Bug management/Assignee cleanup

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Problem[edit]

In a task tracking system like Wikimedia Phabricator, people assign open tasks to themselves to indicate that they work on these tasks. Then it sometimes happens that they do not follow up on these tasks. As a result, some assigned tasks stay open for years without much progress. Such cookie-licking creates problems:

  • Blocking other developers:
    As it only looks like the assignee is already working on the task, nobody else plans to work on the task.
  • Backlog burden and decreased personal productivity:
    Being the task assignee, your personal to-do list in Phabricator can become overwhelmingly long, unrealistic, and does not support you in focusing on your priorities anymore.
  • Disappointed expectations:
    As it only looks like the task assignee is working on the task, a bug fix or feature enhancement will not happen or will happen way later as expected by someone looking at the assigned task. This is bad communication.
  • Unrealistic resource allocation:
    Comparing the number of assigned tasks per team member can lead to less realistic workload balancing if numbers are incorrect.

How you can avoid the problem[edit]

  • Regularly check the list of open tasks assigned to you at phab:maniphest/query/assigned/.
  • Remove yourself from the Assignee field (via Add Action… 🡒 Assign / Claim in the dropdown menu above the comment field) if you do not realistically (!) plan to work on a task anymore.
  • If a task has been resolved in the meantime, or a task should be declined because it is out of scope for the project (project does not necessarily mean "your team" though), then update the task status via Add Action… 🡒 Change Status.
  • If you are looking for personal bookmarks for tasks, see mw:Phabricator/Help#Personal lists of items.
  • For a personal #User-* project (and workboard), see phab:T555.
  • See Phabricator/Help/Managing mail if notifications make it hard for you to efficiently use Phabricator.

Regular cleanups[edit]

As there is no way to automatically expire task assignments in Wikimedia Phabricator, the bugwrangler approximately twice a year sends emails to these assignees with a request to clean up the tasks assigned to them (tasks tagged with #patch-for-review, #epic, and #periodic-update are excluded). Then the bugwrangler unassigns people from open tasks which have been assigned for years. People are very welcome to assign these tasks to themselves again.

History of cleanup editions[edit]