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In order to keep the bug priority column at a manageable level, I would like to automate when an bug issue transitions from defects to the priority column then the last issue at the bottom of the priority column moves back to the defect column.
Any ideas on best way to automate this?
You might try something like this.
You must update ORDER BY RANK to the same order you have in the board, this to secure lookupIssue.last will be the lowermost issue in the column.
You might also add a filter for testing the count using lookupIssues.size to break if there are so few issues that you don't want to transition "back" any issues.
I'm not able to use advanced branching with lookupIssues for som reason, hence the need for two JQLs. (I might look more into that.)
First a few questions to help focus your approach...
How are issues moved from the "defects" to the "priority" column? Is it with another rule or manually? And if manually, why is the team pulling over more work when their capacity is full?
How do you know if your team is / is not working on something in the priority column? You may want to account for that before automagically transitioning an issue.
Back to your question...
You can do this with JQL and the Lookup Issues action...assuming your board's filter has the default of ORDER BY Rank ASC...
First, write some JQL that will return the issues in your "priority" column, with ORDER BY Rank ASC (matching your board filter). Test it to make certain it works as you expect, with View All Issues.
Now create your rule...
The big board is a shared board with CS, support and myself. When the dev team are ready to pick up the next high priority bug from the next up column - I manually move it to in progress.
Bugs are manually moved by CS?support from defects to next up and can change order at any time depending on severity.
Thanks for getting back to me
Thanks for the additional details.
It appears the board has some "policies", like the WIP limits you are using, and that because multiple people can move things the limits are not being followed. That seems worthy of a discussion to learn why: is it a training issue, an unknown problem, etc.
The rule I suggested will move things back to the Defects column, and I recommend having the above discussions first to learn why the rule is needed. If the rule is still needed after the chats, please try to implement what I suggested.
Of note, this shared board seems similar to a Kanban visibility board. And for Kanban there are cases where WIP limits can be exceeded for a short time for an "expedite", class of service issue. Keep that in mind as the automation rule would need to handle that scenario.