind, but already meeting these three targets won't be easy. So life keeps being interesting here!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Work management: different ways of working

Everybody is different; and everybody wants to work differently. One of the problems when trying to organize work, maybe also by introducing a management tool, is that you have to find a way to meet different needs.

The low access level and absence of security checks of social tools is one of the reasons why they are easy to accept in a working team, but of course they have limitations which will emerge even after a short time.

An answer may seem be to adopt an application with a minimal set of features, so that everybody will agree on using those; but actually this is a way of temporarily hiding the problem, because work management involves a lot of kinds of different actions, and different people (production director, expense manager, those that get things done, ..) find different actions the essential ones, so everybody agrees that few features are essential, only everybody points to different ones.

So if you want to go towards a minimal agreed set of features, the best thing is not to use a specialized tool at all. Use just Excel and paper, you'll be fine.

Our approach with Teamwork is that if the software has to be useful at all, it has to be compatible with different ways of working. And in this, it is uniquely powerful: you can model projects as trees, as flat lists, as just a bunch of issues, as a business process or flow, ... . You can assign the same task to many people, or pick one task one person, or associate one task to many many issues, or just use to-dos and record all worklog on a single project, or whatever crazy way of working you prefer. You can record worklog on week time sheets, or by issue, or on a counter, of from Subversion commits, or from Twitter twits...
You can manage meetings from Teamwork's agenda, or from Outlook, or from Google calendar, or from any iCal client, and so on...

In the picture you see the world’s first working Difference Engine; it has nothing to do with the topic, but looks nice :-)

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Monday, January 05, 2009


Free Teamwork 4 user licenses for reviewers

From now on we will be giving out a free, non expiring 3-user Teamwork 4 license (worth 285 Euro) to any journalist/blogger who writes a public review of Teamwork 4 (typically a blog entry) regardless whether it is positive or not. In fact we'll give you the license before you write the review: just send us a short blurb and we'll send you the license.

Same if you are willing to do a demo of Teamwork 4 to an audience at a public event.

To get to try Teamwork 4, just see the post above.


Monday, December 29, 2008


Teamwork Webcast #1 - Business processes integration

This is the first of a series of webcasts in which Silvia Chelazzi and Pietro Polsinelli (two Teamwork developers) will talk about Teamwork, work and project management, and related tools and technologies. We plan to release a webcast about every two weeks.

In this one after a brief table-tennis exchange (trying the latest addition to our office) we take a first look at Teamwork 4 integration with business processes, so this webcast is quite dense with technical references.

P.S. Pietro in the video says that he is assigning task in hours, bot of course it is in working days... .

See the webcast on Vimeo. Download the webcast: mov file (63MB), zipped mov (44MB), zipped flv (29MB). We promise to have smaller and friendlier files for next webcasts :-). You can also see it in our player here. The mov files can be watched with Quicktime or VLC, the flv with VLC and others.

Suggestions for topics that the webcasts should cover are welcome: use the UserVoice service, with requests as this one.

References in and around the webcast:

JBPM: http://www.jboss.com/products/jbpm http://www.jboss.org/jbossjbpm
JPDL: http://www.jboss.org/jbossjbpm/jpdl
The creator of JBPM: Tom Baeyens, http://processdevelopments.blogspot.com (Teamwork and Open Lab are in no sense associated with JBoss.)

A previous blog post on these themes: http://twproject.blogspot.com/2008/10/teamwork-development-version-now.html
On worklow patterns in general: http://www.workflowpatterns.com
Interesting article on Infoq: http://www.infoq.com/articles/seven-fallacies-of-bpm

P.S. To be sure you understand what a flow is (from http://xkcd.com/518) :-)

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Using social tools for managing projects

A friend who works as project manager professional, a consultant at several public and private organizations in Rome, proposed me to use blogs as tools helping managing a project; this because it happens to him that introducing structured tools meets adoption resistance. Introducing work management from a community based platform is a quite novel approach, and could be quite in harmony with modern methodologies. We intend to progressively integrate this perspective too, and we did something already. Consider that with Teamwork's custom dashboards, you can integrate practically anything in your home page, in particular today that many online services are available as simple JavaScript calls.

You may have noticed that we are now using the User Voice service to collect users' feedback on Teamwork. User Voice is a refined and simple way to get feedback from your customers and contacts, even when you have only online contacts; it is an example of open access, where all users have equal rights of expression.

As an example of integration, we now provide a User Voice portlet, which you can set to point to your User Voice service; you will then select the requests which you want to deal with, creating corresponding issues in Teamwork.

In the image we have the portlet set in the home page.

More and more work management tools will need to transform into “linking” applications, places where different kinds of logging get linearized into a project. We’re working on this!

Pietro Polsinelli

P.S. If you are wondering about Teamwork's look in the screenshot, that is version 4.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


Teamwork 3 final released

Today (December 18, 2008) we released Teamwork 3 final (release 3.2.9 build 7187). It contains an extension of the internationalization coverage, in which we were helped by a German customer company (thanks!).

You can download the release here: http://www.twproject.com/download.page.

Teamwork 4 is now in beta; we will post extended coverage of the new features in the forthcoming weeks; we will also begin a series of webcasts, in the first one we'll take a look at some 4 beta features. Version 4 will be released for production at the end of next month (January); of course anybody who buys Teamwork 3 now will get a free upgrade to version 4.

You can post as usual feature requests on our uservoice service, and also themes to be discussed in the webcasts; if you want to get access to the beta version, just contact us.


Friday, November 14, 2008


New Teamwork introductory pages

Forthcoming release of Teamwork will have brand new introductory pages, rich of links; this because we often find that in the evaluation phase users don't get to find some of the most useful features.

Following this idea, the entire interface has been rebuilt along "don't make me think" lines, while at the same time enriching the set of features.

In place edit in lists, more flexible dashboards components, more flexible project modeling and issue editing, a friendly search and ranking function: all this is coming together in a unique web based project management application which is likely more powerful that any competitor, and usable as the new social tools.

This will make it also easier to start simple, and add more along the way, lowering the initial adoption barrier which is one of the main reasons for pm software adoption failure.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Boot camp experiences: Vocabase

One of the most recent and successful Teamwork boot camps has been at Vocabase, a Belgian software house. They develop voice portals, application servers operating telephone interactions between customers and support, and more. The boot camp lasted two days, and was in Waterloo (our hotel was in the "middle" of the battlefield).

Vocabase leading team is composed of Alain Rondenbosch, Robert Hopp and Jean-Michel Polfliet; after their gracious reception, we started by installing Teamwork in their intranet, and then proceeded presenting and discussing features and modeling of their processes.

As always happens in these cases, the customer points out to needs that lead to future improvements of Teamwork; in this case, in the resource planning section, and the relationship between worklogs and costs.

Usually our boot camps consist of a first (long) meeting with the (potential) project managers, finding the appropriate Teamwork models and procedures matching their work process; then a second meeting involving the entire team, demoing Teamwork usage and asking for feedback.

Teamwork is so flexible that modeling your projects and work with slim or large trees, using issues or not, using a single or multiple areas, are all open options, and a boot camp can speed up enormously adoption time.

Teamwork's adoption is generally a symptom of a developing culture for improving production through quality of work, and our impression of Vocabase is that this is the direction in which they are progressing.

Meeting and working with them has been a real pleasure, we wish them an even more successful future!

If you want to get a Teamwork boot camp, go here.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008


The complex relationship between projects and business processes

Teamwork development version now includes Business Process integration. This is a really cool feature, as it gives a new dimension to projects, making it possible to model naturally complex processes, while maintaining the basic project based organization. The underlying technology is our implementation of Hibernate + JBPM, which gives the full generality and power of a proven business process framework.

In our meetings with customers we often presented two way of modeling their business processes: with projects, aimed at giving a minimal structure to work and collecting a maximal amount of feedback, work logs etc., or using business process models, which are workflows. Workflows are more rigid but more accurate. They are more complex to plan but often easier for the final user, who has jus to say "proceed" on her/his tasks when it is the case. So how could we give the opportunity to project managers to use business processes inside Teamwork without making the interface horribly clumsy? After much discussion, we made some choices:

- use JBPM, which holds data relationally and hence transparently, just like the rest of Teamwork

- process steps would be sedimented in tasks, so that say search in projects would keep on working on the same data, be it process driven projects or classical simply tree based projects

- non circular steps in processes (which of course are supported) would be modeled by tasks dependencies

- steps to be done will be presented to users in the same locations where she usually finds her assignments and tasks

So basically we have a wizard which given a process, lets you pick the assignments on the nodes of the process, and will generate a process instance which will guide project advancement, notifying and recording step progress. This is more flexible than the classical swimlane based business process assignment. Processes are defined in JPDL, a powerful business process which covers all the usual fork/join/milestone etc. needed in process management.

One could use Teamwork’s available custom forms to be associated particular steps of the process, hence having also a document process overlapping the business one. Other customization could be done in the action handlers, which handle the token entering or leaving a node.

In the first three screenshots you see three ways of looking at the same project: as a graph, swimlane based, and as a Gantt. It is the same project, and all the features that you have in these are enabled, like subscriptions, document management, issue tracking, and so on. Below also some of the ususal interface request "improved" with the process driven questions.

As graph.
By swimlanes.
As Gantt.
Task editor action.
In my assignments.

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Teamwork’s new installer

In the wave of release of new features, we also deployed a new installer. We tried to create the first really user friendly multi-platform installer for a multi-database web application, and as you can guess by the length of the description, it wasn’t trivial.
Working on the Install4J’s platform, we added the creation of services on Windows and OSX platforms, and, in case launching services is not possible, automated launch from a console of the web server. We are thinking about whether it would be useful to install it as a “service” on say Debian/Ubuntu or RedHat distributions.
We improved the database test connection part, with improved Oracle-db interface and clearer error feedback.
But what we worked mostly on is making the installation really very, very easy for a first evaluation, so that it does not ask any technical question: it just installs Teamwork as a service on a default test db, and then opens the browser there. Then it will be quite easy to move to production. Just try it here so see how it has been done.

Most of the work has been done by our Roberto Baldi, who unfortunately for him presented it in a very bugged form in our weekly developer meeting, and had hence been confronted by a jeering crowd :-D

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Disasters of data hostage

Sorry, but I really can resist linking to this. Use your own database for critical data!!!


Monday, September 29, 2008


Resource plan

A preview of the "excel like" editing of the resource plan in the forthcoming "resource management" module.


Sunday, September 28, 2008


Project management: simple, complex?

Yet another university adopted Teamwork. Why so many
universities pick us?

Well, they need a flexible modeling tool, and Teamwork gives them this, not only because of modeling trees, but also because of the refined assignment model; definable node level role, and hence security, and so on.

Complex model must not imply a complex user interface, and this is where a lot of recent work on our part is being done, studying the extensive literature on the matter, doing user testing and new developments. A sample of the new results is the possibility of moduling load on an assignment through a resource plan and/or by issue break-down.


Thursday, September 25, 2008


Authentication: standard, http, LDAP

cat does not loginTeamwork currently (3.2.8) supports a built-in, we’ll call it “standard”, authentication (notice that Teamwork works fine also under https) , which is the usual login, and authentication provided by the container, we’ll call it “http authentication”. This allows both single-sign-on support and also LDAP authentication through say the Tomcat container, as detailed in the forum.

We are empowering authentication with a third modality, by having Teamwork contact directly the LDAP server, and also importing and updating users from LDAP via a scheduled job if needed. All this includes Active Directory; in this way, your LDAP will be the source of users and authentication. This third modality we’ll call it “LDAP”. It will make integration very easy, feasible completely just through the web interface. :-)

If users will require it, it will be quite easy to integrate also OpenId authentication.

UPDATE: Teamwork 3.2.9 includes direct LDAP import and authentication: see


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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Using Teamwork 3 with Chrome Beta

After a few tests it seems to be fully compatible with Teamwork 3 - and with no effort on our part :-D

Chrome has a really smart way of navigating your recent links and using search results at the same time - we are preparing something on an analogous line and quite revolutionary for the forthcoming Teamwork releases - stay tuned..


Friday, August 29, 2008


Supporting Ical

Today we completed integration between Teamwork agenda and Google calendar.
In the original project we just dispatched events created in Teamwork to Google calendar, but now we let users export a complete Teamwork agenda in Ical format in order to see all appointments on another calendar server (just like Google calendar but also in another Teamwork!).

Another added feature lets you import one or more external calendars in Ical format and see the events contained in it inside Teamwork’s agenda.

While building the integration, I’ve had all sorts of troubles with date format and time zone settings. In fact we couldn’t assume that calendars working together have the same time settings, so it was necessary to convert dates in the correct time zone every time we tried to do an export or an import.

Now everything works fine and it’s great! You can send every new event created in Teamwork to your Google calendar, you can see all your Google calendar events simply copying the given calendar’s address in Teamwork, and you can also do the opposite!



Teamwork and Alfresco integration

Among the rich set of integrations possible with Teamwork, one which we are considering is integrating Alfresco document management with Teamwork's. We were discussing this at a customer (a bank), when they showed us that Alfresco provides file system network access to its document engine, so you can access the document tree throuh the network just by tipying a network address of the form \\alfrescoServer\... . Well then we immediately created a file storage pointing to the root of the alfresco server, so that the area manager can set on tasks roots the document root corresponding to it, and operate! So the inner flexibility of Teamwork gave us immediately a first, rough "integration" with Alfresco, which the customer loved, and makes them immediately operative.

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