Book: Work Item Management with IBM Rational ClearQuest and Jazz: A Customization Guide
Publisher: IBM Press
Almost everyone has had the need at one point or another to keep a list of things that need to be
done. Many people pick up a piece of paper every day and write down the things they want to
attempt to accomplish that day. Such lists drive many people’s lives. Some people keep them in
their heads, but as we get older, we need to write things down more often so as not to forget what
has to be done. When you are keeping track of a list of items for yourself to do, it is pretty easy
to know what has been done and what has not. You only have to depend on yourself. Updating
the list is easy. Having a list of the important things to be done and reviewing it many times a day
might make many people more productive.
There are a few problems with creating a list of items to keep track of. One is that it gets
much more complicated when many different people are working on the items. Now you have to
coordinate updates to the list from all of those people. This problem becomes harder still when
some of the people live in other time zones. Now it is much harder to understand who is doing
what, what has been done, and, more important, what has not been done and why. So we typically
create some sort of database to keep track of these things. In the simplest form, this database may
be a spreadsheet. Some people start creating their own management system from scratch to deal
with these lists. These systems tend to grow over time in both complexity and cost of maintenance.
Pretty soon, as your needs grow, you may find that the process you created to keep track
of the items does not scale, nor does it meet your needs anymore. The management system you
created will also have its own list of items that need to be done, and you may find that the cost of
maintaining your custom system outweighs the benefits you are receiving from it.
In the world of software and hardware development, lists of items tell us who is doing
what, what has been done, what problems are being worked on, and which products are affected
by these problems. These lists become the lifeblood for many individuals. Being able to accurately
understand your product’s status and exposure can help you make better decisions about
what items should be worked on, what items you need to wait to be done, and what items are not
as important as others.