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How to access actual start date of work item via OSLC (agile template)?


Jochen Widmaier (2217) | asked Apr 18 '17, 2:56 a.m.

Hi everybody,

We are using the agile template and I try to extract the actual start and end date of finished work items from RTC. Using a query I can show the start date, but it always shows "None" even for already started or closed work items. Using OSLC to access the work items I can't even find a start date in the work item directly. I found the plannedStartDate via the schedule feature, but that is set to the start of the iteration for all work items (and not to the actual date when the state moved from new to in progress). Does anybody know how to find out the "real" start date (moment when the work item state moved away from new)?

Some background: I try to calculate the cycle time (time from start working on the work item till finishing the work item). I found a predefined queries in JRS, but it only gave me the overall average cycle time. I need the individual cycle times of each work item of a given period to be able to predict future end dates like Daniel Vacanti suggests in his book "Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability"

Thank you and kind regards,
Jochen Widmaier

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Nate Decker (37813058) | answered Jun 26 '17, 4:15 p.m.

 We have to track the "Actual Start Date" in our environment for our metrics on level of effort projects as well. We've come up with a couple of approaches for this.


1) Originally we added an "Actual Start Date" attribute to all of our work items and we defined a JavaScript attribute customization that would set this attribute when the work item entered a particular state. This worked okay but was a little error prone because it would become reset if work items were re-opened and certain other corner cases caused it to store invalid data. We probably could have made it more reliable and robust if we had implemented it as server-side Java extension (follow-up action operation behavior) instead.

2) Eventually, we got rid of the attribute and just display the Actual Start Date in reports. For the reports, we pull the work item history. We sort the history entries chronologically and look at the first instance when a work item moves from a Created state group to an In Progress state group. When that occurs, we flag that as the Actual Start Date. Note that this report was REST-based (which I find easier than OSLC queries), but if you wanted to do something similar with OSLC queries, I'm sure that would be a viable option as well.

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