What is Azure Boards?

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With Azure Boards, you can quickly and easily start tracking user stories, backlog items, task, features, and bugs associated with your project. You do this by adding one of these work item types—user stories, bugs, features, epics, and tasks—that the Agile process provides. As works progresses from not started to completed, you update the State workflow field from New, Active, Resolved, and Closed.

Work item types Workflow
Basic process work item types, conceptual image Agile process workflow, conceptual image

When you add a user story, bug, task, or feature, you create a work item. Each work item represents an object stored in the work item data store. Each work item is assigned a unique identifier (ID) within your projects.

Note

Your first project corresponds to the Agile process unless Scrum or CMMI were selected. If you want a project that uses the Scrum or CMMI process, then you can add another project and specify the process through advanced setting options. See Choose a process for a comparison of processes.

Add epics to track significant business initiatives, add features to track specific applications or set of work. Define user stories to track work that you'll assign to specific team members, and bugs to track code defects. Lastly, use tasks to track even smaller amounts of work for which you want to track time either in hours or days.

Important

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 azure.com/boards. 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.

Track work, implement Kanban

  • Quickly add and update the status of work you track from New, Active, Resolved, and Closed using the Kanban board. Add tasks as child items to user stories. Learn more: Track user stories, features, and tasks.
  • Assign work to team members, tag with labels to support queries and filtering, or share information through descriptions, attachments, or links to network shared content.
  • Prioritize work through drag-and-drop on your team backlog. Learn more: Create your backlog.

Update the status of issues

Update status on Kanban board

Prioritize your backlog of issues

Reorder work items

Collaborate

  • Collaborate with others through the Discussion section of the work item form, using @mentions and #ID controls to quickly include others in the conversation or link to other work items. Learn more: Discussion section.
  • Create dashboards that track status and trends of work being accomplished. Learn more: Add and manage dashboards.
  • Set notifications to get alerted when an issue is created or changed. Learn more: Set personal notifications.
  • Elect to follow specific issues to get alerted when they are updated. Learn more: Follow a work item.

Get updated when a work item is updated

Work item form, Follow icon control

Work in sprints, implement Scrum

Assign backlog items to a sprint

Boards>Backlogs>Drag-drop items onto sprint

Work effectively

  • Organize work into a hierarchy by grouping issues under epics, and tasks under issues. Learn more: Organize your backlog.
  • Create queries and quickly triage issues and tasks. Learn more: View and run queries and Triage work.
  • Create work item templates to help contributors quickly add and define open meaningful issues and tasks. Learn more: Use work item templates.
  • Quickly find work items assigned to you or pivot or filter work items based on other criteria, such as work items that you follow, that you're mentioned in, or that you viewed or updated. Learn more: View and add work items.

Group items to create a hierarchy

Backlogs, show parents

Connect with GitHub

If you use Azure Boards connected with GitHub, you can also do the following:

  • From GitHub, use #AB to link GitHub commits and pull requests to your issues and tasks
  • From Azure Boards issues and tasks, link to GitHub commits and pull requests.

Learn more: GitHub & Azure Boards.

Best tool for the job

Azure Boards provides the following main interactive lists and signboards. Each tool provides a filtered set of work items. All tools support viewing and defining work items. To learn more about effective use of these tools, see Best tool to add, update, and link work items.

  • Boards: Boards present work items as cards and support quick status updates through drag-and-drop. The feature is similar to sticky notes on a physical whiteboard. Use to implement Kanban practices and visualize the flow of work for a team.
  • Backlogs: Backlogs present work items as lists. A product backlog represents your project plan and a repository of all the information you need to track and share with your team. Portfolio backlogs allow you to group and organize your backlog into a hierarchy. Use to plan, prioritize, and organize work.
  • Sprints: Sprint backlogs and taskboards provide a filtered view of work items a team assigned to a specific iteration path, or sprint. From your backlog, you can assign work to an iteration path by using drag-and-drop. You can then view that work in a separate sprint backlog. Use to implement Scrum practices.
  • Queries: Queries are filtered lists of work items based on criteria that you define by using a query editor. You use queries to support the following tasks:
    • Find groups of work items with something in common
    • List work items for the purposes of sharing with others or performing bulk updatesTriage a set of items to prioritize or assign them
    • Create status and trend charts that you then can add to dashboards.
  • Work items: Use to quickly find work items assigned to you or pivot or filter work items based on other criteria, such as work items that you follow, that you're mentioned in, or that you viewed or updated.

Teams and Backlogs, Boards, and Sprints

A team refers to a group of project members who work in a particular product area. Those areas are represented as area paths. Area paths are hierarchical paths that denote the possible areas of ownership in an organization. A team is defined by a name, its members, and its area paths.

Boards, Backlogs, Sprints rely on team configurations. For example, if you want to add a Kanban board or product backlog, you define a team. For more information on teams, see About teams and Agile tools.

Install and manage extensions

An extension is an installable unit that adds new capabilities to your projects. You can find extensions in the Visual Studio Marketplace, Azure DevOps tab to support planning and tracking of work items, sprints, scrums, and more and collaboration among team members.