Updated: Nov 16
After signing up, you're greeted with your first project's dashboards. Since you are Team Admin of your newly created team, you can see the Overview, Development, and History dashboards. Currently highlighted is the Overview dashboard and it has an open, empty, sprint. However, you may be asking, "What next"? the Mercury Platform offers simple, elegant solutions to make outsourcing easy for your clients and by extension you. This all starts with adding your first item(s) to a sprint.
Adding Items to Sprints
To begin the project, we need to add items into the sprint. You can do this by clicking on "Add New Item" inside the sprint. We allow clients to do this and augment it with our own items to make a complete picture of what is being requested. This opens the title so you can easily type in the title of the item and press enter (or ctrl-enter to add multiple items to a sprint). Items are the irreducible requirements that are quoted for your clients.
e found a best practice is to itemize the development as granularly as possible. By doing this, your client gets clarity into what is needed and for you, it ends up making them more trusting and willing to stick with your firm and develop more than if you'd quote a high-level spec that takes months to complete (waterfall development).
Some items that have been used are: Login, Terms of Service screen, Signup, Complex
Profile, News Feed, etc.. As you can see, these are the parts of a social media app
(a few of the parts). Doing this granular of a quote allows you to pinpoint what your clients need and shows them what they are getting exactly.
Once you have an item created, you can click on it and see the details. They begin empty, but are easy to change. As you can see, the title is on the card. You can easily click on the name and edit this if you'd like (in the picture it is "First Item").
Below that you see hours, which default to 0 but can be changed by simply clicking and editing. Beside hours is the "I want to" and "In order to" boxes. These are inspired by user stories, but relatable to clients from our experience. Fill in these two and you have an item that is ready for development. There is an optional "Acceptance Criteria" that c
an be added and will come into play at the end of the development cycle (when approving & closing sprints).
You can also comment on items. These are open to all team members that can see the item detail. These comments will also persist throughout the lifecycle (including in History) so that there is a running catalog of all decisions, conversations, and deliberations on any given item. This comes in handy a lot, from development knowing what the client wants and needs during their progress as well as in disputes with clients and everything in between.
"I want to": be able to log into the app by using my email and a password I set. If I forget that password, I want to be able to have a password reset sent to my email so I can reset it
"In order to": log into and access the app.
Comment Section: "So do we want to have only email and password? No ability to login via Facebook?"
The best practices put multiple sprints of items into manageable, 1-2 week sprints. By putting only the hours that can be reasonably completed in that 1-2 week period, your clients beginning to get a rhythm and your payments be come more recurring than in the waterfall method. In fact, this has risen revenues over 70% and client length of engagement well over
100% (to multiple years of consistent development!). Keeping sprints in budget for your client and regular finishing of sprints really imparts an agile workflow that the client understands and advocates for using.
Simply click "Add New Sprint" on any sprint and you will be given an empty split. Note that if you refresh the page and don't have items in a sprint, that sprint will disappear (with the exception of the first sprint in the Planned Items column.
The first sprint could be all the login implementation and Signup flow. Then, in a separate sprint we are going to tackle the Terms of Service screen along with the Complex profile. In a 3rd sprint, we will add the News Feed and so on.
TIP: Encourage clients and team members to add to these. When someone has an idea, make an item in any sprint (depending on the "urgency" of that request). You end up with a decently curated priority list and a backlog clients aren't overwhelmed by as well as a record of ideas that can be visited later and details completed. You won't be able to start development of a sprint until all items in it have at least their "I want to" and "in order to" details completed.
We now have a project setup and quote done with multiple items and sprints ready for the client. However, there is no client, or team for that matter. The next in our series of "How To..." will look at inviting team members and creating new projects.