Category: Tips & Tricks

User Access and Team Collaboration in MantisHub

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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

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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.

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.

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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.

 

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.

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.

MantisHub Web App Shortcuts

For Windows and Linux users Chrome and IE now have features that allow you to add web applications to your taskbar or start menu so that you can launch your web app straight from your desktop rather than having to open it through your browser.

This could be really useful to use with your MantisHub. It means you wont have to open your browser and enter your MantisHub address and credentials every time you need to access it.

For Chrome:

Browse to your MantisHub address and log in. Go to the page you would like to launch your app from. This could be your ‘My View’ page or ‘View Issues’ page for example.

Then go to your Chrome Settings, ‘More tools’ and select ‘Add to taskbar’.

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NB: In some Chrome versions the menu options are ‘Tools’ and ‘Create application shortcut’ and you’ll be given options to add to the desktop or start menu as well.

You can choose to have it open in it’s own window. With this view, there’s no address bar to allow more space for your app.

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You may want to add a few shortcuts to take you to different mantishub pages. Maybe one to take you straight to my view and another when you want to report an issues.

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Another shortcut option for you is to right click on the tab in Chrome and select ‘Pin tab’. This truncates the tab title so it only shows the favicon and also will auto open with Chrome. This option is supported for MAC OS.

 

For IE:

Browse to your page of choice, go to Settings and select ‘Add Site to Start Menu’. You can now launch the page directly from the Start menu or right click from there to pin it to the taskbar or create a desktop shortcut.

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Another way to do it in IE is to open up a new tab and drag the page you want from the frequent pages listed down to your task bar.

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And you’re done! Now you can go watch the next GOT episode 🙂