Your MantisHub Data at your fingertips

exportdata

The beauty of hosting with MantisHub is that you will never need to worry about the retention, accessibility or integrity of the data stored in your MantisHub issue tracking system.

All the advantages of cloud hosting are at your fingertips. Like logging into your system from any place or any machine securely.  No need to worry about the security of your servers or disaster recovery. MantisHub hosting is robust, reliable, and secure, with daily backups of your data.

With all this convenience, you still have access to export and extract your data in several ways. Whether you need to integrate it into another system, play around with some numbers, produce reports or simply for peace of mind, you’re covered with these features.

Download all MantisHub data

Any administrators within the system can access the backup option from the Manage page. From here they can generate a full backup of your MantisHub to get a snapshot of the database at any point in time. When you generate a backup, two zip files will be available for download :

  1. database and configuration” file which contains a MySQL dump of your database and your configuration files.
  2. attachments” file containing all attachments uploaded to your system.

You can upload the db.sql file to a local MySQL service for verification and access it from your favorite database viewer and analytics tools.

With the attachments, extract the zip files to get access to the attachment files.  The attachment file names will be encoded and will have to be correlated with the database to get the file meta-data.

Here’s the KB article for more information on generating and downloading backups.

As MantisHub already create a full daily backup of your data you will probably never need to use it but it may be what you need to tick some boxes on your corporate policies checklist for security or data retention.

Printing Reports

The filters within the My View page can allow you to display a specific set or subset or your issues. If you’re not yet familiar with how to use filters, check out this article and get to it as it will save you a heap of time trying to find the information you need.

Once you have grabbed the issues you are interested in, you have the option to Print Reports.

print reports

To print it, just click the button. You can print all the listed issues or further cull the list and just display those selected. There are two options to print to; to a Microsoft Word document or HTML and it will include the Issues Details view of your issues.

Step by step instructions can be found in this KB article.

Exporting to CSV or Excel

There is also the option provided to export issue details to CSV or Microsoft Excel also from the View Issues page. This means you can do a whole lot more with your data because you can plug these into other systems to manipulate how you want. For example, MantisHub has some in-built reporting but if you’re looking for specific statistics on your issues this option can allow you to generate graphs and tables using Excel or some other application that allows CSV import.

It’s important to note that you have to define what issue fields and information you want to be included in the export. This needs to be configured in the Managing Columns section. This can be configured at a project level by the administrator [Manage – Manage Configuration – Manage Columns] but users can override this within their personal preferences [My Account – Manage Columns]. All fields that can be exported (including your custom created fields) are listed in the All Available section. Have a read about it in the Managing Columns KB article. And help with exporting can be found in this article :).

If you have Mantis Time Tracking feature turned on, you can also export this information to Excel or CSV to get some statistics on time your team spent working on issues. This is available through the Time Tracking page that is added to the menu when you enable Mantis time tracking.

API

For the technically savvy you can access information from your MantisHub through our API. This does require programming knowledge and can be a super powerful tool for pulling specific information from your system and manipulating it as needed. You can retrieve details of your projects, configuration, users, issues and filters. And the API is continually expanding so keep an eye out. To read more about MantisHub API options check out this KB article.

So if you’re looking for that flexibility while still getting the convenience of secure, reliable service, there’s your data on a silver platter :).

MantisHub are ready for GDPR. Are you?

GDPR_04

 

MantisHub, like thousands of companies out there servicing EU citizens, have been preparing for the new EEA legislation around data privacy aka General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Data privacy has not had this level of attention and stringency in decades. Now the EU has taken the lead and a huge step forward in making service providers accountable for the personal data that they collect as well as giving EU citizens (and by extension much of the rest of the world) more rights and greater control over their personal data and how service providers use it and store it.

As well as defining a high level of security and protection of personal data, the legislation included specific rights for EU consumers including:

  1. Right of Access: Find out what kind of personal information is held about you and get a copy of this information.
  2. Right of Rectification: Ask for your information to be updated or corrected.
  3. Right to Data Portability: Receive a copy of the information which you have provided under contract so that you can provide that information to another organization.
  4. Right to Restrict Use: Ask for your personal information to stop being used in certain cases, including if you believe that the personal information about you is incorrect or the use is unlawful.
  5. Right to Object: Objecting to use of your information (where a party is processing it on legitimate interest basis) and to have your personal information deleted.
  6. Right to Erasure: In certain circumstances, you may also have your personal information deleted.

 

The GDPR also defines roles and responsibilities of all parties in regards to collecting personal data. Data Controllers are the primary collectors of personal data from a data subject and have a responsibility to respond to any requests by a data subject to exercise their rights under GDPR. Data processor are anyone who process the information on behalf of the Data controller and they have to make sure their systems are secure and that data controllers can fulfill requests from data subjects in regards to controlling their personal data. So for example if Joe Blow asks to have all his personal data erased, that data needs to be erased from all storage in a timely manner, no excuse.

So there is onus on data controllers and data processors to protect your privacy, the goal being to ensure systems are developed with consumers privacy in mind or “Privacy by Desgin” principles.

These responsibilities translate to MantisHub and our service in the following way.

  • For information gathered on account owners and potential customers when offering our Issue tracking and Helpdesk services, MantisHub performs the role of data controller and are required to respond to any requests from account owners.
  • For information stored in customer MantisHub services (customer content) which may be personal data, the account owners are the data controllers and MantisHub is the data processor. This includes information like registered user details (real name, email address) or data collected and added to your MantisHub issues which can identify an individual. Account owners are responsible for responding to GDPR requests regarding this data and MantisHub must ensure they have the tools to fulfill these requests and making sure the data is secured.

 

In preparation for GDPR and to help our customers also become GDPR compliant, MantisHub have made a number of changes. We have:

  1. audited how Personal Data is processed by MantisHub and determined how it is stored, used and how long it is retained.
  2. ensured automatic deletion of customer content after 30 days from when your account subscription expires or is cancelled.
  3. updated both our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy to provide clarity and transparency on how we collect and use your data and better comply with the GDPR.
  4. produced GDPR compliance documentation on our website to advise how we protect your data and allow for our customers to become GDPR compliant. This includes a list of our 3rd party, GDPR compliant providers.
  5. provided a guide on how to exercise your GDPR rights.
  6. updated some of our security procedures and included information in our security FAQs documentation.

 

MantisHub is proud to continue offering a secure, reliable service to our many EU customers as well as those throughout the world. We take customer privacy very seriously. We never sell or share your data and only use it to provide you with the best possible service. So be at ease :).

Thank you for being a part of the MantisHub community! We’re here for you so if you have any questions about GDPR or other, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!

 

 

Keep your users in the know with MantisHub’s Announcement Plugin

Announcements Plugin Image2

Have you ever needed to let all your MantisHub users know about something? Perhaps a new process or procedure?  Remind your reporters to make sure they include that vital information when they create issues.  Running a customer survey?  New release? Flag it to the team to check out the Changelog. Let everyone know (or maybe just your project team ; ) ) about Friday drinks. I’m sure you can think of a heap more.

MantisHub have just rolled out the new announcements plugin that allows you to create banners to be visible to your users within the MantisHub app. So you don’t need to use yet another medium to shout out to them. Some of our lovely customers have been asking for this. We totally get the advantages and are excited to deliver!

All administrators have access to install and configure the Announcements plugin. Just head to the plugins page in your MantisHub and check out our KB article for more step-by-step details. Within the configuration, Admins can define who is allowed to create banners according to access level. By default this is MANAGER level and above. You’ll probably want to keep the default. You don’t want just anyone sending out messages, but as with many MantisHub features, you have the flexibility to define it according to what suits your workflow.

Within the Announcement you can define the what, who, when and where for your banner.

What: Give it a title and message content. It can run across multiple lines and if you want, make use of Markdown to add formatting including emphasis and in-line links

Where: You can create a banner to be viewed across all projects or just for a single project and only users with access to that project will see the banner. Location will define where on the screen your message appears.

Who: Determine who sees your banner by defining the access level. Here you are setting the minimum access level for which the banner is viewable. For example, set it to ‘developer‘ and developers, manager and administrators will receive the banner. A users global access level will be applied for all project banners. For specific project banners, the system will use specific project access level if defined, otherwise it will use global access level. If a user does not have access to a private project, they will not see any banners defined for the project.

When: Set the time to live field to allow your banner to automatically disappear after your set time. A setting of 0 means your banner will remain up until you manually deactivate it, or the user dismisses it (if you’ve given them that option). The dismiss option is checked by default so once they’ve read or actioned it, your users can close the banner.

AnnouncementsPlugin_04

I’m sure you can see the benefit of this great new feature in MantisHub. I’m really excited about it. I’m planning to send out a joke of the week, maybe leave them hanging and create a separate banner for the punch line after a few days. I’ll let you know how it goes ;D. Go ahead and try it out. I’d love to hear how you’ve put it to use! Just tweet @mantishub with your ideas.

Til next time…

Announcing MantisHub REST API

API_image3

At MantisHub we have been working for a while on the new modern REST API for remotely accessing MantisHub data and configuration.  We now feel that we have enough coverage of MantisHub functionality to encourage our users to switch to it.  The API can provide a great way to integrate MantisHub into your build system, IDEs, test management systems, other SaaS applications, or your own applications.

Tools for using the API

Similar to what you expect from any REST API, you should be able to easily leverage it from your preferred language and platform.  You can get the documentation for the API from our API documentation.  The API is published via Postman API network enabling you to easily download Postman definitions for the API and start hacking away.  If you don’t already have Postman, you can download it from Postman website.  For command line access to MantisHub, we developed PowerShell module which can be used from Windows, Mac or Linux. You can also use curl which is available by default for Mac and Linux.

API Access

For accessing the API you will need to authenticate, and for this you will need to generate a secure API token from within your MantisHub rather than passing username password. Instructions for generating a token can be found in our KB article here. Remember to record your generated token since it will only be displayed on generation and once you exit out you won’t be able to get it again. You should, of course, have separate tokens for each of your integrations which provides you with the ability to manage each integration independently and associate such integrations with appropriate users or system accounts in your system (e.g. a build user account).

Individual users, as well as administrators, can generate tokens so make sure the user has access to the functionality needed for the integration. For example, if a token is generated for user Bob who is a reporter for Project X and you run an API call using the token to update an existing issue or delete it, the call will fail. The only time you won’t need a token is if you have anonymous access enabled for your MantisHub and the integration only requires read-only access.

API endpoint and Resources

The Endpoint for your API will be https://<yourmantishubname&gt;.mantishub.io/api/rest/

Here’s a sample request using curl from a terminal window for MantisHub name “softwaresolutions” using an API token that will get all issues that are unassigned:
curl --request GET \
  --url 'https://softwaresolutions.mantishub.io/api/rest/issues?filter_id=unassigned' \
  --header 'Authorization:h58meqhpRzLfnGRf6Pu8FA8thjWGvBFd'

Following are examples of API capabilities around entities defined in MantisHub:

  • Issues – Retrieve one issue, retrieve issues matching a filter, create, delete or update issues, add notes, tags, relationships, attachments, etc.
  • Projects – Get a full list of all projects accessible to logged in user along with project specific configuration like categories, versions, custom fields, etc.
  • Filters – Retrieve all filters definitions, a single filter definition, or delete filters.
  • Users – Create or delete users or retrieve your user information.
  • Configuration – Retrieve one or many configuration options.
  • Localized Strings – Retrieve one or many Local Strings.

The API library is still growing so be sure to refer to the documentation for the most up-to-date API definitions.

MantisHub has a wide range of features and customizations that allow you to get the cover most of your software bug tracking and general issue tracking needs. We also provide a number of plugins and integrations including chat apps Slack and Hipchat, Source control integrations with GitHub and Bitbucket, JetBrains, TestLodge for test case management and more. And now with the REST API… your options just got even bigger!

**MantisHub’s previously supported SOAP API is now on the deprecation path in favor of the REST API. 

 

Protecting MantisHub users from Meltdown and Spectre Vulnerabilities

IMPORTANT NOTE: MantisHub services are patched for wide-spread security threats Meltdown and Spectre. Action Required:- Users need to update their browsers and install latest updates for their operating systems. Read on for details…

Security of cloud information is always at the forefront of any SaaS provider and long gone are the days when security was treated lightly. MantisHub prides itself on our high-security rating and we’ve addressed many security queries and concerns of our customers. Many of the security measures we have in place are listed in our KB article here. As well as providing secure infrastructure with SSL, data encryption at rest and data isolation, our team stays on top of all the latest threats, taking precautions needed to ensure the safety of your data and your service.

The Latest threats?  – Meltdown and Spectre

With the new year came reports of 2 major hardware vulnerabilities affecting a large number of modern computer processors. Including some variants of Intel, AMD and ARM processors used in personal computers, mobile devices, tablets and servers. These vulnerabilities, named Meltdown and Spectre, can potentially be exploited by hackers to access unauthorized data. It is a weakness in the hardware barrier between applications and could allow processes within one piece of installed software to access stored data of other software in the system.

The threat was reported by Googles Project Zero on Jan 3rd. It was also published in pdf by independent researchers here for Meltdown and Spectre.

What are we doing?

MantisHub primarily uses Amazon Web Services infrastructure and all security patches and updates protecting against the vulnerability have been deployed. We are also working with our other vendors and providers to ensure steps are taken to mitigate any risk to systems. MantisHub is continuing to keep across any new developments and update requirements so you can be assured that we’re doing what’s needed to make your data safe.

What can you do?

As this vulnerability is wide-spread you need to take steps to ensure all your devices have the latest updates. PC, Macs, Smartphones & tablet operating systems should all be updated and continue to check for updates regularly as some patches are still in development.  Additionally, make sure that all browsers receive the latest updates. Check out updates already available for Mozilla Firefox and MS Edge. Safari has an update “coming soon” and Chrome were due to provide version 64 on Jan 23rd but in the interim, you should follow these instructions to enable site isolation to protect against the threat and be sure to upgrade once version 64 comes out.

You can keep across any updates by following us on twitter and don’t forget to check in on our blog regularly.

Get Closure with MantisHub – Issue Lifecycle and Workflow.

ClosureTitleImage_02

The main goal of issue tracking is to capture issues and drive them all the way to closure. A ticket is reported and our aim is to have it fixed or resolved and then close it off. Of course, each issue needs to progress through several stages before it reaches it’s final resting place and it’s important to clearly define your overall process for issue tracking and then to align this with the status at which an issue can be placed in at any particular point. This typically refers to your issue life-cycle.

changestatus

MantisHub defines 7 statuses for you to reflect status of your issues. Below outlines how these statuses would be considered in a traditional software development process but you’ll see that much of this is transferable to any issue tracking scenario.

  • New – This is the landing status for new issues and indicates it’s waiting on some review or action.
  • Feedback – This status is used to reflect that the issue is pending on feedback from the reporter. So is used when more information is needed.
  • Acknowledged – This status is used by the development team to reflect their agreement to the suggested feature request. Or as supporting what the reporter is suggesting.
  • Confirmed – This status is typically used by the development team to reflect that they agree with what the reporter is suggesting in the issue and that they have confirmed and reproduced the issue.
  • Assigned – This status is used to reflect that the issue has been assigned to one of the team members and that the team member is actively working on the issue.
  • Resolved – This status is used to reflect that the issue has been resolved. For added information, an issue can be resolved with one of many resolutions. For example, an issue can be resolved as “fixed”, “duplicate” or “won’t fix”.
  • Closed – This status reflects that the issue is completely closed and no further actions are required on it. It also typically hides the issue from the View Issues page. Some teams use “closed” to reflect sign-off by the reporter and others use it to reflect the fact that the fix has been released to customers.

Typically issues would move through new to closed but of course you may need to return to a previous status, for example a new development while in assigned state may require you to go back to feedback for some more information from the reporters. Or after resolution, the ticket needs to be re-opened. And some statuses may be skipped altogether, perhaps your smaller teams may not need to go through the acknowledged stage. Others may wish to skip resolved and go straight to closing the issue.

When determining your specific workflow and how they align to MantisHub statuses. It’s important to note that each of these 7 statuses map to one of 3 definite stages in an issues life as this will affect how MantisHub treats issues. For example,

  • any status related filters use this (e.g. hide status field).
  • Some workflow settings depend on these such as ‘when is an issue read-only’, and
  • your resolution values need to make sense with the status value. Check out our KB article on  valid combinations of status and resolution for details.

MantisHub determines this relationship by assigning a code to each of these statuses and using this to define the 3 stages.

  1. Open – at this stage, your issue is needing attention and actively being worked on. It will appear in filters and reports as open tickets. This stage covers the new through to assigned statuses or code values 0 to 79
  2. Resolved – at this stage your issue has been addressed but there may be some follow up (e.g. release, documentation, notifications etc). This stage contains the ‘Resolved’ status or code values 80 to 89.
  3. Closed – all work relating to this issue has been completed. This stage contains the closed status or code values 90 and above.

These stages and code values are particularly important if you’re considering customizing your status values.

Customizing your statuses

The 7 default status values do work really well for the vast majority of our customers. The terms are generic, intuitive and flexible enough to apply to any environment. However, we do offer the option to customize this for qualifying plans. The most simple changes are hiding any of the existing defaults that you find are not being used or changing the name or color for existing defaults. Not so straight forward but also commonly used are adding in some extra custom statuses.

When adding custom values here, there are 5 items of  information you need to provide. While it’s tempting to just provide the new status name, you also need to define some peripheral terminology for the system such as what phrasing you want for email notifications. And it’s important to make sure to provide the requested terminology for any specific languages in which you use your system as these are not included in the system translations. All the details can be found in the KB article customizing issue statuses.

 

Workflow transitions

Another way to customize your workflow is by locking down transitions between each status. By default you can move freely from any status to another. But you may want to lock in certain behavior. For example, you may want the system to work such that once a new issue is changed to a higher status it can’t go back to being new. So you can disallow transition from any state back to ‘new’. Or perhaps you want to make sure all tickets go through the resolved state before being closed, so you would disallow all transitions to the closed state, except the transition from resolved state.

workflow_trans_change

You can also lock down transitions according to a users access level. By default, developers and above are allowed to change an issue to each status, the only exception being that reporters can of course create issues in the ‘new’ status.  There is simple check box configuration option to give reporters permission to re-open issues or close and this is configurable in the workflow thresholds.

To give you an example of making use of workflow transitions, lets say you want all managers to sign off on issues before they are closed, then you could set the minimum access level allowed to transition to closed status to be manager. Check out the article on workflow transitions for more details.

ACLtransition_markup

Helpdesk workflow

When using MantisHub Helpdesk to handle incoming customers tickets submitted via email, MantisHub suggest a number of tips and shortcuts as well as a specific workflow. In a customer support scenario, your issues or tickets will transition frequently between the feedback and assigned statuses. When responding to customers, you should set the status to feedback indicating you are waiting on a response from the customer. Once a customer replies, the ticket is automatically set to an assigned status indicating it’s waiting on your action. The workflow suggests a streamlined approach for handling these tickets and also takes into account which types of activity within the ticket will trigger notifications to your customers. Have a read of this article and many more on our Helpdesk feature for your customer support needs.

 

Addressing your workflow process and utilizing our intuitive issue life-cycle will definitely save your team time and money. Or consider tapping into the many ways you can tailor it to your needs. Improve efficiency and create simplicity in your issue tracking process and get closure :).

TestLodge integration with MantisHub

Testlodge Integration

Some of you Mantis users out there are most likely in need or already using a test case management tool to pickup any bugs in your software product. You may be thinking “How useful would it be to have my issue tracker and test case manager work together!” Well there are a number of test case managers out there that do advertise integration with Mantis and their instruction are available for you to test out.

MantisHub team is currently working on testing some of these out for you but if you’re after tried and true, we’ve been working with our friends at TestLodge and have developed step by step instructions to allow you to integrate MantisHub with their popular test case managment tool. Known for its clean and simple interface (sound familiar? 😉 you can starting running through test cases straight away. Linked with your clean and simple MantisHub service, this can save you a heap of time.

It’s really easy to setup the integration, you can check out our knowledge base article for the full procedure and functionality details. TestLodge have even produced a short video tutorial to help get you going that you can find linked in our article.

With the TestLodge integration you can connect to your MantisHub service using an easily generated, secure API token. We recommend you create a new, appropriately named user within MantisHub to use for linking to TestLodge so it’s easy to identify TestLodge generated issues. Once linked, you can automatically create issues with MantisHub when tests cases fail. You can setup within TestLodge the MantisHub project that you want these issues to be created in and also set the MantisHub issue’s assigned user, category, priority and severity all from within TestLodge. There’s even the capability to pull status updates on MantisHub issues via API and re-run tests based on the current issues status (e.g. resolved).

Our friends at TestLodge are offering a great deal to all MantisHub users, sign up for a free TestLodge trial and integrate it with your MantisHub service and they’ll give you a 10% discount on your TestLodge subscription. Reach out to their team at help.testlodge.com quoting the coupon Mantis10 before your free trial ends to receive this offer.

Pair MantisHub’s intuitive powerful tracker with this popular and efficient test case manager to even further simplify your software project delivery process.

User Access and Team Collaboration in MantisHub

istock-business-users-chatting-animate

You will rarely be using MantisHub issue tracker in isolation. As long as you have an internet connection you can be on a remote island connected to MantisHub but I bet you won’t be the only one on. Hopefully you have a whole team of users, reporters, managers, stakeholders, collaborators that you can bring together to make your visions a reality. That’s the goal right?

So lots of users with different roles and different access. Some sensitive data you don’t want everyone to see. Actions and functionality you only want specific users to perform. Does this sound like you? 

User access options within MantisHub are quite extensive and you’ll find there is so much you can do in this space. Let’s go through what functionality you’ll come across. 

Inviting Users, Access Levels and Workflow thresholds

First of all let’s assume you want to give users login access to your MantisHub. For these users your first step is to invite them to create a password and login. To create a user account you just need to enter a username, email address and a real name. These all should be unique. You will also need to define their access level. You have 6 to choose from. As usual with access levels the higher levels inherit the functionality of the lower level with some additional permissions. You can head to ManageManage ConfigurationPermissions Report and Workflow Thresholds to see exactly what each access level can do but here is a brief summary below:

  • Viewer – this is for someone who has read-only access to view the issue details.
  • Reporter – these are users that will create issues, add notes and view issue details after creation but cannot handle (be assigned) or update issues.
  • Updater – adds the ability to update issue details.
  • Developer – adds the ability to handle (be assigned) issues and view private notes.
  • Manager – can also manage projects including adding users to a project and creating categories, versions and linking to custom fields. They also get access to reporting.
  • Administrator – full system access to all projects and issues as administrative functions.

Users accounts are created by administrators via the ManageManager Users section. When creating a user you are defining their global access for public projects. You can define a different access level for the same user at a project level which will override their global access level for that project. So for example someone can have reporter global access but for a specific project they can have developer access.

While the above listed user access levels are the default settings and should make sense for most setups (that’s kinda why we made them that way :)) you can tailor what functionality these access level have via Workflow Thresholds. Head to ManageManage ConfigurationWorkflow Thresholds and you can tweak it. Perhaps for example you want a reporter to be able to close the issue once it’s complete or move it to another project.

When a user becomes inactive, MantisHub recommends you disable users rather than deleting them. This way they no longer have access to your system but you retain your user history as well as saving a user license.

 

Public or Private

If you want any control over who sees what in your MantisHub you need to consider making your projects private. Public projects will be available to all users in your MantisHub according to their access level. If you wish to set up MantisHub such that users can only see the projects you specify, then you should make projects private, only administrators will have access to these projects by default. You can then go in and specifically add the users to the projects that they need access to. Projects are public by default on creation but within MantisHub you can also configure the system so that the default for new projects is private.

You can add further restrictions by making use of private issues or private notes within your issues. This allows you to have your developers, managers and administrators collaborate on issues without exposing your internal conversation to the viewers, reporters and updaters. By default only developers and above can see all private notes and issues or change the view status. Reporters and updaters can only see their own private issues and notes. This is configurable in your Workflow Thresholdsas well as whether your users are able to see the option to set an issue or note to private. You can also define whether they are public or private by default through configuration options.

Alternatives to creating accounts. 

There are a few alternative to having your administrators create a heap of user accounts to allow others to submit or view issues in your MantisHub.

1. Self Sign-up

Some companies may want to open up their tracker to allow users to sign up and create Reporter accounts themselves within their system. This is particularly common with open-source software projects and other wide-spread software. This way your users can sign up themselves whenever they wish to submit issues to your tracker. Administrators will get notifications of all new signups.

In these cases, companies may also pair this up with a simpler option for Viewer accounts by enabling anonymous access. This makes your MantisHub public projects viewable without requiring a customer to login. This can also enable search engines to index your MantisHub issues.

2. MantisHub Helpdesk

Another option for companies, is to use MantisHub Helpdesk to allow customers to email in issues. This is typically used as a customer support or service desk solution. Customer can email your MantisHub email address (or you can re-direct your company support email address) to automatically create issues within your MantisHub tracker. Your internal team can respond to issues by adding public notes that will trigger responses to the customer. You can also still collaborate internally with your team behind the scenes using private notes. Your email reporter (and any cc’d parties) will get notifications of creation, public note additions and closure of their email submitted MantisHub issues. All without needing direct access to your system.

 

Team Collaboration

Your MantisHub users can tap into a few other features when collaborating as a team.

Notifications

It’s a delicate balance knowing what to notify the team of in your system. You want to avoid having users filter out any MantisHub communications or just deleting them. Have a think about all the ways you can keep your team across what’s happening including those mentioned below to keep from spamming the team. Don’t forget you also have the timeline in your My View dashboard.

  1. @mentions – This feature is a particular favorite of mine. We use it to death and it’s super handy. Pull other users into issue for comment by @ mentioning their username within the issue. They will get an email notification with your note and a link to the issue so that they can respond or take action as requested. This way you can retain ownership of the ticket and still have advise or help from a colleague as needed. @mention emails avoid duplication, so if you are have been mentioned in a note and receive an @mentions email you will not received the ‘Note added’ email notification as this is now redundant.
  2. Email notification settings – You can set what activity your team gets notified of in MantisHub. This can be set quite flexibly for the system as a whole, or for specific projects and access levels. Users can even override the system settings in their own personal account preferences. MantisHub also provides a way for you to turn on logging for email notifications to help you troubleshoot any issues you might have if it’s not working as you expect. Again, have a good think of what you want to turn on here as the last thing you need is inbox overflow. You may even want to consider saving users from unnecessary emails but not adding them to a project they wont be using or changing their access level for the project. Last things to note here is that you can turn verbose or non-verbose notifications depending on if you want to get just the updated content or all the issue details.
  3. Monitoring – if you don’t necessarily want notifications for all issues within a project and so have only default or limited notifications set but are particularly interested in one issue, you can add yourself as a monitor of an issue to receive all notifications relating to it. Another use-case is that perhaps you have reported an issue and as reporter are notified of all status changes and updates and yet you have a college also needing to keep across the issue, you can add them as a monitor of the issue.

Project Management

Your managers and team can keep track of project version/release progress and updates  using the Changelog and also project roadmap goals using the Roadmap page. These pages are available to all users by default but this again is configurable via workflow thresholds and configuration options.

The summary page for statistical information and graphs on your MantisHub usage is initially only available to managers and admins but can also be tailored via configuration option view_summary_threshold and using the user access level codes to set the minimum.

So you can see there is so much you can do with MantisHub to manage you users. Just taking a bit of time to plan out how you set up the team and your customers interactions will make things run that little more smoothly for you. Jump onto our knowledge base here or follow the links in this article to find out about even more options that we didn’t get a chance to tell you about as well as specific step by step instructions. And you can always reach out to the support team with any questions.

May your team grow and prosper ;).

 

10 MantisHub Workflow Tips for Changelog & Roadmap

Day3_Body

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.

changleog

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.

roadmap

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

Laptop and cup of coffee with flower on desk

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.