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Customize an Agile tool

Last Updated: 5/20/2016

Team Services | TFS 2015 | Previous versions

Your team project contains an array of tools shown below to support your Agile processes and your team to plan, track and monitor work. To get the most out of using these Agile planning tools, you’ll want to configure them to support your team’s processes.

Agile tool team assets

You can customize most tools through the web portal. Other features can be customized only for TFS on-premises deployments by changing an XML definition. See Add or modify a field and Add or modify a work item type for customizations you can make specific to data fields and work item types (WITs).

Feature availability: Some tasks are only available from the cloud service or from an on-premises deployment. These are annotated as follows:
- Team Services - Visual Studio Team Services only (cloud service)
- TFS - Team Foundation Server only (on-premises)

To configure or customize an Agile tool for a team, you must be added as a team admin. For details on who has access to view, contribute, or manage these tools, see Manage team assets.

Task Team ServicesTFS 2015 TFS 2015.1
Plan and track work1

Backlogs and boards

   Add tags/filter backlogs

   Show bugs on backlogs and boards

   Activate portfolio backlogs2

   Add portfolio backlogs

   Add WITs to backlogs or boards

   Customize default columns and sequence

   Customize the quick add panel

   Assign fields used in backlogs and charts

   Change the color for a work item type

   

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Kanban board

   Add columns3

   WIP limits

   Split columns

   Expedite work

   Card reordering

   Definition of Done

   Customize cards

   

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Scrum tools

   Manage sprint backlogs

   Manage task boards4

   Capacity planning

   Activate team sprints

   Set working days off

   Customize task cards

   

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Collaborate5

   Set team alerts

   Manage team favorites

   Configure team room events

   Work with team groups

   

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Monitor and learn

Scrum and Kanban charts

   Cumulative flow chart

   Velocity chart

   Sprint burndown chart

   Team capacity chart

   

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Lightweight charts and dashboards

   Track work status and progress

   Track test status, progress, and results

   Add a chart to a dashboard

   Pin an item to a team dashboard

   Add and configure multiple team dashboards

   Add markdown guidance to a dashboard

   Add charts and widgets to a dashboard

   

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Notes

  1. Check out Marketplace extensions: Plan and track for additional tools you can use to augment those available.
  2. Each team can choose which backlogs are enabled for their tracking purposes: product backlog, Features, and Epics. By default, only the product backlog and Features backlogs display for each team.
  3. The Kanban board supports two levels of customization: adding columns and customizing the workflow. Currently, you can only customize the workflow for on-premises TFS deployments. If you want your Kanban columns or task board columns to correspond to a custom workflow, you must perform these two modifications:
  4. The Kanban board supports two levels of customization: adding columns and customizing the workflow. Currently, you can only customize the workflow For on-premises TFS deployments, if you customize the workflow for tasks, you must also customize the process configuration as follows:
  5. Check out Marketplace extensions: Collaborate for additional collaboration tools.

Categories and process configuration (TFS)

Agile planning tools reference the configuration of the categories and process configuration XML definition files for the team project. Categories group WITs that are used to determine what will appear on the portfolio backlog, backlog, and task backlog pages. Process configuration defines how categories and their workflow states map to backlogs and boards.

XML elements for customizing Agile planning tools, both categories and process configuration

Edit Agile planning tool definition files

To edit an XML definition file, you export, edit, and then import the file.

Process for customizing a WIT object

Tip: With witadmin, you can import and export definition files. Other tools you can use include the Process Editor, available with the download of TFS Power Tools, or TFS Team Project Manager, a community resource project available on CodePlex.

To edit process configuration using the witadmin command line tool, follow these steps.

  1. If you don't have administration permissions for your team project, get them.

  2. Open a Command Prompt window where either Visual Studio or Team Explorer is installed and enter:

    cd %programfiles%\\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\\Common7\\IDE

    On a 64-bit edition of Windows, replace %programfiles% with %programfiles(x86)%. Go here to download Visual Studio Community for free.

  3. Export the process configuration file.

    witadmin exportprocessconfig /collection:CollectionURL /p:ProjectName /f:"DirectoryPath/ProcessConfiguration.xml"

    An example of a CollectionURL is http://MyServer:8080/tfs/TeamProjectCollectionName.

  4. Edit the file. For details, see Process configuration XML element reference.

  5. Import the process configuration file.

    witadmin importprocessconfig /collection:CollectionURL /p:ProjectName /f:"DirectoryPath/ProcessConfiguration.xml"

  6. Open the web portal to view the changes. If it is already open, refresh the page.

For more information about using witadmin, see Import and export process configuration and Import and export categories.

Customize default columns and sequence

Each team member can customize the set of columns and column sequence displayed on their backlogs. The Agile tools remember their settings from one session to the next.

However, if you want to define the default set of columns displayed, you can do that by modifying the <Columns> section for each backlog within the ProcessConfiguration file.

Customize the quick add panel

You can add fields to a quick add panel for any backlog. For example, the following example adds Business Value to the product backlog panel.

Backlog panel with Business Value field added

You do this by modifying the <AddPanel> section for each backlog within the ProcessConfiguration file.

The panel only displays fields that are included in the FIELDS section of the WIT definition for the WIT selected. For example, if you select the bug WIT, then only Title displays, because Business Value isn’t defined for bugs.

To add another team, understand who can view, contribute to, or manage a team asset, or learn more about customization options available to you, see these topics:

If you have additional questions, you may post one or search within the community forum for an answer: Team Foundation Server - Work Item Tracking or TFS Web Access.

Team favorites

Team favorites are a quick way for members of your team to quickly access shared resources of interest. You can defined team favorites for the following:

  • Code hub/Explorer: Add repos or folders to team favories
  • Work hub/Queries: A hared work item queries to team favories
  • Build hub/Explorer: Add build definitions to team favories

From your team context, drag shared queries, builds, and folders to Team favorites to provide quick access to those items.

Drag items to team favorites

Or, choose the Add to team favorites option from the context menu for the item. You must be added as a team admin to manage team favorites.

Team group

When you create a team, you automatically create a team group, which contains the accounts of all members you add to the team. You can manage permissions for team members by setting the permissions of the team group.

You can use this group to filter queries. The name of team groups follows the pattern [Team Project Name]\Team Name. For example, the following query finds work assigned to members of the [Fabrikam Fiber]\Email team group.

Query that uses In Group operator and team group name

Additional options

Do you want to customize your tools in a way that's not supported?

Here are a few options available to you:

Feature enablement after upgrade (TFS)

What customizations can you make and still use the Configure Features Wizard to update my team project after a TFS upgrade?

If you make no customizations, you can use the Configure Features Wizard to update your team projects after you have upgraded TFS. To learn about which customizations you can safely make and which you should avoid, see Customize the work tracking experience: Before you customize, understand the maintenance and upgrade implications.

Less common customizations (TFS)

You can only perform the following customizations when working on-premises.

Change the color for a WIT

In the web portal, work items appear in query results and on the backlog and board pages of the Agile planning tools. To change the color associated with an existing WIT or add the color to use for a new WIT, edit the process configuration.

Backlog showing colors for different WITs

Backlog and board limits

To limit the display load time to acceptable parameters, the task board is restricted to a maximum of 1000 work items.

For TFS on-premises deployments, you can increase this value up to a maximum of 1500 by specifying a value for the workItemCountLimit attribute of the TaskBacklog element.

<TaskBacklog category="Microsoft.TaskCategory" pluralName="Tasks" singularName="Task" workItemCountLimit="800" >
. . .
</TaskBacklog>

Change field assignments

You can change the work item fields that are used in calculating capacity, burndown charts, forecasting, and velocity. Any change you make to one of the default assignments should correspond to a change made to the WIT used to define and capture information for that value.

For example, if you change the refname assigned to type="Activity" then you should include the same field in the WIT definition assigned to the Task Category which captures the activity information. See Process configuration XML element reference for details.

The fields you assign are used by the following tools:

ToolField type
Task board, capacity tools, sprint burndownRemaining work
Product and portfolio backlogsBacklog priority
Velocity and forecastEffort (maps to Story Points, Effort, or Size)
Task board, capacity toolsRemaining work
Capacity toolsActivity (Task Activity or Discipline)

Use a team field

Do you want to organize your teams using a team field instead of the area path?

For TFS on-premises deployments you can. If your organization has several teams that work from a common backlog and across many product areas, you might want to customize the team project to support team fields. This configuration will still allow teams to work independently, but work can be assigned to teams instead of by product area path.

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