Key concepts and terms used for Azure Boards

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Here are definitions of key concepts and artifacts used in Azure Boards. For more information, see also:

Agile methods

The goal of Agile engineering best processes is to rapidly deliver high-quality software. Agile uses a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals. Frequent inspection and adaptation are necessary. Teamwork, self-organization, and accountability are critical to project success.

Agile tools

This suite of web-based tools is used to track work and support Agile methodologies. Agile tools support Scrum and Kanban, the core Agile methods that are used by software development teams today. To learn more, see What is Azure Boards?.

Area path

Area paths are used to group work items by team, product, or feature area. Iteration paths are used to group work into sprints, milestones, or other event-specific or time-related periods. You can use area paths to define a hierarchy of paths. To learn more, see About area and iteration paths.


A bug is a type of work item that records a potential source of dissatisfaction with the product. Bug is the common name of a work item type that's used to track code defects. The Bug work item type is available with the Agile, Scrum, and CMMI processes.


A collection is a container for a number of projects in Azure DevOps. A default collection is created when you sign up with Azure DevOps Services or install Team Foundation Server. Within Azure DevOps Services, a collection corresponds to an organization. For on-premises TFS deployments, you can add and manage collections to specify the logical and physical resources available to the projects within the collection.

Learn more: About projects and scaling your organization, Manage organizations or Manage project collections in Team Foundation Server.


Dashboards are user-configurable interactive signboards that provide real-time information. Dashboards are associated with a team and display configurable widgets to show information. To learn more, see Add and manage dashboards.


Tagging an object as a favorite is a method used to support quick navigation by yourself or other team members. You can tag work item queries and build definitions as personal and team favorites. Other objects you can tag as a favorite for yourself only include code branches, delivery plans, test plans, and teams or projects. To learn more, see Set personal or team favorites.


Fields are used to track a piece of information about the work to perform. Values you assign to a field are stored in the work-tracking data store. You can use the data store to query and generate charts to view status and trends. Your project contains 100 or more data fields. To update data, you modify the data field within a work item. Each work item is associated with a work item type (WIT). The data you can track corresponds to the fields assigned to the WIT. For a definition of each predefined field, see Work item field index.


Tagging specific work items or pull requests to follow them is a method used to receive email updates about changes that are made to them. To learn more, see Follow a work item or pull request.

Inheritance process model

The Inheritance process model is used to customize work-tracking objects and Agile tools for a project through the user interface. This process model is available only for accounts hosted on the Azure DevOps Services cloud platform. Projects inherit the customizations made to a process. To learn more, see Inheritance process model.


Agile process: An issue is a type of work item that defines an item that you want to track as it may impact the completion of other work. It is defined for the Agile process and doesn't appear on any backlog or board. See Manage issues and impediments).

Basic process: An issue is a type of work item that defines some work or code defect that needs to be tracked. It is defined for the Basic process and appears on the product backlog and Issues Kanban board.


The Basic process is available when you add a project to Azure DevOps Services or Azure DevOps Server 2019 Update 1. For earlier on-premises deployments, choose Agile, Scrum, or CMMI process.

Iteration paths (aka sprints)

A time period, usually two to three weeks, used to group work items to be completed during that time period. Sprints are used in Scrum methods to support sprint planning, sprint burndown, and other Scrum processes. Iteration paths allow you to group work into sprints, milestones, or other event-specific or time-related period. Learn more: About area and iteration paths.

Kanban board

A Kanban board is an interactive, electronic signboard that supports visualization of the flow of work from concept to completion and lean methods. To learn more, see Kanban basics.

Links support defining relationships between work items and other objects—such as commits, branches, pull requests, and more—using different link types. Learn more: Add link to work items, Link work items to support traceability and manage dependencies and Link types reference.

Pick list

A picklist specifies an enumerated set of values that appear within a drop-down menu in a work item form. Values also appear in the Value column within the query editor. The method you use to customize a picklist varies. It depends on the field and the process model. To learn more, see Customize work.

Plans (also known as delivery plans)

A plan is a configurable view that displays work from multiple teams and projects laid out within a calendar based on each team's iterations. Each row in the view represents the work from a team's product or portfolio backlog. Each card corresponds to a work item, such as user story, feature, or epic. To learn more, see Review team delivery plans.

Portfolio backlog

An interactive list of work items, similar to the product backlog, that supports organizing or grouping work under features, epics, or scenarios. Portfolio backlogs work similarly to product backlogs in that you can prioritize work and view the tree hierarchy of work. Learn more: Define features and epics.


A process defines the building blocks of a work-tracking system. To customize a process, you first create an inherited process from one of the default system processes, Agile, Scrum, or CMMI. All projects that use the process see the changes you make. To learn more, see About process customization and inherited processes.

Product backlog

An interactive list of work items that corresponds to a team's project plan or roadmap for what the team plans to deliver. The product backlog supports prioritizing work, forecasting work by sprints, and quickly linking work to portfolio backlog items. You can define your backlog items and then manage their status using the Kanban board.

Each product backlog can be customized by a team. Learn more: Create your backlog.


A project, which was previously known as a team project, provides a repository for source code. A project provides a place where a group of people can plan, track progress, and collaborate on building software solutions. A project is defined for an Azure DevOps Services organization or within a TFS project collection. You can use it to focus on those objects defined within the project. To learn more, see About projects and scaling your organization.


Queries are used to find and list work items. Queries support managed searches, which are used to triage work, versus ad-hoc searches, which are used to find a specific work item. Flat-list queries also support status and trend charts. To learn more, see About managed queries.

Remote linking

With remote linking, you can create link relationships between work items in one organization to work items or other objects defined in another organization. Organizations must be managed by the same Azure Active Directory. Learn more: Link work items, Link to a remote work item.

Sprints (also known as iterations)

A sprint is a time period of usually two to three weeks that's used to group work items to be completed during that time period. Sprints are used in Scrum methods to support sprint planning, sprint burndown, and other Scrum processes. Sprints are defined via iteration paths. To learn more, see About area and iteration paths (aka sprints).

Sprint backlog

An interactive list of work items that have been assigned to the same sprint or iteration path for a team. The sprint backlog supports teams that use Scrum methodologies. Learn more: Sprint planning.


A taskboard is an interactive board of work items that you can use to review and update tasks defined for the sprint backlog. The taskboard supports teams that use Scrum methodologies. To learn more, see Update and monitor your taskboard.


A team corresponds to a selected set of project members. With teams, organizations can subcategorize work to better focus on all the work they track within a project. Each team gets access to a suite of Agile tools. Teams can use these tools to work autonomously and collaborate with other teams across the enterprise. Each team can configure and customize each tool to meet their work requirements. To learn more, see About teams and Agile tools.

User story

A user story is a type of work item that defines the applications, requirements, and elements that teams plan to create. Product owners typically define and stack rank user stories. A user story is defined with the Agile process. To learn more, see Agile process work item types and workflow.


Widgets display information and charts on dashboards. Many of them can be configured. Many widgets display information available from one or more data stores or charts created by the system. To learn more, see Widget catalog.

Work item types (WITs)

A WIT specifies the fields, workflow, and form used to track an item of work. Each WIT is associated with more than 30 system fields and several more type-specific fields. You use work items to plan and track the work required to develop your project. For an overview of predefined WITs provided with the default processes, see Choose a process.


A workflow is an integral aspect of a work item. It's defined by its corresponding work item type. The workflow determines the logical progression and regression of work items. For the Agile process, it tracks the status of work as the work progresses from a New or Active state to a Closed or Completed state. For the Basic process, all work item types use the To Do, Doing, and Done states to track workflow status.

The workflow also specifies the values that appear in the State and Reason drop-down menus. To learn more, see Workflow states and state categories.