Agile tools

Last Update: 8/3/2017

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013


Are you new to Agile? if so, Learn more about how Agile and Team Services can help your team create great software.

As a project manager you can plan and track the work required to bring your applications from idea to completion. Agile tools provide you with the power, flexibility, and responsiveness you need to stay on top of changing priorities, deadlines, and requirements.

To use these tools, you must be added to a group with the appropriate permissions and access and must be able to connect to a team project. If you need to create a team project, you can do that either in the cloud with Team Services, or by creating one on an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS).

For an overview of all your customization options, see Customize your work tracking experience.


You can plan and manage your work using the backlogs and boards provided. For an overview of the features available with the three classes of backlogs you can use and two types of boards, see Backlogs, boards, and plans. With list backlogs you can quickly develop your project plan and group and prioritize work. With boards, you can quickly update status and fields displayed for each work item.

You use work items to share information, assign work to team members, track dependencies, organize work, and more.

Create your backlog

Plan your project by adding a work item for each user story or requirement.

Build your backlog of user stories and requirements


Visualize your ideas and user stories and support greater understanding of them by storyboarding them with PowerPoint, also link your storyboards to your backlog work items.

Choose how you want to track bugs

Each team can choose how they want to manage bugs and where they'll show up on the backlogs and boards

Choices for tracking bugs.

Organize your backlog

Group items into a hierarchical list using portfolio backlogs and quickly reorder and re-parent items to effectively manage your deliverables.

New work item experience

The new work item experience provides access to a more modern form, additional features, and the ability to add fields and apply other customizations to the work item type.

Track issues and other types of work

Different work item types track different types of work - such as bugs, test cases, risks, issues, and more.

Add new work item widget

Manage bugs

Capture and triage bugs using a variety of tools.

Link work items

Track related work, dependencies, and changes made over time by linking work items.

Link control, web portal

Drive Git development from a work item

Follow you development processes associated with your work by adding or linking to branches, pull requests, and commits in the Development section.


Add or review comments added to a work item. Start by clicking the Discussions icon discussion icon.

Bulk modify

Quickly change one or more fields in several work items using bulk modify in the web portal or bulk modify using Excel.

Copy or clone a work item

Copy an existing work item or bulk copy several using Excel.

Copy or clone a work item

Change the work item type (Team Services)

Move a work item to another team project (Team Services)

Remove or delete a work item

Remove work items from the backlog by changing their State to Removed. Or, move them to the recycle bin (Team Services) or permanently delete them.

Recycle bin icon

Work item templates

Quickly add new work items based on templates with pre-populate values for your team's commonly used fields.

Rich text comments

Describe and comment on work to perform using formatted text, hyperlinks, and inline images. Click full screen icon or exit full screen icon to expand or contract the viewing area.


Add emails, documents, images, log files, or other file types to support collaboration of work in progress.


New to Scrum? Learn more about the basics of Scrum and how it can help your team.

Scrum teams use sprint backlogs to plan sprints and focus on just the set of work they want to accomplish during a sprint.

Sprint backlogs organize work for a sprint

Define sprints

Schedule and select your team's sprints to gain access to sprint backlogs and task boards Set start and end dates for a sprint

Plan sprints

Build your sprint backlog, add tasks, and load balance work across your team as you plan your sprint

sprint backlogs

Track work on your task board

Use your task board during your daily Scrum meetings to view and update progress

Manage resources

Use capacity planning tools to track individual, team, and activity over and under capacity for a sprint

Velocity & forecasting

Use velocity and forecast tools to estimate work that can be completed in future sprints

Forecast when work can get done

Sprint burndown charts

Monitor progress and review team patterns from sprint burndown charts

Sprint burndown chart


Your Kanban board turns your backlog into an interactive signboard, providing a visual flow of work. Each Kanban column represents a work stage, and each card represents a work item. Using the product backlog Kanban board, you can quickly update workflow status by moving items to a downstream column or different swimlane.

Drag items into a swimlane

Kanban basics

Use your Kanban board to visualize and track the flow of work from idea to completion as well as quickly update work item fields.

Update fields on cards

Add task checklists

Add and mark tasks as done with lightweight tasks checklists.

Track tasks with a checklist

Set WIP limits

Set constraints on the amount of work your team undertakes at each work stage to gain access to sprint backlogs and task boards.

Add columns

Customize columns to support your team's workflow and track work from start to finish.

Add columns to map your workflow

Definition of done

Support your team to be in sync about when to handoff items to a downstream work stage.

Split columns

Turn on split columns to track the lag between when items are done in one state and work actually starts in a new state.

Expedite work

Use swimlanes to track work at different service-level classes.

Customize cards

Add fields to cards that you can edit directly on your Kanban and task boards.

Customized card with added work item fields and styling rules


Track and visualize progress using fit-for-purpose tools. You can search the code base, list work items, and set up alerts to get notified when changes that you care about occur.

Search, queries, tags, and filters

Example queries

Find examples to use when constructing your queries.

Work item queries

Open shared queries or create your own query using the query editor to list work items or show hierarchical or dependent items.

Work item search box: find work items based on ID, assignment, changed date, or keyword.

Use the search box to find work items based on ID, assignment, changed date, or keyword

Code search

Search within your code branches (TVC) and repositories (Git) to find files, commits, and more using powerful filters to obtain rich results.

Search code box


Add tags to work items to filter backlogs and queries.

Add tags to filter backlogs, boards, and queries

Manage risks and dependencies

Link work items to track related work, dependencies, and changes made over time.

History & Auditing

Review and query work item change history to learn of past decisions and support future ones.

Alerts & notifications

Get notified as changes occur to work items, code reviews, source control files, and builds.

Charts and dashboards

Team dashboards provide a centralized location for keeping both the team and stakeholders in sync. Each dashboard tile provides quick access to the progress of builds, status of work items, or latest code changes.

Access pinned items from the team dashboard/homepage

Multiple team dashboards

Each team can create several team dashboards to help keep both the team and stakeholders in sync. Each dashboard tile provides quick access to the progress of builds, status of work items, or latest code changes.

Add a dashboard control

Edit dashboard mode

Add, remove, move, and configure widgets by clicking the Edit dashboard icon. Click the checkmark icon to exit.

Edit dashboard icon | Exit dashboard edit mode icon

Drag-n-drop layout

Configure the layout to your specifications by dragging tiles into the sequence you want.

Widget catalog

Add widgets to your dashboard to provide the information and monitor the data your team needs. Check out the Marketplace for additional widget extensions.

add a widget icon

Work item query charts

View the status of work in progress by charting the results of a flat-list query. You can create several types of charts—such as pie, column, or trend—for the same query. Optionally add these charts to a dashboard.

Cumulative flow diagrams

Track the progress of work on your backlogs through the CFD charts.

Work item and test charts

Track status and trends of work items or test progress and test runs. Optionally add these charts to a dashboard.

Test run chart

Capacity planning and tracking

Easily track how much work your team has completed and has left to do in a sprint by adding the sprint capacity chart widget to your dashboard.

Sprint capacity chart

Velocity charts

The team velocity chart tracks the total estimated effort (story points or size) of backlog items (user stories or requirements) completed or still in progress within each sprint.

Team velocity chart

Scale: Manage work across the enterprise

How do you manage work across the enterprise using Agile tools? How will you scale your Agile tools to support your growing enterprise?

You can scale your system as needed by adding teams and/or team projects. These can be created within the single account or collection. As your organization grows, your tools can grow to support a culture of team autonomy as well as organizational alignment.

Single team project, team defined within an account/collection
Single collection-project-team conceptual image
Multiple team projects and teams defined within an account/collection
Scaled collection-project-team conceptual image

To learn more, see the following topics:

You access tools provided by Team Services and TFS by connecting from a client to the server, either in the cloud or on-premises. Some web portal tools require additional Visual Studio Subscriptions or Advanced/VS Enterprise access.

See the Feature index for an end-to-end overview of all Team Services and TFS features.

For an overview of all your customization options, see Customize your work tracking experience.

Additional resources:

Work across team projects

If you work in Team Services or TFS 2017.1, you can use your account hub to view and quickly navigate to teams, team projects, branches, work items, pull requests and other objects that are relevant to you. For details, see Work effectively from your account hub.

Feedback and support

We welcome your feedback.

Send suggestions on UserVoice, and follow us on Twitter @vsts.

See also our comprehensive feedback and support page.