Prioritize Work

The backlog is an ordered list of customer requests and reported defects. The product owner is in charge of prioritizing the backlog. Prioritizing means keeping the backlog list in an order of importance. Those items that have been requested more often, or are important to the business are listed at the top of the backlog. The product owner continuously tends the backlog as customer needs shift in importance. This activity is also referred to as ranking the backlog.

CA Agile Central provides two methods by which you may rank your work items depending on your workspace type:

  • Drag-and-drop ranking uses position to establish relative priority of a work item on a particular page .
  • Manual ranking uses numbers to establish relative priority within a group of work items.

Your rank method is administered separately for each workspace. Each method has advantages and disadvantages for your style of prioritization. Consequently, changing from one method to another requires foresight and planning. Drag-and-drop ranking is the default rank method for new workspaces; however, you may easily change your rank method.

The format of the rank field is a decimal number with 35 digits to the left of the decimal and three digits to the right.

Caution! If you change from a manual ranking to a drag-and-drop ranking method, your original rank field values will be overwritten.

Drag-and-Drop Ranking

Drag-and-drop ranking uses position to establish the relative priority order of a work item on a particular page. With drag-and-drop ranking, you may prioritize work items by dragging them up or down in priority relative to other work items on the page. Drag-and-drop ranking is the default configuration for new workspaces and may be used in summary pages and custom views.

The dnd icon indicates that drag-and-drop ranking is available for the work item.

To prioritize a work item using drag-and-drop ranking from a summary page or custom view:

  1. Select the dnd next to the work item and drag it up or down on the page with respect to its siblings.

    The work item is outlined with a solid black border. A red line indicates the new position that the work item will occupy when the item is dropped.

  2. Release the mouse button to drop the work item at its new position on the page.

Tip Description

Drag-and-drop ranking is available in the following work item summary pages.

When work items are sorted by rank:

When rank is included as a column and work items are sorted by rank:

dnd In order for the dnd drag-and-drop icon to appear, drag-and-drop ranking must be activated for the workspace, rank must be included in the view and the page must be sorted by rank ascending.
New work items Newly-created work items are positioned by default at the top of the page.
Creating or editing action When creating or editing a work item using the Actions button, the rank field does not appear on the Create or Edit page if drag-and-drop ranking is activated.
Inline editing When you activate inline edit, an ordinal number appears in the rank field to help you position your work item in the correct priority order. You may change this number to change the rank of the work item that you are editing.
Multi-editing When multi-editing work items, the rank field does not display on the page if drag-and-drop ranking is activated.
Page ranking If you have several pages worth of data on a particular tab (such as 200+ items in your backlog) and you use drag-and-drop to re-rank on the first page of the backlog, that will have no impact on your second page of backlogged items.
Sort If you sort your view with a field other than rank, the work items on the page are ordered accordingly.
Filters When using drag-and-drop ranking with a filtered view, your new rank order will be retained, although other work items may be interspersed when the filter is removed.
Child user stories Child user stories are ranked relative to siblings within a parent.
Import and export If drag-and-drop ranking is active and you attempt to export a view and re-rank your data outside of CA Agile Central, your export will reflect a page order rather than a rank number. Upon importing the data, your new page order will be preserved; however, the imported work items will be appended to the end of the view. Existing work items are not overwritten, but instead are treated as new work items.

Manual Ranking

Manual ranking uses numbers in a rank field to assign priority order to a selected group of work items. Use the decimal rank field to assign a priority to each individual work item. In addition to individual priority, you may use other conventions such as priority levels or parent-child relationships to assign rank values.

You can use the rank number sort work items in custom views, and summary and detail pages.

To rank a work item a summary page:

  1. Select Actions, then select Edit <work item>.
  2. Enter the rank value in the rank field (optional decimal number).
  3. Select Save and Close.

To rank a work item from a detail page:

  1. Select the Edit icon to the right of the row, or double-click the row for inline editing.
  2. Enter the rank value in the rank field (optional decimal number).
  3. Select Save.

To rank multiple existing work items:

  • Select Actions, then select Multi-Edit.
  • Enter the rank value in the rank field (optional decimal number) for any or all of the work items.
  • Select Save.
Tip Description

Manual ranking is available in the following work item summary pages:

Re-ranking Re-rank work items by applying additional numbers after a decimal point (such as 1.2, 1.21...) This enables you to change the priority of work items without needing to re-rank every work item in the list.
Priority levels You may use the rank value to indicate a high level of priority. For example, you may assign multiple work items a rank value of 1 to indicate must have, 2 to indicate nice to have, or 100 to indicate low or long-term priority .
Parent-child relationships You may use the rank value to indicate parent-child relationships (such as 1, 1.1, 1.2).

Change Your Ranking Method

You may decide to change your rank method after configuring and using your workspace. Although CA Agile Central provides this capability with a simple option button change, there are implications to your CA Agile Central data that should be considered before making such a change.

Changing from one rank method to another may possibly impact your workspace in the following ways:

  • The system attempts to maintain the rank values as they exist before changing the rank method.
  • If you have multiple items with the same rank, the new order of that subset may be randomly applied.
  • If you change the rank method from manual ranking to drag-and-drop ranking, and then subsequently change back to manual ranking, you will not restore the original rank values that existed before the changes. Whole numbers ( 1, 2, 3...) are assigned as rank values in the conversion process.

To change your workspace rank method:

  1. Select the Edit icon.
  2. In the Rank Method field, select either the manual ranking or drag-and-drop ranking option.
  3. Select Save to save your rank method and begin the conversion process.

Important: Once you select Save, the conversion process begins immediately. Users should not be logged in at this time because all user stories and defects in the workspace are updated. The conversion process may take up to 10 minutes, depending on the amount of data in your workspace.

Related Topics


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Heads Up

Drag-and-drop ranking is used through out the CA Agile Central application, not just the backlog page .