Customizing the Agile Planning tools in Rational Team Concert 2.0

The Agile Planning tooling supports you in being agile. From planning a simple iteration, to a release for one team or a whole project with multiple iterations and teams – the Agile Planning tooling comes with a set of plan types and plan modes that makes planning fun. The Agile Planning tooling can be customized extensively to fit your needs.


We strongly recommend reading the following documents first:

This document also assumes that a Jazz server has been set up and you have access to it. In addition you have to be connected to an existing Project Area before starting customizing the Planning component.

Getting Started

Customization of the Agile Planning tools is done via the project area's Process Configuration editor. First, select Open in the context menu of the Team Artifacts view.

Project Area Editor

Then navigate to the Process Configuration page and select the Project Configuration > Configuration Data > Planning configuration data.

Plan Attributes

Work items have a set of built-in attributes as well as a set of custom attributes (see Work Item Customization for details). Work item attributes are used by groupings, filters, sorters, make up available columns in a plan, and define how work item can be colored. Further, some attributes have special semantics in order to support high-level progress computation and work item prioritization. The Plan Attributes editor allows you to edit the Complexity Attribute, the Ranking Attribute, and Attribute Mappings.

Complexity Attribute

Agile methods distinguish between sizing plan items and estimating execution items. Usually, plan items are sized using an abstract value. Scrum, for example, uses story points but other agile methods might use any other abstract value, such as gummy bears. In contrast, execution item effort is estimated in working hours.
The Complexity Attribute section lets you select the work item attribute used to size plan items. Release plans use this attribute to compute each plan's progress.

Defining the complexity attribute

By default, the complexity attribute is set to Story Points, but you may select any other work item attribute. Specify an abbreviation for the complexity attribute, which will be used as a more compact rendering in the user interface.

Usage of the complexity attribute abbreviation

Ranking Attribute

Plans allow the work items to be ranked, that is to specify a complete ordering among them. Usually, this functionality is used to prioritize the outstanding work while planning. While the exact ordering is not visible but relative to other work items only, the coarse-grained value is reflected on each work item using an enumeration attribute, by default each work item’s Priority.
Using this configuration section, the coarse-grained attribute used to rank work items can be changed to any work item enumeration attribute.

Defining the ranking attribute

Changing the ranking attribute modifies the behavior of all plan modes using the Ranking sort mode.

Defining the ranking attribute

Attribute Mapping

The Work Item component allows defining custom attributes. In order to make them available to the Agile Planning tooling, they must be added in the Attribute Mapping section. To do so, select Add and chose an attribute you want to use for planning.

Adding a new attribute.

Adding a work item attribute to planning makes it available for use with groupings, sorters, and filters. Further, it can be selected as a column visible in the View Layout as well as used when defining colorize-rules.

Plan Mode Elements

Plan Modes enable different visual representations of a plan and therefore support different tasks in planning. A plan mode is made up from different Plan Mode Elements like styles, groupings, filters, sorters, column-, and colorize-definitions. Groupings, filters, and sorters can be managed in the Plan Mode Elements editor.

Creating a new sorter

Select Plan Mode Elements, go to the groupings section, and select Add. Enter a name and select an attribute by which you want to group your work items (note that currently only enumeration based attributes are supported.). Now, open a plan and edit or create a plan mode. The newly created group mode will be ready for use.

Creating a new sorter

Plan Modes

Plan Modes are created and managed in-place using the plan editor. Rational Team Concert comes with a set of built-in plan modes, however you can edit those and create new ones. Select Plan Modes to get a list of all currently available plan modes. It allows to delete custom plan modes as well as to promote plan modes for project wide use

Plan modes belong to a plan type. An iteration plan, for instance, has a different set of plan types compared to a release plan. When creating a custom plan mode, it’s visible to the team owning the corresponding plan only. However, you might want to share a plan mode amongst your project. To do so, choose a plan mode and select Promote.

Promote a plan mode

Once promoted, a plan mode is not private to a team anymore but can be associated with a plan type to be used by everyone.

Plan Types

Rational Team Concert comes with different plan types – each being tailored for a certain need. For instance, an iteration plan gives you a detailed view on all work items for a team and iteration, while a project release plan provides a high-level view of all plan items of the whole project.

Promote a plan mode

The Plan Types editor allows you to inspect plan types, customize them by adding new default plan modes, or delete them.

Top-Level Work Item Types

A top-level work item type denotes a work item type that covers more information than a single implementation task. Usually, such work items describe work units on a high level of abstraction and can be broken up into further tasks and child work items in general. In terms of planning, it is particularly important to track the progress of top-level work items, since they reflect the work to be done during an iteration in a condensed and high-level way. The Plan editor has special representations for these work item types to account for this. Instead of estimates, it shows the overall percentage of completed child work items. Top-level work items which are not estimated do not lower the quality of planning value (they are not counted as not estimated) because the real work usually happens in child task which will be estimated instead.

Top-Level Plan Item Configuration Option
If you add new work item types to the process specification and some of the new types are used to capture and track higher level planning information like Stories and Epics in Scrum, then mark these types as top level work items.

Work Environment

The User editor allows every user to define its own work environment, including work days, work assignments, and absences. If users do not customize their work environment, a default work environment is used. This default work environment can be edited using the Work Environment configuration option. You can set the work hours per day and the work days per week you normally work.

Work Resources Configuration Option
In addition the work environment values will be used to normalize estimate values entered in the Work Item editor, the Iteration Plan editor or the My Work view. So the value 1 w equals in hours work days per week multiplied by work hours per day as specified in the work environment project settings.

Work Item Progress Mode

Knowing what work remains is vital for Scrum and other agile projects. Rational Team Concert now allows teams to specify whether they want to track time spent or time remaining for a particular work item.

Configuring the work item's progress mode in the project area editor

Choose the work item progress mode that works best for you.

My Work view and Work Item editor showing the time remaining attribute

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