Story tickets with subtasks / to-do lists

Posted by Andy Singleton on January 4, 2013 12:00:00 PM

We just released a frequently requested feature - an implementation of Story tickets with subtasks. You can use the subtasks in a Scrum planning process, or you can use them as an informal to-do list. To see this new feature, go to the Tickets/Planner UI, and open a ticket by selecting the little triangle on the side. This opens a “task tray” under the ticket. You can write into the form to make a list of subtasks. You can create a to-do list in a few seconds, right there in the task tray. You can also drop other tickets into the task tray.

task tray resized 600

Tasks move with the parent Story ticket. So, if you sort the Story, or move it to the Current column, or to a different milestone, the tasks go with it. Use this relationship to make a list of tasks that should be completed before you release the parent Story.

You can also see the Tasks on the “Related Tickets” tab of the parent Story ticket, and you can add or edit tasks right inside the Story ticket.

related tickets resized 600

The tasks are complete tickets, so you can assign them, discuss them, and see them in Cardwall and List views.

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In the old Outline view, parent and child tickets are only loosely related, and child tickets do not move with the parent. The Outline parent tickets create an “epic” relationship, where you can release each tasks separately on the way to completing a major feature. We’re going to remove the old Outline UI in favor of the more modern Planner, but will offer a way to build the Epic relationships. Many Outline users told us that they wanted “move with the parent” behavior. So, now you have it with the expanding tasks on the Planner. Please switch over to the Planner UI.

Here are two ideas for using Stories and Tasks:

1) You can use Stories and Tasks in a classic Scrum planning process where you write Story tickets, and put them in your backlog, without tasks. The Story ticket describes the function, not the implementation. It includes a summary of the user goal and functional requirements, for example “I am a user and I want X, so I use the system do this action…” Then, after you pull a ticket over to the Current work column, you expand it by adding more detailed implementation tasks. Then you finish all of the tasks, and close the parent Story.

2) You can use this to make your backlog smaller and easier to handle by grouping several backlog tasks together under one functional story. You can drag and drop tickets into the story tray under a parent ticket. The Tasks are hidden in the Planner view, but are still fully functional tickets in the other views.

We thank André Mendonça for implementing this feature - get it for free with Assembla Renzoku!

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About the author

Andy SingletonWorking on Continuous Agile and Accelerating Innovation, Assembla CEO and startup founder

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