“On Hold” is the easy way out. While there are inevitably problems that can prevent an issue from being resolved, we think that putting an issue on hold is the wrong choice. It’s the digital equivalent of sweeping it under the rug. Just because you can’t do something about it right now doesn’t make it any less valid of an issue. It’s not going away, it’s just going to a place where it’s more likely to be forgotten.

Within Sifter, there are several options that effectively let you put issues on hold without letting them disappear into a bucket where they’ll be forgotten. Sifter is about making decisions and taking action. Next time you think you need to put something on hold, try one of these options.

Close it.

Putting something on hold is a cop out. Do or do not, there is no hold. If you think something belongs on hold, just close it. It’s still there, it’s just not active. You can always reopen it. If it’s important, you’ll remember it. If it’s not, good riddance. Now you can focus on the other issues. Closed doesn’t imply “fixed” it just implies “closed”.

Reassign it.

If others are holding up progress on that issue, reassign it to them and explain that you’re dead in the water until they do their thing. If all of the dependencies suddenly become their burden, they’ll have a little more motivation to take care of business.

Take away its milestone.

If it’s simply something that you’re probably not going to ever do, but you’d like to keep it around just in case, that’s what milestones are for. Or rather, that’s what the lack of a milestone is for. Just make sure that it’s not assigned to a milestone. If it doesn’t have a milestone, then it doesn’t get done.

Talk to the team.

If all else fails, there’s no logical person to reassign it to, you’re not confident about closing it, and milestones won’t do the trick, talk to your team about it. You can reassign to someone else to simply make a decision about it, or even talk to everyone about whether someone else could possibly help.


Regardless of which solution works for you, it’s important to look at every issue assigned to you and ask what step you can take to get it completed, not just shuffled around. It’s a mindset that we find helps. These little decisions are how we define Sifter. We want people to get work done. We want bugs to get fixed and new features rolled out. Sometimes that means making hard decisions. It’s not the easiest way out, but that’s why they call it work.

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