On my desktop sits a todo.txt file, and in that file sits an entry to “email Sarah back.” Easy enough, right? That will take me five minutes.
Except that Sarah wrote me over three years ago. And every day since, I have felt more and more compelled to allot more and more time to my response to her. What could have been a three sentence reply now needs to be the great American novel in order to justify my delay. Granted, I know Sarah would be happy to just get the three sentences and know that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. But, I just can’t bring myself to do that after all this time.
What’s my point? This is my way of telling you that this, my first blog post, is not going to be epic. If I waited for an earth-shattering topic to come to mind, I would likely never get started here. In fact, my blog in general will not be epic. What I hope it will be is useful, informative, and not completely boring. I’m going to share with you some things I know, both as a developer and as a user of Rational Team Concert for the past three years. If somebody has asked me a question, that’s good enough reason for me to put the answer here. I also have a nice stream of topic ideas from other folks who are still on the development side of things, so hopefully the well will not run dry any time soon.
Given that this is my “getting started” post, it seems fitting that I talk about how I might start my day as a developer. What do I need to work on today?
Rational Team Concert offers MANY options for viewing your current workload. Personally, I have always gone straight for the work item query. To me, this is the most simple and clean way that I can quickly see everything I need to accomplish between now and the end of the current iteration. I run a “Open assigned to me (current sprint)” query, which shows me every work item that is Planned For the current iteration, is Owned By me, and has a Status of Unresolved. I can quickly assess priority and severity and look at the estimates and current status for each work item. I can run this query by going through the Work Items node in the Team Artifacts view, but since I run it every morning I have it saved in my Favorites node.
For people who don’t necessarily need to have the eclipse client running to do their work that day, e.g. mainframe developers using the ISPF client, this same query can be executed directly from the web client. If I were a bigger dashboard user, I would most definitely put this query at the top of my dashboard so it was the first thing I saw every time I brought up the page.
Now, if I were wanting to look at what I need to work on in the context of what everyone else is working on, I might use the current Sprint plan. I would go to my project area in the Team Artifacts view, expand the Plans node, and then expand My Current Plans. Here I would see all of the plans created for teams I belong to and targeted for the current iteration. I can then double click the plan I am interested in to open it. With this view I can see my workload and everybody else’s on my team as well, which is handy in case I need to hit somebody up to take something off my plate. I can toggle between looking at my progress (have I gotten as much done so far as I was supposed to in this time?) and looking at my load (given everything I need to do and how much time I have left, am I going to finish?), as well as several other useful views.
Lastly, there is a My Work view in the eclipse client that is intended to help you manage your workload, both current and future. I have never used this personally, but it appears to have a lot of great features. There is a nice looking article on this view that you can take a look at out on jazz.net.
This covers the ways I (and most developers I know) have worked using RTC, short of simply clicking on a link in an email that you receive referencing a specific work item. What other methods do you use to figure out what you’re going to work on today?