How are Epics, Stories and Tasks related to each other?

Written by Reedy Feggins, IBM

Work items are the fundamental mechanism in Rational Team Concert (RTC) used to coordinate, and track development tasks.[1] RTC provides several out-of-the-box work items types including Epic, Story, Task and Defect.  Each work item has its own workflow and associated set of attributes used to govern progress status, reporting and collaboration.  Work items are the hub for linkage between many Rational Team Concert artifacts (e.g. other work items, builds, work items, and change sets), as well as providing support for integration with other products.

While RTC allows teams to link work items in any manner they choose, to keep it simple in when the customer is using the SCRUM Process Template, several of my customer implementation, I have recommended the following work item hierarchy: Epic story->Story -> Task/defect, see figure below.

Epics, Story andTask - Typical RTC work item hiearchy

User stories are a good approach to capturing customer requirements without having to create formalized requirement documents or incurring the extra effort to maintaining them. The intention is to speed up the requirement definition process, respond faster to changing requirements and communicate requirements in the language of the customer using scenarios that can be easily validated.

By default the RTC Scrum process template, Epics Stories are defined as top-level-item while Tasks are not.  Each Story can be broken down into smaller tasks but it is not required. In addition we recommend that the RTC process template be updated to make the Defect a top-level-item.

RTC Epic Work Item - Screen Capture

Finally, RTC allows team to use the Work Item customization to create new work item types or modify existing ones in order to support the development process that your team follows. For additional information see Work item tracking on Jazz.net.


[1] APA: Work item tracking – Rational Team Concert – Projects – Jazz … (n.d.). Retrieved 02/20/2011 from http://jazz.net/projects/rational-team-concert/features/wi

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About

About the Author Reedy Feggins, Jr, is a Solution Architect and Agile Coach at IBM Software, a global software development company. Reedy is a certified ScrumMaster and PMP certified Project Manger. In this role, he trains, mentors and coaches teams in implementing practices such as Scrum, XP and Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD). Reedy is also a IBM subject matter expert (SME) supporting the adoption of several IBM software development tools: Rational Team Concert (RTC), Rational Quality Manager (RQM), Rational Requirement Composer (RRC), RequisitePro, ClearQuest and ClearCase. He has extensive experience mentoring teams over the past four years has given him the ability to assess business needs, craft an adoption strategy and provide organizations with practical experience implementing the appropriate Agile adoption strategies. My Linkedin Profille http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=9488217&authType=name&authToken=yYEC&pvs=pp&trk=ppro_viewmore

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