Tutorial 4: Using Projects to Achieve Long-Term Goals On-time and Within Budget

This tutorial takes about 30 minutes and is intended primarily for project managers.

A project is a planned undertaking directed towards achieving a particular goal. In Ketura, projects comprise a sequence of milestones. Each milestone contains the issues that must be resolved for the milestone to be completed. For more information, see Ketura Tour Step 4: Projects and Milestones.

This tutorial covers:

  • Creating a project;
  • Creating milestones within the project;
  • Ways of scheduling an issue by adding it to a milestone.

Scenario

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

XYZ has decided to implement a quality management system (QMS), a set of procedures covering all of their activities conforming to ISO 9001. In this tutorial, a project is created to manage all activity related to the QMS.

1. Go to the Add New Project page

  • Screenshot showing Add New Project pageEnsure that you are logged onto the example database as Eric Samet, a partner at XYZ. Eric’s log on id is ‘es’, and the password for this account is the same as the password for the ‘admin’ account that was provided during the installation of the Ketura server.
  • Click the global Projects navigation tab, near the top of the page.
  • Ensure that the Projects list tab is selected on the Manage Projects page that appears.
  • Click the New… button underneath the projects table.
  • The Add New Project page appears, ready for you to create a new project.

2. Create the new project

  • In the Project name field, enter Implement Quality Management System.
  • Click the that follows the Planned start date entry field and select tomorrow’s date.
  • Check the Active checkbox. This ensures that work on the project will be scheduled, and that tasks of issues in the project’s current milestones will be shown in the In progress and Pending tabs of users’ Home pages.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • The project will be created and the Manage Projects page reappears.

Information The Manage Projects page gives an overview of the projects in the system.

3. Add milestones to represent significant stages in the project’s life

The implementation of the quality management system involves a number of key stages: research and planning, implementation and ongoing maintenance. Each key stage can be represented in Ketura as a milestone.

  • Screenshot of Add New Milestone pageOn the Manage Projects page follow the Implement Quality Management System link. The Manage Project Implement Quality Management System page appears.

  • Select the Milestones tab.

    Information Three new milestones are added to a new project automatically. You can delete or modify any or all of these if you wish. The milestones are:

    • O1 – Review New Issues. New issues relating to the project should be added here, ready for a project manager to review and schedule them. If most new issues of a particular issue topic will generally relate to the same project, you might want to configure the workflow for that issue topic so that new issues are automatically added to that project’s ‘O1 – Review New Issues’ milestone. The ‘O’ prefix (short for ’Ongoing’) to the milestone name is a suggested naming convention for milestones that are considered ongoing and likely never to complete. The ‘1’ simply indicates that this is the first such ongoing milestone within the project.
    • M1 – First Milestone. This is the first real (as opposed to ongoing) milestone of your project. You will probably want to rename this milestone to reflect your project’s first major goal. The ‘M’ prefix (short for ’Milestone’) to the milestone name is a suggested naming convention for your project’s main milestones. The ‘1’ indicates that this is the first such milestone within the project.
    • X1 – Deferred Issues. This milestone is intended to hold issues that it might be useful to undertake later on, but which you do not yet wish to schedule. You would generally make sure that all issues on this milestone are in an inactive state (such as ‘Deferred’), so that the project schedule is not pushed out by them. The ‘X’ prefix (indicating that this isn’t a genuine milestone) to the milestone name is a recommended naming convention for placeholder milestones that hold unscheduled issues like this. The ‘1’ indicates that this is the first such milestone within the project.
  • Click the M1 – First Milestone. The Manage Milestone M1 – First milestone page appears.

  • Select the General tab.

  • In the Name field, replace the existing name with ‘M1 – Research and Planning’. The ‘M1’ prefix here stands for ‘milestone 1’, and simply serves as a convenient shorthand to identify the milestone.

  • For the Desired completion date field, click the button and select a date one month in the future.

    Information The Desired completion date is the date by which the project’s manager wishes all work on the milestone to be finished. This is simply used as a point in time against which a project manager can measure a milestone’s predicted expected and planned completion dates. It is shown on Gantt charts by an orange diamond.

  • Under the Users start work on this milestone text, choose the Separately, as soon as each user has completed his or her work on previous milestones radio button.

    Information The radio buttons enable you to indicate whether you want users to start work on the milestone together or separately. If the first milestone in the project was being updated, these radio buttons would not exist as users will always start together on an initial milestone.

  • Click the Apply button.

  • The milestone general details will be updated.

  • Return to the Project Implement Quality Management System page by following the link under the Recent pages heading in the sidebar to the right of the page.

  • Select the Milestones tab, if you are not already taken to the Milestone tab.

  • Click the New… button. The Add New Milestone for Project Implement Quality Management System page appears.

  • In the Name field, enter ‘M2 – Implementation’. Again, the ‘M2’ prefix here simply serves as a convenient shorthand for the milestone.

  • For the Desired completion date field, click the button and Make the desired completion date one month later than that of the previous milestone.

    Information The Desired completion date is the date by which the project’s manager wishes all work on the milestone to be finished. This is simply used as a point in time against which a project manager can measure a milestone’s predicted expected and planned completion dates. It is shown on Gantt charts by an orange diamond.

  • Under the Users start work on this milestone text, choose the Separately, as soon as each user has completed his or her work on previous milestones radio button.

  • Click the Apply button.

  • The milestone will be created and shown on the Milestones tab of the Manage Project Implement Quality Management System page.

  • Create an additional milestone ‘M3 – Maintenance’. Make the desired completion date for each subsequent milestone one month later than that of the previous milestone, and the milestone of type Separately.

  • Select the Milestones tab, if you are not already taken to the Milestone tab.

  • The X1 – Deferred Issues milestone is now out of order, as it should be the last milestone of the project. To address this:

    • Select milestones M2 – Implementation and M3 – Maintenance using the checkboxes to the right of the milestones table.
    • Click the Move Up button.

4. Make a milestone current

An active project could, potentially, contain many milestones, each with dozens (or even hundreds) of issues. Users would quickly become overwhelmed if all the tasks of all the issues in such a project were to be shown in the In progress and Pending task lists on users’ Home pages. Because of this, Ketura allows you to designate a particular milestone as being current. Only the tasks from the milestone, and those preceding it in the project, are shown to users in their In Progress and Pending tabs. When most of the issues in the current milestone have been resolved, the project manager can designate the next milestone as being current. This has the added benefit that users will not be tempted to start work on milestones later than the one that the project manager is currently pursuing.

Since XYZ is currently in the research and planning phase of this project, it makes sense to mark milestone M1 as current. That way, only tasks of issues from M1, and O1, which precedes it, will be shown to users. They will not be overwhelmed by further tasks from issues in milestones M2 and M3.

  • Select M1 – Research and Planning from the Current milestone drop-down list box.
  • Click the Set Current button.

The current milestone (and any preceding it) is highlighted in yellow.

5. Rescheduling an issue to add it to the milestone

At this point, many issues would typically be created and added to the appropriate project milestones. For the purposes of this step, we shall create a single new issue and then reschedule it to add it to milestone M1.

  • Create a new issue of topic ‘General’ and summary ‘Current software development practices should be documented’. (For instructions on how to create an issue, see Tutorial 2: Recording Small-Scale Goals as Issues.)
  • Add a single task to the issue ‘Research current practices’, assigned to ‘aw [Andrew Wright]’. (For instructions on how to add a task to an issue, see Tutorial 3: Using Tasks to Define and Assign Work for an Issue.)
  • Select the issue’s Schedule tab.
  • Notice from the Schedule section of this tab that the issue has automatically been added to the ‘O1 – Review New Issues (ongoing)’ milestone of the ‘General’ project by the workflow configured for the ‘General’ topic.

Information The steps above mimic the typical pattern for new issues related to established projects. Someone creates an issue, and it is automatically added to a ‘Review New Issues’ milestone. The workflow for the issue will also typically have added a task to the issue for someone to review it. If the ‘Review New Issues’ milestone to which the issue has been added is current, and on an active project, that task will show up automatically in the appropriate person’s Pending task list on the Home Page.

Reschedule the issue

Once an issue has been created, it will need to be reviewed by someone (such as a project manager or product manager). Let’s assume that we have reviewed the issue just created, and that we have decided to schedule it on milestone ‘M1 – Research and Planning’. The easiest way to do this is with the Reschedule issue section on the Schedule tab of an issue’s page.

  • Screenshot showing Reschedule issue section of an issue Schedule tabIn the Reschedule issue section, check the first checkbox, and ensure that the drop-down list box next to it shows Move.
  • In the to milestone drop-down list box, select the M1 – Research and Planning milestone under the Implement Quality Management System project.
  • Click the Apply button.
  • The issue has now been moved to milestone M1. This is confirmed by the information shown in both the Schedule and Milestones sections of the issue’s Schedule.
  • Follow the M1 – Research and Planning link in the Milestones section of the issue’s Schedule tab.
  • The Manage Milestone M1 – Research and Planning page appears.
  • Ensure that the Issues tab is selected.
  • Notice that the issue just created is now on this milestone.

Information It is often necessary to reschedule an issue completely, changing the issue’s milestone and state and, possibly, reassigning some of the issue’s tasks. For example, this often occurs when a manager decides what to do with a newly created issue. The Reschedule issue section makes such rescheduling quick and easy, bringing together the necessary actions in one convenient place.

6. Creating a new issue and adding it directly to the milestone

If you are setting up a new project milestone, you might want to create new issues and have them directly scheduled to that milestone, without having to go to the bother of rescheduling each issue. You can do this using the Add Issue… button on the Issues tab on a milestone page. Use the New issue details tab of the page that then appears.

7. Adding several existing issues to a milestone in one go

It is possible to add a number of issues to a milestone in several ways:

  • Using the Add Issue… button on the Issues tab on a milestone page. As well as enabling you to create a new issue to add directly to the milestone, this also lets you search for issues to add, or you can provide a list of the ids of issues to be added to the milestone.
  • Using the Act On… button after selecting one or more issues in any table that lists issues. The page that appears once you have clicked the Act On… button has an action to move all the selected to a particular milestone.
  • Selecting one or more milestones on the Milestones page of a project, and then clicking the Re-balance… button. This makes it easy to move issues between different milestones of the same project.

8. A note about issue topics and workflow

Unless you uncheck the Automatically create a topic and workflow for this project checkbox on the New project details tab of the Add New Project page, Ketura will automatically create a new topic with the same name as your project. Furthermore, it will have configured the workflow for that topic so that any new issues about that topic will be added automatically to your new project’s ‘O1 – Review New Issues (ongoing)’ milestone. This means that you don’t have to worry about creating new topics manually, or about workflow, unless you desire more fine-grained control over your system.

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