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How to Sequence Tasks for a User?

We have project managers.  Their job is, in part, to define the sequence in which tasks should be done.

Most of our developers have a dozen, or more, currently assigned tasks.

Some times a customer shouts louder, of there are issues that the Developer is not aware of, which make it important that the developer does X before Y.

We have fiddled with setting artificial Due Dates, and using Priority [which is a bit of a blunt weapon] so that the developers can "report" on tasks in a todo-sequence sort of a way.

Today we had to rejig a lot of work that had already been assigned and discussed with developers because priorities changed.  Changing all the artificial Due Dates is time consuming, and today the project manager was in a hurry and only changed the Priority - so the Devs had higher priority for things apparently "due" tomorrow, and a lower priority to thing due "today", which was all a bit daft.

How do other people create a "task sequence" for Devs?

(We are already using both User Defined fields.

A drag-and-drop sequence would be perfect!)
Krispy Send private email
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I believe the answer is:

  There is no answer

Or to rephrase... We have used FB for 3-4 years (or more), we have the same need, and have found no answer.

In my dreams, there would be a kind of 'decimal' place on priority.

So what do we do?

We edit the case subject line to begin with the word (first) (second) (etc)

It is a PITA to reorg (as I might have to edit 3 to 8 cases, one by one), but it works. Part of why it works is that each dev only has one to twenty items in the 1-3 priority slots....

Sam Jones
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sam is right.  Outside of priority, there's really not an easy ordering mechanism.  I'm opening a case to bring this feedback back to the engineers.
Rich Armstrong Send private email
Monday, October 20, 2008
This may not be a great suggestion, but if your case count isn't too large, you might try using a wiki page to manage a developer's priority short term list.

Crossing my fingers that the FogCreek team is working hard on a less hacky solution to this issue.
Brad Cranford Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Krispy, do you use releases?

You create one or more global releases for those occasions when you need to bump a few cases up.

A grid view that sorts by Release first, then priority, then category (e.g. p1 bugs, p1 features, p2 bugs, p2 features, p2 inquiries) works pretty well (I actually use Release, Status, Priority, Category, Case Number, and just use Due Dates for reminders).

If a release doesn't have a date set, it'll naturally sort to the top, you can then name them so that they sort further.

"ASAP - Drop Everything And Do Now" would be at the top of most people's list.

or the following might work:

"001 - Emergency, Do NOW!!!"
"010 - Today or Tomorrow"
"100 - By End Of Week"
"200 - By End Of Next Week"

The managers can then shuffle stuff up from 100 and 200 into 001 and 010 as the loudness of customer screams dictates!

Your normal releases with real dates will then show below the un-dated ones, in date order.
Ian M. Jones (CaseDetective) Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I know this issue has come up before. In particular, it makes it a challenge to use FogBugz for Scrum, because there is no way to sort backlog items.
Tim Keating Send private email
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Thanks for the suggestions:

>> you might try using a wiki page to manage a developer's priority short term list.

That's a good idea.  We've talked about Emails and Notepad files, hadn't thought about Wiki - that would keep it all in one place.

>> do you use releases?

yes we do, and I think we are achieving similar to your proposal using artificial "Due Dates", but the granularity for "do this next, then this ..." needs to be much finer than that, for us.  Most of the time grouping by Priority is sufficient, but when we have several customers making demands it is important that the project managers can control work down to specific case order, and move them around easily.

And the DEVs are happy to just pick up whatever is next in their queue, so they aren't too bothered how things are jumping around down the queue!  Cases should already be identified with "Consider case 123 also" where there is an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone ...

>> I'm opening a case to bring this feedback back to the engineers

Glad to hear its in the wishlist.  Just needs a column to hold some sort of Sequence, and some fancy drag-and-drop AJAX stuff ;)
Krispy Send private email
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We would love to see something akin to the queue in Netflix, where items and can be bumped to the top and others shift down as required. We are using a custom field for this now, but it’s a pain for two reasons. The first is the same as was already mentioned, reordering is a nightmare. Secondly, the sort is text based, so we have to prepend single digits with a leading zero to get the sort to work right.

This is our only real gripe with FB, as its it a constant source of irritation to our head of engineering.
Jack Send private email
Thursday, October 23, 2008

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