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What’s New in IBM Engineering Workflow Management v7.0

We’ve made a lot of progress on some key themes such as usability, enterprise agile, and support for complex regulated development at scale in the v7.0 EWM release.  I’ll cover some of the high level enhancements related to those themes.

UX Modernization in EWM

UX modernization is all about user experience redesign and usability improvements. We are on a multi-year journey to update the design and user experience of our ELM solution. v7.0 is the first phase of that journey where we introduce the IBM Carbon design theme into our ELM products. This includes things like modern UI design for banners across all tools, a common color palette, common login experience, and new modern icons. In EWM v7.0, you will see the My Stuff page and the Quick Planner and Program Board applications all use the Carbon design theme.

Agile@Scale Planning

The v7.0 release simplifies support for the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) 4.6 by supporting four levels with just two out of the box process templates.

  • Essential SAFe 4.6: Use this template in EWM if you just want team and program level agile/Scrum or what is also known as Essential SAFe in SAFe terminology.
  • Full SAFe 4.6: Use this template in EWM to establish a Portfolio tooling environment with the Large Solution layer for the Full SAFe 4.6 configuration.  This environment is associated with one or more Essential SAFe Program/Team tooling environments.

Using the “archive” feature in work items, you can also implement the following SAFe configurations:

  • Large Solution SAFe: Use the Full SAFe 4.6 template and archive the Portfolio Epic work item types. This environment is associated with one or more Essential SAFe Program/Team tooling environments.
  • Portfolio SAFe: Use the Full SAFe 4.6 template and archive the Solution Epic and Capability work item types. This environment is associated with one or more Essential SAFe Program/Team tooling environments.

SAFe Risk ROAMing:  The Risk work item type has been extended to support SAFe Risk ROAMing and a new Plan Board called Risk Roaming has been added. Risk ROAMing is used during the Program Increment (PI) planning for managing risks by categorizing them to treat them adequately.

Resolved             Has been addressed. No longer a concern.

Owned                 Someone has taken responsibility.

Accepted             Nothing more can be done. If a risk occurs, the release may be compromised.

Mitigated            Team has the plan to adjust as necessary

This best practice helps give your team confidence in your ability to deliver on objectives.

New default state and state groups configuration in Taskboard and Kanban views A new page is added to the project area editor in the web client for configuring the default states and state groups in the Taskboard and Kanban Board plan views. If you select or clear a state or a state group in a plan view, that selection overrides the default configuration in new and existing plan views. When you select a state or a state group on this page, you can override the selection in the process configuration source. This is used to ensure that existing teams can have a consistent default view layout and would be unaffected by new states or state groups created in the process configuration source that they may not wish to display in their current boards.

Improved handling of save conflicts in plans: When you save a plan in v7.0, the editor now saves all your plan’s work item changes that do not have save conflicts. The editor now highlights in yellow, only the work items that still have save conflicts after a save operation. You can refresh the plan to update the highlighted work items with the latest saved versions. You can then re-do your changes to just those work items, then save the plan again.

Quick Planner enhancements:

There are significant enhancements in this release to Quick Planner.

Custom color tags: You can now add custom color tags to work item cards on the board in Quick Planner. In addition to colors for tags, you can also add a unique color tag for work item types. For example, all stories could have a red color tag and all tasks have a green color tag.

Custom attributes in Quick Create: The Quick Create feature in Quick Planner now supports custom attributes that you may have defined. So, if you have custom required attributes on work item creation you can now use the Quick Create feature. You can configure which custom attributes that are shown in Quick Create.

Additional Filters: Filter work items by team area, state, or state group in a board filter or lane filter.

Editable Work Item Summary: Edit the work item summary text directly in Quick Planner.

Rich Text Support in the Description Field: You can now use the rich text editing capabilities directly in Quick Planner to modify the description field that supports rich text.

Work Item Tracking:

Organize work item queries using tag-based folders in the web UI:

In the web UI, you can now organize queries into tag-based folders. Tags can be hierarchical, for example, the tag 7.0 / iFix003 / verification displays with a root of 7.0, child iFix003, and grandchild verification. You can add two types of tags to a query. The ability to add or modify shared tags on a shared query is controlled by permissions.

  • Personal tags are used for organizing queries in My Queries.
    • Only the owner of the query can view or modify personal tags.
  • Shared tags are used for organizing queries in Shared Queries.
    • The shared input section is not enabled if the query is not shared.

Consistent attachment and work item access control:

In EWM v7.0, we have changed the default access control so that attachments have the same access control as the work item they are attached to. In v7.0, if you can read the work-item you can also read the attachments for that work-item. If you do not have read access to the work-item, you cannot read its attachments. In earlier releases, attachment access control followed the access control of the containing project. The new default security model will only apply to new v7.0+ created attachments and will not change existing attachments. Operating with both old and new style attachments is fully supported and is the default behavior. It is also possible to configure the server to use the “old behavior” if desired. We changed the default in v7.0 to be consistent with what users expected to be the behavior all along.

Support for role-based permission to delete work items:

You can set an advanced server property (Use role-based permissions to delete a work item) to allow users to delete work items if one of their roles has permission to delete work items. By default, the property is not enabled. If the property is not enabled, users must have JazzAdmins or JazzProjectAdmins repository group permissions to delete work items. This is useful if say you want to give scrum masters or project leads permissions to delete work items, but not have to give them other Jazz administration privileges.

Removal of Flash dependency from Dashboard widgets:

The Flash charting engine in the EWM work item statistics widget has been replaced by D3.js. The work item statistics widget was the only remaining ELM dashboard widget that used the Flash charting engine. There are some minor changes in appearance, but no change in functionality.

Centralized Jazz SCM:  

Enhanced code review and approval workflow:

The code review feature has been greatly enhanced to provide a more structured interaction between reviewers and the code author (work item owner). The code review workflow and reviewer states are managed inside code review. Reviewer approvals are now distinct from work item approvals. The author must explicitly submit code for review, and reviewers must indicate when they have started and completed a review cycle. Controls are in place to prevent the code under review from being changed until the review enters a revision cycle so that reviewers always review the latest content. Preferences allow you to modify the experience by specifying when issues can be raised and by whom; whether a user should be added as a reviewer; and the conditions that need to be satisfied before a reviewer can approve. The authors can close a review once it is approved and ready for delivery. When a review is closed, no further changes can be made including adding or removing changesets, updating issues, or changing reviewer states.

The code review web interface has been redesigned to include two tabbed pages. The Review tab contains the familiar compare editor and navigation panel. The navigation panel now has reviewer action buttons to start a review cycle and signal when it is done. Authors have buttons to resubmit or close a review. A new Overview tab provides summary information about the review such as status, review cycle, reviewer states, issues, and links to issues that have been extracted to work items. On this tab, you can add and remove reviewers, update the target stream, and edit issues. The code review feature is now process-enabled. You can create process advisors that trigger whenever a code review is modified. For example, you can have an advisor that prevents users from creating issues if they are not a reviewer. A new process advisor is available that prevents delivery if code review has not been closed for work items that have code review enabled.

Duplicate changesets

If you have a completed changeset that you would like to modify, you can now duplicate a changeset to create a new, active changeset. This feature is available in the IBM Engineering Workflow Management client for Eclipse IDE and the command-line interface. In the Outgoing folder in the Pending Changes view, right-click a changeset and click Duplicate Change Set. You can discard or suspend the original changeset. You can add the new changeset to a work item, and you can remove the original changeset from the work item.

Save-able Baseline Queries in the Team Artifacts view of the Eclipse client

In the Team Artifacts view of the IBM Engineering Workflow Management client for Eclipse IDE, you can create and save baseline queries. You can then expand the queries to see the results. Also, the baselines under an expanded snapshot show a tree structure that is consistent with the component hierarchy that existed at the time the snapshot was created. Baselines that are shown under an expanded baseline query can be expanded to show child baselines.

Support for editing baselines and managing custom attributes in the Baseline editor
This release of the EWM Client for Eclipse IDE adds the Baseline editor, which lets you edit baselines. In the Baseline editor, you can also add, edit, and remove custom attributes. 

Speed up Pending Changes View loading by tracking only the workspaces you need

In the client for Eclipse IDE, you can now specify that one or more workspaces that are shown in the Pending Changes view are not tracked. An untracked workspace does not show components, changesets, baselines, or flow targets. A benefit of using an untracked workspace is that the client does not incur the overhead of fetching information to populate the Pending Changes view and it will load much faster. If the untracked workspace was previously loaded (as opposed to just shown in the Pending Changes view), the files for the workspace remain in the sandbox. If you then choose to track the workspace, the files do not have to be downloaded again to the sandbox.

Decentralized SCM – Git, GitHub GitLab, and BitBucket integration enhancements: 

Support for BitBucket Server (on-premise):
You can now link Git commits in a Bitbucket server (on-premise) to EWM work items. With this release, commit linkages to work items are now supported in all the major Git variants including Git, Gerrit, GitLab, GitHub, and Bitbucket.

Easier integration setup and administration:
To make installation easier, a command-line script has been provided to deploy and configure pre-receive and post-receive hooks in a single step. The script is available for the Node.js server, GitLab, Gerrit, and Bitbucket. The documentation has been enhanced to include more detailed guidance for administrators and now includes workflow diagrams GitHub and GitLab.

Enhanced pre-conditions for Git push operations ensure accurate work item linking
Pre-conditions on Git push operations which help developers avoid linking to the wrong work item. New preconditions in this release include:

-Ability to prevent work item linking if the author is not the owner
-Require a work item that is being linked to match a custom query you provide

EWM Client for Microsoft Visual Studio IDE: 

Move to asynchronous loading: In this release, the Engineering Workflow Management (EWM) client for Microsoft Visual Studio IDE extensions load asynchronously in the background. To avoid performance degradation, Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 discourages the practice of automatically loading extensions synchronously. Asynchronous loading is supported starting in Microsoft Visual Studio 2015; therefore, the EWM client for Microsoft Visual Studio IDE in v7.0 is not supported with releases of Microsoft Visual Studio earlier than Visual Studio 2015.

Source control extension no longer slows down Visual Studio startup
In previous releases, you might have experienced a slow startup of Microsoft Visual Studio, in which case the Performance Manager window suggested that you disable the Rational Team Concert source control extension. In this release, the startup performance problem has been fixed. Because the performance notification is generated based on the average startup time over multiple startups, you might need to restart the client several times before the notification goes away.

Share new projects in Jazz source control from Visual Studio IDE status bar
When you create a solution in Visual Studio, the status bar now includes the Jazz Source Control option, which you can click to add the solution to Engineering Workflow Management. The Jazz Source Control option is available regardless of whether it is set as the current source control provider in Microsoft Visual Studio.

The .vs folder is ignored by default when sharing a solution in Jazz source control
The .vs folder stores your Microsoft Visual Studio project temporary caches and build-related files. When you add a solution to Jazz source control, by default the .vs folder is ignored.

Pending Changes Filter shows unresolved and outgoing changes in Solution Explorer
Selecting the Pending Changes Filter now filters the Solution Explorer to show only unresolved and outgoing changes when the solution is stored in Jazz source control.

Enterprise Extensions:  

Support for running z/OS dependency builds using Build Manager on ZD&T
EWM Enterprise Extensions now provides an optional mechanism to improve z/OS dependency build performance on IBM Z Systems Development and Test Environment (ZD&T).  This mechanism is based on the Build Manager functionality provided by the IBM Dependency Based Build product. For more information, see IBM Dependency Based Build 1.0.6 Knowledge Center. The Build Manager works by maintaining multiple long-running, persistent Java processes to avoid JVM startup when running builds. EWM Enterprise Extensions can be configured to use the Build Manager. Use the socket server daemon to manage processes and use the socket client to issue build commands.

IBM Dependency Based Build included in ELM z/OS SMP/E package
The z/OS SMP/E package for ELM now includes IBM Dependency Based Build installation materials, which can be installed. EWM uses the Build Manager implemented by DBB to optionally manage JVMs on ZD&T for z/OS Dependency Builds. EWM maintains a common service stream and documentation across all DBB offerings with this approach. The DBB package provides supplemental functionality to z/OS build engineers by including the DBB Java APIs and Groovy support on z/OS that can be used to extend EWM build capabilities and flexibility. For example, you can use this functionality as part of pre- or post-build scripts.

Allow opening other versions of build maps from the current one
EWM Enterprise Extensions provides formatted build reports for z/OS and IBM i dependency builds in the Eclipse client. From a formatted build report, you can view a formatted copy of a build map for a given source file in the context of this build. A build map contains information about how the program was built, including the EWM stream and project path, as well as additional files from the build machine or previous builds that were used. It also contains the output location. Being able to navigate between build map versions helps you to identify differences in build behavior based on changes in the build environment. A button has been added to allow the browsing of other build map versions.

There are numerous other enhancements in the Jenkins and Jazz Build area as well. To see a complete list of enhancements for EWM v7.0, please see https://jazz.net/pub/new-noteworthy/ewm/7.0/7.0/index.html.

Thank you for your continued feedback and let us know how your teams like our new release.

Rolf Nelson
ELM Offering Management

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