[openstack-dev] [StoryBoard] StoryBoard can now represent complex priority

Zara Zaimeche zara.zaimeche at codethink.co.uk
Tue Oct 25 10:56:06 UTC 2016

Hi, all,

We're excited to announce that it's now possible to represent complex 
priority in StoryBoard!

What does this mean?

It's possible for different people to say 'this is a priority for us', 
so that a task can have different priorities, tailored to different 

So, why is this useful?

Previously, StoryBoard allowed users to assign one priority to each task 
('high', 'medium' or 'low'). The implementation meant that anyone could 
change a task's priority, and this would be seen by everyone viewing the 
task. There was no way to say 'you can only change this priority if you 
have discussed this on irc and it has been agreed among the project 
team', etc. This meant that people with no context could alter global 
priority of tasks. Also, two different groups might prioritize tasks 
differently, and this could result in long prioritization sessions, 
where the real question was 'whose priorities matter most?' (and often 
the answer was 'it depends on who the audience is', so these arguments 
would result in a stalemate)

So, StoryBoard now has a way to say 'this task matters to *me*'. We use 
worklists to express priority: if you manually add tasks to a worklist, 
you can drag and drop them in order of priority. This has the side 
effect that you can see how prioritizing one task affects the priority 
of other tasks; you can only have one item at the top, and putting 
anything high on the list will push other things down. It is now 
possible for others to subscribe to the worklists of those individuals 
or teams whose priorities they care about; then, whenever they browse to 
a story, they will see if any of the tasks are on those lists, and what 
position the tasks are on the list.

Lists have permissions, so it is possible to set up a project team list 
on which items can only be moved by contributors selected by core 
reviewers, etc. This stops everyone changing the priority of tasks 
without discussion.

This is very new, and we're excited to see how people use it. We've lost 
some ease in *assigning* priority in favour of finer grained 
*representation* of priority. In the past, StoryBoard did show lots of 
different people's priorities, it just didn't offer any way of tracking 
whose priorities were whose. So this makes things more open and 
explicit. We hope to tailor the implementation based on user feedback, 
and these are the first steps! :)

Example workflow for a project team:

* Make a worklist, subscribe to it and add tasks you care about from 
existing stories, select users who are allowed to move things on the 
* Drag and drop tasks in order of priority
* Create a story with a task you care about (or browse to an existing 
story); click the arrow next to the task, then the 'add to worklist' 
button, and add to the team priorities worklist
* On a story, tasks that feature in subscribed worklists will appear on 
the top-right, along with their position in the worklist
* Link the worklist on irc or on the mailing list, etc, wherever it's 
most visible, and invite people to subscribe!

It is possible to subscribe to email notifications for worklists, so 
that you can be kept up to date on changes in priority. These 
notifications can be toggled in the profile preferences (person icon on 
navbar, near the bottom) and are separate from the main email 
notifications, to avoid things getting spammy. :)

We have a summit session on Thursday afternoon; feel free to come along 
if you're interested! The details are here: 
and we have a (very drafty) etherpad at: 
https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/ocata-infra-community-task-tracking )

Have fun, and happy task-tracking!

Best Wishes,


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