Triage in the Launchpad suite

We in the Launchpad team are changing the way that we triage bugs reported against the Launchpad suite of applications.

The Wishlist importance will no longer be used. Clearly the term is not about importance. It would be nice to convert bugs into blueprints, but the two applications need to achieve feature parity before that can happen. Bugs that describe new behaviours will be tagged as a “feature”. This means that closing the bug requires more than adding missing test coverage and fixing bad logic — the feature needs specification too.

There is a distinction between the Confirmed and Triaged bug status, namely that any user can confirm a bug, but only a project member can state the bug is in the application’s code. Many bugs in the Launchpad suite of applications are implicitly in the Triaged state because the Launchpad team members have set the importance.

Changes to current bugs:

  • All bugs that were Wishlist importance are now Low importance and are tagged with “feature”.
  • All Confirmed bugs that had a importance of Low, Medium, or High were changed to Triaged.

We want to clarify the meaning of Critical, High, Medium, and Low by expressing their definition in practical terms. Some teams do not think Medium is distinguished from Low, so will not use it. The teams that do use Medium importance will use it to create a pool of bugs for release planning — the bugs may be escalated to High or targeted to a release without a commitment to complete them.

The bug dramatically impairs users. Users may lose their data. Users cannot complete crucial tasks. The feature is needed to encourage adoption or prevent abandonment of the project.
Synonyms: essential; now, stop everything else; must do
The work is immediately assigned to a engineer. It is his top priority to fix. Team members help the engineer to plan and do the work. The work is released as soon as it is deployable; in the case of a bug, it is released outside of the release schedule.
The bug prevents users from completing their tasks. The feature provides new kinds of tasks or new ways of completing tasks.
Synonyms: expected; important; now; can do; should do
The work is assigned to a engineer to be completed in the next 3 releases. The engineer may choose to do other work if he believes it is within the scope of the high priority work.
The bug is an inconvenience for many users. The feature provides new ways of completing tasks.
Synonyms: preferred; someday; last; try; want to do
The work is not scheduled, though it is intended to be completed. When the work is assigned, it may also be scheduled, but there is no commitment to complete it for the stated release. The engineer may choose to postpone the work in favour of more important work.
The bug is an inconvenience to users, but it does not prevent them from completing their tasks. The feature is a convenience to users.
Synonyms: optional; someday; last; may do
The engineer may assign the work to himself while working on high priority work because the high work provides an opportunity to complete the low priority work at less cost. If the low work in any way jeopardises the high priority work, the low work is unassigned. The engineer is thus certain that the work can be fixed quickly and without difficulty. A corollary to this rule is that low work that is assigned to a engineer must be “in progress” or “fixed” states.

You can read A Practical Guide to Launchpad Bug Triage to learn more about the reasons for these changes.

One Response to “Triage in the Launchpad suite”

  1. Ben S Says:

    Did this decision get reversed? I’m seeing bugs right now with Wishlist importance and Triaged state.

Leave a Reply