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StarlingX/Feature Development Process

< StarlingX
Revision as of 18:37, 14 September 2018 by Bruce.e.jones (talk | contribs) (Summary)

StarlingX Feature Handling Process

This page is under construction.


The StarlingX Feature handling process is designed to enable the project team to manage their work following the Four Opens StarlingX is using the StoryBoard tool for tracking features and enhancements. Here is a link to our StoryBoard project group.

The StarlingX project does not follow the standard OpenStack process for release and feature management, documented here. We have chosen in the initial phase of the project to adopt a shorter release cycle and to not tightly couple Feature development to overall project milestones.

If you would like to propose a new Feature or Enhancement to StarlingX, please follow the Easy Mode steps described below. If you are a StarlingX Contributor or would like to become one and implement Features, we ask that you follow the full process as documented below.

Easy Mode

  • To submit a new Feature for StarlingX, all you need to do is:
    • Point your browser at the StarlingX StoryBoard project group.
    • Click on the "Create new" button on the top of the page and select "Story" from the pull down menu.
    • A dialog box will appear
    • In the "Title" field in the dialog box, enter in a name for the Feature or a one sentence description. For bonus points, put the "[Feature]" prefix as the first part of the Title.
    • In the "Description" field of the dialog box, enter in a description of what you want the Feature to do and why you want it. For additional bonus points, use the StarlingX Feature Spec Template
    • In the "Project" field in the dialog box, enter in the name of the StarlingX sub-project repository that would implement your feature. These names all start with "stx-" which you can type to have a drop down list shown. If you don't know which repo to select, you can use "stx-integ".
    • Hit the "Save Changes" and you are done!
    • For additional bonus points, once your Story is created, please add the "stx.new" and "stx.feature" tags to the Story you just created.
  • To work on a Feature in StarlingX, all you need to do is:
    • Find a Feature that you'd like to work on that is in the Approved state. That means the TSC and the team's Project Lead(s) have reviewed and approved the feature for development.
    • Review the StoryBoard description and the specification for the Feature.
    • Reach out to the project team on the mailing list and/or IRC and join in!
    • If there is no one actively working on the Feature, please change the tags in the Story for the Feature. Remove the "stx-approved" tag and replace it with "stx-inprogress".
    • Follow the rest of the process as described below.

The Feature Development Process

Here is the full description of the StarlingX process.


New Features ideas are reviewed by the project's TSC, and assigned to sub-project team(s) for implementation. All of the work is tracked in StoryBoard Stories, which are tagged to show a more detailed state than what the tool can currently provide. Story states follow a Feature life-cycle from the initial review through the completed implementation. All work on a Feature is open, tracked databases and available for anyone on the the project to review, provide feedback on and learn about.


  • Bug fix - a change to the software to correct a defect.
  • Enhancement - a change to the software for internal reasons (e.g. refactoring to improve testability, python2->3, etc…)
  • Feature - a change to the software that is visible to end users

The StarlingX project has a separate process for handling defects, which is defined by the StarlingX Defect Handling Process.

For the purposes of this discussion we will treat Enhancements in the same way as Features and use the word Feature to refer to both. What that means is that we'd like every code change that isn't a bug fix to use this process.

Not all features are created equal. Some are simple, small, contained within one project, and easy to implement. Others may span multiple StarlingX sub-projects, have a high degree of complexity or require a significant amount of new/changed code. We will call the former Simple Features and the later Complex Features. In general this is a subjective call by the Project Lead(s) and only impacts the process when determining how much of a specification is needed for a Feature.

StarlingX Feature Life cycle / Process

Feature Life cycle

Features follow a common life cycle. We track Features through each step using StoryBoard tags. Our proposed Feature life cycle steps are:

  • New - this is a new idea from a user, a developer or other project stakeholder
  • Analysis - New features need to be reviewed, scoped and estimated by the project team.
  • Approved- The feature has been reviewed and approved for implementation
  • In progress -The feature is being worked on
  • Complete - The feature has been fully implemented and tested
  • Released - The completed feature has been formally released
  • Rejected - The project team has decided to not implement the feature
  • Deferred - The project team has decided to implement the feature at some later point
New State

Any member of the StarlingX community can propose a new feature at any time. To do so, please follow the Easy Mode steps defined above.

The StarlingX Technical Steering Committee has the responsibility to review all New Features for technical merit and alignment with the project's overall architecture. This review process can be iterative with the TSC providing feedback on the Feature or requesting additional information. Once the initial TSC review is complete, the TSC can move the Feature to the Analysis, Rejected or Deferred states, using the stx.review, stx.deferred or stx.rejected tags. If a Feature is Rejected, the TSC should move the Story to Invalid and provide guidance and feedback to the submitter as to why that action was taken.

Analysis State

Features in the Analysis state are assigned to one (or more) Project Leads for deeper analysis and scoping. Features that span more than one StarlingX sub-project should be assigned to all the Project Leads of the affected projects. The Project Leads (and / or their delegates) then work together to architect and design the feature. This will result in the creation of a specification, which can either be just adding additional detail to the StoryBoard entry for Simple Features, or the creation of a formal spec document for Complex Features. See below for the spec creation process.

Once the Project Lead(s) have completed their analysis and spec, the Feature is moved to the Approved state with the agreement of all impacted Project Leads on the completed specification and on a target release. If the Project Leads do not agree, they should raise the issue with the TSC for resolution.

Feature Proposal
  • Any contributor in the community can propose a feature for inclusion in StarlingX at any time.
    • However, the majority of features will be reviewed/accepted during a specific release planning phase per release.
    • If the contributor is targeting a particular release, they should align their proposal/spec review within the planning period
  • To start, the contributor can propose the feature by creating a Story in the StarlingX StoryBoard
  • The contributor can then reach out to the StarlingX TSC / TLs / mailing list to socialize the feature and get initial feedback
  • The contributor proceeds to create a feature spec and gerrit review, using the StarlingX Feature Spec Template
  • The contributor creates a gerrit review for the feature spec. StarlingX feature specs are stored in gerrit at starlingx/stx-specs: <add link here>
Feature Spec Review / Scheduling
  • Feature Specs are reviewed by the StarlingX TSC / Technical Leads using gerrit
  • As already noted above, the majority of features will be reviewed during a specific release planning phase per release. However, smaller features/enhancements can be reviewed and scheduled outside of this time period.
  • Feature Acceptance Criteria
    • TBD
  • Once a feature is accepted based on the technical review:
    • A target StarlingX release is proposed for the feature. The feature story in Story Board will be tagged with the target release by the StarlingX Release Prime.
    • The feature is assigned to a sub-project or cross-project team for development.
      • For large scope features/initiatives, a cross-project team may be put together from the interested community contributors
    • The feature resourcing is secured.
      • It is often expected that the person/group who proposed the feature are willing to provide the resourcing to develop it.
Feature Development
  • The development team breaks down the feature into tasks and starts development/testing
    • Tasks are added under the feature story in Story Board.
    • Ideally, want to be able to have a hierarchy of stories ...especially for big features/initiatives
  • For large scope features, it is recommended to use a feature branch <ToDo: add some info on how to request/create a feature branch>
  • <ToDo: add more info on regular submissions, automated testing, etc>
Feature Verification
  • TBD
Related Topics
  • What's a feature and what's a small enhancement?
  • Are tools/build/infrastructure features which should follow the same process above? Ghada says yes :)
  • Need some guidelines for story board creation and triage

StarlingX Story Board Queries