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 assigned tasks for 1 or more members. The task runs as a challenge, utilizing the same basic rules and workflow as the selected challenge type. The task will become visible in the challenge listings for the community, but registration will be closed so only the assigned member(s) can participate in it. 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?

Currently, Topcoder admins/managers and copilots are able to launch tasks. Over time, these features will be rolled out to customer experiences as well and will likely become part of certain product offerings.

How do I run a task?

To run a task, you start the same way you would with a challenge in 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.

 



Check the “Private Challenge” checkbox to make this an assigned task. Enter one or more member usernames in the “Assign Member(s)” field. If entering more than 1, separate them with commas.

You may set the rest of the challenge properties as you please.  All of the properties work as they would in a standard challenge.  I.e. You can still select internal or community review, NDA, etc.

Can everyone see my task?

Yes. 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).

Although tasks are viewable on the challenge listings page, only those members that are assigned to the task can participate. 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.

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.

 

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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