We are pleased to have you onboard. We are on a mission to help teams build successful software applications that customers and users will really enjoy. SpecFuse is all about making a plan for what your software is all about, capturing your ideas for it, developing some clear specifications of exactly what it should do, and then managing your project as you develop it.
In this article, we are going to cover how to get familiar with the application and how to take the first steps.
We'll assume you already have access to SpecFuse. If you do not already have access, you can sign up for a free trial.
To get started, let's take a quick tour of the interface. When you first login, you will be on the home screen. The home screen is a central location where you can easily launch into different projects you are working on.
All work in SpecFuse is organized into projects. Generally, a project represents a software application or app that you want to work on.
There is no limit, and no cost for creating additional projects in SpecFuse. If you were the first user to sign up for a trial, you will need to create a project. If you were invited to join an existing organization in SpecFuse, you may already have access to a project.
To create a project, click on the Action Menu and select Create Project.
The project form will then appear. The only required field to start a new project is the name. The remainder of the form is used to create your product strategy.
A product strategy is a description of your application's goal, intended customers (or users), and the problems it will solve. It is intended to help you get clear on your plan, and capture a clear vision you can use to keep yourself and your team heading in the right direction as you develop it.
We recommend filling out as much as you can on the project form on your first attempt. You can always return to the form to update and further complete your strategy as you progress.
SpecFuse sends you notifications to let you know about key events in the app. These will appear in your applications menu, which can be access by clicking the bell icon in the top right.
When you have unread notifications, a numeric indicator will appear to let you know.
You will also receive an email to let you know about most notifications. This helps you keep up to date even if you are not using the application. However, if you prefer not to receive them, you can update your email settings in your preferences.
Once you create a project, or select one from the Project Menu, you will then see the project name at the top of your screen. A new menu will appear under the project name to allow you to navigate your project.
Here is a breakdown of the project navigation menu:
Ultimately, SpecFuse encourages you to create specifications for each feature or aspect of your application that you want to develop. A specification is a clear description of exactly what a feature must do. However, when you are first brainstorming ideas for your project, you do not want to get slowed down thinking of specifics. For this reason, SpecFuse enables to capture your broad ideas first, which can then expand into specifications later.
To capture some ideas, click on the Capture Ideas option in the Action Menu.
This will launch the ideas form. You can then safely capture ideas for your project, to be sure you won't lose the them. You only need to fill out a single field, making it a fast and easy process, and perfect for brainstorming and capturing lots of ideas at once.
In SpecFuse, a specification or spec is create for each feature or each change you want to make to your application. For example, you might write a specification for "the navigation menu", "updating profile details", "user password resets", or "saving articles as drafts" etc.
There are no rules for the scope of each spec.
You may find it easier to create many specifications that each only address a very small unit functionality, much like a User Story as described in agile methodology. For example, "add a button to open the notification menu", or "add a chart to the dashboard view".
Alternatively, it may work better for you and your team to have fewer specifications that each deal with an entire area of functionality. For example, "notification system", or "dashboard".
Internally at 4thportal we lean towards few specs that are larger in scope when first planning a new application, and then larger number of smaller scope specs when we are maintaining and expanding on an existing project.
To get started, click on the Create Spec option in the Action Menu.
Here is a quick rundown of the fields on the specification form:
Once you have saved the specification, you will be taken to a view of the completed spec.
Specifications can be assigned to anyone on the project team, to keep everyone clear about who is working on each spec.
To get started, you might just want to assign the specification to yourself. To do this, simply enter your name in the search field in the Assignment section, select your name in the search results, and then click Save.
Specifications in SpecFuse can be moved through a workflow. A workflow means a series of stages that the spec flows from being first bring created, through to being complete.
Having a workflow helps you and your project team to stay clear on the progress of spec, and how far it is from being completed.
How you interpret the stages is up to you and your project team, but our guidelines are:
In this article we talked about an overview of the application UI, how to create a project, including ideas and specifications for it, and how to get update those specifications as you progress.