TFS 2015 | TFS 2013
Feature availability: The new web form provides many additional features. If you connect to Visual Studio Team Services or the web portal for TFS 2017 or later versions, see Add work items to plan and track your project.
You add work items to plan and manage your project. You use different types of work items to track different types of work - such as tasks, features or user stories, test cases and bugs, risks or issues, and more. You can describe the work to be done, assign work, track status, and coordinate efforts within your team.
Different types of work items are used to track features, user experiences, code defects, tasks, and issues. You can link work items to one another, as well as to changesets and source code files. As the following image shows, each work item form comes with a number of controls, fields, and tabs.
Depending on the process you chose when creating your team project--Scrum,
Agile, or CMMI--the types of work items you can create will differ. For example, backlog items may be called product backlog items (PBIs), user stories, or requirements. All three are similar: they describe the customer value to deliver and the work to be performed.
For an overview of all three processes, see Choose a process.
Add work items to define new work
Here we show how to add work items from the web portal. For additional clients that you can use, see Clients that support tracking work items.
From a web browser, connect to the team project that you want to work in. For example, the Fabrikam, Inc. team navigates to
If you haven't been added as a team member, get added now.
From a team home page, you can choose the type of work item you want to create.
Enter a title and then save the work item. Before you change the default State, you must save it.
Update work items as work progresses
As work progresses, team members can update the state and reassign it as needed. While the workflow states differ for different work item types, they usually follow a progression from New or Active to Completed or Done. The following image shows the work flow states for a product backlog item. If you want to discard a work item, change the state to Removed.
Typical workflow progression:
Removed work items remain in the data store and can be reactivated by changing the State.
With each update, changes are recorded in the History field which you can view through the History tab.
To find work items based on their history, see History & auditing.
Link items to manage dependencies
By linking work items using Related or Dependent link types, you can track work that is dependent on other work. Each work item contains one or more tabs with link controls. These controls support linking the work item to one or more objects.
Link control tab from the web portal
Some work item types have two or more link control tabs. Each tab is designed to support specific types of links and restricts the types of link relationships made. To learn more, see Manage dependencies, link work items to support traceability.
Once you've added several work items, you can use additional features to get notified of changes, create queries, define status and trend charts, plus more. To customize a work item type, see Customize your work tracking experience.
Manage- Create your backlog
- Copy or clone a work item
- Change, move, or delete a work item
- Pre-populate fields using a template
- Integrate with Git
- Productivity tips
Track- Queries (work items)
- Share work plans
- Follow a work item
- Tag work items
- History & audit
Switch team project or team focus
Several features depend on the team project or team that you have selected. For example, dashboards, backlogs, and board views will change depending on the context selected.
When you add a work item, the system references the default area and iteration paths defined for the team context. Work items you add from the team dashboard (new work item widget) and queries page are assigned the team default iteration. Work items you add from a team backlog or board, are assigned the team default backlog iteration. To change team defaults, see Set team defaults.
You navigate to your team context from the top navigation bar. The method changes slightly depending on the platform you work from.
Click the name of the team project/team and select a team or team project that you've recently visited. If you don't see the team or team project you want, click Browse all to browse all team projects and teams.
Clients that support tracking work items
You can add work items from various clients, such as:
- From the web portal backlog pages, you can add user stories, backlog items, features, and epics from the quick add panel.
- From the Team Explorer add-in to Visual Studio, you can add most types of work items from the Work page.
- If you work in Eclipse, you can create work items using Team Explorer Everywhere.
- From Test Manager or the web portal, you can can create test cases that automatically link to a user story or product backlog item.
- You can create bugs from the web portal, Visual Studio, or when testing with Test Manager.
For an overview of all clients that connect to your team project, see Tools and clients that connect to Team Services and TFS.
Plan your project
The quickest way to plan your project is to create your backlog. If you have a number of product backlog items, user stories, requirements, or tasks that you want to bulk add, you can use Excel or Project.
If you are planning a product suite and managing a portfolio of projects across several teams, you'll want to read (New) Manage work across the enterprise.
Get the URL for a work item
From the web portal, simply copy the URL from the web browser address or open the context menu for the work item ID hyperlink and choose the Copy shortcut.
In Visual Studio, right-click the work item tab to copy the URL. The URL opens the work item in the web portal.