Managing Tasks

Topcoder is introducing the concept of tasks to the platform. This will be incrementally rolled out and integrated into the user experience as well as the platform infrastructure.  The first version of tasks has been rolled out and is available for use via Topcoder Direct. In summary, it is a way to create tasks for 1 or more members. They can be assigned to specific individuals, or left open for the first person to submit. The task runs as a challenge, utilizing the same basic rules and workflow as the selected challenge type. The tasks are listed along with other challenges on Topcoder.  Visibility and permissions are applied depending on how the task is setup - open to the public vs. specific to a group or individual. Below are a list of FAQ’s to help understand how, why, and when to use tasks instead of traditional challenges or Jira tickets.

Who can use tasks?

Everyone.  If you have a subscription to use the Topcoder Platform, then you can use Topcoder Direct to create and manage tasks.  

How do I run a task?

To run a task, you start the same way you would with a challenge in Topcoder Direct. Currently, you can run a First to Finish or Design First to Finish challenge in the form of a task. Use the “Launch Challenge” feature in Direct to start.

 

 

When you select First to Finish or Design First to Finish as the challenge type, you will then see a couple more fields appear.

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  1. Challenge Type: Select First2Finish or Design First2Finish as the type.
  2. Challenge Name:  Name your task.
  3. Project Name: Pick an existing project or create a new one.  Projects are containers for tasks and challenges.  Community members won't see your project - they only see your tasks and challenges.
  4. Billing Account: This is the billing code that is required in order to launch your task/challenge. If you don't have one, contact your manager or support@topcoder.com. 
  5. Copilot:  If you're using a copilot to manage your tasks and challenges, then you can set them here.  If you're using a copilot, then they are actually the person that would be doing this entry.
  6. Review: You can choose to have community review boards sign up as reviewers for this task/challenge, or you can choose to review it internally and assign a specific reviewer - like yourself.
  7. Task: If you don't check this box, then you will be launching a standard challenge that will be open for registration by multiple people.  If you want to assign it and treat it like a task, then check this box.
  8. Assign Member(s): If you selected the Task checkbox, then you can assign specific people to the task. If you don't assign anyone, then the task will be open for registration.  If you do assign one or more people, then only those people will be able to submit to the task.
  9. Groups: If you have permission to any groups, then you can launch a task/challenge into a specific group(s). This is used to launch it into specific mini sites and/or restrict access to the task/challenge to a specific group of users. If you put the task into a private group, then it will not be visible to users that are not in the private group.
  10. Click Next to get to the next page where you will enter details about the task, including requirements, technologies, payments, etc.

 

Can everyone see my task?

It depends.  If you assign the task before activating it, then only the resources on the task will be able to work on it.  If you don't assign it, then it will be open to all members to register for it. These leverage the same rules as challenges.  So, your spec, challenge name, prize $, etc. are still viewable on the challenge pages to the community. Therefore, make sure you treat and privacy and IP concerns in the same way you would on a standard challenge (i.e. Put sensitive info in the forum and/or a secured repository). The exception to this is if you are launching a task into a private community by selecting a group. In this case, only members of the group will be able to see the task.

The assigned members see the task in their dashboard and can submit to it using the standard challenge submission form.

 

 

How do pricing and payments work?

Pricing works the same as it does for standard challenges. The fee is driven by the challenge type that is selected when you run the task. Billing accounts and contract procedures apply as they normally do.  Member payments are defaulted to suggested rates, but controllable by the task owner. Fees and member payments are available in your standard reports. If this is a non-paid task, then you can put $0 as the prize amount.

Who can I assign a task to?

A task can be assigned to any Topcoder member. Terms will be validated for each assignment member against the challenge terms when you save the challenge.

Do terms apply to tasks like they do for challenges?

Yes. You won’t be able to add members to a task that have not agreed to the terms that are configured for it. If you try to add a member that has not agreed to terms, you will be alerted with a validation message that describes which terms have not been agreed to. Send terms agreement links to the member(s) prior to launching the task if required.  Future enhancements will make this process an automated part of the member workflow.

How does review work?

Review works the same way that it does for standard challenges.  For development tasks, you can choose between community review and internal review.  Choose internal review if you plan to review the the results of the task yourself. Choose community review if you want to have the community review board perform the review.  

Do tasks impact member profiles and stats?

Tasks are currently not rated and do not impact reliability.  They also do not carry TCO points. However, they do impact the overall counts and participation levels of the member.  So, completing a task will bump up the challenge count in that track for the given member.

Can I use a task to simply pay a member?

Yes. After you activate the task, you can immediately close it using the “Close” button at the top of the challenge in Direct.  Once you close it, you're done. Within a few minutes, the system will mark your task as complete and set all of your payments accordingly. This process can be used for any task that you do not need to do a formal review on.

 

Should I use these instead of Jira?

Yes. You should start using it immediately for traditional tasks that are being created in Jira, assigned to a member, and paid. You can also use it for other types of items you put in Jira, such as paying a member in reference to a task completed in Github of Gitlab. Some use cases are not going to be as obvious or as seamless at first, but reach out to the support@topcoder.com team for help if you have questions.

Why should I use this instead of Jira?

  • These tasks will show properly in cost reports.
  • Changes/corrections to billing accounts on Jira tickets are clunky and error prone. That’s eliminated in this model since they work just like challenges in terms of billing and reporting.
  • We have a better handle on security and permissions in this model since we can leverage the project and challenge permission models.
  • Standard and custom terms can be applied to these tasks.
  • Formal internal or community reviews can be leveraged.
  • It makes it easier to see all your work in one place - think game plans and API.
  • Yes, they show up on the game plan.
  • They are included in pipeline reports and views if you schedule them in the future.

Is there an API?

Yes. We have an API for creating a challenges and tasks.  It's not available openly yet. If you'd like to learn more about the API, please contact support@topcoder.com.

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