Review team Delivery Plans

Azure Boards | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 - TFS 2017

Use the visualization options provided by Delivery Plans to review the schedule of stories or features your teams plan to deliver. Delivery Plans show the scheduled work items by sprint (iteration path) of selected teams against a calendar view.

Use Delivery Plans to ensure your teams are aligned with your organizational goals. You can view multiple backlogs and multiple teams across your whole account. You can interact with the plan with simple drag-and-drop operations to update or modify the schedule, opening cards, expanding and collapsing teams, and more.

Note

A new version of Delivery Plans is available in public preview for Azure Boards. This tool is now part of Azure Boards and not an extension. To enable it, see Manage or enable features and turn on New Delivery Plans Experience. This new version of Delivery Plans supports the following tasks:

  • Custom portfolio backlogs as well as Epics can be added to a delivery plan
  • Work item cards can span iteration boundaries
  • Drag and drop borders show when a work item starts and ends
  • You can add backlog items to a team from a plan
  • You can view work item dependencies
  • Stakeholders can view plans
  • Plans can support configuration of up to 15 teams

Any plan you created with the original Delivery Plans extension will work with Delivery Plans (Preview). You don't have to migrate any data or reconfigure plan settings.

Screenshot of delivery plans, preview

You can change the assigned sprint of a work item by dragging it to a new sprint as shown in the following image.

Screenshot of moving a card to a different iteration

In this article you'll learn:

  • How to review a plan with your teams
  • How to add and edit a plan
  • How to add field criteria, customize cards, and add markers
  • How to open a plan from the list of defined plans
  • How to work with the interactive elements of plans and change the plan view
  • What permissions are required to create and view plans

Prerequisites

Note

Installation of Delivery Plans requires TFS 2017.2 or later version.

Review a plan with your teams

It takes several teams to develop large software projects. Very large projects require multiple autonomous teams (review Agile culture for a discussion of autonomous teams and organizational alignment). Autonomous teams manage their own backlog and priority which contributes to a unified direction for that project.

Regular reviews of the project schedule with these teams help ensure that the teams are working toward common goals. Delivery Plans provide the needed multi-team view of your project schedule.

Some questions you might address during the review:

  • How confident are the teams in meeting the deliverables scheduled for each sprint?
  • Are dependencies across teams adequately addressed via the planned deliverables?
  • Are there gaps in the schedule, where no deliverables are scheduled? What's the cause? Can this be mitigated?

For example, we use Delivery Plans internally to share the schedule of Features. By seeing the work many teams have planned for the next 3 sprints, we can easily discuss whether these are the right priorities and if dependencies exist.

In this way, a Delivery Plan is a driver of alignment while allowing each team to retain a strong sense of autonomy. Individual teams can work to different sprint cadences, if needed, and manage different work item types—stories, features, or epics. Their work is all visible with the same plan view. Teams can even be part of different projects if they use different processes. You can also customize the card fields so that you only see the data fields of interest and applicable per work item type.

Best practices

  • Use a consistent sprint schedule across your project teams and organization. Use the same sprints for backlogs, features, and epics. Don't create specific sprints for epics or other portfolio backlogs.
  • Use Start Date and Iteration to specify the time frame for a work item. Or, use Start Date and Target Date. However, don't specify both Iteration and Target Date for a work item. The Target Date will always override the Iteration end date on the plan.
  • Minimize the number of fields you choose to display on your cards.
  • Eliminate cross-team ownership of area paths. Cross-team area path ownership isn't recommended and can lead to undesirable edge cases.

Note the following:

  • Plan views are limited to 12 to 13 months.
  • Plan views are limited to a maximum of 15 teams/backlogs
  • Zooming out can cause fields and tags to disappear from the cards. The further you zoom out, the harder it is to fit items on a card. By design, we hide select items depending on the zoom level.
  • Rollup isn't supported for child work items that belong to a different project than that of the originating parent work item.
  • If the Start Date or Target Date are missing from a work item, you can add them to the custom process defined for the project as discussed in Add and manage fields (Inheritance process).
  • Use a consistent sprint schedule across your project teams and organization. Use the same sprints for backlogs, features, and epics. Don't create specific sprints for epics or other portfolio backlogs.
  • Minimize the number of fields you choose to display on your cards.
  • Eliminate cross-team ownership of area paths. Cross-team area path ownership isn't recommended and can lead to undesirable edge cases.

Note the following:

  • Plan views are limited to 12 to 13 months.
  • Plan views are limited to a maximum of ten teams/backlogs
  • Zooming out can cause fields and tags to disappear from the cards. The further you zoom out, the harder it is to fit items on a card. By design, we hide select items depending on the zoom level.

Add a plan

  1. Open Boards>Plans (Preview).

    Screenshot to Open Boards>Plans (Preview).

  2. To add a plan, choose New Plan.

    Choose New Plan button.

    All users have permissions to create a plan and manage the plans they create.

  3. Fill in the form to name, describe, and specify the team backlogs that you want to appear within your plan. You can add up to 15 teams to a plan.

    New delivery plan dialog.

  1. Open Boards>Plans.

    Screenshot to Open Boards>Plans

  2. To add a plan, choose New Plan.

    Choose New Plan.

    All users, except users assigned Stakeholder access, have permissions to create a plan and manage the plans they create. To manage permissions for a plan, see Set permissions and access for work tracking, Manage or edit Delivery Plans.

  3. Fill in the form to name, describe, and specify the team backlogs that you want to appear within your plan.

    Add a plan

  1. Open Boards>Plans.

    Open work>Plans, previous nav

  2. To add a plan, choose New Plan.

    Choose new plan.

    All users, except users assigned Stakeholder access, have permissions to create a plan and manage the plans they create. To manage permissions for a plan, see Set permissions and access for work tracking, Manage or edit Delivery Plans.

  3. Fill in the form to name, describe, and specify the team backlogs that you want to appear within your plan.

    Add a plan

When defining a plan, note the following:

  • Use the name and description field to clearly identify your plan within the project
  • You can choose one or more teams from any project defined in the organization or collection, up to a maximum of ten teams
  • You can choose one or more active backlogs for a team

    Note

    If you aren't able to select a backlog level, check the Team Backlog settings to ensure the backlog level is enabled for the team. To learn more, see Select backlog navigation levels for your team.

  • You can reorder the team backlogs by dragging and dropping them into the sequence you want
  • To filter for specific work items, specify the field criteria. For example, to exclude bugs from the view, add the following criteria: Work Item Type <> Bug.

Edit a plan

Once you've defined a plan, you can further customize it.

  1. Choose the More actions to open Plans settings dialog.

  2. Then, choose the page you want to edit. You can customize the plan in the following ways:

    • Edit the teams you've selected and their backlog level
    • Set field criteria to further limit the work items that will appear on the plan
    • Add markers to show important upcoming events on your timeline
    • Customize the fields that display on the cards, similar to how you customize them for your Kanban or taskboard.

      Note

      You can't add rich-text (HTML) fields, such as the Description field, to a card even if it appears in the list. These field types represent to many challenges to format on a card.

Here, we add the Tags field criteria. Only work items that contain the RC Review tag will appear in the Delivery Plan.

Plan settings dialog, Field criteria page

  1. To set a marker, open Markers, specify a date and specify a hexadecimal color, or simply choose the color palette icon to change to a new color selected by the system.

    Screenshot to Open the Markers page, specify a date and select a color.

    Markers appear on the plan as shown:

    Screenshot pf Plans, Markers appear on calendar.

  1. To open the Settings dialog, choose Configure plan settings .

  2. Then, choose the page you want to edit. You can customize the plan in the following ways:

    • Edit the teams you've selected and their backlog level

    • Set field criteria to further limit the work items that will appear on the plan

    • Add markers to show important upcoming events on your timeline

    • Customize the fields that display on the cards, similar to how you customize them for your Kanban or taskboard.

      Here, we add the Tags field criteria. Only work items that contain the RC Review tag will appear in the Delivery Plan.

      Settings dialog, Fields page
  3. To set a marker, open the Markers page, specify a date and select a color.

    Open the Markers page, specify a date and select a color.

    Markers appear on the plan as shown:

    Plans, Markers appear on calendar slide

Open a plan

Once you've defined a few plans, you'll see them listed from the Plans page under All, or the ones you've favorited (Add to favorites ) under Favorites. You can see their title, description and their most recent creator/editor.

Use the favorite's star to favorite a plan so that you can quickly return to that plan. You can also search for other plans in the project.

To open a plan, simply choose the plan name.

Interact with a plan

Each team's backlog specified in a Delivery Plan appears as a row within the plan view. When collapsed, a roll-up of the backlog items shows. When expanded, a card for each backlog item appears, organized by their assigned iteration.

Screenshot with callouts of Delivery Plans, collapsed teams.

Interactive plan elements

You can interact with the plan in the following ways:

  • Filter the plan by choosing Choose Filter . You can filter on any field you include in the plan Settings based on the keyword or text filter. For additional details, see Interactively filter your backlogs, boards, and plans.
  • Scale the size of the cards and calendar by choosing Zoom out or Zoom in .
  • To view previous or future months, choose Scroll calendar left or Scroll calendar right .You can also scroll the plan by clicking the plan and dragging your mouse horizontally.
  • To view details for a team, expand the team row by choosing Expand team row or clicking once on a sprint within a team row.
  • To expand and collapse all team rows, choose Expand all team rows or Collapse all team rows next to Teams.
  • Scroll the view vertically to view teams that appear lower within the plan view.
  • To view titles only, choose Collapsed card fields . To view all fields, choose Expand card fields .
  • Click a card title to open the backlog item and view details. Close the work item to return to the plan.
  • To add a work item to a sprint, choose Add item within the sprint and team you want to add it to.
  • To change the fields displayed on the cards, choose More actions .
  • Filter the plan by choosing Choose Filter . For additional details, see Interactively filter your backlogs, boards, and plans.
  • Scale the size of the cards (enter + or - to also scale)
  • Scroll the view horizontally via the calendar to view previous months or future months (Enter Shift-left or Shift-right to scroll)
  • You can also scroll the plan via click and dragging your mouse.
  • Scroll the view vertically to view teams that appear lower within the plan view. You can also scroll the plan by clicking the plan and dragging your mouse vertically.
  • Click a card title to open the backlog item and view details. Close the work item to return to the plan.
  • To view details for a team, expand the team row by choosing Expand team row.
  • To expand and collapse all team rows, choose Expand all team rows or Collapse all team rows next to Teams. (Enter u to collapse, o to expand all rows).
  • Enter t to quickly toggle fields shown on cards to just the Title or all other card field settings
  • To edit the plan and change the fields displayed on the cards, , choose Configure plan settings .

In the following example, Team 1 features expanded, two items are scheduled for delivery in Sprint 50.

Team rows in plans

You can also quickly see that:

  • Team 1 is currently working on Sprint 50 deliverables
  • Sprint 50 began on December 14th and is scheduled to end December 25th.
  • The team expects to deliver the two features shown by the cards.

Collapse teams for summary information

A benefit of Delivery Plans is to view multiple teams across your projects that you care about. Two main ways to view more teams within the plan view is to collapse all teams to focus on summary data and to minimize the number of fields displayed on cards.

To gain a summary view of work that is schedule, collapse all teams. You can then more easily look for gaps in the forward forecast.

Collapse and expand each team row by choosing Expand team row or Collapse team row next to the team name.

Collapse click targets

For example, here you can see the count of Features for Team 1 for the next 3 sprints. You can collapse/expand team rows by by choosing Expand team row or Collapse team row next to the team name.

Collapse click targets

Show work that spans one or more iterations - Plans (Preview)

For work items that span one or more iterations, you can define the Start Date and Target Date. The plan displays cards that start and end according to the dates you set as shown in the following image.

Screenshot showing features that span iterations

View titles only, collapsed card view

The collapsed card view allows you to quickly switch back and forth between cards showing titles only and cards showing all fields configured for the plan. To view titles only, choose Collapsed card fields . To view all fields, choose Expand card fields .

Screenshot showing location of collapse/expand card fields feature icons.

The collapsed card view allows you to quickly switch back and forth between cards showing titles only and cards showing all fields configured for the plan. To toggle between titles only and show all fields, enter "t" from your keyboard.

View rollup of features and epics - Plans (Preview)

Rollup displays a fuller picture of the underlying work directly on the cards in your delivery plan. Rollup views are available for features, epics, or any portfolio backlog you've added to your project. To enable rollup, open your plan settings, choose Fields, and select Show child rollup data.

For example, here we show a plan view of four scenarios with rollup of the child features, user stories, and bugs for a single team.

Screenshot showing rollup view of four scenarios.

You can also view rollup from a backlog view as described in Display rollup progress or totals.

View dependencies - Plans (Preview)

To view dependencies for a work item, hover over the upper-right corner and choose the dependency-links icon.

For example, here we show a work item with dependencies to several work items within the same project.

Screenshot of dependencies within the same project.

When the dependency is to a work item in another project, the project information is shown as well as other link relationships. A red exclamation mark and red colored arrows indicate there is an issue with the dependency.

Screenshot of dependencies-cross-project.

Update the iteration for a backlog item

As changes occur to the schedule, you can update the iteration for a backlog item by moving a card to a different iteration. This will help to drive alignment across your organization.

Move a card to a different iteration

Minimize the fields displayed on cards

To quickly change the cards to only show their Title, enter the keyboard shortcut 't'. This will hide all other fields, as shown in the following image, the Assigned to field no longer appears. To persist this view, edit the plan's settings for card fields.

Cards showing the Title only

Keyboard shortcuts

You can use the following keyboard shortcuts when interacting with a delivery plan. To view the valid shortcuts, enter ? when viewing a plan from the Boards>Plans or Work>Plans page.

To toggle between card titles only and card details, enter t.

Note

The following shortcuts are available from the web portal for TFS 2017.2 and later versions. Type ? to access Global and service-specific shortcuts.

Delivery plans keyboard shortcuts



Home     Select first item
Enter      Open item
n            New item

Ctrl+↑  Move item up
Ctrl+↓  Move item down
Ctrl+←  Move item left
Ctrl+→  Move item right
Shift+←  Pan timeline left
Shift+→  Pan timeline right

u            Collapse all backlogs
o            Expand all backlogs

Shift+pageup    Focus on previous team
Shift+pagedown  Focus on next team
Ctrl+Shift+f      Filter results

For additional resources for working with multiple teams, see these additional topics:

Programmatically manage Delivery Plans

You can manage plans using the REST API, Plans.