February 22, 2012

Using TestTrack Calculated Fields to Escalate Stagnant Issues

Helix ALM
Whether you're looking to meet SLA commitments to a customer, or just want to make sure work items don't get lost in the shuffle, tracking how long an item spends in various areas of the workflow is a pre-requisite to good process enforcement. Gerhard's video on using date functions with calculated fields walks through the process of creating a custom field that shows the number of days an issue has been in its current state. This "Days in Current State" metric is useful for catching items that have been lost in the shuffle of day-to-day work. Of course, relying on someone to manually check for items that someone else has forgotten about is not a best practice. You'd be much better off automating that process, letting the TestTrack escalation engine catch and update those items. First, you need to create a filter that can trap items that have languished in the workflow. This depends on your process or SLA commitments, but a simple example would be to look for defects that have not moved workflow state for more than 15 days. If you recall from the video, we excluded weekends from the "Days in Current State" field so this gives someone three weeks to do something with the defect before it is escalated. [caption id="attachment_11006" align="aligncenter" width="464" caption="TestTrack Filter Criteria"][/caption] After the filter is set up, you need to create an escalation rule that performs an action when it finds relevant defects. Go to Tools > Admin > Automation Rules, select the Escalations tab, and click Add. Name your rule, select the filter you created, define the run schedule on the Schedule tab, and then click the Actions tab. You have several options here, but most common would be to send an email and/or trigger a workflow event. Here's a quick email configuration, to notify the user the issue is assigned to and also email the QA manager. [caption id="attachment_11007" align="aligncenter" width="337" caption="Notify Assigned User and QA Manager"][/caption] A common scenario here is to send an email then trigger a workflow event (at different intervals). Let's say 15 days is baked into your SLA with internal customers—you obviously don't want to wait until day 16 to notice that you're not going to meet that commitment! In this case, you might trigger an email reminder after 10 days, and then trigger a workflow event to re-assign the issue on day 14. This requires two filters and two escalation rules. Just follow the steps outlined here and you'll be up and running in no time!