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Nokia Takes Task Management For A Spin

Andy Boyle is principal specialist and IDE concept owner at Nokia.

As a company with innovation wired deep in its DNA, it should come as no surprise that Nokia has decided to take a close look at how task management might make its engineers work even smarter.

Tasktop Technologies provides Eclipse-based integration that bridges developers' coding tools with application life-cycle management technologies used for project management and collaboration. The key benefit is to make it easier for engineers to switch between programming tasks by showing only the code relevant to a specific task. For a developer returning to a task, the task-focused interface answers the question "Now where was I?" Tasktop is commercial software based on the open source Mylyn project.

Nokia's Tasktop Deployment project has two components: A development component that integrates Tasktop and Nokia's Eclipse-based Carbide integrated development environment, and Tasktop connectors to Danube's ScrumWorks Pro and the software configuration management tools used by Nokia engineers. The deployment process takes the product of the Tasktop development component and deploys it in a way that maximizes adoption of the software. We use the Agile Scrum process to manage development and deployment, letting us respond to lessons learned along the way.

A Tasktop feature that will prove useful in seeing whether we're on track is "instrumentation." It provides a clickstream of user actions in Eclipse, letting us build a picture of how people are using Tasktop, Carbide, and other Eclipse-based tools. User information is obfuscated, so we can't use this feature to monitor individuals'work. Instead it tells us that "500 users are regularly using the XYZ tool"or "30% of users are regularly using feature X, but next to no one is using feature Y."

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