Color Your Work Items with TeamCompanion v6.0

TeamCompanion introduces custom work item coloring in the query result list. Now you can take advantage of powerful grid coloring capabilities to differentiate work items by their type, state, blocked status and additional custom criteria.

Colors are a powerful means of communication. They can help you emphasize important information, group related items, portray time and progress, and identify changes.

TeamCompanion embraces colors and now features powerful grid coloring capabilities to help you differentiate work items by their type, state, blocked status and additional custom criteria.

Once you get familiar with the color palette of your choice, you can quickly get a status update just by taking a glance at the colored query result list. The colors will quickly inform you about work item state changes and blocked items, and draw your attention to the most important information.

How to Customize Grid Coloring

In TeamCompanion v6.0 work item coloring is turned on by default.

Coloring options as well as the color palette can be adjusted on the Project Settings tab in the Options dialog. The Colors tab provides the option to configure colors used for particular work item types, work item states, and to emphasize blocked work items. Click on the Configure colors button to open the Configure colors dialog where you can adjust the color pallete.

For each coloring option you can define following parameters:

  • Foreground Color – defines the text color, 
  • Background Color - defines the background color (use transparent to omit coloring),
  • Full Row – check to apply selected foreground and background colors to the whole row. If unchecked, the foreground and background colors apply just to the Work Item Type, State and Blocked cells respectively (if they are visible in the query result list).

Team Companion -Color Work Items - Coloring Options

The following picture shows a sample colored product backlog query result list.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Product Backlog Grid Coloring

The default coloring settings used in the above grid are shown in the following picture:

  • The work item types Bug and Product Backlog Item use the firebrick and royal blue colors for the background of the Work Item Type cell.
  • The State cell uses yellow, orange and green to mark the Approved, Committed and New states respectively.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Product Backlog Coloring Options

 

The following picture shows a sample colored sprint backlog query result list.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Sprint Backlog Grid Coloring Options

The default coloring settings used in the above grid are shown in the following picture:

  • The work item types Bug, Product Backlog Item and Task use the firebrick, royal blue, and gold colors for the background of the Work Item Type cell.
  • The State cell uses yellow, orange, green and light grey to mark the Approved, Committed, Done, To Do/In Progress states respectively.
  • Blocked items are emphasized on the level of the whole row by the red background color.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Sprint Backlog Coloring Options

 

By combining values for all available coloring options you can adjust the color palette to your particular needs and/or the needs of your development team. The following picture shows a sample sprint backlog query result list where the coloring palette uses slightly lighter colors than those in the default settings. Full rows are highlighted for the Product Backlog and Bug work item types. The In Progress state is also marked differently.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Sprint Backlog Grid Coloring Options - Lighter Palette

 

Note: Coloring is retained in the grid while searching and filtering and while using the newly introduced excel like column level filtering.

Team Companion - Color Work Items - Grid Coloring Retained When Filtering And Searching

How to Define Custom Criteria For Grid Coloring

You can also define your coloring criteria based on custom rules applied to other work item fields.

For example, if you turn off all predefined coloring based on work item types and states and blocked status, and define custom rules based on values of the Assigned To field, you can achieve a view like on the following picture.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Sprint Backlog Grid Coloring - Custom Rules

The custom coloring options for this example are visible on the next picture.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Coloring Options - Custom Rules

 

Grid Coloring in the Agile Project Management Tools

Custom grid coloring is also available in product and iteration backlog lists in the TeamCompanion’s agile project management tool Plan and Prioritize.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Agile Management Tools - Product Backlog List

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Agile Management Tools - Sprint Backlog List

 

How to Turn Off Grid Coloring Options

In TeamCompanion v6.0 work tem coloring is turned on by default.

Each coloring option can be switched on or off, allowing you to set up a combination that suits your needs. For example, if you want to emphasize just bugs, you can set up transparent background for all work item types except for Bug, and completely turn off the other two coloring options.

TeamCompanion - Color Work Items - Product Backlog Grid Coloring - Less Coloring Criteria 

If you prefer the “black-and-white” query result list, you can switch to the old standard view by turning off all coloring options and removing any custom formatting rules.

Grid Coloring Options As Project Level Settings

Like all other settings on the Project Settings tab, grid coloring options can be set as a project policy on the level of each team project. Only project administrators can manage project policy settings and they must explicitly save all changes to the policy on the server. In this case, policy settings are automatically distributed to all users after they restart Outlook. If users previously defined any local coloring settings, these will be overwritten with server policy settings without warning. Users without administrative privileges can only preview policy settings.

Start Coloring Your Work Items with TeamCompanion v6.0!

Many studies show that color is the most important visual experience for human beings. When colors are used correctly, they function as a powerful information channel and allow people to notice and learn more. Memory for “colored” information seems to be much better than memory for information presented in black-and-white.

This powerful mechanism is now featured in the newest TeamCompanion version. Simply unleash your creative side, and find the best color combinations for presenting project level information to your development team!

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