Multiple teams

Last Update: 3/16/2017

Team Services | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | Previous versions

As your organization grows, you'll want to make sure that you configure your Agile tools to support that growth. To enable each feature team the autonomy it needs to manage their backlog and plan their sprints, they need their own set of team tools.

Adding a team is the #1 way in which Agile tools supports a growing organization. Once your team grows beyond its optimum size--typically anywhere from 6 to 9 members-–you might consider moving from a one team structure to a two team structure. For enterprises adopting Agile tools, setting up a hierarchical team structure provides several advantages to portfolio and program managers to track progress across several teams.

Each team you create gets access to a suite of Agile tools and team assets. These tools provide teams the ability to work autonomously and collaborate with other teams across the enterprise.

Agile tool team assets

To learn more about each tool, see the following topics:

Move from one team to two teams

As your team grows, you can easily move from one team to two. In this example, we add two feature teams, Email and Voice, and maintain the Fabrikam Fiber team with visibility across each of these two teams.

Add two feature teams

Add and configure two teams, Email and Voice. Here we show you how to add and configure the Email team.

  1. From the web portal, click the gear settings icon icon to open the administration page for the team project.

    Open team project admin page

    If you're not a project administrator, get added as one. Only project administrators can add teams.

  2. Create a new team. Give the team a name, and make sure to select Create an area path with the name of the team.

    Create a sub-team with its own area path

    If you do not select this option, you will have to set the default area path for the team once you create it. You can choose an existing area path or create a new one at that time. Team tools aren't available until the team's default area path is set.

  3. Select the team from the Overview tab to configure it.

    Select a sub-team to configure it

  4. Next, open the Iterations tab to activate the set of sprints the team will use.

    Here, the Email team activates Sprints 1 through 6.

    Activate sprints for the team

    If your team isn't listed in the navigation row, open the Overview tab, select your team, and then return to the Iterations tab.

  5. Add team administrators and team members to the new team.

    You can also add team members from the team home page. To learn more about adding people to your team, go here.

Add team members

If you're moving from one team to two teams, team members already have access to the team project. If you're setting up a team structure for the first time, adding user accounts as team members provides them access to the team project and team assets. Access to the team project is required to support sharing code and planning and tracking work.

Several Agile tools, like capacity planning and team alerts, are team-aware. That is, they automatically reference the user accounts of team members to support planning activities or sending alerts.

  1. From the Overview tab for your team, add a user account.

    Add a Windows user or group account

    Note: If you connect to your team project through Visual Studio Team Services, see Add team members. The steps are similar but slightly different.
  2. Enter the sign-in addresses or display name for each account you want to add. Add them one at a time or all at the same time.

    The first time an account is added to TFS, you must enter the full domain name and the alias. Afterwards, you can browse for that name by display name as well as account name. To learn more, see Set up groups for use in TFS deployments.

    Type the account aliases and check name

    Tip: You must enter user and group names one at a time. However, after entering a name, the account is added to the list, and you can type another name in the Identities text box before choosing to save your changes.
  3. Now these users are members of the Email team. You can always return to this page to add or remove members.

    Manage team members

    See Manage team assets to add an account as a team administrator.

  4. (On-premises TFS only) As a last step, send the team URL to newly added team members so they can start contributing to the team. For example:

    Email team: http://fabrikamfiber:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/Fabrikam%20Fiber/Email
    Voice team: http://fabrikamfiber:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/Fabrikam%20Fiber/Voice

Move work items under teams

Now that your two feature teams are configured, you'll want to move existing work items from their current assignments to the team's default area path. This way, the work items will show up on each feature team's backlog.

  1. The quickest way to do this, is to create a query of all work items you want to reassign, multi-select those items belonging to each team, and bulk edit the area path.

    Bulk modify select work items

  2. After you bulk modify, do a bulk save.

    Bulk save selected work items

    See Bulk modify work items for more information.

Configure the default team project

One last step in moving from one team to two teams requires configuring the default team project to exclude sub-areas.

  1. Open the Areas tab administration page for the team project, and change the setting as shown.

    Exclude work items defined in sub-area paths

  2. Refresh the product backlog page for the team, and you'll see only those work items assigned to the Fabrikam\Account Management area path.

    Backlog view of default team

Grant team members additional permissions

For teams to work autonomously, you may want to provide them with permissions that they don't have by default. Suggested tasks include providing team administrators or team leads permissions to:

By default, team members inherit the permissions afforded to members of the team project Contributors group. Members of this group can add and modify source code, create and delete test runs, and create and modify work items. They can collaborate with other team members and check in work to the team's code base or collaborate on a Git team project.

Default permissions assigned to team contributors

If your on-premises TFS deployment includes reporting or SharePoint Products, add users to those resources. See Add users to a team project.

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

Try this next

Once you've created a team, you'll want to configure your Agile tools to support how your team works. Also, consider adding one or more accounts as team administrators. Team admins have the necessary permissions to add team members, add a team picture, and configure and manage all team assets.

If team members don't have access to all the features they want, check that they have the access level needed for those features.

Here are a few other topics related to creating and working with teams:

Working on more than one team

Can an account belong to more than one team?

Yes. When you add user accounts to a team project, you can add them as members of the team project, or you can add them to one or more teams added to the team project. If you work on two or more Scrum teams, you'll want to make sure you, specify your sprint capacity for each team you work on.

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.


Feature availability: The Account Landing feature is in preview mode for Team Services and the web portal for TFS 2017.1. To learn more about this feature, see Work effectively from your account hub. To enable or disable the feature, see Enable preview features.

Click the VS icon Visual Studio icon 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 My Projects to browse all team projects and teams.

Choose another team from the team project menu

Click the context menu icon 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.

Choose another team from the team project menu

Click the context menu icon 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.

Choose another team from the team project menu

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.

Choose another team from the team project menu

Stakeholder access

By granting users a Stakeholder license or adding them to the Stakeholder access level, you enable them to create and modify work items that they create. Stakeholders can report code defects, suggest a product feature, or further annotate their feedback responses.

Customize work item tracking

Customizing the workflow or work item form applies to all teams within a team project. See Customize the work tracking experience.