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Plan Items vs Execution Items & "Create Work Items from Requirement"

Andrew Codrington (17733135) | asked Jun 28 '12, 12:47 p.m.
I'd love more clarity on Plan Items vs Execution Items. From "An Overview of Project Fundamentals in Rational Team Concert":
"The project area configuration allows you to define a work item type to be a top level work item type. This controls how the planning component uses the work items of these types for work breakdown and effort tracking. Work items that don't belong to a top level work item type are called execution items."

I'm interested in general pros and cons of working with Plan Items vs just keeping it simple and only using execution work items.

One specific thing which isn't clear for me is that the "Create Work Items from Requirement" functionality in a Plan's Links tab creates 'Tasks' in our OpenUP-based CCM Project Area.
Use Cases are currently the only work item types we have defined as 'Plan Items' (aka top level work items). 'Tasks' are execution work items.

It seems to me like "Create Work Items from Requirement" should be creating Plan Items so either I've missed the point, or there's an opportunity for an enhancement here. Can someone clarify - either generally on Plan Items or specifically on the 'Create Work Items...' functionality?

We're on right now.

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Aradhya K (1.4k54345) | answered Jun 29 '12, 2:57 a.m.
The main purpose of the Top level items is 
1. To capture the complexity or the sizing of the plan.
2. Tracking the progress based on sizing instead of number of hours is better.
3. By defining the top level item you can view just these when sizing the project by filtering out the Execution items.
4. If the Plan Owner has child team areas and the "Include All Items" is not selected then only Plan Items will be loaded. This way the plan at the project area level will load faster and will have less work items to plan. In most of the cases Product backlog or release backlog at the project area level are used to do ranking and prioritization. During this phase the planning the Top Level Items will be most important. Then these Top level Items will be elaborated one the implementation starts.

One of the reason why allow creation of execution items as well when we "Create Work Items from Requirement" is to provide the flexibility for customers to create directly the tasks if the requirements are small enough.

When we create the work items it would be helpful if the list can somehow differentiate the plan item and execution items.

Andrew Codrington commented Jul 03 '12, 9:23 a.m.

Thanks Aradhya, that's a nice overview of Plan Items vs Execution Items.

If I've understood the UI properly "Create Work Items from Requirement" doesn't "allow creation of execution items", it actually forces it, and doesn't give me an option to specify a different work item type.

In our case we have "Use Case" checked as a Plan Item, and all other types (Defect, Task, Enhancement,...) are execution items since they are not selected.

If I click "Create Work Items from Requirement" it creates Tasks.

Do I have any control over that? I guess I could experiment and delete the Task WI type...

Carson Holmes commented Nov 08 '12, 7:28 p.m.
Aradhya - 

You wrote: 
"If the Plan Owner has child team areas and the "Include All Items" is not selected then only Plan Items will be loaded."

Why does the Plan Owner have to have child team areas?  If I unselect "Always load all execution items", I'd like my plan to only display Plan Items.  But this doesn't seem to be the case.  Could be pls elaborate?


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