Working with issues

How the CKI team is using GitLab issues

General idea

GitLab issues are used to track planned and unplanned work and incidents in a Kanban-like process.

Ideally, issues should represent the smallest deliverable changes.

For each work item, a GitLab issue should be created. This

  • creates visibility and enables reporting
  • allows to attach merge requests to it, which provides a way to later track down all the work required for a certain work item

Issue life cycle

Any issue created in any of the projects in the cki-project group on GitLab will be automatically assigned an issue type if not done so during creation:

  • CWF::Type::ARK for kernel-ark, handled by the ARK team
  • CWF::Type::KWF for kernel-workflow, handled by the Kernel Workflow team
  • CWF::Type::CKI for all the rest

Additionally, CWF::Type::Incident is available for incident issues.

Backlog refinement

The CKI Refinement board is used during daily stand-up to review newly created tickets in the Open column. Once done, issues are dragged into the CWF::Refined column.

Daily review of these issues ensures that

  • everybody is aware of the work items and can ask clarifying questions and discuss prioritization
  • knowledge transfer is facilitated by allowing everybody to raise their hand to work on an item, and request help and mentorship directly if they feel they do not have enough experience to resolve the issues on their own


Issues go through the following stages visible on the CKI Kanban board.


The issue has been created and is sitting peacefully in the backlog.

CWF::Stage::On Deck

The team has agreed on working on the issue in the next couple of weeks.

Issues are moved to this stage based on bi-weekly backlog review meetings or (exceptionally) stand-up discussions.

Issues should be fleshed out enough to be implementable and have clear acceptance criteria to limit scope creep. If necessary, bigger issues should be split into the smallest deliverable changes.

For the bigger picture, issues can also be converted into epics, or tracked as user stories. How all of this would work is still a bit unclear 🙈.

CWF::Stage::In Progress

The issue is actively worked on.


The issue is completed and all acceptance criteria are fulfilled.

If some acceptance criteria are remaining, but no further work is planned for now, the outstanding acceptance criteria can also be moved into a new issue. Alternatively, the issue can be moved back into the backlog.

Working with GitLab issues

Creating a new issue

Create a new GitLab issue, e.g.

  • on the top bar on a project page, select the plus sign (+) and then, under This project, select New issue from the top bar ("+")
  • on the left sidebar on a project page, select Issues and then, in the upper-right corner, select New Issue
  • on a project page, press the i shortcut
  • on any of the GitLab issue boards, select the appropriate list menu () and then Create new issue

Transitioning an issue between the different stages

To transition an issue to a different stage (<STAGE>), e.g.

  • on the right sidebar on an issue page, select Edit next to Labels, and then select the appropriate CWF::Stage::<STAGE> label
  • in the comment box on an issue page (e shortcut), write /label ~"CWF::Stage::<STAGE>" and submit the comment
  • on any of the GitLab issue boards, drag the issue card to the appropriate list

Closing an issue

Close the GitLab issue, e.g.

  • at the top of an issue page, select Close issue
  • in the comment box on an issue page (e shortcut), write /close and submit the comment
  • on any of the GitLab issue boards, drag the issue card to the Closed list

Further ideas

In the future, it would be neat to track customer-promised issues somehow, as these have to be completed by a certain date, e.g. via a label.