Tutorial 3: Using Tasks to Define and Assign Work for an Issue

This tutorial takes about 20 minutes and is intended for all Ketura users.

Although an issue captures what needs to be achieved, it does not of itself describe how the issue will be resolved or who will undertake the necessary work. To address this, tasks are added to an issue for each work item that needs to be completed for the issue to be resolved.

A task is simply an item of work for an issue, possibly assigned to a particular user. To learn more about tasks, see the Ketura Tour Step 3: Tasks.

This tutorial covers:

  • The creation of tasks;
  • What happens when a task is created;
  • Adding a set of tasks to an issue.

Scenario

This tutorial assumes that you have the example database installed. This database illustrates various Ketura concepts applied to a fictional firm, XYZ, Inc.

This tutorial shows how to create tasks for the work needed to complete the issue created in the previous tutorial.

1. Go to the Add New Task page

  • Screenshot of Add New Task for Issue pageEnsure that you are logged onto the example database as Andrew Wright, XYZ’s administrator and office manager. Andrew’s log on id is ‘aw’, and the password for his account is the same as the password for the ‘admin’ account that was provided during the installation of the Ketura server.
  • Complete the previous tutorial.
  • Select the Tasks tab of the issue created in the previous tutorial.
  • Click the New… button.
  • The Add New Task for Issue page appears, ready for you to add a new task to the issue.

2. Summarize the task

A task’s summary describes succinctly an action that is to be performed. This summary is shown alongside the task’s unique id wherever the task is listed in Ketura.

  • In the Task summary text field, enter ‘Compile monthly management reports for January’.

Information For consistency keep task summaries to a single sentence and don’t place a full-stop at the end.

3. Choose who will undertake the task

It is possible to assign each issue task to a different user. The completion of the task then becomes the responsibility of the user to whom it is assigned.

  • In the Assigned to drop-down list box, select XYZ’s office manager and administrator, aw [Andrew Wright].

Information There are times when who should perform a task is not immediately known. In these situations, it is possible to mark a task as being Unassigned. Care should be taken when doing this, as Ketura is unable to consider the planned work for these tasks when calculating project, milestone and issue schedules.

4. Estimate the total amount of work required to complete the task

The planned work for the task is intended to record the project manager’s estimate of the total amount of work that should be needed to complete the task. This figure is used by Ketura to calculate ‘planned’ project and milestone schedules. Planned schedules are the official project plan to which a project manager is trying to adhere.

  • In the Planned work text field, enter 2h.

Information ‘2h’ represents two hours. Work quantities can be entered in minutes, hours, days, weeks or months. The suffixes used to indicate the units can be changed, but by default they are ‘m’, ‘h’, ‘d’, ‘w’ and ‘mo’, respectively.

5. Submit the task

The preliminary information about the task has now been entered. The information must now be submitted to Ketura, so that a new task can be created from it.

  • Click the Apply button.
  • The task will be created and the issue’s task section will be displayed showing the newly created task.

6. Understanding what happens when a task is created

Screenshot highlighting planned work and work remaining for an issue’s tasksNew tasks appear on the Tasks tab of the issue to which they belong. As well as planned work, a task has two other work values associated with it:

  • Work done, which is the sum of all the work done on the task. This value is derived from users’ work journals.
  • Expected work remaining, which is the estimate of the expected work remaining for the task, typically made by the person to whom the task is assigned. Initially, this is set to the same as the Planned Work value supplied when the task was first created. Ketura uses expected work remaining figures to calculate ‘expected’ project and milestone schedules. These are therefore the likely schedules based on the expectations of the people who will be doing the work. As users’ expectations change, the project manager will need to decide how to align the ‘planned’ and ‘expected’ schedules. This process is discussed in detail in Tutorial 6: Keeping Projects on Track.

Information It is suggested that, for each user who will be working on an issue, the project manager creates a task to ‘Provide a realistic work remaining estimate for your tasks on this issue’. Once work remaining estimates have been provided by the relevant task assignees, the project manager can review them and update the planned work (and thus, the official planned schedule) accordingly. A manager can automatically set the planned work values for several tasks to the relevant work remaining estimates by carrying out the following steps:

  • Select one or more tasks on the Tasks tab of an issue by clicking each task’s selection checkbox.
  • Click the Act On… button.
  • On the page that appears, select Set task planned work to expected work remaining.
  • Click the Apply button.

7. Add a set of tasks to the issue

Most organizations will find that they end up with a few different sets of tasks that they wish to use repeatedly. Such lists of tasks can be stored as task sets in Ketura. All the tasks in a task set can be added to an issue in a single operation.

No additional tasks are needed to complete this issue but, for the purposes of illustrating how to use task sets, we will add one of the task sets defined in the example database to the issue.

  • Click the Add Task Set… button.
  • From the category General, select the radio button to the right of the table row containing task set TS1094: Attend a meeting.
  • Click the Add From button.
  • Observe that two new tasks have been added to the issue. These particular tasks are not yet assigned, although task sets can contain assigned tasks as well as those that are unassigned. Notice that the planned work and work remaining values have been set automatically.
  • Once a task set has been added, you are free to modify the resulting tasks as you wish.

Information It is possible to have Ketura add a task set to an issue automatically when an issue is created or changes its state. This is discussed further in Ketura Tour Step 8: Workflow and in Tutorial 8: Defining Workflow to Route Issues and Assign Tasks Automatically.

Go to the next tutorial