Add, update, and follow a work item

Add and update a work item

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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 user stories or product backlog items, tasks, bugs, or issues. You can describe the work to be done, assign work, track status, and coordinate efforts within your team.

Prerequisites

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • If you're not on a project or team, get added now.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group and granted Basic access or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.

Note

Users with Stakeholder access for a public project have full access to backlog and board features just like users with Basic access. To learn more, see About access levels.

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • If you're not on a project or team, get added now.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.

To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

Add a work item

You can start adding work items once you connect to a project.

Here we show how to add work items from the web portal.

  1. From Work, choose the work item type from the New Work Item list of options. Here, we choose to create a User Story.

    Add a work item

    Note

    Depending on the process chosen when the project was created—Agile, Scrum, or CMMI—the types of work items you can create will differ. For example, backlog items may be called user stories (Agile), product backlog items (Scrum), or requirements (CMMI). 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.

    Click the pin icon pin icon to have it show up within Work drop down menu.

  2. Enter a title and then save the work item. Before you can change the State from its initial default, you must save it.

    Agile process, User story work item form

    You can add tags to any work item to filter backlogs and queries.

    Work items you add are automatically scoped to your team's area and iteration paths. To change the team context, see Switch project or team focus.

That's it!

Create as many work items as you need of the type you need to track the work you want to manage.

Add work items

You can start adding work items once you connect to a project. 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.

  1. From a web browser, connect to the project that you want to work in. For example, the Fabrikam, Inc. team navigates to http://fabrikamprime:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/Fabrikam%20Fiber%20Website/.

  2. From a team home page, you can choose the type of work item you want to create.

    Home page -  create work items

    Work items you add are automatically scoped to your team's area and iteration paths. To change the team context, see Switch project or team focus

  3. Enter a title and then save the work item. Before you change the default State, you must save it.

    Product backlog item work item form

    You can add tags to any work item to filter backlogs and queries.

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.

Update the State of a User Story

Note that the location of the State field may differ depending on the work item type you are updating.

Update the State of an Issue

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, or you can delete it. For details, see Move, change, or remove a work item.

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, or you can delete it. For details, see Remove or delete a work item.

Typical workflow progression:

  • Create a product backlog item in the default state, New.
  • Change the state from New to Approved.
  • Change the state from Approved to Committed.
  • Change the state from Committed to Done.

Atypical transitions:

  • Change the state from New to Removed.
  • Change the state from Removed to New.
  • Change the state from Approved to Removed.
  • Change the state from Committed to Approved.
  • Change the state from Done to Committed.
User story workflow, Agile process

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.

View change history

View change history

To find work items based on their history, see History & auditing.

Capture comments in the Discussion section

Use the Discussion section to add and review comments made about the work being performed.

Discussion section within a work item form

Use the @mention control to notify another team member about the discussion. Simply type @ and their name. Or, bring a group into the discussion by typing @ and the group name, such as a team or security group.

Use the @mention control to notify another team member about the discussion. Simply type @ and their name.

Important

For on-premises TFS, you must configure an SMTP sever in order for team members to receive notifications.

To reference a work item, use the #ID control. Type # and a list of work items that you've recently referenced will appear from which you can select.

Follow a work item

When you want to track the progress of a single work item, click the Follow icon icon. This signals the system to notify you when changes are made to the work item.

Work item form, Follow icon control

You'll only receive notifications when other members of your team modifies the work item, such as adding to the discussion, changing a field value, or adding an attachment.

Notifications are sent to your preferred email address, which you can change from your user profile.

To stop following changes, click the Following icon icon.

Important

To support the Follow feature, you must configure an SMTP sever in order for team members to receive notifications.

Try this next

From Work you can add the most common types of work items. To quickly add backlog items, such as user stories or requirements, see these topics:

For descriptions of each field and work item form control, see Work item field index and Work item form controls.

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.

For additional clients that you can use to add work items, see Clients that support tracking work items.