Previewing our streamlined Data Model
BlogShortcut News and Updates
Shortcut News and Updates

Previewing our streamlined Data Model

Joey Shampain
Senior Product Manager
August 24, 2021

With our next release around the corner, we're excited to share our roadmap for a more streamlined Shortcut Data Model, which includes changes to Teams, Projects, Workflows, and Custom Fields. The purpose of this post is to outline the "why" and "what" of our changes, with a focus on how it will improve your Shortcut experience.

Evolving our Data Model to streamline your Shortcut setup

As our new name (Shortcut) suggests, our goal is to bring order and efficiency to the "chaos" of software development. Order and efficiency require structure, and within a Project Management tool, structure is determined by the underlying Data Model.

A Data Model is comprised of entities and relationships between these entities. Through your feedback, we learned that that our Data Model created challenges in both setting up and scaling Shortcut. We provided a wide array of options for structuring (e.g. Projects, Workflows, Teams), none of which perfectly met your needs.

With a non-optimal setup, you may be spending more time focusing on the tool, rather than the work. An optimal Data Model provides simple and powerful paths to achieve your goals (dare I say, "shortcuts"), not a spectrum of convoluted choices.

Our journey towards an optimal Data Model began with the release of Teams earlier this year. We're excited to share our Data Model vision that will further streamline your Shortcut setup and bring order to your chaos.

Read the blog post below and / or watch this video to learn more:

A quick look at our upcoming changes

Addressing your biggest challenges

Our Data Model roadmap focuses on two common pieces of feedback:

  1. The "Projects" feature is a powerful way to categorize work, but creates unnecessary confusion, complexity, and limitations.
  2. The new "Teams" feature is a great first step towards a more organized Shortcut, but doesn't yet solve your biggest challenges.
Workflows will now be associated with Teams

Upcoming Release: Powering-up Teams and removing the friction from Projects

Our September release will enable you to get more value out of Teams without removing your ability to categorize with Projects.

1. Projects will become optional on a Story.

Stories will be added directly into a Workflow. Projects are not required, but can be optionally added as an additional means of categorization.

2. Teams will be associated to a Workflow.

When you assign a Story to a Team, it will automatically move into that Team's Workflow.

Workflows will now be associated with Teams

As a result, if you are still using Projects-for-Teams, we will recommend transitioning onto our Teams feature to benefit from the Workflow relationship.

The Team-to-Workflow relationship will provide a more intuitive, structured, yet flexible model to organize around. You'll have the ability to standardize Workflows across Teams, or let them choose their own. Within our Story dialog, when you assign a Story to a Team, it will always move into their preferred Workflow, (similar to the previous functionality of Projects). More importantly, a Team-to-Workflow relationship lays the foundation for more Team-based process improvements, such as WIP limits.

Projects can then be left blank or used to further classify Stories, for example, denoting Web App vs API.

Future Releases: A more structured and powerful categorization model

In subsequent releases, we will focus on improving your ability to categorize work beyond Projects.

1. We will be introducing Custom Fields.

Custom fields will enable you to denote the dimensions and details that are most important to your Team's processes.

Want to capture the severity and feature area of all Bugs to properly triage new issues? Want to organize your Team's backlog by frontend vs backend to ensure work is allocated to right person? Want to learn how many Stories we completed for your SDK feature last month?

The ability to organize, view, and report on work across Custom Fields will power-up your key workflows and unlock new ones.

Custom fields will make labeling and prioritizing work much more powerful

2. You will have the ability to turn Projects off.

With a more powerful "Custom Field" alternative, your Project tagging may become obsolete. For example, your Frontend vs Backend classifications can move to a Custom Field that has a more intuitive name and flexible structure.

We will provide the ability to remove Projects from the application, further simplifying your Shortcut experience.

The full Data Model vision

We're building towards a future state with stronger Teams, more intuitive Workflow logic, and more robust categorization options. This new model will allow your Organization to scale without sacrificing focus and speed.

As we roll out these changes, we are committed to helping you transition and evolve your use of Shortcut.

Projects go from required to optional to something you can turn off entirely

With each release, we will provide more detailed documentation and if necessary, recommendations for how to adjust your Shortcut setup. We understand change is difficult, but we are confident that our updates will lay the foundation for an elevated Shortcut experience.

When are these changes occurring? Do I need to do anything to prepare?

We will be releasing our Team-to-Workflow connection and making Projects optional with our September 22nd release (register here for the event).

Further improvements, such as a Custom Fields and the ability to turn off Projects, will be included in our subsequent Quarterly Releases.

No action is needed prior to these changes. We will proactively communicate details and dates for each change as we progress.

Any questions?

Please visit our help center to ask those questions. We're here to help. And also make Shortcut the very best project management tool out there. But mostly to help.

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