Add task checklists

Azure Boards | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015

Many teams find Kanban ideal for tracking work as it supports visualizing the flow of work in progress. And, you can quickly add new items and update status. If you're new to working with the Kanban board, see Kanban basics.

With task checklists, you continue to enjoy lightweight tracking, while gaining visibility into which tasks are still to be completed and those that are done. Task checklists provide a quick and easy way to track elements of work which are important to support completing a backlog item. Here we see several tasks for work in progress, both yet to do and those completed.

Note

Task checklists on the Kanban board are supported from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

In this article, you'll learn:

  • How to add a task or set of tasks to a backlog item from your Kanban board
  • How to mark a task as done
  • How to expand or collapse the task checklist
  • How to reorder and reparent tasks or reassign them to a sprint
  • Keyboard shortcuts for working with the Kanban board
Kanban board with several task checklists defined

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 work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic 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.
  • Users with Stakeholder access for a private project can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status, update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.
  • Users with Stakeholder access for a public project have full access to board features just like users with Basic access. For details, see About access levels.
  • 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 work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic 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.
  • Users with Stakeholder access can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status, or update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.
  • 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 work items and exercise all board features, you must be granted Basic 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.
  • Users with Stakeholder access can't exercise these board features: add work items, drag-and-drop work items to update status or move to another sprint, update fields displayed on cards. They can add tasks and change task status.

Note

Both Kanban boards and Taskboards support visualizing the flow of work and monitoring metrics to optimize that flow. Kanban boards track requirements, are sprint-independent, and provide a cumulative flow chart for monitoring progress. Each sprint is associated with a Taskboard that supports tracking tasks defined for the sprint. You can monitor progress through capacity charts and the sprint burndown chart. For guidance on using the Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard.

Open your Kanban board from the web portal

Your Kanban board is one of two types of boards available to you. The other is the sprint Taskboard. Kanban boards track requirements, are sprint-independent, and provide a cumulative flow chart for monitoring progress. Each sprint is associated with a Taskboard that supports tracking tasks defined for the sprint. You can monitor progress through capacity charts and the sprint burndown chart. For guidance on using the Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard. For an overview of the features supported on each backlog and board, see Backlogs, boards, and plans.

  1. Check that you selected the right project, and select Boards > Boards. Then select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open your Kanban board

    To select another team's board, open the selector. Then select a different team, or select the home icon Browse all team boards option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Select another team's board

    Tip

    Select the  star icon to make a team board a favorite. Favorite artifacts ( favorite icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you selected Backlog items for Scrum, Stories for Agile, or Requirements for CMMI as the backlog level.

    Select product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

To switch to the product backlog, select Stories backlog. To switch to a Taskboard, see Update and monitor your Taskboard.

  1. To view your Kanban board, open your project from a web browser. Select Work > Backlogs > Stories, and then select Board.

    Open Portfolio Kanban board, features

    If you don't see Work, your screen size might be reduced. Select the three dots ( ) icon. Then select Work > Backlogs > Board.

    Open Work when screen size is reduced

  2. To select another team, open the project and team selector. Select a different team, or select the Browse option.

    Select another team

    Your Kanban board appears.

    Kanban board, Agile template

  1. To view your Kanban board, open your project from a web browser. Select Work > Backlogs > Stories, and then select Board.

    Open Portfolio Kanban board, features

    If you don't see Work, your screen size might be reduced. Select the three dots ( ) icon. Then select Work > Backlogs > Board.

    Open Work when screen size is reduced

  2. To select another team, open the project and team selector. Select a different team, or select the Browse option.

    Select another team from the project menu

    Your Kanban board appears.

    TFS 2015, Kanban board, Agile template

Add a task or set of tasks

  1. To start adding tasks, open the menu for the work item.

    Open the context menu of a backlog item to add a task
    Open the context menu of a backlog item to add a task
  2. If you have a number of tasks to add, simply keep typing your task titles and click Enter.

    Work item with several tasks added
  3. If you have details you want to add about a task, open the parent work item and then choose the  links icon/tab.

    Open parent work item, Links tab
  4. Double-click the task, or select and press the Enter key, to open it.

    Open task work item form from task checklist

    Tasks that you create from the Kanban board will show up on your sprint taskboard. Also, tasks that you create from the sprint backlog or taskboard will show up within tasks checklists on the Kanban board.

Mark a task as done

When you complete a task, simply click the checkbox to change its status to Done or Closed.

Check tasks that are complete
The State of the work item is updated from To Do to Done for Scrum projects, and from Active to Closed for Agile and CMMI projects.

Expand or collapse the task checklist

Upon first opening the Kanban board, you'll see an unexpanded view of checklists.

Expand task checklist for a work item

Simply click the task checklist summary to expand a collapsed task checklist. Click the same summary to collapse an expanded checklist.

Reorder and reparent tasks or reassign them to a sprint

Tasks that you create from the Kanban board are automatically assigned to the sprint/iteration path of the parent work item under which you define them.

You can drag a task within a work item to reorder it. Or, you can drag the task to another work item on the Kanban board to reparent it.

Drag tasks to reorder them within the list

Note

Users with Stakeholder access can't drag-and-drop tasks or reorder and reparent tasks.

To reassign a task to a different sprint, you must open the sprint backlog where it's currently defined and then drag it to the new sprint.

Configure the Kanban board

To configure or change the layout of the board, see one of these topics.

Q & A

Q: If I manage bugs with tasks, can I add bugs as a checklist to a requirement?

A: No. Task checklists only support the task work item type.

Use your task checklist for lightweight tracking of to-do lists. If you find that you don't use this feature, you can disable it from the common configurations dialog.

You can also add tags and show tags and fields on cards to support other tracking needs.

In addition, you can:

REST API resources

To programmatically create tasks, see the REST API, Work Items reference.