Our plans for the remainder of the year 2014

As the CEO and main support person for Fleep I get a lot of questions from our users about the features which we haven’t yet released but which are already in the development process or in the backlog. If that has been the case it’s easy to give a response „yep, already working on it“ – but this made me think – why not expose what we’re working on in our blog if we already have this information? So here it comes, for the first time in Fleep history, we shall share an insight into our current backlog and if all goes well we’d also like to keep posting these updates to you going forward.

Fleep team in 2014, monthly meetingsFleep team best practices and workflow

Before we move ahead with the list of items planned for this quarter, let me give you some background to how we prioritize and plan our daily work. Generally speaking, we use some sort of a version of Scrum – that is planning cycles, execution and a team split.

Planning cycles – we’ve got quarterly full-day planning offsites and weekly sync meetings.

  • Quarterly planning – we’ve done it since day 1 and currently holding a 3-month cycle seems to be working well for us.  In the beginning of each quarter we do a full-day offsite which consists of:
    • Last quarter review – we will look into what got done, what didn’t and what we did that wasn’t in the plans.
    • Discussion on hot topics from technology to product – this part of the meeting takes most of our time and allows us to form new actionable items for the next quarter.
    • Next quarter planning – first candidates to get moved into the next quarter backlog are Work In Progress (WIP) and Not Done items from the previous quarter. After that we add new ideas from our unscheduled features list and once we think there’s enough items we sort them into a new prioritized Meta Backlog and we’re done with planning.
  • Weekly sync meeting – this has evolved over time as we have grown but in the essence it’s a 1 hour all-hands meeting where we as a team sync ourselves based on where we stand against the Meta Backlog. We look into which items can be closed as done and which ones are next in line to be opened for work. While doing that we try to be as short as possible and identify topics that need to be discussed or sorted in smaller groups.

Fleep CEO Henn Ruukel explaining his plans for the futureExecution and team split – when the team was smaller it was quite easy, in the beginning of the quarter we agreed to what we want to do and everyone started to build their own piece of those items. As we grew we understood that the number of items in the Work In Progress pile kept growing and we stumbled on each other’s toes and dependencies. Stuff got done, but it also involved a lot of context switching, which resulted in valuable development time being wasted. So from this quarter on we agreed to try it a bit differently – we split people who actually code into smaller Scrum teams (the A and the B team) and assigned them onto Meta Backlog items. This change should give us two improvements – better focus in smaller teams and a team will work on fewer items at a time together as a team (and not spread over several ones at a time). Time will tell how much faster we can go this way :)

In general we stick to the agreed Meta Backlog and the initial order of it but we have in the past added and reordered things that are not in WIP pile and probably will do so in the future as well. However, we would like to do that as rarely as possible.

So, what have we planned for the last quarter?

Now when you understand the background this is our current plan of action, but not the commitment, for things to go live by Christmas this year:

Fleep Meta Backlog for Q4 2014
1. Enforce subscription limits, reminders to upgrade
2. Show special subscriptions in Subscriptions view
3. Manage files & messages as one entity (pin, edit, delete)
4. Premium conversations
5. Create Google Hangout from Fleep conversation
6. Disclose message history (as message action and as member action)
7. Mobile in app Premium subscription purchase
8. Browser app picture previewer
9. Integrations – 10 new ones that can be integrated via webhooks
10. Ability to modify Fleep email address and email footer
11. Tasks (limited experiment)
12. New visual design including the new design book
13. New design and logic for left pane & account pane
14. New visual design implementation
15. HTML5 notifications to browser app (solves issues for Linux users)
16. URL inline preview
17. Forward message (with files) to another conversation
18. @mentions
19. Private conversation labels
20. 1:1 conversations merge (including historical data)
21. Spawn new group conversation from 1:1
22. Public labels #hashtags
23. Snooze conversation alerts
24. Windows Phone app
25. Export message history to file
26. Skype history exporter to file
27. Import message history from file
28. Select files from Google Drive
29. Select files from Dropbox
30. Email notification changes
31. Mobile phone number into profile
32. Team management (Admin panel / contact groups)
33. Ability to delete and report as spam for guest emails
34. Backend – Email footer with auth URL for Gmail users
35. Zen mode

If something is still unclear feel free to contact me via Fleep Support and let’s have a chat. I’ll be glad to explain our plans in more detail with you! Until next time :)