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Community, Development, Tupalo

You can now add pictures to your favorite spots on Tupalo

As of today you can add pictures to your favorite spot or to your review. What with us also moving swiftly to a new category page design (and with our updated spot ranking algorithm in place), we are making things way more visually interesting! You can upload pictures directly from your computer, or use external services like Flickr or Vimeo to embed videos.

For some time our trusted users had the opportunity to try out our photo upload feature. We ourselves played around with it too of course. FloorI add media – Drees uploaded up to 1445 pictures! Now we’d like to see you beat that! ;)

added media

You can find the pictures you uploaded on your profile, right under the tab ‘added media’.

Be sure to check it out and upload some of those snapshots of your lunch (so we can check out where to go next)!

Code, Development, Tupalo

Just FYI: we updated our spot ranking algorithm

Spots at Tupalo.com face a tough competition. In order to get a better feeling which spots are trending right now and which aren’t, we updated our spot ranking algorithm. We’d like to explain how this new algorithm works.

The obvious sorting order by average 5 star rating falls short for several reasons. For instance, a five star rating from last week should account for more than one from two years ago. Maybe that pizza isn’t as good anymore as it used to be. Plus: Tupalo.com features a couple of other possibilities to show your love for a spot – marking it as a favorite; saving it as a “want to go” spot or check-in into a spot – which should count for something (ranking wise) too.

Taking this thoughts into account the brainy brains at Tupalo.com spent some time on bread and water in the Lab-dungeon and came up with the following solution:
Every signal (review rating, favorite, want to go, check-in) now contributes to an overall spot ranking score and each signal gets weighted with a decreasing time factor, so that newer signals score higher than older ones. This is a balancing act: Think of a spot, which everyone raved about for some time in the past. But over time, no new reviews appeared. Such spots shouldn’t stay at the top forever.

On the other hand, think of the flash in the pan that is all the rage for a while but never leaves the same kind of mark as a tried and true spot. We want to feature these spots and give them a chance to prove themselves, but not keep them around if they fail to deliver. Would we rank by average rating, new spots would never make it to the top. If we only showed recent reviews, we would mostly see trending spots and would forget about the classics.

Here at Tupalo.com, we are very excited to see our algorithm in place (e.g on our category pages) and watch trending spots unfold.

Be sure to check it out and discover some new hot spots for your city!

Community, Development, Kanban, Tupalo

The Tupalo Kanban Story – Visualization and Kanban Board Design (Part I)

When it comes to Kanban board design, I think it is a good idea to start simple – you will figure out soon enough what you need to add or what you need to change. Others’ Kanban boards might help you collect ideas on how to build your own, but don’t think of them as a blueprint and don’t expect them to work for yourself just like that.

In order to come up with a Kanban board design that fits your needs, take your time to do some research and think about your processes. What kind of processes are you currently using? What are the workflow steps you have in place? What different work item types can you define? …

Then visualize everything on your board. You might not be able to get everything “right” the first time, but you will gain new insights every time you think it through. Some of the specific details will miraculously appear to be obvious after some time of using the system.

The picture below shows what the very first version of our own Kanban board looked like:

It is quite obvious that we were using a very simple structure with only four workflow steps and started with (in my opinion) high WIP limits of five for Development, three for Test and three for Deployment (with a team of four developers).

We also defined the following policies:
– pull tickets, don’t push
– stick to the WIP limits
– first in, first out
– the higher the rank of a ticket in the Input Queue, the higher the priority
– be aware of Classes of Service (details in next blog post)
– track date of entry and done date of each ticket (details in next blog post)

I have spoken with a lot of teams that struggle with the decision between a physical whiteboard or an online version of their Kanban board. Having tried out both options, I personally prefer the physical one but of course it depends on a lot of factors – like e.g. layout of your office, team size, whereabouts of your team etc. If the team members are scattered throughout different areas of the country or the world, a physical board would be quite a challenge, as it cannot be easily maintained and is not directly accessible to everyone. In that case, online tools like kanbanery, agile zen or LeanKit Kanban might be a better choice.

Whether you are using a physical or an online board – the visualization of your work flow and tasks will surely help you create more transparency, give you opportunities to improve your processes and to manage some of your risks.

Coming up next: Prioritization and Ticket Design

Development, Industry, Kanban, Tupalo

The Tupalo Kanban Story – How to get started?

After having presented the Tupalo.com Kanban Story at a couple of events and conferences, I would like to share some of our findings and experiences in a few blog posts. Each post will cover a different Kanban topic that has been of interest in discussions after the talks I have held on our Kanban implementation.

There are already a lot of blog posts on the web giving useful tips on how to start with Kanban. Like others, we choose a very simple approach. We took the time to do some in-depth research on the topic and then we gave it a try. As a starting point and summary, have a look at the Kanban principles and practices that David J. Anderson put together in his book Kanban, Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business.

The three core principles are:
1. Start with what you do now
2. Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change
3. Respect the current process, roles, responsibilities & titles

The five practices are:
1. Visualize the workflow
2. Limit WIP
3. Manage Flow
4. Make Process Policies Explicit
5. Improve Collaboratively (using models & the scientific method)

So what did we do? Well, we…
– started with what we had in place and kept all the roles and responsibilities
– created a physical Kanban board and visualized our process
– added WIP limits for each workflow step
– defined policies for our Kanban system
– introduced daily stand-up meetings to keep the whole team updated on our progress and issues
And then – we let it evolve from there

But wait a minute – why did we start in the first place? Well, that is also quite an easy question to answer. At the time we had the feeling that we were working on too many projects at the same time; needless to say that this resulted in a low throughput. Also, priorities were not always clear to us, and when the respective stakeholder was not at the office, the team sometimes did not know which task to start next.

With our Kanban system we were able to pretty much overcome those as well as other issues, leading to improvements and a smooth flow.

Coming up next: Visualization and Kanban Board Design

wifi spots op tupalo.com
Community, Development, Tupalo

Wifi FTW – vind de dichtsbijzijnde spot voor een goeie koffie & internet sessie via tupalo.com!

De beste ideeen komen meestal wanneer je ze het minst verwacht. Toen Sebastian en ondergetekende twee weken geleden op zoek waren naar een goed biertje (voor hem) en wifi (voor mij) bijvoorbeeld. We konden maar moeilijk beslissen, voornamelijk omdat ik – zelf na 7 maanden van wifi spot naar wifi spot leven – nog niet alle cafeetjes-die-gratis-interwebs aanbieden ken. Anyway, enter epiphany.

wifi spots op tupalo.com

Vanaf vandaag kun je op tupalo.com opzoeken of een cafe / restaurant / lunchroom wifi aanbiedt en of het beschermd is (and if so, wat het wachtwoord is). Om de nodige data te verzamelen werken we samen met lokale business owners en we zullen een boel handmatig toevoegen. Daar kunnen jullie ons bij helpen! Deel je favoriete tentjes met interwebs door op ‘add wifi info’ te klikken en de naam (en eventueel het wachtwoord) op te geven:

http://tupalo.com/en/users/1339

Wifi FTW!

wifi spots op tupalo.com
Community, Development, Tupalo

Wifi FTW or: the best places to share a coffee (get it?)

Sometimes the best ideas come unexpected. Like when Sebastian and I were looking for a place for an after-work beer (for him) and wifi (for me). We couldn’t really decide on a place, mostly due to me not knowing all the wlan hotspots around, even after 7 months of living from café-with-wifi to restaurant-with-wifi. Ah, the life of an immigrant. Anyway, enter epiphany. We should mention if a place has wifi/wlan (and if so, what the password is) on our spot pages!

wifi spots op tupalo.com

As of today you can find wifi spots nearby, using our website. To get that data we work together with the business owners and we’ll add quite a lot manually. You can help us! Share your favorite-places-with-internet by clicking on ‘add wifi info’. You can add the name of the hotspot and even the password if the wifi is locked:

add wifi info

Wifi FTW!

Development, Events, Industry, Kanban, Tupalo

The Tupalo.com Kanban Story – ON TOUR (3)…LKSE 2012 – Buenas días Madrid!

I guess it’s time again for a new update on our journey through Kanbanland. Last week I had the honor to present “The Tupalo.com Kanban Story” at the Lean Kanban Southern Europe 2012 conference in Madrid.

The LKSE12 conference was held for the first time and was packed with interesting talks around Kanban, Lean, Product Development and Risk Management. Since the emphasis of the conference was laid on experience reports I decided to sum up our challenges and discoveries in a little case study. During my talk I gave an insight into the implementation and evolution of our Kanban system over the last 1 ½ years.

 Excerpt of the feedback/comments via Twitter…

@agilemanager: And now @shuabee telling the wonderful @tupalo #kanban story :-) #lkse12
@pawelbrodzinski: Introduction of kanban helped to realize that the process in fact is different than the team thought. @shuabee #lkse12 Same experience here.
@pawelbrodzinski: And over time the kanban board became way more complex. @shuabee #lkse12 Again, I share that experience.
@agilemanager: .@tupalo story now showing how #LeanStartup validation ideas are now being incorporated w/ #kanban@shuabee #lkse12
@asplake: Great example from @shuabee of visualising feedback loops that involve external parties #lkse12
@JasperSonnevelt: And they have bug-fixing-fridays! RT @pawelbrodzinski @shuabee is putting bugs on the board. This way you show how doomed you are ;) #lkse12
@JasperSonnevelt: Wip limits are encouraging pair programming at tupalo #lkse12 #kanban @shuabee
@arneroock: Very interesting #kanban case study from Tupalo by @shuabee #lkse12

 

All in all I can say – I heard some great talks, met with great people and had a great time!

For those of you who want to hear more about “The Tupalo.com Kanban Story” I will mention some of our findings and experiences in more detail in the next blog posts.

Development, Industry, Team, Tupalo

You can make IT!

Vor einiger Zeit war ein Kamerateam bei uns zu Besuch, um unseren Clemens (und ein bisschen vom Büro- und Developmentalltag – inklusive Laika!) für eine ganz spezielle IT-Kampagne bildlich einzufangen:

Bei der Initiative You can make IT! geht es darum, junge Menschen, die vor der Wahl des passenden Studiums stehen, auf das Fach der Informatik aufmerksam zu machen und gleichzeitig auch das Image des Studiums zu verbessern.

An dem Projekt beteiligt sind alle österreichischen Universitäten, die Informatik anbieten, und neben Infos zum Studium stellen sich auf der Webseite der You can make IT!-Kampagne eben auch Studierende oder in der IT Arbeitende vor – wie eben Clemens, die “technische Hälfte” des Tupalo-Gründerduos. :)

Weitere Interviews gibt’s da zu finden, das Video featuring Clemens könnt Ihr gleich hier ansehen:

Development, Kanban, Tupalo

The Tupalo.com Kanban Story – ON TOUR (2)…Leadership Workshop Barcelona!

At Tupalo.com we always like to travel…also on business. This time, the father of Kanban David J. Anderson invited me to present the Tupalo.com Kanban Story at his Leadership/Coaching Workshop in the lovely city of Barcelona.

The 3-day workshop was filled with interesting insights and useful methods every Kanban practitioner should know about. That did not only mean listening to helpful theory and our case studies but also rolling the dice at the GetKanban board game.

The workshop was a great experience and I am glad that we received lots of positive feedback on our Kanban implementation. The next stops on our journey through Kanbanland are already planned and I am pretty excited to follow up on this. :)

Community, Development, Kanban, Tupalo, Vienna

The Tupalo.com <3 Kanban Story

Tupalo.com runs on Kanban and Nina is the one, who makes it happen. You may have read her blog post from about a year ago, where she explains how we implemented Kanban at the beginning at Tupalo.com.

Well, it’s been a great year of Kanban-ing for us and even David J. Anderson “the father of Kanban”, was impressed enough with our work, that he invited Nina to present the Tupalo.com Kanban Story at a leadership seminar he held in Vienna yesterday as well as at the Lean & Agile Coffee in the evening.

The presentation was well received, there were tons of questions from the audience and judging from the enthusiastic reactions on Twitter etc., it seems like there will be even more Kanban boards hanging in other offices around Vienna in the near future!

Well done, Nina! :)