Telerik recently released a new version of TeamPulse, its agile project management platform. Telerik’s goal with TeamPulse R2 is to help organizations refine their agile skills. Telerik hopes this will be an important distinction, and based on my
experience with organizations adopting agile practices, I understand Telerik’s
approach. Agile can be overwhelming to some organizations, and technology can help
refine these practices with a view across features and tools for analysis of agile best

Installation requirement

TeamPulse isn’t a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
application as are many of the project management applications we cover on
TechRepublic. Because of TeamPulse’s integration with Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS), it requires that you install it on a Windows-based internal web server. According to Chris Eyhorn,
EVP of ALM Tools at Telerik, the company is leaving open the possibility of a
SaaS application without the TFS integration.

Inside TeamPulse R2

TeamPulse R2 can ebb and flow as the development organization adapts their development processes, including custom boards and list views for use by a project manager, developer, the team, or the entire organization.

In addition, TeamPulse R2 uses an HTML5-based user interface (UI), which opens up TeamPulse access across operating
systems and mobile devices. The UI’s customization options should rank high for organizations using Scrum, Kanban, or a related process. The new UI is yet
another reminder that the days of the desktop project management application is

Support for multiple projects

The capability to view multiple projects to account for the status and
progress of all projects is a must-have these days and is one of the areas
where SaaS-based project management platforms outperform desktop
applications. Installing TeamPulse R2 on an internal web server
gives users the same level of flexibility and power as a SaaS platform when it
comes to views over single or multiple projects.

You can create projects based on TeamPulse R2 Scrum or Kanban
templates. Figure A shows a project template for a Scrum project.

Figure A

Starting a Scrum project in TeamPulse R2. (See an enlarged view of this image.)

TeamPulse R2’s multiple project support can result in having a better handle on iteration
planning because project managers and their team members have a more
granular view over multiple projects from a single screen, and they can update work
plans and track across multiple projects. It might take practice to switch between the Boards, Backlog, and Analytics dashboards as easily as if they
were viewing one project.

Analytical tools for agile practices

TeamPulse R2’s most attractive feature to me is the
analytical tools that project managers and their teams can use to analyze team
members across sprints, over time, and in increments, which include: Efficiencies, Productivity, Strengths, Weaknesses.

These tools (which are actually a rules-based system) can help teams
get better at agile processes because, after all, agile is as only as good as the users’ skill sets. TeamPulse R2 can give a development organization a
level of auditing over agile practices that aren’t highly intrusive (in comparison to having a project manager shadow developers). A team can run the analytics as
part of a review meeting and learn what they aren’t doing and could do
better in terms of their agile development practices. For example, TeamPulse R2 can
draw out if you aren’t including iterations. Figure B shows an example of the
Analysis screen.

Figure B

Analyze agile best practices in TeamPulse R2. (See an enlarged view of this image.)

It’s up to the team to take
action on the analytics reporting. If I was implementing agile development
practices around TeamPulse R2, I would make time in the review process to run the analytics and to take action on any deficiencies found in the reports.


“The application works for you, you don’t work for the
application” is a philosophy I’ve held for years as a contract technical writer. TeamPulse R2 is based on a similar philosophy, and Telerik markets it as an
adaptable platform where users can customize fields, views, and other
application elements to fit how their team works. This adaptability should play well
with development organizations moving to agile practices that may need to fine-tune their processes while getting their teams up and running.

Integration options

Project management platforms (agile or otherwise) shouldn’t
exist just in their own silo. As I noted earlier in this review, TeamPulse R2 integrates with TFS (though I wasn’t able to test it). When
a developer checks code into TFS, TeamPulse R2 updates automatically; this removes
the usual manual step when a developer completes their code sprint.

TeamPulse R2 also integrates with Telerik Test Studio.

Final thoughts

The fact that TeamPulse R2 requires a Windows-based
server could be a strike against it with some
development shops. The trial environment I set up felt slow and awkward when
compared with the SaaS project management applications I’ve reviewed for TechRepublic; however, this might have more to do with my hardware than with TeamPulse R2.

TeamPulse R2’s analytical tools to monitor Agile
development practices are a differentiator worth noting. These tools should resonate with prospective customers who are just
embarking on agile development or with an organization that is
constantly evolving their development practices.

Visit the Telerik site for pricing information about TeamPulse R2.

More about agile project management on TechRepublic