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SDC, Part 3: Defining a work item hierarchy


SDC part 2 looked at managing your project structure using versions and releases. This blog is an introduction to creating, organising and scheduling work between your releases.


Specify your Work

We need a way of recording work that needs to be done. Using PureCM projects this is done using both Tasks and Features.


A task is the basic building block of project workflow. Ideally it should be a small self contained item that will be submitted as one changeset. Large pieces of work should be broken down into the smallest chunks possible. Code changes you make will be recorded against a task, so you can track its full history from creation to completion.


A feature is a piece of work that is too big for a single submit. We have all been in situations where we are sitting with a couple of days changes in our workspaces that we don't want to submit because they are incomplete and may break others' builds. This is obviously bad practice as you often have no backups or checkpoints and it becomes increasingly hard to manage. A feature gives you a branch where you can submit your changes and then choose when they are merged into the version. This has the added advantage that the version remains release ready at all times.

A good way of working with features is to break down the work further into tasks inside the feature. This has the advantage of helping developers keep track of the work to be done and helps managers keep track of the progress of the feature. It also is an easy way to assign different parts of the feature to different developers.


Scheduling your Work

Now you have some tasks and features you need to decide in which version they will be completed. Tasks and features can be created directly into a version. This can be really useful for bugs when you know which version they need to be fixed in, but future development ideas can be harder to place into a version.

Project Backlog

The project backlog is a place where you can create and store tasks and features that you have not yet scheduled to a version. It can be good practice to have developers raise tasks in the backlog for a manager to schedule into the correct version. Scheduling tasks and features is particularly easy as it can be done by drag & drop.

Organising your Work in Folders

Keeping your tasks organised is an important job, and it can be very useful to group together tasks and features which share a close relationship. This is done through the use of Folders. Folders can be made in both versions and the project backlog.


Getting the work done

Now we have our version full of the tasks we want to complete, so we can assign them to the relevant developers. By giving each task a priority we can also define a work flow for the developer as their highest priority tasks will appear at the top of their to-do list. Remember you can always (re-)assign or change the priority of multiple items at once from the Projects view.



In this blog you have learnt:

  • The difference between tasks and features and when to use them.
  • How to schedule your tasks against the correct version.
  • What the project backlog is and how to get the most out of it.
  • How to organise your tasks using folders.
  • How to assign tasks to developers to get the work completed.

The next blog 'SDC Part 4: Branching Patterns' will give you a look at what creating versions/features/releases does behind the scenes and how you can best set up your project to make use of this.