IBM Rational Team Concert Advanced Work Item Customization

This tutorial – IBM Rational Team Concert Advanced Work Item Customization“, completely explains about customization according to the user need thereby defining the possibilities of customizing work item, editor presentation, and work item attributes.

=> Read IBM Ration Team Concert Defect Management Tutorial #1 here.

For work item customization we have used Eclipse (Luna Version) interface with the RTC P2 Plugin. Meanwhile, 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”.

IBM RTC 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 IBM Rational CLM solution. Today with ALM solution, project teams are looking at a solution which is integrated with execution. IBM Rational Team Concert helps the Project Managers and Developers to maintain some artifacts within one single repository.

The artifacts include:

  • Work Item Management
  • Project Planning (Supports Agile Scrum or Waterfall)
  • Software Configuration Management (SCM)
  • Build Management

All the above components are well integrated to provide a complete traceability of work that happens from a development perspective.

Let’s take a look at some Work Items which are the core of other components listed above.

  • Project plans, define and organize the work items
  • Changes in source code part of the RTC SCM repository will be linked to the work items
  • Builds include the 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. Example of Work Items could include EPIC’s, Story Items, TASK, Business Needs, Risk, Retrospective, Defects, and Impediments. By default, in IBM Rational Team Concert the work items are available for use as per the process that your project would be using i.e. SCRUM or Waterfall. These work items are tracked to completion as per the workflow defined.

In RTC the work items which are relevant for planning are called Planned Items (e.g. EPIC and Story items) and those which 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 Eclipse (Luna Version) interface with the RTC P2 Plugin. Web interface can also be used but I prefer to use Eclipse interface connected to RTC.

#1) Download Eclipse from here.

#2) Download RTC v6.0.2 – P2 plugin and install into Eclipse from here.

RTC Plugin

#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 the Work Items, The Team Artifacts view will open.

Work Items

#5) In the Team Artifacts view, click on Manage Connected Project Area and follow the steps to connect to an RTC Project area

Manage Connected Project Area

Enter the URI as in the format shown below along with the username and password

Enter details in RTC Project area

Enable CLM Project

Click Finish and the Project will now show as connected in Team Artifacts View.

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.

Work Item Editor layout

The procedure to customize is as follows:

#1) Add Attribute in Types and Attributes section of the Process Configuration TAB of the Project area

(Note: Click on any image for an enlarged view)

Types and Attributes section

#2) Add the attribute to the Work Item Editor presentation for that type (TASK or DEFECT etc.)

Add the attribute

Click on Edit as shown above and it will take you to the Editor Presentation.

Editor Presentation

Attribute Customization

In my previous tutorial on Defect Management, we saw how to add attributes. Here we 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

Open RTC project area

RTC project area

#2) The main Project Area which is opened shows the Project Timelines and the Members assigned to the project. Click on the Process Configuration TAB

Process Configuration TAB

#3) To start with the Attribute Customization, expand and go to Project Configuration => Configuration Data => Work items => Attribute Customization.

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 Description attribute and the below entered type should match with each other.

#2) Right Click on Default Values and then select Add.

Default Values and Add Button

#3) Add as shown below

Add Configuration Pop-up

#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

Task work item

#6) Link this Default value which was just created to the Description

#7) Click on Types and Attributes and then the Task

Types Attributes and Task

#8) Double click on the Description attribute to edit the same. Select the Default Value as shown from the drop-down. Click OK and Save

Select Default Value

#9) In the Team Artifacts View right-click on the Work Items => New => Work Item.

Team Artifacts

#10) Select Task type and click Finish

Task type

#11) The Description attribute is pre-populated

Description attribute

Setting the Default Work Item Owner as Logged in User

As per the project requirement, you need to set the Work Item owner as logged in user of the RTC project area.

RTC project

#1) Click on the Add button and select as shown below. Click OK

Add Configuration

#2) Select the Authenticated User radio button and then click Save

Authenticated User radio

#3) Link the above-created Default value to the Owned By attribute in Task Work Item

Default value

Default Logged in User

#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

New Task Work Item

Attribute Validation

For any value on 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.

Attribute Customization - Validation

Enter a Name and then select Regular Expression as the Provider. Click OK

Regular Expression

Enter the format as shown below. Click on Save for the project area.

Product Code

We have added the attribute validator and now we will create an attribute and add it to the editor 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 and Save the project area.

TASK work item type

Add this attribute to the Task Work Item editor Presentation. Click on Edit on the Work Item Editor.

Task Work Item editor Presentation

Expand Details Section and add the attribute below the Filed against attribute. Click on Add Presentation

Details Section

Select Product Code attribute and click OK. Click on Save for the Project Area

Project Area

Product Code attribute

Now create a new TASK work item to check the newly added attribute.

New TASK work

Newly Added Attribute

Task Screen

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. So I would like to make the attribute Priority mandatory in the In Progress state of the TASK Workflow

In RTC Process Configuration TAB, go to Project Configuration => Team Configuration => Operation Behavior.

Select the icon under Save Work Item (server). Under Pre-Conditions select the Required Attributes for Type and State

Operation Behavior

Double click on the In Progress state under Task workflow as shown below.

Progress state

Select the Priority attribute and then click OK and Save the project area.

Priority attribute

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 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 a part of deliverables to your project sometimes there is a need to export the Work Items to a CSV file. In RTC you can export from Eclipse interface as shown below.

Right-click on any Query that you have created and select Export.

Export Work Items

Export Work Items Screen

Click Finish and the Excel sheet will open.

Excel Sheet Tasks

If in case you have your work items created in an excel sheet already, then the above format would be a base 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 have now got a good idea on 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 be typically shown in the project plan and later used in Configuration Management/Build Management.

The 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.

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