This tutorial – “IBM Rational Team Concert Advanced Work Item Customization” – completely explains the customization according to the user need thereby defining the possibilities of customizing work items, editor presentations, and work item attributes.
For work item customization we have used the Eclipse (Luna Version) interface with the RTC P2 Plugin. Meanwhile, a step by step screenshot has been added to this tutorial for your easy and clear understanding.
NOTE: This tutorial has many images so allow it to load properly.
In this tutorial, we are going to take an in-depth look at Advanced work item customization using “IBM RATIONAL TEAM CONCERT”.
What You Will Learn:
- Advanced Work Item Customization
- Introduction to IBM Rational Team Concert
- What are Work Items?
- Work item Editor Presentation
- Attribute Customization
- Attribute Default Values
- Set Default Work Item Owner as Logged in User
- Attribute Validation
- Making an Attribute is Mandatory in a Certain State of Task Workflow
- Exporting Work Items to CSV file
- Recommended Reading
Advanced Work Item Customization
Introduction to IBM Rational Team Concert
As mentioned in the above section IBM Rational Team Concert (RTC) is one of the key components of the IBM Rational CLM solution. Today with the ALM solution, project teams are looking at a solution that is integrated with execution. IBM Rational Team Concert helps Project Managers and Developers to maintain some artifacts within one single repository.
The artifacts include:
- Work Item Management
- Project Planning (Supports Agile Scrum and Waterfall)
- Software Configuration Management (SCM)
- Build Management
All the above components are well integrated to provide complete traceability of work that happens from a development perspective.
Take a look at some of the Work Items which are the core of the other components listed above.
- Project plans, define and organize the work items
- Changes in the source code part of the RTC SCM repository will be linked to the work items
- Builds include work items
In my previous tutorial on Defect Management, we learned how DEFECTS can be created in multiple ways and how basic customization can be done to add attributes and configure project-specific workflow. In this tutorial, we will have a closer look at how any work item can be customized further for project use generally.
What are Work Items?
Work Items are those artifacts or tasks that are created to track the work to be completed. Examples of Work Items could include EPICs, Story Items, TASK, Business Needs, Risk, Retrospective, Defects, and Impediments. By default, for the IBM Rational Team Concert, the work items are available for use as per the process that your project will be using i.e. SCRUM or Waterfall. These work items are tracked to completion as per the workflow defined.
For RTC, the work items that are relevant for planning are called Planned Items (e.g. EPIC and Story items) and those that have to be worked on (e.g. TASK and Defect) are called Execution Items
In addition to the pre-defined work items, you can also create custom work items.
For Work Item customization we have used the Eclipse (Luna Version) interface with the RTC P2 Plugin. The web interface can also be used but I prefer to use the Eclipse interface connected to RTC.
#1) Download Eclipse from here.
#2) Download the RTC v6.0.2 – P2 plugin and install it into the Eclipse from here.
#3) To install the plugin to Eclipse, go to Help => Install New Software and then select the P2 plugin to install.
#4) After the plugin is installed, go to Work Items ’The Team Artifacts’ view will open.
#5) In the Team Artifacts view, click on Manage Connected Project Areas and follow the steps to connect to an RTC Project area
Enter the URI as in the format shown below along with the username and password
Click Finish and the Project will now show as connected in Team Artifacts View.
Work item Editor Presentation
Given below is the Work Item Editor layout which consists of sections like Details, Description, Quick Information, and various TABS like Links, Approval, etc.
The procedure to customize it is as follows:
#1) Add Attribute in the Types and Attributes section of the Process Configuration TAB of the Project area
(Note: Click on any image for an enlarged view)
#2) Add the attribute to the Work Item Editor presentation for that type (TASK or DEFECT etc.)
Click on Edit as shown above and it will take you to the Editor Presentation.
In my previous tutorial on Defect Management, we saw how to add attributes. Here you will see how attributes can be customized further to add Default Values, Value sets, and different kinds of Validation rules.
#1) Right-click on the RTC project area which is just connected and then select Open
#2) The main Project Area which is open shows the Project Timelines and the Members assigned to the project. Click on Process Configuration TAB
#3) To start with the Attribute Customization, expand and go to Project Configuration => Configuration Data => Work items => Attribute Customization.
Attribute Default Values
Whenever a Work Item is created, a particular attribute value has to be populated by default. In the below example the Description field will be populated with some guidelines. This is similar to a template.
#1) In the Attribute Customization section, create a new Default value definition for Multi-Line HTML. The attribute type for the Description attribute and the below entered type should match each other.
#2) Right Click on Default Values and then select Add.
#3) Add as shown below
#4) Click OK
#5) Add a text, which will be a template and the values will be populated when a Task work item is created. Click on Save
#6) Link this Default value which was just created to the Description
#7) Click on Types and Attributes and then the Task
#8) Double click on the Description attribute to edit the same. Select Default Value as shown from the drop-down. Click OK and Save
#9) In the Team Artifacts View right-click on the Work Items => New => Work Item.
#10) Select Task type and click Finish
#11) The Description attribute is pre-populated
Set Default Work Item Owner as Logged in User
As per the project requirement, you need to set the Work Item owner as a logged-in user of the RTC project area.
#1) Click on the Add button and select as shown below. Click OK
#2) Select the Authenticated User radio button and then click Save
#3) Link the above-created Default value to the Owned By attribute in Task Work Item
#4) Click on OK, Save and create a new Task Work Item to check if the Owner attribute is set to the one who is the logged-in user
For any value in the attribute, there should be certain constraints on how the value should be entered. This is done by validation rule using a regular expression.
For E.g. a Product Code that has to be entered should have the following format:
So the format should be 4 Alphabets followed by a DASH, 5 numeric values, and lastly, there should be either X or Y or Z
In RTC go to Attribute Customizations and right-click on Validators and then select Add.
Enter a Name and then select Regular Expression as the Provider. Click OK
Enter the format shown below. Click on Save for the project area.
We have added the attribute validator and will now create an attribute and add it to the editor’s presentation.
For the TASK work item type, add an attribute called Product Code of type Small String and associate the validator with it. Click OK to Save the project area.
Add this attribute to the Task Work Item editor Presentation. Click on Edit on the Work Item Editor.
Expand the Details Section and add the attribute below the Filed against attribute. Click on Add Presentation
Select the Product Code attribute and click OK. Click on Save for the Project Area
Now create a new TASK work item to check the newly added attribute.
Making an Attribute is Mandatory in a Certain State of Task Workflow
Sometimes there is a need to make an attribute mandatory in a particular state of the workflow. I would like to make the attribute Priority mandatory in the In Progress state of the TASK Workflow
In the RTC Process Configuration TAB, go to Project Configuration => Team Configuration => Operation Behavior.
Select the icon under Save Work Items (server). Under Pre-Conditions, select the Required Attributes for Type and State
Double click on the In Progress state under the Task workflow as shown below.
Select the Priority attribute and then click OK and Save the project area.
Test the action. Create a new TASK work item and move the workflow to the In Progress state. You can see that there is a RED STAR next to the Priority attribute in the In Progress state. This means the value has to be chosen to move to the next state.
Exporting Work Items to CSV file
As part of the deliverables for your project, sometimes there is a need to export the Work Items to a CSV file. In RTC you can export from the Eclipse interface as shown below.
Right-click on any query that you have created and select Export.
Click Finish and the Excel sheet will open.
If in case you have your work items created in an excel sheet already, then the above format would be a basis for you to Import them into RTC. This is one of the useful features.
With my previous tutorial on Defect Management using IBM Rational Team Concert and the current tutorial on Work Item Customization, you would now have a good idea of how to customize the Work Items to hold any of your project information. This shows how extensible the tool is.
The work items now created will typically be shown in the project plan and later used in Configuration Management/Build Management.
Next tutorial: Software Configuration and Build Management using IBM Rational Team Concert – how to link the Developer Task work items to Source Code changes and how exactly the Build is done.