bug tracking, or task management?

Shane H. W. Travis travis at SEDSystems.ca
Fri Oct 15 23:26:17 UTC 2004

I've just made some localized mods that fall smack on the side of Task
Management, and I'm wondering if something like this would be at all
interesting to Bugzilla.

BACKGROUND: Many of the contracts signed by SED Systems are for individually
tailored software packages that will be used by one specific customer. Since
a lot of the underlying functionality (reduncancy switching between servers,
message communication, alarms, operator interface) is the same from project
to project, we have a large reusable code base called The Framework.

PROBLEM: When a new project finds a bug in the Framework, they have to hand
it off to Framework coders to fix it. It is something that is blocking their
progress, however, so they also want it tracked locally.

ISSUE #1: The needs of the Framework group (discussing how to best fix the
bug, and its ramifications on other parts of the framweork) are irrelevant
to the end project, and the comments of the end project (e.g. knowing that
the fix has been installed on the local testbed, but not yet at site) are
irrelevant to the core framework coders.

ISSUE #2: Since both sides of the issue want to track progress of the log
item, re-assigning a single log item to different projects at various stages
is not acceptable, as the scope is then lost to whoever doesn't 'own' it
right now.

SOLUTION: Creation of a simple way to duplicate an existing log item. Added
the ability to say, "Make this bug look like ____" to on enter_bug.cgi (and
its templates), which pulls all relevant information and the first comment
out of the database, then inserts them into the local fields. On commit, the
copy and original are automatically given a dependson/blocks relationship.

I can think of a number of situations where something like this would come
in really handy... but they seem to me to fall under 'task management' and
not 'bug tracking'. Silly example: you own five rental properties, and want
to get new locks on each one. The meta-task is "Install new locks in each of
my properties"; each of your properties (products) has its own copy of this
item, blocked by the original. As the hardware arrives, you install it in
each house as you make visits there, and close the appropriate bug. (This
contrived situation is actually analogous to some hardware projects we have
in the building.)

Unlike some of my local modifications -- which I confess are 'do whatever
works' -- I was inspired by recent participation in this list to try and do
this *right*. As such, I think I could make a decent patch for this. It
would still be some work, though, especially since I'd have to test it
against a 2.19 installation (right?) and we're only running 2.16.6 locally.
I don't see any open (or closed) bugs or enhancement requests asking for a
feature like this, though, and it may well be that nobody out there but us
NEEDS to be able to duplicate a bug (or in our case, a Log Item).

So, I'm looking for some feedback, I guess. Does this fall into Bugzilla's
'scope' as a bug-tracking tool, or is it too task-managementish? Or does it
matter, because nobody but us would ever need such an enhancement anyway so
there's no use submitting it?

(If I'm discussing this in completely the wrong way/place, someone please
clue me in gently via private e-mail. I'm new to the process, so I may be
mistaken... but I'm teachable. :)

Shane Travis            | A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind,
travis at sedsystems.ca    |   and won't change the subject.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan |      -- Winston Churchill

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