Saturday, April 11, 2009

[Inside TeamCompanion 2.1] Reports

Reports are yet another feature introduced in the TeamCompanion v2.1. It integrates standard Team System reports with Outlook, thus making it not only easy to track and analyze the status of the project but also to send that further. In addition to that, support for reports in TeamCompanion simplifies the way you work with the same report used with different parameters by saving multiple parameter sets and making them available with just one click.
First of all there is a new Reports folder in the tree beneath the project folder containing all reports. If you open a report it will be shown embedded in the Outlook UI:

The report itself looks just the way you would expect it, but there’s a new toolbar at the top of the window. It lets you send the contents of the report as a mail, create an appointment or an Outlook task with the report contents attached.
In the popup menus for each of these options in the toolbar the default action, executed if you just click on the toolbar button, is displayed bolded (it can be configured in the Options dialog).

One of the most annoying things regarding reports is the necessity to enter the same report parameters each time you use the report: current iteration, area for the part of the project you are interested in, start and end dates and different other parameters over and over again. TeamCompanion with saved parameter sets comes to rescue: just click the Save as button in the reports toolbar and create a new parameter set. A new entry appears in the tree beneath the original report node and with just one click you can open the report with already populated parameters. And you can preset multiple different versions of the report with different parameter configurations (e.g. one for the current iteration, one for the previous iteration etc.).

And to make your preconfigured reports even more accessible, put them in the favorite folders. This way wherever you are in Outlook, with just one mouse click you will be able to open your favorite reports with parameters already set and start to analyze your project status straight away.

It can’t be easier than that.