Azure Boards with Slack

Azure Boards | Azure DevOps Server 2020

If you use Slack, you can use the Azure Boards app for Slack to create work items and monitor work item activity in your Azure Boards project from your Slack channel.

The Azure Boards app for Slack allows users to set up and manage subscriptions for create, update and other work item events, and get notifications for these events in their Slack channel. Conversations in the Slack channel can be used to create work items. Previews for work item URLs help users to initiate discussions around work.

Pic: Notification

Read this article to learn how to:

  • Add the Azure Boards app to your Slack workspace
  • Link and unlink your Azure Boards project to the Azure Boards app
  • Set up subscriptions to work item related events in your Slack channel
  • Create work items from your Slack channel
  • Monitor work item activity in your Slack channel
  • Get notifications in private Slack channels

Prerequisites

Note

  • You can link the Azure Boards app for Slack only to a project hosted on Azure DevOps Services at this time.
  • Notifications are currently not supported inside direct messages.

Add the Azure Boards app to your Slack workspace

  1. To install the Azure Boards app to your Slack workspace, open a web browser, sign into Slack, and open the Azure Boards app.

  2. Once added, you will see a welcome message from the app as shown in the following image.

    Pic: Welcome message

  3. Use the /azboards Slack handle to interact with the app. A list of commands are provided later in this article, Command reference.

To use the app, you must first link your Azure Boards project to your Slack channel.

  1. Once the app has been installed in your Slack workspace, connect and authenticate yourself to Azure Boards.

    screenshot of sign-in

  2. After signing in, use the following slash command inside a Slack channel to link to the Azure Boards project which you specify with the URL :

     /azboards link [project url]
    

    For example:

     /azboards link https://dev.azure.com/myorg/myproject
    

Once the project is linked, you can create work items using /azboards create command or use message actions.

Set up subscriptions

You can create subscriptions to monitor work items at any time using the /azboards subscriptions command. You have an option of setting up subscriptions just after linking a project.

  1. Select the desired area path, event that you are interested in, and leverage the associated filters to customize your Slack channel. To easily set up subscriptions, your recently accessed area paths are shown in the area path dropdown.

    Set up subscriptions.

    In case your team's area path doesn't appear in the Area path dropdown menu, follow the instructions mentioned in the next section, Add area paths. Area paths added using the /azboards addAreapath command and area paths for which subscriptions are created in the Slack channel always appear in the Area path dropdown along with recently accessed area paths.

Add area paths

You can add areas that your team works on to the channel so that they are always available for creating work items and subscriptions. This is important mainly for the teams with more than 100 area paths.

  • Use the following command to add area paths from your project to the Slack channel.

      /azboards addAreapath [area path]
    

    For example:

      /azboards addAreapath myproject\fabrikam
    

    add areapath success message

  • If you choose project name as your area path, then you will receive notifications for all the area paths in the project. It is logically equivalent to choosing 'Any' area path.

Create a work item with a command

  1. With Azure Boards app you can create work items from your channel. The app supports custom work items as well.
  • To create a work item, use /azboards create.

    Create work item using command

  1. You can create work items directly from a command by passing work item type and title as parameters. Work items will be created only if they do not have any fields to be mandatorily filled.

     /azboards create [work item type] [work item title]
    

    For example:

     /azboards create 'user story' Push cloud monitoring alerts to mobile devices
    

Create a work item from message actions

Often, discussions in a channel necessitates creation of work items. You can use message actions to create a work item. The selected message is prefilled in the description section of the work item. A link back to the conversation in the channel is stored in the Discussion section of the newly created work item, giving users access to the discussion that led to the creation of the work item.

  • To create work items using message actions

    Create work item using message action

Manage subscriptions

  1. To view, add and remove subscriptions for a channel, use the /azboards subscriptions command:

     /azboards subscriptions
    

    This command lists all the current subscriptions for the channel and allows you to add new subscriptions and remove existing ones. As part of adding subscriptions, you can also customize what you get notified on by using various filters.

[!NOTE]Team administrators aren't able to remove or modify subscriptions created by Project administrators.

Pic: View subscriptions

Previews of work item URLs

To support collaboration around work items discussed within a channel, a preview of work items referenced in the channel is displayed. When a user pastes the work item URL, a preview is shown similar to that in the following image. This helps to keep work item related conversations relevant and accurate.

Pic: URL unfurling

For this feature to work, users have to be signed-in. Once they are signed in, this feature will work for all channels in a workspace.

A Slack channel can only link to one Azure Boards project at a time. To link to a different project, you must first unlink the current project using /azboards unlink command.

Unlinking a project deletes all the subscriptions along with added area paths from the channel. If the channel has no subscriptions, any user can unlink a project. However if a channel has subscriptions, only project admins can unlink a project from a channel.

Command reference

The following table lists all the /azboards commands you can use in your Slack channel.

Slash command Functionality
/azboards link [project url] Link a project to this channel to create work items and receive notifications
/azboards subscriptions Add or remove subscriptions for this channel
/azboards create or /azboards create [work item type] [title] Create a work item
/azboards addAreapath [area path] Add an area path from your project to this channel
/azboards signin Sign in to your Azure Boards organization
/azboards signout Sign out from your Azure Boards organization
/azboards unlink Unlink a project from this channel
/azboards feedback Report a problem or suggest a feature

Manage work in private channels

The Azure Boards app for Slack can help you create work items and monitor the work item activity in your private channels as well. To invite the bot to your private channel, enter /invite @azboards. After you post that, you can create work items and manage your notifications in the same way as you would for a public channel.

Troubleshoot

If you are experiencing the following errors when using the Azure Boards App for Slack, follow the procedures in this section.

Sorry, something went wrong. Please try again.

The Azure Boards app uses the OAuth authentication protocol, and requires Third-party application access via OAuth for the organization to be enabled. To enable this setting, navigate to Organization Settings > Security > Policies, and set the Third-party application access via OAuth for the organization setting to On.

Enable the Third-party application access via OAuth for the organization setting

Configuration failed. Please make sure that the organization '{organization name}' exists and that you have sufficient permissions.

Sign out of Azure DevOps by navigating to https://aka.ms/VsSignout using your browser.

Open an In private or incognito browser window and navigate to https://aex.dev.azure.com/me and sign in. In the dropdown under the profile icon to the left, select the directory that contains the organization containing the project that you want to link.

Select the directory that contains the organization that contains the project

In the same browser, start a new tab, navigate to https://slack.com, and sign in to your work space (use web client). Run the /azboards signout command followed by the /azboards signin command.

Select the Sign in button and you'll be redirected to a consent page like the one in the following example. Ensure that the directory shown beside the email is same as what was chosen in the previous step. Accept and complete the sign-in process.

Consent to the requested app permissions

If these steps don't resolve your authentication issue, reach out to us at Developer Community.