Sweeping Up and the Five Golden Rules of Item Management

August 4, 2015

Sweeping up the mess of poor item management processes doesn’t have to be hard…

Believe it or not it’s the same for JIRA or even Confluence.  If you use tools to manage everything you need to tackle, then you will find that projects can have a lot of items in them. Now as you know it is my view that its better to have it all in one place than in a bunch of separate spreadsheets! But this is a double edged sword if you don’t employ item management techniques…

We recommend that you schedule “sweep sessions” to clean up loose ends.  You should encourage teams to set up weekly or bi-weekly sessions to review their issues. Additionally reviewing anything that’s important that doesn’t have an action plan associated with it.

As a reminder the golden rules for issues/items in JIRA are;

  • Is the item well described?
  • Does it have a priority?
  • Does it have an owner?
  • Is there a plan?
  • Is the status on the item correct? (eg if its clearly in progress has it moved from defined?)

In a “sweep” meeting or session – the coordinator or often scrum master will review the items using a range of tactical filters.  It doesn’t have to be via the current sprint or even backlog. Depending on your settings for instance it could be that a range of items have been created that have no owner  – this is a great place to start since unassigned items are a pool of potential risk and trouble. I recommend that items should be configured so that items have to have a default owner. This helps to ensure that someone is always conducting item management practices.

Even more importantly…

is that items that are high importance are well elaborated in their descriptions and there is a plan to tackle them.  This is probably the next highest priority in your sweep.  To gain momentum – use the tool by commenting in the record with the five golden questions above.  Everyone should commit that items are fully elaborated.  Try creating a sweep filter that tracks all issues you are seeking elaboration on and be persistent!

If you’d like for us to give you a hand with your spring cleaning then please contact us.

Good luck sweeping!

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