Key concepts and terms used for Azure Boards

Azure Boards

Here are definitions of key concepts and artifacts used in Azure Boards.


Select the version that meets your location and process: We are experimenting with a new acquisition model which is currently available for users located in the United States and that sign up through This model supports a new Basic process.
For International users and others who sign up through another method, the Agile process is used. Select your version of this article based on your location and process used.

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.


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. To look up the definition of each predefined field, see Index to basic field descriptions.


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

Inheritance process models are used to customize Azure Boards work and issue tracking. Projects inherit the customizations made to a process. To learn more, see Inheritance process model.

Issue (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. (Issues and impediments for other processes track other types of work as described in Manage issues and impediments).

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.

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. To learn more, see About managed queries.

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.

Work items

A work item represents an object stored in the work item data store. Each work item is based on a work item type—such as a user story, feature, bug, task, or issue— and is assigned an identifier which is unique across all projects in an organization or project collection. The work item types available to you are based on the process used when your project was created. Each work item supports capturing information, adding attachments, linking to other work items, and more. Learn more: About work items.

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. 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.