Customize an Agile tool

Last Update: 2/9/2017

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions

Your team project contains an array of tools shown below to support your Agile processes and allow each team to plan, track and monitor work the way that meets their needs. To get the most out of using these 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).

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.


The following features are available from Team Services or from the web portal of the listed on-premises TFS version or a later version. Those not annotated are available from all platforms and versions. Some customization depends on the process model—Inheritance, Hosted XML, or On-premises XML—you use.

To determine your platform or TFS version, see Platform and version support. Visit the Visual Studio Downloads page to get the latest TFS update.

Collaborate and team notifications


  1. 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.
  2. With the Kanban board, you can quickly add and modify columns. Also, changes you make to the workflow states will cause modified or custom states to appear as columns.

Team favorites

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

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

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

Drag items to 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

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.

Additional options

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

Here are a few options available to you:

Less common customizations

You can only perform the following customizations when working with the Hosted XML or On-premises XML process models. The customizations made to process configuration apply to all teams added to the team project.

Backlog and board limits (Hosted XML, On-premises XML)

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" >
. . .

For details on modifying this element, see Process configuration XML element reference.

Change field assignments (Hosted XML, On-premises XML)

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:

Tool Field type
Task board, capacity tools, sprint burndown Remaining work
Product and portfolio backlogs Backlog priority
Velocity and forecast Effort (maps to Story Points, Effort, or Size)
Task board, capacity tools Remaining work
Capacity tools Activity (Task Activity or Discipline)

Use a team field (On-premises XML)

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.