At its most basic, a blueprint in Launchpad is a statement of intent: by creating a blueprint, you’re saying, “Here’s an idea for how this project should progress.”
How do you track the detailed steps to get from having the idea to seeing it implemented?
The Ubuntu development community came up with a solution: they break a blueprint down into items of work that can be assigned to an individual. That makes it easier to track who’s doing what and how they’re getting on, while the blueprint itself tracks the status of the big idea.
Until now, these work items weren’t recognised by Launchpad. Instead, Ubuntu and Linaro tracked them in the blueprint’s whiteboard. Using the Launchpad API, they pulled the whiteboard contents out and used them to generate burn-down charts for status.ubuntu.com and status.linaro.org.
Now, thanks to work by some of the team at Linaro, each blueprint has a text box where you can add, update and delete its related work items.
How you make use of work items will depend on the project you’re working on. Both Ubuntu and Linaro already make extensive use of work items and, if you’re working as part of those communities, you should follow their lead.
Using work items
Work items are pretty simple to use.
Here’s an example of how a set of work items might look:
Design the user interaction: DONE
Visual design: INPROGRESS
Test the UI: TODO
Decide on an API format: POSTPONED
Bootstrap the dev environment: TODO
Set up Jenkins CI: TODO
As you can see, each work item sits on its own line and you indicate its status after a colon.
As you can see, each work item sits on its own line and you indicate its status after a colon. The statuses you can use are:
Sometimes a blueprint can be targeted to one milestone but you’ll have a individual work items that need to be targeted to a different milestone. That’s fine, you can tell Launchpad that a bunch of work items are for some other milestone.
In the work items text box, simply use a header like this:
Work items for <milestone>:
If you enter an invalid milestone you’ll get an error message and the opportunity to correct the text field.
A milestone picker will of course be more useful and we’ve submitted a bug to keep track of that.
Soon, you’ll be able get a view of all the work items and bugs assigned to a particular individual or team for a particular milestone.
Of course, if you have other ideas for how Launchpad can make use of work items, we’d love to hear from you.
Photo by Courtney Dirks. Licence: CC BY 2.0