Track dependencies by using Delivery Plans

Azure Boards | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 - TFS 2013

With Delivery Plans, you can track dependencies that have been added to work items. Dependency tracking supports the Predecessor/Successor link type between work items. The following image shows dependency lines between a work item and several of its predecessor work items.

Screenshot of dependency lines between several work items.

To view dependencies, you must first define the Delivery Plan and dependencies between work items. To learn how, see Add or edit a Delivery Plans and Link user stories, issues, bugs, and other work items.

Tip

You can create dependencies between work items in different projects within the same organization, but not in projects in different organizations.

Prerequisites

  • To view a Delivery Plan, you must be a member of the Project Collection Valid Users group. Users granted Stakeholder access for a private project can view plans. Users granted Stakeholder access for a public project can add and view plans.
  • To open or modify a work item or add work items, you must have the Edit work items in this node set to Allow for the Area Paths assigned to the work item.

For work items and dependency lines to appear on the plan

Tip

If you edit a plan and don't see the changes you made appear in the plan, refresh your browser. A browser refresh is needed some times to trigger the updates.

Show dependency lines for a work item

  1. Open the delivery plan from Boards>Delivery Plans.

    Screenshot to Open Boards>Plans.

  2. To view dependency lines for a work item, select the bottom of its card. To dismiss the lines, select the bottom of the card again, or anywhere else within the plan.

    Dependency lines that have no issues show up as black lines.

    Screenshot of dependency lines between several work items.

    Tip

    Dependency lines show between work items that exist on the same backlog for a team, but not for work items that exist in different projects and team backlogs.

    Dependency lines that have issues, show up with red lines. The issues indicate that the successor work item is scheduled to end later than the predecessor work item.

    Screenshot of dependency lines that show issues between several work items.

Open the dependency summary for a work item

To drill down into specific dependencies, open the Dependencies dialog for the work item. Hover over the card and then choose the link icon.

For example, here we choose the link icon for a work item with dependencies to several work items within the same project.

Screen shot of card and link icon.

The Dependencies dialog indicates that the work item has four predecessors and no issues.

Dependencies dialog for a work item with four predecessors and no issues.

Identify dependency issues

When issues exist, they're highlighted in red. The issue always has to do with an end date for a successor work item occurring before the end date of the predecessor work item. Determine the end date by using either the Target Date for the work item or the End Date of the work item's assigned Iteration Path.

For example, the following Dependencies dialog indicates that two predecessor work items are scheduled to complete before the successor work item is scheduled to complete. A red exclamation mark and red colored arrows indicate there's an issue with the dependency.

When the dependency is to a work item in another project, the project information is shown as are other link relationships.

Dependencies dialog for a work item with dependencies-cross-project.