2018 – A Forecast


2018 A Forecast

I like a good old-fashioned wall calendar. Outlook torments me with everyday appointments but only nice things are marked on my wall calendar: important milestones in the year, like microTOOL events, marketing appointments and of course, holidays. It’s time to change calendars again. The new year seems empty and untouched in front of me, but this is deceiving. Our teams have been working on the next in-STEP BLUE, objectiF RM and objectiF RPM releases for a while, working on customer requests and preparing many events for the first half of the year 2018. I would like to share with you what you can expect from our products as well as the most important deadlines that will be marked with red stickers on my calendar.

Last year we were able to put out three releases of in-STEP BLUE and objectiF RPM and objectiF RM as well as a range of patches that provided customer-specific expansions. We are aiming to maintain this frequency in the new year.

What are we currently working on? I don’t want to get into the details of small and large features and customer requests here. I would rather concentrate on a selection of functional highlights that are currently under development.
Let’s start with in-STEP BLUE, our process-based project management software. These are just some of the things we are currently working on:

  • Expansion of the WebApp for project management. This includes the option of editing Gantt charts as well as activities with appointments, expenses, workloads and resource allocation in the WebApp. This will be available in the next release of in-STEP BLUE.
  • Modernization of the in-STEP BLUE desktop interface with a new grid control.
  • Re-implementation of the data provider that summarizes data from the in-STEP BLUE views for the database. The re-implementation leads to server-side performance improvements and is a prerequisite for supporting the Microsoft SQL server database, which we aim to do this year.

The release backlogs for objectiF RM and objectiF RPM are as jam-packed as those for in-STEP BLUE. Our requirements engineering software objectiF RM is a functional subset of the application lifecycle management software objectiF RPM. The most important features that will be available with the next release of both products are:

  • A new differentiated rights concept,
  • Expanded test management support for test case steps and test steps,
  • Import requirements from MS Word files,
  • A new, detailed template for generating requirement specification documents as a project template component (based on ISO/IEC/IEEE 29148:2011).

An additional project template will be created for objectiF RPM. It is intended for businesses that want to renew their business processes in the scope of a digital transformation. The development of innovative business models starts with strategic analysis. The new template offers the necessary artifact types that that come from business analysis (from BABOK v3). Implementing a new business model means carrying out a change process that is more on a program level and less on a project level. Such change processes are characterized by increasing functionality, size and management complexity. Typically change processes are structured as multiple initiatives (projects or partial projects) that are carried out classically or agilely. Management complexity cannot be reduced, but with tool support it can be kept under control. Namely with planning patterns for classic and agile initiatives, real-time reports and dashboards. These are created automatically by the new templates.

What do the new features mean for the strategic focus of our products and of microTOOL? How will in-STEP BLUE and objectiF RM and objectiF RPM continue to grow? What could we learn, and what can potential users and experienced users learn? That is the theme of this year’s 27th microTOOL conference at the Hotel InterContinental in Berlin. I have marked April 24th and 25th on my calendar with big red dots. We can already promise a range of users and speakers lecturing, and we hoping to receive more interesting lecture topics. The call for papers is still open, and it is already possible to register to participate, which you can do here.

Our year in events begins earlier with the Software Quality Days on the 17th and 18th of January 2018 in Vienna, followed by embedded world from the 27th of February to the 1st of March in Nuremberg. On the 6th and 7th of March we will be exhibiting at the REConf 2018 in Munich. I am looking forward to speaking at the REConf on the 6th of March, on the 16th of May at HAPPYPROJECTS 18 in Vienna and on the 18th of May at the First European Business Analysis Day in Frankfurt. An overview of the events can be found here.

As IREB training providers we will also be hosting monthly preparation seminars for the IREB CRPE foundation level. The first seminar will take place from the 15th to the 17th of January in Berlin. A seminar for exam preparation for the IREB CPRE advanced level requirements management will take place from the 30th of January to the 1st of February. You can find more information on the about out IREB CPRE seminars here.

And of course we will have webinars for those interested in our products regularly in 2018. Have a look at the overview here.

So there are a lot of red dots to put on the calendar. Before I keep going, I would like to wish everyone who uses our products and has an interest in microTOOL a healthy and happy 2018.

What makes a successful Project Management process? How do I find the right business process? Which methods are useful? Ursula Meseberg is a graduate mathematician and co-founder of microTOOL. She is fascinated with current trends and has made a name for herself as an author of professional articles.

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