Identify Dependencies

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Dependencies are work item relationships such as parent-child, predecessors, and successors. Identifying dependencies includes the following:

Relationships and associations

Sidebar links

The Rally sidebar displays on the left side of any work item detail page. It organizes related artifact links and makes them easy to access. Use the sidebar to manage and navigate to listings of associated artifacts for work items.


Your display of sidebar links will vary depending upon the work item being viewed.

Each sidebar link shows additional artifacts in reference to the displayed work item detail. The sidebar link displays a number in parenthesis (8) indicating the number of related artifacts per link regardless of any project view scoping applied. In some cases the display may read (6 of 8). In this case, the summary page may not display the number of artifacts indicated next to the link because the artifacts may reside in a either a project for which you do not have access permissions or in a closed project.

Use link... To go to...
Details for... The detail page of the work item.
Children A summary page of related children.
Projects A summary page of all projects associated to the currently viewed workspace. This page shows any parent-child hierarchies for the workspace.
Predecessor All user stories that must be completed before another user story can start or finish.
Successor All user stories that cannot start or finish until another user story is completed.
Dependencies All artifacts that depend on the displayed artifact for implementation.
Dependents All artifacts that the displayed work item depends on for implementation.
Tasks A summary page of all tasks that are defined to implement the work item.
Defects Any defects that have been recorded against the displayed work item.
Test Cases All test cases for the displayed work item
Test Run All related test cases including test steps for use in test execution.
Results All test case results for the associated work item.
Discussion A summary page of all discussion statements.
Attachments A summary page of all attachments.
Revisions A listing of all change revisions recorded for the displayed work item.
Defect Suites A summary page of defect suites.
Duplicates A summary listing of duplicate defects.
Associated Defects A listing of those defects that are contained within a defect suite.
Chart Displays a Story Burndown chart from the Story detail page.

What is an association?

An association is a term that implies a general type of relationship and is used to assist you in tracking and relating your work items. Each association is displayed in the sidebar found on the work item detail page.

When deleting any work item that has associations, you have multiple options for handling the associations. You may delete and remove the work item and its associations, continue with the delete and change the associations for the work item to none, or cancel the entire operation.

Test cases

You can create a new test case result, associate a stand-alone test case to a feature, log a defect, or add an attachment from a test case. View these associations from the Test Case detail sidebar.


Defects allow you to create a test case and both display on the Defect detail sidebar. Deleting the defect automatically removes the task, but the test cases remain intact.


Tasks are derived from user stories and defects, and as such can only be created from the user story or defect. There is an automatic association between the user story or defect and the task. View these associations on the sidebar of the work item or the task. An individual task may be deleted with no effect on the work item.

What are parent-child relationships?

In Rally, a parent-child relationship refers to a relationship between hierarchical projects, user stories, or test folders (requires Rally Quality Manager module). This relationship implies ownership. As such, the parent owns its child projects or user stories. Parents can be decomposed into infinite levels of children. All parent-child relationships for projects and user stories are displayed in the sidebar of the related detail page. The parent-child hierarchy for test folders displays on the Test Plan summary page. Actions performed on the parent have implications on the children.

If a parent user story has been scheduled and a new child user story is added to the parent, the following actions take place:

  • Tasks of a parent story are moved to the first child story.
  • Children inherit a copy of the values for Release, Iteration, State, Rank, Owner, and Blocked from their parent.
  • Test cases and defects remain associated with the parent.

What are predecessor-successor relationships?

Rally uses predecessors and successors to indicate an ordinal relationship in which one user story is dependent upon the completion of another user story. By assigning a predecessor to an existing user story, an order is established between the two in which the successor user story is dependent upon functionality contained in the predecessor user story. Work should not begin on the successor user story until the predecessor user story is completed. User story states are rolled up to help you know when a predecessor is complete and work on a successor can begin. A blocked predecessor state is rolled up and easy to see from any User Story summary page.

In Rally you can:

  • Create user story predecessors. You can create a new user story as a predecessor, or choose an existing user story. Creating a predecessor automatically indicates a successor.
  • View all predecessors and successors from the User Story detail page.
  • View the predecessors and successors for a user story from multiple summary pages such as the User Story, Iteration Status, or Release Status pages.
  • View the rolled up state of predecessors from the Successor User Story detail page.
  • Receive email notifications when a predecessor or successor is changed.

Predecessors and successors can span projects within a workspace.

Identify dependencies

View work item relationships

Each work item detail page contains a sidebar which displays all relationships to the current work item in a linked view. The sidebar located on the left of the page displays all possible associated artifact types that can be related to the current work item as links. Each link is followed by a number in parenthesis indicating the number of associated artifacts that can be viewed in the resulting summary page.

Click any association link to navigate to the related artifact summary page. The summary page offers all actions of the typical work item summary page. As you navigate through the related summary pages, the Actions button options vary in relation to the artifact you are viewing.

Use the show display and hide hide icons to control the sidebar display.

View the user story parent-child hierarchy

View the hierarchical tree from a child user story to its parent in a pop-up pane in the summary page from the user story ID.

Create user story predecessors

You can add a predecessor user story to a new or existing user story. A predecessor user story is one whose implementation must be completed before work on another user story can begin.

To create a new user story as a predecessor to an existing user story:

  1. From the Predecessors summary page, click Actions and select New Predecessor.
  2. On the editor, complete the user story fields and click Save.

    The result is a new user story with a predecessor relationship from the current user story.

To create a predecessor relationship between two existing user stories:

  1. From the Predecessors summary page, click Actions and select Add Predecessors.
  2. On the Choose Predecessors page, check the user stories you wish to add and click Choose. You can select multiple predecessors.

    Note: On the chooser page, if you select items and then click to the next page , your selections on the first page are not saved. Filter your search criteria and increase your display to limit your results to one page.

    The chosen user stories display on the Predecessor summary page.

Predecessor-successor relationships are only allowed between user stories in the same workspace.

View the Predecessor summary

The User Story Predecessor summary page displays all user stories that must be completed before work can be initiated on the currently viewed user story. Both Actions button menu options and inline actions are allowed from this summary page. Use the Predecessors summary page to manage each user story's ordinal relationships.

From the User Story Predecessors summary page you can:

  • Remove remove a predecessor user story. The user story remains intact.
  • Edit edit a predecessor user story.
  • Copy copy one predecessor user story to another new predecessor user story. The user story is copied and a predecessor implementation order is automatically set.

View the Successors summary

The User Story Successor summary page displays all user story successors that depend on the completion of another user story before work can be initiated on the currently-viewed user story. Both Actions button menu options and inline actions are allowed from this summary page. Use the Successors summary page to manage each user story's successor ordinal relationships.

From the User Story Successors summary you can:

  • Edit edit a successor user story.
  • Copy copy one successor user story to another new successor user story. The user story is copied and a successor implementation order is automatically set.

View predecessors and successors inline

You can view a collection of all predecessor and successors and their states for a single user story as you work and plan from any summary page that displays user stories. This includes the following pages:

  • User Story summary
  • Iteration Status
  • Release Status
  • Predecessor or Successor summary
  • Work item status

This allows you to view any relationships that impact your targeted user story without leaving your current page.

You can easily determine if your user story has a predecessor and successor by viewing the related icon in a user story row. When present, the following icons denote:

  • predecessor The user story has one or more predecessors.
  • successor The user story has one or more successors.
  • both The user story has both predecessors and successors.

Hover over any of the above icons to display a pop-up detail of the relationships. The resulting detail presents a header row containing the viewed user story, and two tabs that display predecessors and successors associated to the user story. From this pop-up you can also perform multiple activities.

predecessor display

Use the pop-up Successors tab to view those user stories that are awaiting completion of the current user story before work on them can begin.

successor display

View a rolled up state of the predecessors in the detail page of the user story.


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