Manage issues or impediments

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If you have known issues you want to track, you can do so by defining an impediment (Scrum) or issue (Agile or CMMI). Impediments and issues represent unplanned activities. Resolving them requires more work beyond what's tracked for actual requirements. Using the impediment work item type helps you track and manage these issues until you can resolve and close them.

Don't confuse impediments with bugs. You track impediments that may cause problems with delivering one or more requirements. For example, you may have to address feature ambiguity, personnel or resource issues, problems with environments, or other risks that impact scope, quality, or schedule. Other issues that deserve tracking are decisions that require several stakeholders or product teams to weigh in on.

Important

Issues and Impediments discussed in this article are defined for projects created with the Agile, Scrum, or CMMI process. By default, these work item types don't appear on the product backlog or taskboard.

If your project was created using the Basic process, which tracks work using Epics, Issues, and Tasks, then you track Issues using the product backlog. To learn more, see Track issues and tasks.

Important

Issues and Impediments discussed in this article are defined for projects created with the Agile, Scrum, or CMMI process. By default, these work item types don't appear on the product backlog or taskboard.

In this article you'll learn:

  • When to use issues versus tasks
  • How to capture issues or impediments as a work item

Prerequisites

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a project as a member of the Contributors or Project Administrators security group. To get added, Add users to a project or team.
  • To add or modify work items, you must be granted Stakeholder access or higher. For details, see About access levels.
  • To view or modify work items, you must have your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.
  • To create new tags to add to work items, you must have Basic access or higher and have the project-level Create new tag definition permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. Even if the permission is explicitly set for a Stakeholder, they won't have permission to add new tags, as they are prohibited through their access level.
  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • You must be added to a project as a member of the Contributors or Project Administrators security group. To get added, Add users to a project or team.
  • To add or modify work items, you must be granted Stakeholder access or higher. For details, see About access levels.
  • To view or modify work items, you must have your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.
  • To create new tags to add to work items, you must have Basic access or higher and have the project-level Create new tag definition permissions set to Allow. By default, the Contributors group has this permission set. Even if the permission is explicitly set for a Stakeholder, they won't have permission to add new tags, as they are prohibited through their access level.

Note

The images you see from your web portal may differ from the images you see in this article. These differences result from updates made to your web app, options that you or your admin have enabled, and which process was chosen when creating your project—Agile, Basic, Scrum, or CMMI.

When to use issues versus tasks

You use issues or impediments to track items that may block work from getting done. In general, you link these items to user stories or other work items using a Related link type.

You define tasks when you want to create a checklist of tasks or if you use Scrum methods and track work using the Remaining Work field. By linking user stories, or other requirement work item types, to tasks using the Parent-Child link type, the tasks appear on the taskboard for each linked user story.

Note

If your project collection uses the On-premises XML process model to customize work tracking, you can enable work item types that you add to the Task Category to appear as a checklist on your product Kanban board. To learn how, see Set up your backlogs and boards, Customize your Kanban Board checklist items.

If you want to add these work item types to a backlog, see Customize your backlogs or boards.

Add an issue or impediment

Open Boards>Work Items, and choose the  plus icon, and then select from the New work item menu of options.

Add issue, new nav

Choose the  pin icon to have it show up within the add drop down menu.

From Work, choose Impediment from the New Work Item list of options. Choose the  pin icon to have it show up within Work drop down menu.

TFS 2017 - Add an impediment

From the Queries page, choose Impediment from the New drop down menu.

TFS 2015, TFS 2013 - Add an impediment

Customize issues tracking

You can add fields, change the workflow, add custom rules, and add custom pages to the work item form of most work item types. You can also add custom work item types. For details, see Customize an inheritance process.

You can add fields, change the workflow, add custom rules, and add custom pages to the work item form of most work item types. You can also add custom work item types. For details, see Customize an inheritance process or Customize the On-premises XML process model depending on the process model used by your project.

You can add fields, change the workflow, add custom rules, and add custom pages to the work item form of most work item types. You can also add custom work item types. For details, see Customize the On-premises XML process model.

Impediments and issues don't appear on your backlog. Instead, you track them using queries.

Impediments and issues don't appear on your backlog. Instead, you track them using queries. You can only have them appear on your backlog if your project is customized using the On-premises XML process model. To lear more, see Customize the On-premises XML process model.

Impediments and issues don't appear on your backlog. Instead, you track them using queries. If you want them to appear on your backlog, or you want to track other work item types on your backlog, see Add a work item type to a backlog and board.