10 MantisHub Workflow Tips for Changelog & Roadmap

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One thing we are proud of at MantisHub is the versatility of the product. We have customers using our service for general task management, software development as well as project management.  Some use it internally within the team and some use it to streamline collaboration with their clients.  The simplicity and flexibility of MantisHub means you can engineer it to address a wide variety of needs.

MantisHub is used for Project Management by about 70% of MantisHub users and we have a  number of handy features designed to help out our project managers including the Changelog and Roadmap features.

Highly rated by our customers, both these features come into effect once you decide to split your projects into versions (or releases or iterations or milestones… whatever terminology fits in your use-case). For software projects it’s common place to both Agile and waterfall frameworks that you would manage your software development and updates in terms of versions, releases or sprints. When doing this, two helpful thing to know:

1. What are the changes in a specific version?

2. What is the planned work for a specific version and how are we progressing towards that goal?

The Changelog helps you answer the 1st question by allowing you to set a ‘fixed in version’ field when issues are resolved. As you go through and resolve issues with MantisHub and set the ‘fixed in version’ field. The Changelog then groups resolved issues by version they were fixed in. This information is the pre-curser to your release notes for software or communication to partner teams within the company or clients externally. It’s also handy for reporting up the line on team and project goals met.

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The Roadmap answers the 2nd questions allowing you to set a vision and your goals for future versions/releases by setting the ‘target version’ field. You can use this to let customers, partner teams, and team members know what you have coming down the track as well as helping you keep track of development progress and project milestones etc.

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If you haven’t already, take a look at these features. The Changelog and Roadmap articles in our knowledge base can take you through it in more detail and also includes how-to tutorial videos.

So here are our 10 tips for making the most of your Changelog and Roadmap

1. Make use of your version fields

There are some fields you should take note of when setting up your versions that can add value to your CL & RM.:

  • Consider adding a description to version to be shown on CL/RM.
  • The release date you have set in the version will impact the CL/RM as it will display versions with the most recent release date at the top.
  • Version names on CL/RM are hyperlinked, hence, it is easy to link a project or a specific version from your blog, website, wiki, etc.  Access may require user to sign-in if anonymous access is not enabled.

 

2. Keep your version status up to date

To make your CL/RM relevant you should keep you version status up to date. Once a version is released, make sure that it is marked as such to have it removed from the Roadmap. Once a version is too old and not needed on the Changelog page, then mark it as obsolete.

 

3. Take advantage of ‘View Issues’ button and group actions

Don’t underestimate the use of the ‘View Issues’ button in your RM & CL information to have the issues opened in View Issues page. This handy shortcut will allow you to take further action with all relevant issues such as printing or exporting but we find the most useful way to take advantage of this is using group actions.

For example you have a list of un-assigned issues in your Roadmap for version 2.0, bring them up by clicking ‘View Issues’ out of your Roadmap view, select a sub-set or even all the issues listed and assign it to your victim… umm… developer. Check out Tip 9 for another example use.

4. Use issue relationships to save you time

Make use of the relationships feature in MantisHub to define dependancies in your issues. This is useful for many reasons (have a read of this article).  Issues on the RM/CL are grouped together under parent issue, providing an easy way to group related issues.

5. When resolving issues for maintenance & feature releases

If you have a fix to an issue that was applied to previous release maintenance branch as well as a future feature release, you can clone the issue and mark the clone as fixed on the second branch.  This way it shows up in the Changelog for both releases. Alternatively you can open a related issue to port the fix to a different branch and marked as fixed in the appropriate target branch.

6. Meaningful Issue titles

Keep in mind that issue titles appear in CL/RM and will be presented to a CL/RM audience. When creating issues, set guidelines for your issue titles.  Make sure you don’t use jargon your audience won’t understand and make titles meaningful, showing the value added by delivering the issue, rather than how it was done. You can also go back and edit issue titles for those that don’t meet your guidelines.

7. Meaningful Categories

Category information is also displayed in your CL/RM so similar to tip 6, name your categories in-line with with how you present your feature groupings to your customers. This way they can easily locate what issues they care about. For example, categories can include administration, api, localization, integrations, etc.

8. Don’t feel shy to add issues to RM even if they have already been resolved

If an issue wasn’t planned for a release, until after it was resolved, go ahead and still set the ‘target version‘ so that it shows up in the roadmap.  Your customers will still want to know it is coming in the upcoming release.

9. Factor shipping into your workflow.

CL/RM are all about project management and delivering value to your users.  Hence, it is important that your teams workflow also reflect that.  For example, we often use the “Resolved” status to reflect an issue that the team fixed, and use “Closed” status to reflect that it was published in an official release or deployed to production.

Hence, a common part of the workflow is that only after version X is released/deployed, are issues with ‘fixed-in version’ X closed.  See tip 3 for the easy way to do this using group actions.

10. Create future versions to enable planning

Often the team triage incoming issues and target them for appropriate releases.  For example, an issue may be needed as a hot fix, vs. next minor release vs. next major release.  Hence, it is important to have such versions available for your team to start targeting issues for as they are being triaged.

 

Depending on what you are using MantisHub to manage, there are probably more ways to leverage Changelog and Roadmap for your usage, or even hide them completely, if you are going for minimal task management with no equivalent of deployments / releases.

Share with us on twitter @mantishub your own tips and tricks for using MantisHub and boosting your team’s productivity.

 

MantisHub ‘Live Links’ for live updates on remote issues

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Once upon a time products were mostly built based on in-house code, but with the rise of open source and re-usable components, more and more of the work is delegated to such components.  Now this is a good thing, since it allows developers to focus on the core problem they are solving, rather than a lot of mechanical or repetitive work.

However, occasionally issues pop up in your software due to a dependency in an external system. If for this or any other reason you need to track an issue in a remote service within your internal issue and it can become a little cumbersome. You would generally reference a link to the external service in your internal issue then updates on the status of this remote issue is manual. So you would need remember to periodically chase this up to find out if you can progress your internal issue.

So to save you such hassle MantisHub have introduced Live Links for any url references to external entities. Live Links will automatically check any links within your MantisHub issue for a supported remote service when you open up the referring issue.

Similar to MantisHub’s relationships feature, it will pull relevant information on the remote issue like current status, category, reporter and handler and display it for you within your internal issue. LivelinksSection_Final_resavedMantisHub Live links supports links to:

  • Github Issues
  • Github Pull Requests
  • Github Gists
  • MantisHub Issues
  • MantisBT Issues

This makes it easier than ever to track your upstream dependencies and work in Github and MantisBT.

Go ahead and enable Live Links in your MantisHub by following instructions found in Live Links KB article.

Just another way MantisHub is working to make life easier.

Express yourself with Markdown

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Markdown support has just been introduced in MantisHub with our latest release. We chose to implement markdown to provide a simple way for our users to format their text within issue notes and descriptions. Markdown uses simple markup that gets translated in to HTML so you can display formatted text in MantisHub.

Development focused sites such as GitHub, Bitbucket and Visual Studio Online, use the power of markdown to greatly enhance their online user discussions. HTML is quite cumbersome to have to write up just to format your text so markdown is a huge time saver.

NoteExample-2Now Markdown doesn’t do any of the really fancy stuff like changing font size or color, or adding borders but it covers the basics like italics, bold, lists, linked text, embedded images, code snippets, etc. The emphasis of markdown language being ease of use as well as making sure your notes are still readable even when not rendered into HTML.

It was originally developed by John Gruber who supported the ideas of different implementations to suit individual user requirements so there are a few versions out there and many extensions on the functionality included in the original. The supported format for MantisHub can be found at parsedown.org.

If you are unfamiliar with Markdown, it’s very simple to pick up, just as emojis have become second nature, you’ll find it’s the same with markdown. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with shorthand and you’ll be using it seamlessly when updating your tickets. To get you started, we recommend checking out this short tutorial.

There’s also a cheat sheet you can keep bookmarked as you become more fluent.

For details on how to set up markdown in your MantisHub, check out our KB article.

Email notification tweaks – your inbox will love us.

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Our customer feedback was that you all wanted the option for simplified updates. We get it, sometimes we just want our emails to get to the point already :). MantisHubs latest release includes some changes to email notifcations that we’ve been looking forward to telling you about.

Now with our latest release, you have further flexibility with the option for either verbose or non-verbose email notifications so you can simplify and streamline your notifications.

For those of you who don’t already know, MantisHub email notifications provide really flexible options for our users.  They can be set depending on the users access level or on a users relation to the issue. You can also turn them on or off for a variety of trigger actions, have different settings for different projects and change the settings for your individual account. Our customers have found this feature really useful for keeping everyone in the know. You can learn all about how to configure your email notifications in our KB article.

In addition to a wide range of setup options, we provide tips and plug-ins tohelp you  troubleshoot your email notifications if needed.

So what have we changed exactly?

1. Non-verbose mode – New note only updates with relevant note ID.

Previously when a note was added to an issue the full issue details were sent out according to your notification settings, now by default email notification for notes being added will only contain the new note and reference the relevant note ID. So your update will no longer include the full issue information including all previous notes.

If you’re un-impressed but this news right now because you loved how we included all the details & notes in the notification, not to worry! You can turn it back on! Whilst non-verbose notifications is the default, you can change your system or individual preferences back to verbose notifications.

2. @mention emails aren’t duplicated 

If a user receives an @mention email notification they will no longer receive  a ‘note added’ notification as well. Now  when a user is @mentioned, the system will withhold the note added email to prevent duplication.

3. Attachment information is included

When an attachment is added to an issue then this is now displayed along with the attachment file name in the notification.

We hope you enjoy these new features we’ve added for you and it perhaps makes your inbox that little bit less cluttered and confusing.

 

Single Sign-on for MantisHub with GitHub and Bitbucket

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Just another way to make your life easier, MantisHub has just rolled out single sign-on support for GitHub and Bitbucket accounts. We know you’ve been waiting for it and now it is a single click away to enable it for all users of your MantisHub!

MantisHub is fast becoming a developers’ best friend. With integrations for IDE, test management, team chat via Slack/Hipchat and now SSO with the most popular code hosting services.

One less password to remember, cause you can now simply head to your MantisHub login page and click on GitHub or Bitbucket to login using these providers.

As well as adding convenience this can also provide extra security. GitHub and Bitbucket support two factor authentication (2FA), so having your users access MantisHub with either of these can deliver even better security for your data. And you’re not potentially re-cycling your passwords from other systems.02As the MantisHub administrator, you would just need to install the “Single sign-on via Auth0” plugin.  For users to be able to login, their email address registered in MantisHub must be also associated with GitHub/Bitbucket accounts as a verified email address.

If you have customer sign-up enabled on your service you can also utilize this for automatic account creation. If there is no email match with the providers account when a user attempts to login using single sign-on, MantisHub will automatically create a new user account with reporter access to your public projects with the providers primary verified email address and same username as the service used to sign-in.

Check out all the details in our KB article.

The Mantis and the Grasshopper – get your voicemails in Mantis

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In the natural world the praying Mantis and the Grasshopper are not mates. In fact a grasshopper better run if it sees the Mantis coming :).

In our world however they are totally compatible. Using the Grasshopper phone service with your MantisHub is a great little plugin you can utilize.

Grasshopper lets you set up one or more phone numbers and extensions for your business. You can have extensions such as 1 for Sales, 2 for support and direct extensions to talk to an individual team member. These extensions forward onto real numbers or to voicemails and the voicemails can be setup to be emailed to an address of your choice.

Now this is where MantisHub comes into play. Couple Grasshoppers ability to email your voicemails with MantisHub Helpdesk for email reporting and you can capture your customer communications as an issue directly into the right project in your bug tracker!

Voicemails are sent with text transcriptions that are plugged into your issue description as well as attaching the recording as an mp3 file.

Read more about this great plugin in our KB article.

 

MantisHub Helpdesk – email reporting reborn

Kinda excited about this one! We’ve now re-invented our hugely popular email reporting functionality and it’s been reborn as our MantisHub Helpdesk!

Customers can email your MantisHub Helpdesk email address to report issues straight into your issue tracker. Your customers will be notified via email when issues are updated with public notes or if the issues are resolved, closed, or re-opened.

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It’s sooo simple to get going.  It’s installed by default so all you need to do is to enable it! All the configurations options are there for you to tailor as you wish or just leave our common sense defaults.

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MantisHub Helpdesk provides you with the following features:

  • Your customers can email in support requests and they will be automatically added to the appropriate MantisHub project.  They don’t need to be registered as users in your MantisHub.
  • Your teams can use MantisHub to manage all their internal and customer reported issues.  No need to work with multiple tools.
  • Teams can interact with customers by adding notes and resolving the issues.
  • Teams can use private notes to collaborate on the issue, without customers receiving notifications about such internal communication.
  • Customers are able to reply to any of the issue related email notifications and their responses will be captured as notes on the issue.

Check out our KB article on how to use MantisHub Helpdesk.

You can also check out the Snippets plugin which is used to create pre-canned responses for those common helpdesk questions.

These 2 features combined can set you on the way to having a integrated software issue tracking and helpdesk support system!

Told you it was exciting :).

Grab your team’s attention with @mentions

MantisHub’s latest update has a few hidden gems. One of our favorites is support for @ mentions to loop in your co-workers or customers into conversations around issues. This will triggering notifications that they are mentioned in issues or associated notes.

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In line with what all the other cool services are doing (twitter, github, etc) you simply type @joe (where ‘joe’ is the username) in an issue summary, description or a note. Joe will be emailed the note with a link to the issue and content where they were referenced, providing context of what they are being asked to respond to.

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The email notifications for mentions has a distinguished subject, so you won’t miss out on items that you need to action.  The feature is also extra useful when mentioning someone that wouldn’t have otherwise even got a notification about your new note or issue.

Great right!?

For @ mentions to work for you team, you should follow these guidelines for usernames:

  • Don’t use email addresses as usernames. Note that if you use a snappy & short username, login with their email address will still work!
  • Don’t use spaces in user names.

More details in our KB article.

Tag, you’re it!

 

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MantisHub have now rolled out some updated to our tags feature. Some of which our customers have asked for!

Tags are useful as another way to categorize your issues and with our latest update now you can:

Add a tag to your issue when reporting it.

  • Instead of going into your issue after creation to add a tag, we’ve now added it to the report an issue page so you can simply attach it at the time of creation

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Tags can be added to your columns on view/print issue pages.

  • tags is now an option when you manage your columns so you can now add it to the fields in your issue that is displayed in the View Issues or Print Issues pages.

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Export Tags via CSV and Excel.

  • since tags are now an option when managing your columns, you can now include these fields in you Excel and CSV exports.

Tags information included in email notifications

  • If you’ve set a tag in your issue it will now appear in your email notifications so everyone is up to date.

Check out our knowledge base for more information on using tags.

Now go ahead and play around with it. Tag! You’re it!

 

Using Toggl for time tracking? It just got better!

 

toggl_logo “Toggl’s time tracker is built for speed and ease of use. Time keeping with Toggl is so simple that you’ll actually use it.”

The folks at Toggl have created a simple and fast time tracking feature. For companies that need to match time spent against issues, projects and users, Toggl makes it super easy to record and report on time spent.

So MantisHub have just rolled out a new integration with Toggl to put this great tool at your fingertips. Simply install the Toggl chrome extension and you can now record your time when working on an issues with just a click.

Select the issue that you’re working on in MantisHub and you’ll see the shiny red button at the top of the page. Click the red button to start the toggl timer and it will create a toggl record automatically populated with your MantisHub issue details!

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Once you’re done, you can stop the timer or just move straight onto your next issue, where you”ll find that shiny red button again. Install the Toggl app for a great way to manage your timer and you can switch between issues here as well.

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Just another example of how the team are working to make your MantisHub experience more productive.