As the Zobeppo Software Company knows, each project management suite has its share of strengths and weaknesses. Zobeppo started using Bugzilla as their primary bug tracker because it is known to be reliable and scalable. They began using Mingle on a few newer projects as a step towards adopting an agile approach. Zobeppo acquired a shop that used Rational Team Concert, and thus adopted RTC into its toolset. As you might imagine, this combination of development tools caused headaches for the individual Zobeppo developer. Not only did he (or she) need to connect to all of these different project management systems, but he often needed to track dependencies between tasks from different repositories. Fortunately for Zobeppo developers, Tasktop can connect to all of these project management systems, bringing all of a developer’s tasks into one Task List (see Connecting to a Repository). In this post we’ll discuss how Tasktop allows developers to track relationships between tasks from different repositories… with no upgrades required on the server!
Scenario: Adopting Agile in a Legacy Environment
While several projects have adopted Mingle, Zobeppo’s advertising software team decided to adopt Rally as their project management system. Thus, the team must move their main product, PopupAdvertizer, from Bugzilla to Rally. All new stories, tasks, defects, etc. will be created and tracked via Rally. When planning their first sprint they discover that there are several defects and enhancements in Bugzilla that they would like to use in their sprint. To seamlessly include these Bugzilla tasks in the Rally sprint they could, as shown in Screenshot 1 above, create a story in Rally called “users must be presented with relevent popups for every item” and create a link to the existing tasks in Bugzilla: “show the popup when the user hovers over links” and “show the popup when users hover over images”. The user can track the story in Rally, in the context of his sprint, but still have a direct link from that story to the tasks. This seamless integration of legacy tasks into new agile stories allows teams to adopt new agile tools without copying over hundreds of legacy tasks. This, in turn, eliminates the common problem of keeping the original tasks synchronized with the copied tasks, which is particularly problematic when other teams still access the original versions.
Scenario: Private Development Tasks Depending on Open Source Bugs
Zobeppo’s recently acquired developers, who use Rational Team Concert, specialize in building upon open source frameworks to deliver custom solutions to their clients. When working on a client project they will often find bugs in the underlying open source frameworks, and thus file issues on the open source project’s site. A developer may become blocked on a certain task because of one or more bugs in the open source project. In this case he add links from his task to the open source bugs that are blocking him (Screenshot 2) and schedules his task for next week. When he reopens the internal task he glances at the links to determine whether the open source bugs were fixed, which is indicated by displaying the summary in a strikethrough style. After reviewing the dependencies he can either resume the internal task, if he’s unblocked, or edit the open source task, possibly adding a comment to spur on action. Having these dependencies represented in his task editor makes it easy for the developer to track external dependencies without requiring changes to either server.
I’ve presented two common scenarios above but there are many other situations where cross-repository linking can make your life easier. To try out Tasktop’s cross-repository linking on your personal pain points, download the free trial. I’d love to hear about your multi-repository tool stack and discuss how Tasktop could help.
About David Shepherd
David Shepherd was a Software Developer and Evangelist at Tasktop between 2008 and 2011. He is currently working at ABB Corporate Research in Raleigh, NC.