A work item is a discrete task or unit of work that needs to be completed as part of a larger project or workflow. It represents a discrete piece of work that contributes to achieving a goal or delivering a desired outcome. Work items are part of many use cases like Agile Planning, ITSM, and Security Management. Previously, GitLab had different implementations for work items. Examples include Epics, Issues, Requirements, Incidents, and Vulnerabilities. This approach led to frustration from users due to the inconsistent experience, and the Plan stage decided to build a framework to support all work items in GitLab. This guide describes the functionality available, how to use it, and the best approach to contribute to the framework.
The work items framework provides a consistent approach to creating work item objects for teams to plan and organize their work in GitLab. Consumers of the framework will benefit from the efficiency of using a framework with comprehensive out of the box functionality that is easily extendable.
The work items framework provides a base work item object with options to extend functionality using widgets. Additional work item data and functionality is encapsulated within a widget. For example, the WorkItemWidgetAssignees enables user assignment.
You can see the list of available widgets here. Each widget, except for the core work item object, can be turned on or off for each work item type.
The work items framework also provides an out-of-the-box work item detail view and work items can be displayed in the Issues list if desired.
A comprehensive list of Work Item Types currently implemented and being implemented is available in the Architecture Blueprint.
First, you will need to consider whether the work items framework is right for your feature, including your users and the experience they require. You can read about that process here.
All contributions begin with the Validation backlog and Problem validation phases. During these phases, the Plan stage PMs should be Informed of upcoming validation activities and Consulted during problem validation. These are critical opportunities to collaborate with us and ensure that your ask is not overlapping with future roadmap items and is not against the guiding principles.
|Phase||Your group||Plan Stage||Description|
|Validation backlog||R, A||I||Your group has the appropriate freedom as Responsible and Accountable, as it's too early to know if a problem is worth solving through the work items framework. But, in the cases where your group assumes that the work items framework could be the right avenue to address the problem at hand, we only ask to be Informed, so one-way communication.|
|Problem validation||R, A||C||We're Consulted, meaning that we can point you to existing research, similar problems, and more. We care about this phase because it's our chance to influence how much of the work items framework could be affected by potential solutions. Depending on the nature of the functionality being built, one GM/PM from the Plan stage will be selected as DRI for collaboration.|
At the end of this phase, we will work with your group to determine a contribution model.
If you decide to use the work items framework this will usually mean that you're creating a new work item type and/or creating new widgets. Sometimes, all functionality you need will already be in the framework. Hooray! If not, you can contribute to the framework to extend it for your use case.
|Phase||Your group||Plan Stage||Description|
|Solution validation||R, A||C||We're Consulted, meaning that we want to involved in shaping the solution. Plan team members have a broader view of the problems and use cases that the work items framework is solving. The PM and UX team can help shape the solution so that it is as generic as possible and can provide value to more than one use case.|
|Build track||R, A||I||We strive to build a framework that can easily be built upon and we only need to be Informed during this phase. However, we are here to help with implementation if your team needs support.|
If your group would like a particular work item type to describe your user's work, you can create a new work item type. Creating a new work item type sets the foundation for adding widgets that are specific to data and behavior for your use case. For example, OKRs have a progress widget that is not present in other work item types.
You can see an example of the solution validation and build planning process in this epic. Here the PM defined the data elements and behavior desired in the Objective and Key Result work item type.
For details on the technical implementation process, please refer to our documentation. You can see an example of the implementation in the introduction of OKRs:
Widgets encompass the specific data and behaviors that differentiate work items from each other. If you need to modify or add a new work item widget, refer to this page for the technical details on how to achieve this. You can see an example of the implementation in the introduction of the dates widget. Note that this widget is planned to be used across several work item types.
Sometimes, your team will not have the capacity or expertise to contribute to the framework. That is OK! We still want to hear from you. Please create an issue describing your needs and tag the @mushakov, @gweaver, and @amandarueda.