TaskTracker

Introduction

The Task Tracker is a web utility to register, assign and monitor tasks and action lists. It was developed primarily as a possible replacement for sharepoint, and to address the needs of the ATLAS ITk Collaboration which comprises several hundred collaborators working on large numbers of independent work packages. It provides an overview for work package group leaders on progress, as well as for ITk management. By providing an interactive interface for all members of the collaboration, the intention was to encourage inclusivity and visibility for all collaboration members.

The Task Tracker can be used by non-ITk collaborations and indeed outside of ATLAS, though non-ATLAS access has to be explicitly enabled using an appropriate e-group.

The Task Tracker uses the concept of Task Groups which are usually associated with a particular work package, meeting category or management structure. Within each task group, specific tasks or actions can be raised and optionally assigned to one or more people. Users of the task tracker receive email notifications if they are assigned to a task, or if a task they are associated with is updated or modified. The tracker also acts as a document repository to share files or documents associated with a task group or any of it's tasks.

The Task Tracker was devised, developed and is maintained by Dave Robinson.

It uses a mysql backend, hosted by CERNs Database on Demand service. The web interface is simple html (mainly using html tables) generated by a perl cgi script hosted on webeos.

The Task Tracker Interface

The main navigation bar is at the top of the task tracker page as shown below:

Group management, navigation and privacy

Figure: The primary navigation bar at the top of the Task Tracker

The My Tasks View

This view lists all tasks that you are associated with, ie you created the task or have been assigned to the task. The list covers all tasks across all task groups.

You can optionally see all tasks associated with any other person, by selecting their name in the popup menu, and clicking 'Show his/her tasks'.

My Tasks

Figure: The My Tasks view, which highlights your name in the tasks that you are associated with

The Group Tasks View

The Group Tasks view is the default view when using the task tracker, and is shown below. It lists all tasks in the selected task group, optionally filtered for task status, task tag label, task priority and/or tasks created by or assigned to you.

My Tasks

Figure: The default Group Tasks view

Columns can be edited via the Columns link above the table. By default, the following columns are shown:

  • ID This is the task index/ID, and is the link to open the task. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name.
  • Tag The tag name associated with the task, if any. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name.
  • Assigned to The person(s) assigned to the task. The names are links to their emails.
  • Started Date The starting date of the task. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name.
  • Due by Date The date by which the task is due to finish. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name. Date is in red if overdue (earlier than today).
  • Last Updated The date when the task was last updated with a progress report. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name. Highlighted in red of never updated.
  • Report by The date when a report on progress of this task is next due. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name. Date is in red if overdue (earlier than today).
  • Title The title or name of the task.
  • Priority The priority of the task: Urgent, normal, or low. This column is sortable by the up/down icons next to the column name.
  • Status The current status of the task:
    • DRAFT The task is still in process of being defined
    • Pending The task has not yet started (start date is in the future)
    • In progress The task has started and due by date is in the future
    • Late The task has started, and the due by date is overdue
    • Completed The task has completed
    • Retired The task has been flagged as no longer relevant

Other columns available are:

  • Created by The person who created the task
  • Finished The actual date when the task was completed
  • Description The full description of the task

Sorting columns

  • Sort the ordering of a column by clicking on the 'up/down' arrow next to the column name

Choose Columns option

  • Choose which columns to list in the Group Tasks view

Apply Filters option

  • Filter the tasks listed in the Group Tasks view according to tag, priority, status or the creator or assignee, see figure below
Filters

Figure: Applying filters to the tasks for the Group Tasks view

String searches

  • Only list tasks that contain the entered string in the task title, the task description, or the name of the person assigned to the task

Copy Direct Link

  • This is the web URL to the current displayed view of the group tasks. It is important to realise that the URL in the top of the web browser does not correspond to what you are currently viewing!

New Task view - creating a new task

  • Use this button to create a new task within the current task group
  • The New Task form is shown below:

New Task

Figure: The New Task entry interface

  • Compulsory entries
    • Tag Tasks can be associated with a tag or label, eg 'Management', 'Lab Tests' etc. Select the tag, or create a new tag if necessary.
    • Title The title of the new task, which provides a brief summary of what this task is for, and is the label by which this task will be displayed in many views. The title should be no longer than 30 characters, and must not include back-slashes (`), ampersands (&) or quotation marks (")
    • Description A more detailed description of the task. The description should be no longer than 300 characters, and must not include back-slashes (`), ampersands (&) or quotation marks (")
    • Start by Date When this task is due to start. Default is today.
    • Task Completetion Date The date when this task should be finished
    • Priority Options are Low, Normal or Urgent
  • Responsible, Report dates and Reminders (optional section)
    • Assign to Assign the task to one or more persons. Select the person from the list, and then click on the Add button. Repeat to add more than one person. If a person is missing from the list, you can add them at the same time as registering them in the task tracker via the add a person button. You can only add new names if the privacy group linked by this task group is 'ATLAS members'. Otherwise you must be the adminstrator of the privacy group in order to assign to new names that are not in the list.
    • Report Date You can optionally assign a date when the first progress report is expected
    • Send Reminder You can optionally request an email reminder to be sent to the assigned person(s) n days before the report date and due by date
  • External Links (optional section)
    • You can add links to external resouces, eg presentations, EDMS documents etc
    • Description A description of the resource that is being linked
    • Type The type of document
    • URL The web URL of the document. Please enter the full link including https
    • When you have entered the description, the type and the URL, click on Add to add that link to the task.
    • Repeat the above steps to enter more than one link
  • Actions
    • Submit If your form entries do not include any errors (eg entry too long or using illegal characters), then this action create your new task, and email all assignees that they have been assigned to it. Otherwise you will be alerted to mistakes in your entries.
    • Save as DRAFT will create the task, but not activitate it. It means the task is still in preparation
    • Close will return to the Group Tasks view, and not save any entries

The person(s) assigned to the task will receive notification as shown here, containing a direct link to their task:

Task assignment

Figure: Example of the email notification of a new task assignment

Documents View

The task tracker provide a document repository to allow users to share documenation. Supported documents are pdf, word, excel and png images.

Uploading a document to a task group

  • Click on the Documents button
  • You see the full list of documents that are uploaded for this task group, including those uploaded as part of task updates
  • If no documents are already updated, you see this view:

Task assignment

Figure: Requesting the upload of a new document to a task group

  • Click on New Document

Task assignment

Figure: Uploading a document

  • Enter the file/document description, and choose the file from your local file directory
  • Then click on Upload Document
  • The document appears in the document list

Task assignment

Figure: List of uploaded documents associated with a task group, and to to tasks within that task group

  • Document shows the description of the uploaded document
  • Filename is the name of the document. Click on the file name to download it
  • Uploaded by is the name of the person who uploaded the document. Click on the name to email the person
  • Associated with task is the name of the task that this document is associaeted with. If the document was uploaded via the Documents button at the top of the page, then the document is associated with the task group, and this column shows None. If it was uploaded as part of a task update, the name of the task is shown here, in which case you can click on the task name to open the task view.
  • If you uploaded the document, you have the option to remove it from the task tracker via the Remove button. NOTE: if you uploaded the document as part of a task update, then you can only remove it in the task status view (using the Remove button in the list of updates in the task view - see next section)

Uploading a document as task update

  • Open the task view, by clicking on the task ID
  • Enter relevant notes
  • Add a file description
  • Choose the file from the local file system
  • Click on Save, or Save & finish or Save & retire

Task assignment

  • The document appears explicitly in the list of updates in the Task View:

Task assignment

  • Click on the filename to download the document
  • You can remove the document by clicking on the Remove button (only you, as the person who uploaded the document, can delete it)

Group Dashboard View

The group dashboard view provides a dashboard for the current task group. It shows the numbers of tasks in this task group, the numbers for each status category, and lists all active tasks ordered by their 'lateness', ie those that are most late relative to the due by date

System Dashboard View

The System Dashbiard view provides a dashboard for all tasks in the parent system of the current task group. It shows the numbers of tasks in this parent system, the numbers for each status category, and lists all active tasks ordered by their 'lateness', ie those that are most late relative to the due by date. As parent systems can have multiple task groups as their 'children', the list can include multiple task groups. Eg the dashboard for parent system ITk lists the tasks in all ITk-related task groups.

Statistics View

This view simpy lists all members of the task groups, and the numbers of tasks associated with each person

Groups & Access View

Lists all task groups, your access rights to those task groups, and allows you to switch to a different task group. This is described in the section below.

Help

Opens this Twiki.

Task Actions

Viewing the status of a task

In the Group Tasks view, click on the ID of the task to open the task. The task status form is shown below:

Task Status

Figure: Task Status display

  • As well as displaying the status of the task, this view provides the possibility of some Actions on the task:
    • Close closes the task and returns to the Group Tasks display
    • Modify Allows you to modify the task, which means you can modify the original entries when the task was created, eg, persons assigned, due by date etc Only those with write access to this task group can modify tasks
    • Update Allows you to update progress of the task, by adding notes, documents or links to resources. See section below on updating a task
    • Share Allows you to share visibility of this task with other task groups. For example, if one working group is using task group 'Sensors' as an action list to their meetings, and another working group is using task group 'Modules' for their meetings, it is sometimes useful for sensor action lists to appear in the same list as the Modules action list. In the Group Tasks view, tasks which have been shared to the current task group are labelled as Shared in the Tag colum
  • At the bottom of the task status form, all updates or modifications to the task are listed in chronological order.
    • If you have made an update to a task, then you (and only you) can delete the update by clicking on the Remove button
    • By default, task modifications ate not listed. Click on the Show link to also display the task modifications

Updating a Task

Clicking on the Update button in the task status view opens the window below:

Task Update form

Figure: Updating a Task

  • Notes For any task update, you must enter some text to support the update
  • Next Report Date You can adjust the report-by date, as necessary
  • Upload a Document You can optionally include a document with your update
    • For a document, you must enter a short description of that document (eg 'Quote for company X')
    • You must then click on 'Browse' to select the file (pdf, word, excel or png, max size 1MB) in your local file system
  • External Links You can optionally include one or more external link
    • Add a description of the external resource
    • select the link type, eg 'Presentation', 'EDMS' etc
    • Enter the URL of the resource
    • Click on the Add button to add the link to the task update
    • Repeat for more than one web link if needed
  • Actions
    • Cancel Close the update, do not save entries, and return to the task view.
    • Save & Retire Save the update, and declare the task as retired, ie no longer relevant, and return to the task view. The notes in the update should provide the justification.
    • Save & Finish Save the update, and declare the task as completed, and return to the task view.
    • Save Save the update, and return to the task view.

In all cases, the assignees are notified of the update by email:

Update notification

Figure: Example of a task update email notification

Group Navigation, Group Management and Privacy

The Group Navigation, Group Management and Privacy view can be reached via the Groups & Access button. There is one line for each task group. This can be used to:

  • Provide an overview of the task groups, and your access to them
  • Switch to a different task group, if you have privilege to do so
  • View your read and write privileges
  • Create a new task group or privacy group

Group management, navigation and privacy

Figure: the task group management, navigation and privacy window

Column names

  • Group The name of the task group. If you have read access to it, the name is a link.Click on it to switch to that task group
  • Read Indicates if you have read access to that task group. This means you can view tasks, and provide updates to them
  • Write Indicates if you have write access to that task group. This means you can create or modify tasks,provide updates to tasks, and assign write access to others.
  • Restricted to Indicates the privacy group that is linked to that task group. You must be a member of the privacy group to have read access to the task group
  • Parents Indicats the parent system(s). Eg a task group that is of interest to ITk and TC has parents ITk and TC
  • Created by The person who created the task group. The name is a link to their email.
  • Date The date that the task group was created
  • Tasks The number of tasks currently registered within the task group
  • Index Prefix Tasks in this group are prefixed by this letter or letters
  • Actions If you have write access, this provides a link to manage write access to the group

Creating a new task group

  • Click on the 'Create a New Task Group' button, after clicking on the Groups & Access top level button
  • The new task group form opens, as shown below
  • Enter an appropriate name for the task group. This is the name that will be displayed for the task group
  • Select one or more parent system(s) for this task group. If there is no appropriate parent system, then ask me to create one for you. This will be implemented soon.
  • Select the privacy group. If this is an ATLAS task group, then the recommendation is to leave it as 'ATLAS members' in the interests of openness and visibility. If you want the task group to have resticteed visibility and access, then click on 'Create a new privacy group' and follow instructions in the next section. Only the creator of a privacy group becomes the adminstator and can assign members of that privacy group
  • After creating a new privacy group, you should then restart the steps to create a new task group

New task form

Figure: The new task group creation form

  • When ready, click on the 'Create Group' button
  • The new task group opens, with no existing tasks, as shown below (assuming you entered, bizarrely, 'Foo Bar' as the new group name

Default view for new group

Managing write access and watchers for a task group

  • Click on the Groups & Access button
  • Click on the Manage link in the Actions column
  • The group management form opens as shown below
  • Tick the Manager tickbox to assign write access to that person. Write access means he/she can create or modify tasks, and assign write access to others, or assign themselves or others as a watcher
  • Tick the Watcher tickbox to assign watcher status to a person. Watcher means that person will receive an email notifications for any updates or modifications of tasks in this task group.
  • When finished, click on the Save button at the bottom of the form, or on Cancel to close without saving changes
  • You can optionally inform users by email if their write access or watcher status has changed

Assigning privileges for group members

Figure: Assigning write access and watchers for tasks within a task group

Privacy Groups

  • Each task group is linked to a privacy group
  • Only members of the privacy group can view tasks within that task group
  • By default, all ATLAS members (ie members of group zp) are members of the ATLAS members privacy group, and by default all task groups are linked to the ATLAS members privacy group
  • The use of privacy groups should be generally discouraged, in the spirit of collaboration and openess. But some exceptions might be:
    • Task groups for non-ATLAS members, who should not have access to ATLAS task groups
    • Task groups used as action items in closed management meetings
  • As well as restrticting visbility, only the adminstrator (ie the creator of the privacy group) can assign members, so this can be an adminstrative burden
  • Note: you cannot change the privacy group for a task group that already exists

Creating a new privacy group

  • To create a privacy group, click on the Create a new privacy group link during the new task creation steps as descrived in the above section
  • the new privacy group form opens as below
  • Enter a label for the group, and a brief description of what this privacy group is for

Assigning privileges for group members

Figure: creating a new privacy group

  • As soon as the privacy group is created, you will be prompted to assign membership, as shown in the form below
  • Note: as the creator/administrator, you are a permanent member of the privacy group

Assigning privileges for group members

Figure: Assigning membership of a privacy group

Adding or removing members of a privacy group

  • You can edit the membership of a privacy group at any time after it's creation
  • Click on Groups & Access at the top of tje page
  • Click on Manage Privacy
  • A list of all privacy groups is opened:

Assigning privileges for group members

Figure: Privacy groups listing

  • The table shows:
    • Name The name/label of the privacy group
    • Description The description of what this privacy group is for
    • Members The number of members of this privacy group
    • Tasks The number of tasks that are linked to this orivacy group
    • Actions If you are the administrator of the privacy group, there is a Edit members link to open the membership form

Updates

10/04/2021

  • Document Repository The task tracker now provides a document repository, to share documentation associated with task groups or individual tasks. See the above section on Documents.
  • Privacy Groups It is now possible to restrict visiblity of task groups to members of a privacy group. This is intended primarily for non-ATLAS users (for whom we want to restrict access to ATLAS task groups) or for actions lists in closed management groups. See the above section

-- DaveRobinson - 2021-04-10

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Topic revision: r12 - 2021-04-23 - DaveRobinson
 
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