Review team Delivery Plans

Azure Boards

Use the visualization options provided by Delivery Plans to review the schedule of stories or features your teams plan to deliver. Delivery Plans show the scheduled work items by sprint (iteration path) of selected teams against a calendar view.

Note

This article describes using Delivery Plans 2.0 which is available for Azure DevOps Services. The next update of Azure DevOps Server, update 2, will support Delivery Plans 2.0. For information on the Delivery Plans Marketplace extension which supports TFS 2017 and later Azure DevOps Server versions, see Delivery Plans 1.0.

Use Delivery Plans to ensure your teams are aligned with your organizational goals. You can view multiple backlogs and multiple teams across your whole account. You can interact with the plan with simple drag-and-drop operations to update or modify the schedule, opening cards, expanding and collapsing teams, and more.

Delivery Plans supports these tasks:

  • View up to 15 team backlogs, include a mix of backlogs and teams from different projects
  • Add custom portfolio backlogs as well as Epics
  • View work items that span several iterations
  • Reset Start Date and Target Date through drag and drop borders
  • Add backlog items to a team from a plan
  • View rollup progress of Features, Epics, and other portfolio items
  • View dependencies that exist between work items
  • Stakeholders can view plans

Any plan you created with the original Delivery Plans extension will work with Delivery Plans. You don't have to migrate any data or reconfigure plan settings. To learn how to add or edit a plan, see Add or edit a Delivery Plan.

Screenshot of delivery plans, preview

In this article you'll learn how to perform the following tasks:

  • Open a plan from the list of defined plans
  • Review a plan with your teams
  • Use the interactive elements of plans and change the plan view
  • Understand rollup

For information on working with dependencies, see Track dependencies.

Prerequisites

  • To view a Delivery Plan, you must be a member of the Project Collection Valid Users group. Users granted Stakeholder access for a private project can view plans. Users granted Stakeholder access for a public project can add and view plans.
  • To open or modify a work item or add work items to a plan, you must have the Edit work items in this node set to Allow for the Area Paths assigned to the work item. For details, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

Review a plan with your teams

It takes several teams to develop large software projects. Very large projects require multiple autonomous teams. Autonomous teams manage their own backlog and priority which contributes to a unified direction for that project. Review Agile culture for a discussion of autonomous teams and organizational alignment.

Regular reviews of the project schedule with these teams help ensure that the teams are working toward common goals. Delivery Plans provide the needed multi-team view of your project schedule.

Some questions you might address during the review:

  • How confident are the teams in meeting the deliverables scheduled for each sprint?
  • Are dependencies across teams adequately addressed via the planned deliverables?
  • Are there gaps in the schedule, where no deliverables are scheduled? What's the cause? Can this be mitigated?

For example, we use Delivery Plans internally to share the schedule of Features. By seeing the work many teams have planned for the next 3 sprints, we can easily discuss whether these are the right priorities and if dependencies exist.

In this way, a Delivery Plan is a driver of alignment while allowing each team to retain a strong sense of autonomy. Individual teams can work to different sprint cadences, if needed, and manage different work item types—stories, features, or epics. Their work is all visible with the same plan view. Teams can even be part of different projects if they use different processes. You can also customize the card fields so that you only see the data fields of interest and applicable per work item type.

Best practices

  • Determine how you want to use the Delivery Plan. Some ideas are:
    • Review quarterly plans for features to be delivered
    • Monthly sync-up with several teams which have dependencies
    • Review cross-project deliverables and identify dependencies.
  • Use a consistent sprint schedule across your project teams and organization when possible. While the plan can accommodate different sprint schedules, it adds to visual clutter. Use the same sprints for backlogs, features, and epics. Don't create specific sprints for epics or other portfolio backlogs.
  • Use Start Date and Iteration to specify the time frame for a work item. Or, use Start Date and Target Date. However, don't specify both Iteration and Target Date for a work item. The Target Date will always override the Iteration end date on the plan.
  • Minimize the number of fields you choose to display on your cards.
  • Eliminate cross-team ownership of area paths. Cross-team area path ownership isn't recommended and can lead to undesirable edge cases.
  • Keep your work items up-to-date. When changes occur, update the Target Dates or Iteration Paths.

Note the following:

  • Plan views display the set of months that correspond to the Iteration Paths selected by the teams whose backlogs appear in the plan.
  • Plan views are limited to a maximum of 15 teams/backlogs.
  • Zooming out can cause fields and tags to disappear from the cards. The further you zoom out, the harder it is to fit items on a card. By design, we hide select items depending on the zoom level.
  • Rollup isn't supported for child work items that belong to a different project than that of the originating parent work item.
  • If the Start Date or Target Date are missing from a work item, you can add them to the custom process defined for the project as discussed in Add and manage fields (Inheritance process).

Open a plan

Once you've defined a few plans, you'll see them listed from the Plans page under All, or the ones you've favorited (Add to favorites ) under Favorites. You can see their title, description and their most recent creator/editor.

Use the favorite's star to favorite a plan so that you can quickly return to that plan. You can also search for other plans in the project.

To open a plan, open Boards>Delivery Plans and choose the plan name. You can sort by any of the columns—Name, Created By, Description, Last configured, or ) Favorites.

Screenshot to Open Boards>Plans.

Interact with a plan

Each team's backlog specified in a Delivery Plan appears as a row within the plan view. When collapsed, a roll-up of the backlog items shows. When expanded, a card for each backlog item appears, organized by their assigned iteration.

Screenshot with callouts of Delivery Plans, collapsed teams.

Tip

Work items appear in the prioritized order listed for the sprint backlog, which inherits the priority from the product backlog.

You can interact with the plan in the following ways:

  • Filter the plan by choosing Choose Filter . You can filter on any field you include in the plan Settings based on the keyword or text filter. For additional details, see Interactively filter your backlogs, boards, and plans.
  • Scale the size of the cards and calendar by choosing Zoom out or Zoom in .
  • To view previous or future months, choose Scroll calendar left or Scroll calendar right .You can also scroll the plan by clicking the plan and dragging your mouse horizontally.
  • To view details for a team, expand the team row by choosing Expand team row or clicking once on a sprint within a team row.
  • To expand and collapse all team rows, choose Expand all team rows or Collapse all team rows next to Teams.
  • Scroll the view vertically to view teams that appear lower within the plan view.
  • To view titles only, choose Collapsed card fields . To view all fields, choose Expand card fields .
  • Click a card title to open the backlog item and view details. Close the work item to return to the plan.
  • To add a work item to a sprint, choose Add item within the sprint and team you want to add it to.
  • To change the fields displayed on the cards, choose More actions .

Collapse teams for summary information

A benefit of Delivery Plans is to view multiple teams across your projects that you care about. Two main ways to view more teams within the plan view is to collapse all teams to focus on summary data and to minimize the number of fields displayed on cards.

To gain a summary view of work that is schedule, collapse all teams. You can then more easily look for gaps in the forward forecast.

Collapse and expand each team row by choosing Expand team row or Collapse team row next to the team name.

Collapse click targets

Show work that spans one or more iterations

For work items that span one or more iterations, you can define the Start Date and Target Date. The plan displays cards that start and end according to the dates you set as shown in the following image. In addition, you can grab the left or right border of a work item and drag it to a new Start Date or Target Date.

Screenshot showing features that span iterations

View titles only, collapsed card view

The collapsed card view allows you to quickly switch back and forth between cards showing titles only and cards showing all fields configured for the plan. To view titles only, choose Collapsed card fields . To view all fields, choose Expand card fields .

Screenshot showing location of collapse/expand card fields feature icons.

View rollup of features and epics

Rollup displays a fuller picture of the underlying work directly on the cards in your delivery plan. Rollup views are available for features, epics, or any portfolio backlog you've added to your project. To enable rollup, open your plan settings, choose Fields, and select Show child rollup data.

For example, here we show a plan view of four scenarios with rollup of the child features, user stories, and bugs for a single team.

Screenshot showing rollup view of four scenarios.

You can also view rollup from a backlog view as described in Display rollup progress or totals.

Update the iteration for a backlog item

As changes occur to the schedule, you can update the iteration for a backlog item by moving a card to a different iteration. This will help to drive alignment across your organization.

Screenshot showing moving a card to a different iteration