Release Notes for Stages 7.5
Product development is getting more complex and so are the respective processes. Stages version 7.5 adds new capabilities that allow end users an even better understanding of complex processes than before.
In addition, the new version contains a set of new features to support large and heterogeneous organizations on a single Stages instance and reduce manual administration efforts for those setups.
Finally, Stages 7.5 adds integrations to PTC Integrity, Redmine, and various other systems.
Scroll and Zoom for Visualizations
One highlight of the new 7.5 release is the new handling of larger process visualizations. Very similar to popular products like Google Maps or Mapquest, users can now zoom into detailed visualizations, use mouse or fingers to scroll through the diagrams via “drag”, and snap it to the whole screen size.
Check out the above video to see it in action. Turn on HD for best results.
Engineering processes typically contain a lot of activities like “Review and Approve Work Product”, “Baseline Work Product” or “Verify Work Product”. With the new Process Details feature, the review, baseline, or verification process can now be modeled as a separate workflow and associated with the respective activites. When a user views these activities in swimlane view, the detail workflow is directly shown as a second swimlane diagram.
Of course, the detail diagram is also clickable and lets the user navigate through the detail process.
The new feature can also be generally used to reference other workflows all across the whole process landscape.
Product development processes are complex and it is not always easy to quickly see the most important steps among the many processes. The new value streams concept adds a new layer on top of the processes, where modelers can first focus on the high-level steps that create tangible value and the deliverables that capture that value. Deliverables are typically work products that are created by lower-level processes, so they serve as the connection between the two different layers.
Value stream mapping has been used for quite some time, especially in manufacturing and supply chain management. With the recent desire to use agile development methods at large scale, it becomes more and more popular also used in product, systems, and software development.
Please contact us to learn more about how to use it with Stages.
To provide more insight into the process models several visualizations were enhanced.
A new States diagram for work products shows a state chart which contains all states of a work products, the activities performing the state transitions, and the responsible roles for those activities.
The SIPOC table diagram has been enhanced with a new switch that shows all involved roles for each activity. All roles are marked with (R), (S), etc., to show the type of involvement in RASIC style.
A new “Phases” switch in the role visualization can be used to layout the activities by phase, which provides more insight into the timing perspective of each role.
Finally, the activities in the workflow grid diagram can now also be grouped by responsible role via the new “Grouping” switch.
Support for Multiple Organizations on one Instance
A number of Stages customers use a single server to provide processes for multiple seperate organizations. To better support this case, a number of features have been added in version 7.5.
Multiple Landing Pages
To provide individual landing pages for each organization, the administrator can now configure several of those pages via the new
Administration > Landing Pages menu.
All users will then see the different landing pages as tabs directly when they log in.
All users will see their selected landing pages across sessions until they select a different tab.
Role Group Support
Large organizations typically use a large workspace tree that requires many permission groups for a proper access model. As many of those groups have the same set of permissions and only differ in the impacted workspaces, a new role-group assignment mechanism has been added to make the management of those situations more efficient.
With the new assignment, which is marked in blue in the above diagram, users can retrieve their permissions through the user-role-group-permission chain. The workspace of the role overrides the workspace of the permissions in this case, if the permission has the special “inherit from role” scope set.
This is especially useful to efficiently manage access to a large number of project processes by defining special groups like “Project Manager” and “Project Member” and assigning the process roles to those groups.
See here for more details on how to best use it.
Each organization can now have its own pool of licenses. Each pool is configured in a separate license file. Users can then be assigned to one of the configured pools.
See here for more info.
Integration with PTC Integrity
Stages users can now also access project work products stored in PTC Integrity. The user interface is identical to the work product handling for Sharepoint or SVN, so users do not need to know the details for each system. Also, the user interface is less technical than Integrity itself, so users that do not use Integrity on a daily basis now have a very convenient way to access to functions like download, lock, check-in, or history for the project work products.
The configuration details of the integration with PTC Integrity can be found here.
The new integration also allows checklists and templates to be stored in Integrity instead of Stages itself. See here for the pros and cons of this approach.
In addition to the existing support for creating process feedback in Jira Server, the following systems can now also be use:
- PTC Integrity Lifecycle Manager
- IBM Engineering Lifecycle Management (formerly know as Rational Team Concert)
- Jira Cloud
Please see here for more details how to configure it.
To enable a better understanding of how many users are using Stages and how long they typically use it, version 7.5 adds some more statistics.
Two new graphs show the average number and length of the user sessions and how many individual users have logged into Stages per day. The numbers can be shown for a the last 30 days, three months, or one year. The second chart shows the growth of the overall user base by displaying the trend of all active users.
In addition, Stages administrators are now able to see the time of the last login and the number of overall logins for every user.
Support for Rich Text Attributes
Besides the description for each element, other attributes can now also contain rich text. This can be used to manage some parts of the description separately, e.g. the applicability of a process or workflow. To configure, use the RICH_TEXT attribute type in the metamodel configuration:
<attributeType ident="applicability" type="RICH_TEXT" searchable="true" />
Rich text attributes are edited with the WYSIWYG editor.
Reporting API Enhancements
To access groups used for access control via the reporting API, the following methods have been added:
stages.getAllUserGroups() returns an array of all user groups.
stages.getAllUsers() returns an array of all users.
A new entity descriptor
user.getEntities(“containsUserGroup@SYSTEM”) returns all groups of a specific user and
group.getEntities(“containsUserGroup@SYSTEM”) returns all users that are members of a specific group. Every group has
Name , and
Support for Latest Oracle and MySQL Versions
Stages 7.5 adds support for Oracle version 19c and MySQL 8.
Please note that you need to download and install new JDBC drivers to connect with these database versions.
Custom URL rewrite rules can be added to the
rewrite.config by editing
…/conf/rewrite-customer.config and executing
update.sh. The custom rules will be added to the end of the generated
rewrite.config. If custom rules are needed at the beginning of the rewrite configuration, create a file named
rewrite-prefix-customer.config in the conf directory.
The secure mode is enabled by default now. This means that certain security-relevant headers will be set in HTTP responses and the HTML plugin in the editor will not be shown. If you need to deactivate the secure mode, you can do this by adding the property
global.secureMode.enabled with value “false” to config.xml. If you want the secure mode to be activated, but still want to use the HTML plugin, set the
global.secureMode.allowHTMLPlugin property to “true”.
mergeUserGroups commandline script merges user groups with identical permissions. Execute the script with -d option in order to perform a dry-run and use -h to show all other available options.
Displaying the last login and login count of each user can be disabled via the
administration.users.showLastLogin configuration property (default: true).
Search for users within a user group is now available and various other improvements were made in the user-group-permission management.
Mandatory Manual Actions
The following actions are necessary if you are upgrading from version 7.4 to 7.5:
- The search index folder
…/stages/elasticsearch/data/node/0needs to be deleted. It will be automatically recreated after the restart.
- Adjust the
- If Oracle 19c or MySQL 8 are being used, the JDBC drivers need to be updated.
- Other smaller changes for specific configurations.
See here for full details.
Also, if you have customized readiness checks (a.k.a. validators) in your metamodel, those might need to be recompiled for 7.5. If you use the Unified Configuration metamodel ask your product consultant for the newest version.
For topics marked with *: please contact your product consultant or the customer care team for more info on how to integrate those enhancements into your configuration.