Resolved vs Closed - What is the purpose of two 'final' states in the default workflow?

BACKGROUND

  • I am modifying the default workflow for one of our projects.
  • In our old issue tracking sytem we only had one final state for an issue, that was closed.

QUESTION

  1. Why does JIRA's default workflow come with two statuses the appear to be final? Resolved and Closed feel the same state to me and my users.
  2. Is the only difference between closed and resolved is a closed issue cannot be edited without re-opening the issue?
  3. If I decide to remove the Resolved status for my new workflow will that break anything in JIRA?
  4. What about default reports in JIRA, are any of them specificially looking for the Resolved status?

Thanks!

3 answers

1 accepted

32 votes
Accepted answer

The answer isn't an easy one, but basically, it's up to you how you use it (or remove it)

>Why does JIRA's default workflow come with two statuses the appear to be final? Resolved and Closed feel the same state to me and my users.

They aren't both final - in the overwhelming majority of cases, an issue tracker is used with three basic phases.

  1. It's broken (Open, reopened and in-progress)
  2. I think I've fixed it (Resolved)
  3. Yes, it's fixed, never look at it again (Closed)

The fact your users thing resolved and closed are the same implies you have a very simple setup and probably don't really need "resolved". Time to create a new workflow :-)

>Is the only difference between closed and resolved is a closed issue cannot be edited without re-opening the issue?

This is the bit that's up to you. You can actually remove the "do not edit" flag. You don't have to use "closed", or "resolved". You could have a workflow of "new", "in progress", "fixed" if you wanted, the names are not actually horrendously important.

>If I decide to remove the Resolved status for my new workflow will that break anything in JIRA?

Possibly. It'll ask you to move existing "resolved" issues to a new status (closed in your case) but you'll only actually break something if you ignore my next answer

>What about default reports in JIRA, are any of them specificially looking for the Resolved status?

No, but it's good you've asked. Jira doesn't really care about the resolved *status*, but it *really really really DOES* care about the *resolution FIELD*. Whatever you do to your workflow, think carefully about the resolution because Jira sees it as a flag. If it has a value, then the issue is resolved/closed/done/ended whatever. If it's empty, then the issue needs some form of action. The trick here is threefold:

1 For any transition going to a status that you think of as "closed", make sure that you either

1.1 Use a workflow post function to set a resolution automatically. OR

1.2 Put the resolution on the workflow transition screen so the user has to fill it in

2 For any transition going into a status that you think of as "open", use a post-function to clear the resolution

Hi Nic -

Thank you for the excellent information. I have removed the resolved status, but was not aware of the Resolution field and its importance! I will modify the workflow appropriately!

Thanks again!

Rob

That resolution info caught me out over and over when I first started hacking workflows in Jira. The docs have improved a lot since I started, but it's still not that obvious!

I hope the scribblings help out and same you at least a few users saying "why is this closed issue returned in the 'unresolved' report?"

5 votes
Thomas Schlegel Community Champion May 13, 2012
Hi, Resolved for us is a status, where a solution is implemented, but not yet passed the test stages. If an issue has passed all the tests and can get into the production stage, the issue is closed. I think, most reports do not check the status resolved, but the existence of a solution set ( fixed, for example). Best regards Thomas

Hi @Nic Brough [Adaptavist] thanks for the helpful answer above.  At this point I've read enough threads and docs to understand the conceptual difference between status and resolution, and your answer above was very helpful in that it indicates that JIRA does see resolution as a distinction from a final workflow step, and uses it for "stuff". 

However, I'm still not clear on what functional benefits result from maintaining the resolution field if, for all intents and purposes, we just care about "done" or "not done".  Is resolution useful because many of JIRA's built-in reports reference the resolution by default?  Couldn't you, for example, have a dashboard widget that just reports on a status (e.g. Done) % instead of the resolution field % and effectively have the same insight?  Does anyone have more examples of the benefits of being diligent with the resolution field vs the "final" workflow status?

Yes, because Core Jira uses the resolution for everything to do with seeing an issue as "done", you should always consider the resolution in your workflow.  Strikeouts, created vs resolved gadgets, version reports, everything looks at resolution.

A very old message chain, yet not yet "resolved" (sorry for the pun).  I'm not new to this, yet still the old argument exists, why can't I just report on status of "closed" or "done"?   

Well, back to one of the main points (somewhere in this chain).   RESOLUTION is a flag, 1 or 0, True or False, Boolean value.  Those from hard core computer science backgrounds should be familiar.  The "Status" FIELD is NOT a Boolean value (NOT 1 or 0).  

There are 2 states for Resolution 

* Resolution is NULL

* Resolution is NOT NULL

There, 1 or 0, True or False.  Now of course, Resolution "value" can be anything "Done", "Fixed", "Duplicate", "Won't Do", etc.  Those are still TRUE, 1, YES.   

The other benefit of the Resolution FIELD is the automatic setting of "Resolved Date", users can not manually change this, which is a good thing for auditing.  

I hope that explains it to some who are still confused.  As to why JIRA has confused us with Closed and DONE statuses (technically, you can change the statuses to anything you want), I'm not quite certain.  

Here is my "Admin" point of view:  giving user too many choices is a BAD THING.  Don't give them too many choices, it's a waste of their time.  I give my son 2 shirts to pick from in the morning, that's it.  Don't give them too many "statuses".  

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