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An introduction to CI Task Management in JIRA

Jira is used by CI management and developers. It is the place to document progress, both in work performed and brief progress notes. You are also welcome to note your day to day efforts, obstacles, and successes in Jira.

The progress you document here is used 3 ways:

  • hours worked (and remaining) are used to calculate project completion
  • management who want to catch up on the status of a particular task will look at the Jira comments (and at the corresponding Confluence page)
  • entries specifically noted as worthy of inclusion in the bi-weekly report are submitted to Ocean Leadership on a bi-weekly basis.

Jira has a number of reporting and summarizing capabilities. For a general introduction, see General Introduction to Jira.

There is one Jira reporting interface for all the OOI organizations. Each subsystem has its own project in this interface.

CI Project Functions

The key functions Jira provides for CI are:

  • capturing the tasks to be performed in each iteration
  • tracking task progress at a broad level
    • throughout the iteration for technical progress
    • monthly for financial reporting
  • tracking who is working on which task
  • enabling the construction of Bi-Weekly and monthly reports
  • Closing tasks at the end of the iteration (Wrap-up Week)

The Lifecycle of Jira Tasks

Before a task is entered in Jira, it is defined and broken down by the design team and the development team: Task Refinement Steps

Key Operations

Logging Hours

Logging hours worked on a task helps us (and you) keep track of your progress on a task. It allows the user and the team to easily and simultaneously track the effort required for all the components in a subsystem.

To log your hours select this tab from the options menu. In the hours window, enter the amount of newly logged time you are reporting, appending a character (d, h, m) for the correct units. Jira will by default apply your effort toward the total of the original estimate. (See below if you think the estimate has changed, or if this entry represents completion of the work.)

It is helpful if you add the briefest of description about what these hours represent. Don't spend time perfecting this, just get some info in there for context and move on.

Adjusting Remaining Estimate

You can adjust the estimate if you feel it is no longer realistic. There are two adjustments possible: set a new estimate; and leave the estimate unchanged. In either case, changes to the total estimate will be visible to management as a change in the total work for the subsystem. Definitely enter a comment reflecting the basis for the change in estimate.

When you complete a task, the remaining estimate must be set to 0d, in addition to marking the task as Resolved (below).

Other Features

You can optionally backdate the start Date for the work, but this can have unexpected consequences in some circumstances, so use this with caution.

Changing Task Status: In Progress, Resolved

In the task window there are several setting which control the progress reported on your tasks. You can change the status of the task as described below.

Show Task as In Progress

When you start work on a task, we would like the task status to show as In Progress. (Other possible values are Stopped or Resolved; the latter is described below.) These status tags will be used for bulk statistics in the bi weekly report and may be one of the most visible signs of our progress.

To Do This: To show the task is in progress, click on the "Start Progress" link. If it is not available for a task, you may not own the task, or it may already be started or resolved.

Resolving a Task

All Tasks must be resolved at the end of an iteration. You must choose the method of resolution which can be: Fixed, Work Remains, or one of the Drop options described below. If the task is mostly complete but has significant issues, this is considered Work Remains.

At the end of phases, it is necessary to classify tasks as Complete, Drop, or Next Phase. If the task is not essentially complete, select one of the two Drop options, or Next Phase. Drop-May Impact indicates the failure to complete the task could impact future aspects of the project. Drop-No Impact means that it is no longer important that the task will not be complete. If Next Phase is selected, this implies work is being carried forward to the next phase of the project; definitely consult your manager before selecting this option.

To Do This: To resolve the task, click on the "Resolve" link. Select the appropriate resolution from the drop-down menu in the resulting window. While resolving the task it is helpful to add a comment describing the result of the task in more detail. You can add a standard Bi-Weekly Report tag, if the completion is worth commenting on up the chain past CI.

Assignment and SubTask Creation

To Assign a task that you control to someone else, it is simply a matter of selecting them from a list of Jira Developers. If their name does not appear in the drop down list, contact helpdesk to add them to your project as a developer.

Assigning work by subtask can be a helpful mechanism to organize a big task. It allows the team to break out smaller, more manageable pieces and track progress with more granularity. To create a subtask, select this option from the dropdown when first creating a task. (A task can also be changed to a subtask after it has been created, using one of the Task menu items.)

Adding Comments

There are 3 places where comments can be added in Jira: Add Comment dialog, Log Work dialog, Edit task dialog (window at the bottom), and Resolve task dialog. All of these except the Log Work dialog put the comments into the main comment stream; Log Work puts the comments into the Work Log stream.

In most Jira projects, you can edit any comment of yours after it is added; mouse over the comment and the 'edit pencil' should appear in the upper right corner of the comment frame. Click on that to edit your comment. (A log of the edits is maintained.)

In this project, comments are very useful but not required. You are welcome to use the commenting capability to keep track of your progress, note questions, and educate/entertain other readers about your work. (For more formal and technical comments, the Confluence task page, typically pointed to by the Task Design URL in Jira, is a more organized and better-formatted location for task information.)

If you want to make your comments visible in the CI development bi-weekly report, instructions may be found in the Bi-Weekly Report section below. The importance of this content has declined since Release 2 started, and it is no longer so critical for project reporting.

The Jira Reporting Taskee Checklist

If you're a developer who has a Jira task, you can use this Jira Reporting Taskee Checklist to remember what to do.

The Bi-Weekly Report

The Bi-Weekly Report is created by the OOI CI team to inform OOI CI management and Ocean Leadership about our progress. It is not as formal as the monthly reports, and can capture more detail about any given task. We produce the bi-weekly report by automatically scanning the Jira database for current Progress and Issue comments that are consolidated into the report. (Note: Only Jira Tasks are summarized, not subtasks.)

The report summarizes Jira task Status (including summary statistics) and appropriately tagged Comments. Your comments attached to each task on progress, issues and highlights provide the bulk of the text for the Ocean Leadership report. Comments can be specifically designated for the Bi-Weekly Report under each of these categories by using the tags listed below.

You can see the results at the Bi-Weekly Reports page.

Untagged comments, and comments in subtasks will not be included in the report, but are still visible to all of OOI and Ocean Leadership by accessing Jira. You should feel free to use the Comment action/field for developer-level comments on each task.

The following steps are involved in updating tasks for the Bi-Weekly Reports:

Adding Comments

Comments are added using the tab in the Operations Panel. Enter your Bi-Weekly Report text in the comment field, and append at the end one of the following tags, including the square brackets.

  • [BWR-P] (progress)
  • [BWR-I] (issue)
  • [BWR-H] (significant highlight - these are presented first)

Example Bi-Weekly Report comment

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  1. Jun 10, 2010

    Paul Hubbard says:

    Tags for report - [BWR-P] Progress [BWR-I] Issues [BWR-H] Highlights

    Tags for report -
    [BWR-P] Progress
    [BWR-I] Issues
    [BWR-H] Highlights