A milestone in Assembla is a working area containing the tasks of a sprint or an iteration. Milestones are used to organize tickets. For example, tickets for tasks that should be completed in a period of time (a sprint or an iteration) can be organized in one milestone. Using milestones also allow project managers and team members to track project progress using the different available milestones views and reports.
What is a "Sprint"?
When using an Agile approach to software development, a sprint is a work cycle - usually a fixed period of time during which a team plans to complete a set of goals that contribute to incremental development of the software product.
In Assembla, a sprint can be represented by a milestone and that milestone has tickets assigned to it that are associated with the sprint.
The tutorials here offer information on how to use Assembla to manage projects using different Agile methods.
Overview of the Milestones tool
Milestones are managed from the Milestones tool which is a sub-tab within the Tickets tool. The table in the center of the page lists open milestones in ascending order. The sorting order can be changed from the Sort by drop down menu found at the top of the page. On the left side of the Milestones page there are links to the Closed Milestones list and to the Milestones Calendar view. The following sections of this article will show how to perform main milestones tasks.
Creating a new milestone
To create a new milestone:
- Go to the Milestones tab and click the New Milestone button
- Fill in the milestone properties and click Create Milestone.
The milestone properties are:
- Title: The given name for the Milestone. For example "Sprint January-2015". This is a required field.
- Description: A description of the milestone. This will be visible to team members in the Milestone details page as well as other views. This is an optional field.
- Start date: The start date of the sprint or iteration. This field is needed by some metric reports. This is an optional field.
- End date: The end date of the sprint or iteration. This field is needed for the Milestones Calendar view and by some metric reports. This is an optional field.
- Responsible: The team member responsible for the Milestone. This is an optional field.
- Budget: The estimated budget of the milestone. This number will be visible to team members in the Milestone details page. This is an optional field.
- Milestone type: A milestone type can be one of 3 types:
- Current: A current milestone is the sprint you are currently working on. This will be the milestone shown on the Planner view in the Current column. There can only be one current milestone displayed in the Planner view.
- Backlog: This will be the milestone shown on the Planner view in the Backlog column. Ideally this is the milestone for the overall project backlog. There can only be one backlog milestone displayed in the Planner view.
- None: These are milestones that will eventually become the "Current" milestones in the future when the current milestone is completed. None is the default Milestone type.
Adding a ticket to a milestone
To add a ticket to a milestone, you essentially set the Milestone property of the ticket to that milestone. This can be done in few ways listed here.
- You can add a ticket to a milestone by changing the Milestone property of the ticket. This is done at the ticket's property pane found on the top left side of the ticket's page.
- You can also add a ticket to a milestone by clicking the ticket's gear icon in any of the tickets views and selecting the milestone from the pop up menu.
- You can use the Batch update tool to update the milestone property of multiple tickets at once.
Setting a default milestone for all new tickets
It is possible to set a default milestone in the Tickets tool settings. This milestone will be automatically populated on the new ticket form. To set a default milestone:
- Go to the Settings tab within the Tickets tool tab (This is only visible to users with Owner role)
- Go to the Tickets Fields section
- In the Default Ticket Values section click the Milestone drop down menu and pick a milestone.
- Click the Update Default Values button
This default milestone will not be applied new tickets created from the "Related" tab as a subtask or bug of a ticket that is already in a milestone.
Viewing a milestone details page
The milestone details page provides an overview of the milestone. To view the milestone details page go to the Milestones tab and click the milestone name.
The milestone details page is divided in three sections:
- The Milestone Properties section in the center shows the milestone properties.
- The Tickets section on the right gives a summary of the status of the tickets in the milestone. It also has hyperlinks to filters and reports for these tickets. It also provides sums of hours and estimates for all the tickets in the milestone.
- The Activities section shows recent Stream entries from tickets in the milestone.
Editing a milestone
After a milestone is created you can always edit its properties. In addition to the basic milestone properties entered when creating the milestone, the Edit milestone page give you access to the following properties:
- Obstacles: You can add text in the obstacles section for the obstacles facing a milestone. This text will be visible in various reports and views.
- Release Notes: By clicking edit release note you can add and update release notes comment and upload release notes files
To edit a milestone:
- Go to the Milestones tab and click the gear icon next to the milestone then click Edit in the pop up menu.
You can also open the edit page from the milestone details page by clicking the Edit button found on the top right side.
- Make the required changes and click Save Changes.
Closing a milestone
At the end of a sprint or an iteration or simply when you have closed all the tickets in a milestone you would want to mark the milestone as completed. You can close a milestone in a few different ways:
- By editing the milestone and check on the field "Mark as completed"
- By clicking the gear icon next to the milestone and clicking "Mark as completed" from the pop up menu.
- By going to the Milestone Details page, click the Actions menu at the top and click "Mark as completed" in the pop up menu.
Closing a milestone does not change the status field of the tickets in the milestone to a close status. Once a milestone is closed it no longer appear in the list of open milestones. It is moved to the closed milestones list. This has no effect on the tickets in the milestone.
Making a milestone the Current milestone
When you finish the current sprint you need to assign a different milestone as the current milestone. This is particularly needed if you are using the Planner view to manage tickets. Setting a milestone as the Current sprint means setting the milestone type property to "Current". This can be done in three ways:
- Click on the gear icon and select Set as Current from the menu
- Or you can go to the Milestone Details page, click the Actions button found at the top, click Set as Current in the pop up menu .
- Or you can edit the milestone and set the type milestone property to Current.
Making a milestone the Backlog milestone
Setting a milestone as the backlog means setting the milestone type property to "Backlog".
You can set the property when creating the new milestone. Or you can edit an existing milestone and set the type milestone property to Backlog.
If you are using the Planner view to manage tickets you will need a backlog milestone. This milestone will contain all the tasks that should be completed in the project.
You would usually start by creating a backlog milestone and drag and drop new tickets in this backlog in the Planner view. Then you create a Current milestone and drag and drop tickets from the Backlog to the Current.
Deleting a milestone
To Delete a milestone go to the Milestones tab and click the gear icon next to the milestone, then click Delete in the pop up menu.
Alternatively, you can delete a milestone from the Actions menu on the Milestone Details page.
Deleting a milestone does not delete tickets in the milestone. It only clears the Milestone field in these tickets.
Milestones calendar view
The Milestones calendar shows milestones marked on a calendar on their due dates. The entries are color coded as follows:
- Milestones that passed their due dates and still have open tickets are marked down in red
- Milestones that passed their due dates and all tickets in the milestone are closed are marked down in green
- Milestones whose due date is not yet reached are marked down in blue
Exporting Milestones Calendar
You can export entries in the Milestones calendar to your your preferred calendar application. This can be handy in setting up alerts for milestone due dates in your calendar application. There are two methods for exporting milestones calendar:
- A passive method: You can Export all milestones to a .ics file. This file can be imported into applications that support the .ics file format like iCal or Google Calendar. A link to download the .ics file is available in the Tickets tool -> Milestones -> Export page
- A dynamic method: You can subscribe to the feed for all milestones and changes to the Milestones calendar will automatically be reflected in your linked calendar application. This option is supported in Google Calendar and Mac iCal. The feed URL and instructions on how to setup the feed in Mac iCal and Google Calendar is available in Tickets tool -> Milestones -> Export page
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