Milestones or Iterations

Thanks for the feedback. I’m the GitLab PM responsible for Iterations and Milestones, so hopefully, my reply will provide a bit of additional context.

Why Iterations? They are indeed intended to be used as a shorter timebox for planning. We thought through solving this use case with Milestones, but the problem with Milestones is that you can have many Milestones with overlapping dates, there is no inferred relationship between Milestones, and trying to solve that problem proved to be an undesirable user experience. We need distinct relationships between timeboxes with like-sized durations so we can programmatically calculate velocity.

At the same time, many organizations have multi-layered planning horizons, such as quarterly release planning, and bi-weekly iteration planning. This is where using Milestone for the longer time horizon and Iterations for the shorter time horizon can be useful.

I completely agree that we have a lot of work to make Iterations and Milestones work together more effectively with each other and with other features like inherited dates on Epics. It isn’t going to happen overnight as there are some larger changes in the works, but here is the TL;DR on what to expect in the future:

  • Iteration Cadences are just about to be generally available. They allow multiple teams that are working out of a group to each have their own set of iterations. Cadences also bring some efficiency gains as you can enable automated scheduling and rollover of issues.
  • Adding parenting to issues, issue types, creating a new issue detail view, and improving how attributes roll-up and cascade between parent and children issues. (this is where we are going to fix some of the differences between Milestone and Iteration inheritance)
  • Making issues natively available with a Group
  • Migrating Epics to Issues so there is a unified “work item” with parenting, dependency management, and so on. (this will more or less enable the equivalent of Milestones being assigned directly to an epic)
  • Saved views (this will address most of the feedback on the gaps in the current Iteration report view)

I’m excited about where we are headed and I’m thankful to folks like yourself that take the time to provide such great, candid feedback. Feel free to jump into any of the linked issues/epics and collaborate with us!