Secret ingredients to quality software


Do you know when you use @ mentions in a PBI?

Created on 20 Sep 2016 | Last updated by Tiago Araujo on 23 Nov 2020 05:44 PM (5 months ago)

When the Product Owner verbally requests a change to a PBI, how do you update the PBI to reflect the change and also keep track of the conversation?

You could send yourself a "To Myself" email and update the PBI description accordingly, but only those people included in the email chain are aware of the conversation.

bad mention pbi
Figure: Bad Example – don't use emails to update tasks

Instead, what you should do is use the discussions feature in the PBI and mention the user using "@<username>". The benefits of using comments are:

  • Quick and easy, no need to compose an email
  • History is visible to anyone looking at the PBI (with email, if you don’t cc them, they wouldn’t have a clue)
  • Easy to see all important notes/comments in one place instead of digging through email

When someone (especially the PO) asks you to fix a PBI, mention that person in the PBI comments so he knows when it’s fixed.

Example: When replying to "Hey XXX, can you please fix PBI 123?"

Bad example: "I have found the PBI and moved it near the top of our backlog"

Good example: "I have found the PBI, prioritized it near the top, and @mentioned you so you know when it is fixed"

Azure DevOps PBIs

good mention pbi
Figure: Good Example – Using @ mentions in Azure DevOps discussion

good mention pbi 2
Figure: Good Example – Email still gets sent to the users who are mentioned in the discussion, so they can still chime in if any details are incorrect

GitHub Issues

MicrosoftTeams image
Figure: Good Example – Using @ mentions in GitHub

Tip: You can @mention on your pull requests as well.

Related Links

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