Custom story workflow/states/status (was 'more acceptance states to support testing on multiple environments')

we are feeling frustrated by a lack of communication because tracker lacks a few states that are integral to our workflow. We need to be able to communicate when something has been accepted on our demo server, on staging and finally on production.

- not yet started
- started
- finished
- delivered
- accepted (on demo)
- rejected (on demo)
- accepted (on staging)
- rejected (on staging)
- accepted (on production)
- rejected (on production)
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  • Hey Gary - Right now our most requested feature is grouping stories together, and we've been hard at work on this very feature.

    We are aware of how important this is to folks though, and once development and planning begin I will absolutely let folks know.
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  • When someone has requested a story from you, you shouldn't by default be able to accept / reject the story after delivering. Instead "Pending", "Waiting for approval" or similar should be shown until the person requesting the story has accepted or rejected.

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Not accept / reject stories owned by you but requested by someone else..
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  • To inform whatever development is be done on this: our workflow calls for the follow two states (currently we have to do confusing work-arounds):

    * a 2nd 'accepted' state -- because we want both the story requester or product owner to OK something first (functionally), and then have QA approve it as well in more detail.
    * "canceled" -- because it's weird to just delete a story with all it's information and history when another story obviates it

    BTW, dehfne's idea above would be great for the first case -- since it covers both this request and the 'environment-specific acceptance' some others have asked for.
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  • 1
    Sounds good.

    Allow people to name the "states" to whatever they want, and pick a color. (color of the button).

    Have start and finish as default. And have every step have a "reject" option which pushes the state back one with a comment.

    start (default)
    confirm requirements -- orange
    send requirements to bob -- blue
    have lunch -- green
    push code to staging server -- yellow
    push code to QA server -- yellow
    push code to production -- red
    finish (default)

    Then people create their own workflow to whatever suits. And it should satisfy most situations.
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  • I’m frustrated
    2
    I would love this as well, since we need to keep track of which features passed QA but hasn't been deployed to Production and such. It would also be great to have deployed to Prod as a status that get's tracked in the history so we can easily look at which features went live on what day. Any update on when this may be coming?
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  • I’m hopeful
    3
    I agree with being able to name the states whatever you'd like. Some folks prefer the button language to articulate a state ("unstarted" "development" "verification" "testing" "acceptance") rather than an action.

    All of the ideas here have been great - I hope some of them get rolled in!
    :)

    I'm sure figuring out how to configure this would be a challenge. We are grateful for all your hard work, Pivotal team!
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  • it would be cool to have an extra state before testing phase. I'll come across a story that's on the "Deliver" state meaning its ready for testing, but the developer would inform me that it's not ready due to different circumstances but he sets it to "Deliver" so that he knows he has built the feature. But then I've got a backlog with stories in the testing state but I cant test them, which doesn't look good. Maybe add an extra state saying "deploy" so that developer and everyone else know's the feature is done..its just not ready for deployment...once deployed it goes to "deliver" where it is ready for testing.

    This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    add an extra state to stories.
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  • 5
    Along the lines of custom workflows and status options:

    Putting a started story on hold.
    Long running stories or shifts in priorities may cause a story to not be able to be worked on or completed in the current or any near term iteration.
    I would like ot be able to put it on hold (a state similar to not yet started but showing that work has been done on it), it has already been started but will not be worked on in the current iteration.
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  • Would be really good if this one is progressed, any idea if this is going to be implemented soon.

    The stages we need are;

    not yet started
    - started
    - finished
    - delivered
    - accepted (on staging)
    - rejected (on staging)
    - accepted (on per-production)
    - rejected (on per-production)
    - accepted (on production)
    - rejected (on production)

    If it was fully customisable per project it would be even better.
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  • I’m anxious
    2
    This seems to be the third-most popular idea "under consideration" by Pivotal, but there are no official responses from the company less than a year old. Is there any more information about whether or not this is on the roadmap? Lacking this feature, I won't be able to use Tracker at my current gig.
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  • I’m anxious
    1
    I'm also wondering about the status of this feature. In our current workflow we need a step in between finished and delivered (or between started and finished). i.e.
    not yet started,
    started,
    finished by dev,
    reviewed and accepted into master,
    delivered,
    etc....

    All our work is done on branches which, when finished and pushed to github, a pull request is created and then another dev does a code review before accepting and merging into master. Then master gets deployed to our staging/QA environment for testing. Unfortunately, the way we currently have things, a dev could have multiple stories marked as started (but not finished) sitting in their "my work" box while waiting for the pull request to be merged. This makes it hard to keep track of what is currently being worked on by the dev and what's simply awaiting review.
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  • I’m sad
    1
    Delivering to staging environment before Deploying to production is a common practice. Please, implement custom states (or at least add this very common additional QA step before deployment).
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  • I’m desperate for this
    1
    This would be a HUGE boon to our workflow. Right now, we are "rejecting" and "restarting" stories to signify moving to the next stage. Obviously, this is less than optimal.
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  • 2
    Has this been done yet. I see in the post form employee (a year ago) that it was going to be looked at in a "few months time"?
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  • 1
    We need this as well! I don't like that Pivotal Tracker forces us to have a certain process. :-(
    We don't "deliver" each and every single story. But we deliver sprint releases. So the "deliver"-step is unneeded for us!

    Besides that... Pivotal Tracker is great software!! Keep up with the good work!
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  • I’m Desperate for this feature
    Any updates? Come on, let the Peons know what the ivory tower boys are planning ;-)
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  • I’m sad that this failed an otherwise-awesome PT trial
    2
    This was unfortunately the main failing that caused our trial-run of PivotalTracker to fail, causing the team to return to JIRA.

    In the interests of being constructive rather than just whining, here's the set of states we want to model, in order:

    * To do
    * Started
    * Needs code review
    * Merged
    * Deployed to Production (done)

    This team doesn't have a separate QA/acceptance step, it's just bundled in to the "started" and "needs code review" states. "Needs Code Review" could potentially have the verbs "Accepted" and "Rejected"; this team actually handles that in a separate code review tool, so they don't really need it in PT but could deal with it in order to remain somewhat consistent with the existing PT states.

    Being able to rename and reorder the built-in statuses would probably be an 80% solution to this problem. I made a diagram of how I'd like to customize it, with the PivotalTracker terms shown and how I'd like to rename them in parentheses:



    The only major change here beyond renaming is moving the "accept" and "reject" actions to apply to "Finished" rather than "Delivered". You could rightfully argue that this is not really the spirit of "accept" that PivotalTracker intended, but I'm sure this isn't the only team that does client acceptance as part of the development task rather than as a post-delivery step.

    For most teams I've worked on, delivery is something that happens in bulk at the end of each sprint and so pushing the acceptance to the end causes none of the stories to be closed until after the end of the sprint, rendering the burndown chart useless.
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  • I’m frustrated
    I like how the official response was "this is something we'd like to do..., but we won't have bandwidth for major new features for a few months". That was 2 years ago. So is this dead in the water, or what?

    FWIW, we'd like to make the CTA after "Accepted" to be "Merge". Then *maybe* "Deploy" after that, but I'd prefer a hook in Capistrano that would transition everything in "Merged" state to "Deployed" or "Done" during production deploys.
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  • I’m Hopeful
    We just discussed this as we would like several acceptance phases on testing, stageing and produciton.
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  • I’m hopeful
    Just another voice in the mix verifying that this would be an important improvement for us. Deployment to production is a very different step in the process than acceptance of the story on Test.

    However, thanks for the tip on using labels. We'll give that a try in the meantime, but it sure is clunky.
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  • +1 - we would like another state after finished: "Ready for Deploy" - that is in-between "Finish" and "Deploy"
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  • This reply was removed on 2012-10-02.
    see the change log
  • I’m Frustrated
    2
    Seriously? Adding support for custom status values is THAT difficult? With so many chiming in on a feature requested here 3 years ago...isn't it time to prioritize this? :)
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  • I’m curious why this hasn't been implemented yet.
    I was ready to request an ''On Hold' button till I read this suggestion.

    It happens all the time with stories in my team. And if you follow a single-story-per-person strategy it is not very neat to see 4 or 5 stories per person (all of them in 'Started' state).

    If there was an 'On Hold' status it would be easier to see what is someone currently dealing with and what is 'on hold' due to some reason.
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  • 1
    +1 for this one. One of our major concerns is the ability to put things "On Hold" or "Impeeded/Blocked"
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  • 1
    I'd also like to request this feature get prioritised.
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  • It's been said before in this thread, but we find using labels enhances the workflow for us enough to keep work visible. For example, if a story depends on another story being finished in order to be accepted, we use an "accept blocked" tag. Since the labels show up in front of the story name, this is easily visible in the panel.

    I blogged about ways to make testing activities more visible in the Tracker workflow, maybe this will give people some good ideas: http://pivotallabs.com/making-testing...

    We're trying to keep Tracker lightweight, and flexible at the same time. It's always a trade-off.
    • view 3 more comments
    • I just need a couple of new states to reflect our workflow, In example, between start and finish, something like "in progress" so others know you're working on it/ The choice to customize states is a "must" feature for a tool like Pivotal, so waiting for such a feature as well!
    • Lisa - question on how you implement this. When you have a story tagged "acceptance blocked" where do you put it? Do you 'un-start' it? Move it to the ice box? If you leave it started, doesn't that mess up the automatic velocity calculation of your current iteration?
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  • 1
    Lisa, at what point does Pivotal wise up and realize that when people have been regularly asking for something for *3 years* that it doesn't matter what "we find"?

    As for your blog post, you wrote ~3 pages full of workarounds. I find this is usually a pretty good sign you should just implement the feature. btw, for us, your tag workarounds still don't provide any traceability (applying and removing doesn't even get a history record) and your task workarounds aren't easily visible. Therefore, they're a bunch of effort without the results.
    • view 1 more comment
    • Hi Lisa,

      I'm not sure of Scott's use-case, but we are in need of this feature for a similar reason. We use the api to pull regular snapshots of our stories to determine time spent in each stage of the process. The adding or removing of tags is not recorded in the record in a way that's useable. So currently we're unable to account for the time that a story may be blocked and not being actively worked on. We click start then, regardless of tags, our reporting shows the time on that stage to be the full time until we click finish (regardless of blocked time). If we had a blocked or pause state, that could be factored into our reporting. Visibility is certainly important and your workaround may be fine for your team, but for teams that are accountable based on the time spent in each stage of the story's life cycle having a separate state is crucial.

      For our team, pause or blocked is the most important. Modifying names and workflow would be nice too (as many others have mentioned).

      Thanks for your time,
      Chad
    • I'd second Scott's comment. WIth this being out there three years it's a very important feature. For our process we "accept" things, then have to use other processes outside of pivotal tracker to keep track of the state of a story.
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  • I’m very frustrated
    2
    We would *really* like the ability to specify custom states for a story.

    Give me a textarea and let me fill it in with states to walk a story through.


    I realize that there may be some rough edges in the UI or APIs.
    Because some states can have one of two subsequent states (like Accept / Reject).
    And probably other slick parts of the UI would get tripped up.

    But - I don't care about those bits of sugar.
    I would gladly live with many limitations - as long as I can get custom states.

    If i go with a 'custom' workflow - all I can do is go from one state to the next from the overview. Just titleize the next available state:


    And then let me simply set a state directly with the drop-down edit view.

    Additionally, if it breaks all my API tools - that's ok too.
    I'll take on that limitation gladly.

    This is really frustrating that no progress has been made on this.
    I understand that for PT and their team, the states + labels works great.
    What I don't understand is that this seems like a wonderfully simple extension to make it work for many more people. And the argument about keeping it simple falls down - because I think the 'simplest' would be to let a team just define what steps they care about. No more clicking 3 times to skip steps you want to ignore.

    Then again - maybe these values are just hard-coded all over the place in the system and the cost to fix / change that is too high.
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  • Here's a workaround on how to get custom states and a KANBAN workflow board:

    Have you seen TrackerTracker?

    It's a third party addon/app that integrates and syncs with PivotalTracker.
    It supports boards for multiple projects, a high level overview of the projects, and a KANBAN flowchart board with custom states.

    https://github.com/intentmedia/Tracke...

    Demo here:

    http://trackertracker.glomerate.com/#

    You need to set it up on your own Heroku server. Should only take a few min.

    Casper said:
    "We are using Pivotal Tracker along with Tracker tracker to keep track of testing. Tracker Tracker allows you to se a flowchart like on a whiteboard with unstarted – started – in QA – Passed QA – Delivered – Accepted/Done and let you drag’n'drop stories across the states. It uses labels for differentiating “in QA” from “passed QA” since both are actually just “Finished” in Pivotal Tracker."

    TrackerTracker also allows adding custom states with editing a few lines of JSON

    Hope this helps. I will surely try out this solution. I wanted to use PT before but ditched it because no custom states. Now I'm using it, since I can use this addon app.

    Magne
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  • Thanks Magne for that tip, it's a great idea.

    And the rest of you, we really are working to address this problem, it's just we have some other priorities to get out first, plus we want to make sure we come up with something that works for most everyone. Thanks for your patience!
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  • I would really like a "canceled" state so we can keep tasks/conversations around without just deleting. That way if we get the bright idea to do X in the future, we can read about why we decided not to do that.
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  • +1 to Joel Kleppinger state suggestion. I would prefer to call it "ignored". This is also used for bug reports that turns out to be user errors or something else on second look. I.e. to add a comment, click ignore, out-of-sight out-of-mind but the history is not deleted.
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  • in addition to being able to customize the states, it would be helpful if we could associate a user for each state. when a story's state changes to a state, the story's owner is changed to the user associated with that state.
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  • I’m frustrated, disappointed
    It's been over 3 years, any updates on this?
    Customizing the workflow is really key to how our team works, and I don't want to be forced to use something other than Pivotal :(.
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  • 1
    Personally I'd be thrilled with just 1 simple extra step - "deployed" (after accepted)
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  • I’m shocked
    Wow, I simply assumed this would be easy to do. That's it's clearly a wanted feature and has been quite sat on for 3 years I cannot envision a future were we do not move our team off of tracker at some point.

    I love the simplicity, I do not, however, like being told what I do and do not want,
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  • Tracker is designed to be lightweight, fast and easy to use. We understand the need for customization, and our designers are currently considering how Tracker can support some of these use cases without complicating the workflow. We're looking at using tasks and task multiple ownership to provide a workflow that accommodates different workflows. We've already provided the ability to have multiple story owners, which helps support different activities such as design, front-end and back-end work, and testing.

    Our newly redesigned Tracker UI which is currently in beta allows you to put panels in any order you desire. You can also load multiple projects at once for ease of searching, linking stories in different projects, and moving stories from one project to another. It's just the first step towards a bit more flexibility in Tracker, to accommodate the needs of larger teams with multiple projects and different agile approaches. We are currently considering designs for a tailored workflow, but we don't have a timeframe for that right now.

    We face the same challenges for making activities such as testing and design visible on our own team. We find that using labels for this works well for us. I blogged about this, we hope you'll consider experimenting with these ideas: http://pivotallabs.com/making-testing...

    If you'd like to develop your own solution, you might like to look at our API: https://www.pivotaltracker.com/help/a...
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  • This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
    Need support for "Code Review" between "Start" and "Finish".


    Our workflow considers the "Finish" state of a story to be after the developer has implemented the feature, another developer has reviewed it, tests pass, and the original developer merges the feature back into default (trunk). Unfortunately, there can be a long lag between the original developer being "code complete" and the reviewer actually finishing the review.

    It would be extremely helpful to introduce another state between "Start" and "Finish" for "In Code Review" and track a team member as the "code reviewer". (I suspect that the "best" way to implement this would be with a more general "custom state/workflow" implementation.)
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  • I’m amazed it's been four years with no movement
    Seriously, just add custom states, or at least "QA" and "Paused". Forcing your exact workflow on everyone who uses your product and not even considering other use cases is fine until you start charging for it - but now you have customers and you need to consider more than one use case - dismissing everything else as not "lightweight" is tiresome. Labels aren't the cure-all you think them to be (and frankly how a herculean workaround trying to shoehorn them in for indicating testing is more "lightweight" than two more states into an existing workflow is beyond me).
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  • I’m frustrated
    Can any of you that have the same issue for years point me to a better solution. I was considering pivotal tracker but now I am thinking its a mistake to get into using it when its obviously not responsive enough to the community in terms of need ... 5 years for this is a not making me want to go this software. So if you have a suggestion please let me know!
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  • I understand your frustration, but we are delivering new features to respond to the most popular requests as fast as we can. We recently opened our newly redesigned UI up to beta, have you given it a try? You can load multiple projects at once, and put panels in whatever order you choose. The feature to allow multiple story owners, which we released several months ago, also helps support the various activities such as design and test that need to be done. Please see the "Recent Updates" panel in the beta UI for the features we have delivered in the past few weeks.

    We also spend time keeping our code base solid and software quality high. We've been working on designs for tailored workflows, but I don't have a timeframe for that.

    We do find that using labels is a viable solution for our team. No one tool can work for every situation, but if you haven't experimented with using labels to indicate different activities such as design and testing, please do give that a try.
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  • 1
    I want to make sure there is more pressure for this to be implemented. Obviously we would love to customize this even more, but we definitely need at least one more status
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  • I’m wise as a cuckoo
    Indeed, as Roberto pointed out, we could so much use one more status. Specifically for us its the status "deployed".
    Heres how it works:
    Story unstarted (Start)
    Story started (Finish)
    Story finished (Review) [Now needs to be checked in pull request]
    Story reviewed (Deploy or deliver) [Pull request done, all good to go]
    Story deployedd (Accept/Reject)
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