Release Notes for Stages 7.7

Stages Version 7.7 is the first of a series of releases delivering smaller feature sets at a faster pace. Customers will be able to quickly benefit from new capabilities instead of having to wait for larger releases.

More Releases and Long Term Support (LTS)

Starting with version 7.7, we plan to increase the Stages release frequency and issue a new release every 3-4 months. As a consequence, previous releases will drop out of maintenance earlier than before.

We are aware that not all our customers want or are able to upgrade their system every few months. For those customers, we will keep Stages version 7.6 under Long Term Support (LTS). An LTS release will be maintained for at least two years until a new LTS release will replace it.

So if you want to benefit from a stream of new features every few months, feel free to upgrade to version 7.7. You need to be prepared to upgrade to version 7.8 within 3 months after it is released though.

If you want to upgrade your system less frequently, we suggest to stay on version 7.6 and benefit from its Long Term Support.

Association Grouping*

Especially in large process landscapes, some associations lists can become longer. For example, a project or program manager role might have over hundred responsible activities in a product development process.

Stages 7.7 adds the capability to group association lists by workflow, role, phase, or other elements. Each association group can be individually opened and closed by the user. Elements that are not associated with a grouping element are positioned in a “Other” group.

Association Sorting

Element associations are always displayed in the order of the associated elements. Stages 7.7 adds the capability to sort specific association lists without having to change their global order.

To reset the sort order to the global setting and remove any local sorting, the “Default” sort order can be selected.

Improved Handling of Identical Associations

If a process has multiple instances, which have interfaces to a process that exists only once, those interfaces were displayed once per instance. For example, a central finance process provides a “budget” work product as an input to every planning process instance. In this case, the process interface was shown multiple times in the central finance process.

With version 7.7, an interface that is identical to many other instances, is now only shown once. This improves the visualization of large process landscapes with many process instances.

Improved Process Interfaces

All process interfaces of versions other than the working version were always shown to the valid version of the other process. This can be confusing for process versions that are created for process reviews, because newly created process interfaces are not shown in this case.

Starting with version 7.7, interfaces of versions that have never been marked as valid still point to the working version of the other process. Once a version is marked as valid, its process interfaces point to the other valid process versions. Even if another version is marked valid, the interfaces continue to point to the valid versions.

Before version 7.7, interfaces were shown between process versions with the same name. This capability has been removed.

Scheduled Process Releases

Some process changes should be made effective at a specific date, e.g. at the first day of a month. With Stages 7.7, the release automations can be configured so reviewers and/or approvers can set a specific date and time when the process will be released and marked as valid.

In each manual automation step, the “Process release date can be scheduled” switch enabled this capability.

When the automation is being executed, the respective participants can then either select the date and time when the release should take place or select “After automation has finished” to immediately release the process.

Value Streams are available by Default

Value streams are a method to manage cross-functional and cross-organizational activities and provide macro views of a process landscape.

The value stream mapping capabilities that have been introduced in previous Stages releases are now available in each installation. To enable modeling value streams, select the “Unified Configuration (Value Streams)” metamodel under Management > Settings.

If you have a customized metamodel version, please contact your respective product consultants for more info.

Compliance Overview Report

A new report has been added that can be run from a reference model workspace to provide an overview of all mappings and coverage across all workspaces where that reference model has been mapped.

As the report shows both the coverage and the number of mappings for a particular standard requirement, it is also useful to detect mappings that have been created, but not rated for a specific coverage yet.

If you are upgrading from a previous version, you can download the report here.

Process Feedback in Codebeamer

We added the capability to create feedback in Intland's Codebeamer issue tracker.

Flexible Process Feedback Attributes

With version 7.7, script attribute mapping has been added to the feedback configuration. You can aggregate values out of the process via a script and map the values to your feedback system. More information can be found here.

Multiple Feedback Systems

Stages now supports more than one feedback system type and feedback system server at the same time. You can change the feedback system per workspace in the workspace settings:

The first feedback system in the config.xml is the default.

If you upgrade from Stage 7.6 or previous versions, you have to migrate your config.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<stages-config>
 
  <!-- Wrap your feedback system with a feedback-systems section: -->
  <feedback-systems>
    <feedback-system name="jira">
      <!-- Add ident and displayName attribute to your host tag -->
      <host url="https://some.example.com/feedback-system" ident="system1" displayName="Feedback System 1">
         <property name="propertyKey" value="propertyValue" />
        <!-- ... -->
      </host>
      <!-- Add more hosts of same feedback system type here -->
    </feedback-system>
    <!-- Add more feedback system types here -->
  </feedback-systems>
</stages-config>

Support for Feedback Issue Collectors

We added the new feedback system link. A stages user who wants to give feedback will be directed to a issue collector page of the specific feedback system. The user will see a form with some fields filled out beforehand by Stages.

Support for Subversion (SVN) up to Version 1.14

Subversion (SVN) versions up to 1.14 can now be used as document repositories.

Additional Features

  • Reports can now have different access levels ranging from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), so reports can be selectively provided to certain user groups, e.g. all users, project managers, modelers, and administrators.
  • To increase process consistency, a warning is displayed if a modeler tries to create an element with a name that already exists. This warning is also shown when the element exists in another workspace if this and the current workspace belong to the same workspace collection.
  • The access to PDF exports can now be controlled via its own security domain. While upgrading to version 7.7, all users with process read permissions are automatically given this new permission.
  • The Y scales in the user activity statistics under Administration have been switched for better readability.

End of Life for CMMI in Stages

CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) has been one of the first quality models for software development. For over 30 years, numerous organizations matured their software development practices with the help of CMMI and many other standards and quality models have been inspired by it. Starting with CMMI V1.2, the standard has been available as a reference model in Stages, culminating with the release of CMMI V2.0 a few years ago.

In recent years, the relevance of CMMI in the industry has diminished and other standards like Automotive SPICE have taken its place. Therefore, we have decided to not support CMMI model versions beyond the current version 2.0. CMMI V2.0 will be the last version available as a reference model for Stages. Consequently, the CMMI reference model will be excluded from future maintenance contracts.

Method Park has been a proud supporter of CMMI for over 15 years and we thank everyone in the CMMI community for their inspiration, contributions, and support.

How to Upgrade to Version 7.7

Please contact our customer care team to request the installer downloads if you run Stages on-premise or request an upgrade of your managed Stages Cloud instance. Alternatively, you can talk to your dedicated product consultant for more info.

Notes

For topics marked with *: please contact your product consultant for more info on how to integrate those enhancements into your configuration.