Hacking Codecks #1

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January 11, 2017
Emmanuel is an old man, but don't remind him of that. He spent too many years as a project manager, for video games, web applications, and even hard-core industrial projects. The scars run deep. Most of his evenings and week-ends are devoted to video games, board games, and miniature painting. That's what happens when you get old.
Codecks LogoCodecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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Hacking Codecks is a series of articles dedicated to helping you discover ways that you can use the toolset we give you in sometimes obvious, but often surprising ways.

For the inaugural in the series, I wanted to talk about card Priority and how delightfully “hackable” it is.

card properties

Priority is one of the 4 key properties of a card. It’s a very standard yet elegant way to assign a relative priority to all your work-to-be-done. This enables you to, at any time, sort your cards into 4 “buckets” - or in our case, swimlanes (high, medium, low or none) allowing you to focus on any one of those buckets.

As an aside, it’s probably worth re-iterating that the process of assigning a relative priority is anything but static. You ought to be doing it at regular intervals, whenever planning activities happen in your routine. What was a high priority card last week relative to others may no longer be so this week due to changing circumstances.

So far, nothing new under the sun. However, there is one thing quite unique about Priority: you can rename each of its values in your project settings (via the cog icon). We built that capability for 2 reasons.

The first one is that how you talk about priority is a bit of a cultural norm in organisations, and we wanted to give our customers the ability to keep using their own existing nomenclature. Some people like to talk about priority A, B and C. Or P1, P2 and P3. Or, well, pretty much anything you want.

settings priority

As for the second reason, it’s a bit more subtle. One of the underlying philosophies of Codecks is that the best tool is not the one that tries to do everything (invariably becoming bloated). Rather, it is the one that does a few things really really well, but enables the more dedicated user to bend it to his will and achieve unexpected results… in other words, hack it.

By way of an example, imagine that you’re developing software for 3 platforms (PC, iOS, Android) and you’ve decided that differentiating cards on that basis is super important, far more than setting priorities. Now, sure, you could achieve that with project tags, but that still wouldn’t fully satisfy you because you really want the platform to stand out. Well, just hack it: change priorities to PC, iOS, Android and now you have a fully dedicated, very visible card property that handles it. It may not be super elegant given the property is still called Priority, but it is called hacking for a reason :)

hacking priority

Admittedly we’ve only barely scratched the surface. Our ultimate goal is to give our customers ways to hack Codecks to their heart’s content. It’s a difficult balancing act, one that we hope we’ll be able to achieve with your input and suggestions. For example, we could also enable you to change the icons associated with each priority, and even rename the word Priority to anything you want (with length constraints, obviously). In the above example, the property could be renamed to Platform and each icon become really meaningful. If we get a lot of enthusiasm for this, it will happen :)

That’s it for our first installment, join me in a few weeks as we explore other ways to hack Codecks.

<3

So, what is Codecks?

Codecks is a project management tool inspired by collectible card games.
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