Easy way to manage a developer’s prioritized daily backlog

The central tenant of any good Agile methodology is a prioritized daily task list. Even if you are not a developer, you’ll see this concept in business, such as in the Franklin-Covey time management series, or David Allen’s GTD. Its all about breaking up large tasks into achievable chunks, and timeboxing your work in progress so that you show gradual, measurable progress.

If your team is beginning to adopt Scrum, SAFe, or other Agile discipline, you’ll like the features that IBM’s RTC provides to enable a smooth transition. It is a Collaborative Lifecycle Management solution that enables developers, managers, and stakeholder to work collaboratively, providing faster delivery, more accurate delivery, and higher quality software.

The Rational Team Concert Eclipse client has a very convenient view call the “My Work” view, which presents as a prioritized daily backlog. This pulls from the team’s central sprint backlog, allowing the developer the ability to see everything he or she has on their plate for the day, the week, and the following week. It also shows any future work in the sprint, as well as future sprints’ work, as well as unplanned work in the release backlog.

This short video introduces the view, and shows how to link tasks or defects to source code change sets for traceability.
The backlog itself can be managed by a program or project manager, or Scrum master in the web client during a team’s weekly or bi-weekly backlog grooming session. Note here how the developer can further colorize the backlog so as to group similarly affected items (such as those with similar tags). This further enhances the developer’s productivity.

For the rest of the team, when the developer makes changes to the work item (such as marking it complete), the whole team can see the change immediately. This helps to avoid the issue with having a project manager going around and tap on everyone’s shoulder to get an update. It also means that the stakeholders and executives can get a clear view of the current status at anytime of the day, without waiting on a status report. This is important for distributed teams that do not come into the office, or are located in different states (or countries). This is much better than just putting up a webcam on the whiteboard that you use to manage the backlog.

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