Urban Turtle : nine years of a trip around the world

By Martin Landreville

Urban Turtle is an Agile project management software for the Microsoft Team Foundation Server platform developped and and marketed by the Studio Pyxis team. In the past nine years, the product has evolved to become a reference in the world of Agile management tools around the world. Urban Turtle is present in more than thirty countries and helps thousands of developers, Scrum Masters, Product Owners and business executives to carry out their projects. Like in any trip, the journey is not always a long quiet river, storms can disrupt our course. What’s important is not the fall, but how we get back up as a team. So here’s the short story of great turtle!

The birth of a turtle

The start-up came after the sale of Greenhopper to Jira. Another product that we supported during a few years and that became Jira Agile. Following the transfer and after an emotional roller coaster, we asked ourselves this question : ” So, what do we do now? “. The logical and obvious answer was : a new software. So we analyzed the market and realized that Team Foundation Server was, not unlike Jira back in the days, completely lacking an Agile management and project tracking module worthy of that name. Therefore, the team rolled up its sleeves and started developing a new solution adapted to Microsoft’s platform.

We brought our books back out, looked at Greenhopper’s good shots, identified the less good ones, the things to improve. In short, we conducted a complete retrospective of the project. From there, the development and marketing plan for Urban Turtle has drawn itself. There remained only to start the project. So it’s in 2008 that Urban Turtle was officially born.

A continuous development

The race against time had begun. We needed to get our solution quickly on the market before other players inspired by the success of Greenhopper started after us. A backlog was build and a MVP (minimum viable product) identified. After a few months of work, Urban Turtle was ready to attack the TFS market.

From increment to increment, the product never stopped changing and evolving. We added many functionalities to answer the requests and needs of our client and the market. We had to update the product several times in order to follow the evolution of TFS and we went from intruder to partner with Microsoft. In short, we have been Agile, flexible, reactive and proactive, during nine years, while maintaining the focus on our main mission : making TFS a much more pleasant work environment.

The vision of a PO, a commited team

To get such results and support such a product, you need a vision. A vision of what we want our product to be today as well as what it will be in a more or less near future. This vision, carried by the Product Owner, needs to not only dictate the pace of releasing the next functionalities and optimizations, but also dictate how we need to develop these elements. Hence the importance of placing the team and the clients at the heart of this vision! Adopting Urban Turtle is not only developing or using functionalities, it’s mainly taking part in creating a development plan for the future.

A trip that continues!

The vision that we had and that evolved over the years allows us to see a bright future for Urban Turtle. The trip is far from being over. Despite important changes on a constantly evolving market, there is a lot of opportunities for Urban Turtle to continue developing and discover new horizons.


About Studio Pyxis

Studio Pyxis is first of all a place of creation dedicated to software development. We are specialized in custom software development for clients looking for unique solutions who want to maximize the value of their investment. For the past 15 years, our development team has shown its Agility, creativity, collaborative spirit and unfailing engagement to the success of our clients and partners.

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