1. Assign backlog items to a sprint in Azure Boards

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018

The first step in planning your sprint is to assign work from your backlog to a sprint. Your team builds the sprint backlog during the sprint planning meeting, typically held on the first day of the sprint. Each sprint corresponds to a time-boxed interval that supports your team's ability to work using Agile processes and tools. During the planning meeting, your product owner works with your team to identify those stories or backlog items to complete in the sprint.

Note

Your project comes with several predefined sprints. You can quickly add more sprints from your backlog as needed. Or, change the dates of the predefined sprints. To learn more about sprints, also referred to as iterations, see About areas and iterations.

Here's an example of a sprint plan that consists of backlog items and the tasks required to complete each item. By setting team capacity and estimating tasks, the team can see when the team or a team member is at, under, or over capacity.

Screenshot of Sprint planning.

Screenshot of Sprint planning, TFS 2018.

In this article you'll learn how to:

  • Open your product backlog
  • Assign backlog items to a sprint
  • Use multi-select to bulk update work items

Planning meetings typically consist of two parts. In the first part, the team and product owner identify the backlog items that the team feels it can commit to completing in the sprint, based on experience with previous sprints. These items get added to the sprint backlog. In the second part, your team determines how it will develop and test each item. They then define and estimate the tasks required to complete each item. Finally, your team commits to implementing some or all of the items based on these estimates.

Note

Sprint planning doesn't need to be challenging. It can be fun and a time for the entire Scrum team to build camaraderie by working together to answer the question of "What can we commit to?" For examples and strategies to keep your sprint planning focused and effective, check out the What is Scrum?.

When you've completed your sprint plan, your sprint backlog should contain all the information your team needs to successfully complete work within the time allotted without having to rush at the end.

Prerequisites

Backlogs are automatically created when you create a project or add a team. Each team has access to their own product, portfolio, and sprint backlogs as described in About teams and Agile tools.

Note

Users with Stakeholder access for a public project have full access to backlog and board features just like users with Basic access. For details, see Stakeholder access quick reference.

Open your team's product backlog

Note

Your sprint backlogs are one of three classes of backlogs available to you. For an overview of the features supported on each backlog and the two types of boards, see Backlogs, boards, and plans.

For a beginner's guide to planning and tracking work, see Get started with Agile tools.

From your web browser, open your product backlog.

  1. (1) Check that you've selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Backlogs, and then (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Screenshot for Open Work, Backlogs, for a team.

    To select another backlog, open the selector and then choose a different team or select the View Backlog directory option. Or, enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Screenshot , Choose another team navigation.

    Tip

    Choose the star icon to favorite a team backlog. Favorited artifacts ( favorited icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you have selected Stories (for Agile), Issues (for Basic), Backlog items (for Scrum), or Requirements (for CMMI) as the backlog level.

    Screenshot for choose product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements.

  3. (Optional) To choose which columns should display and in what order, choose the actions icon and select Column options. To learn more, see Change column options.

    Screenshot, Open Column Options.

  1. From your web browser, open your product backlog. (1) Check that you've selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Backlogs, and then (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open Work, Backlogs, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the Browse all team backlogs option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Screenshot for Choose another team, Azure DevOps 2019.

    Tip

    Choose the star icon to favorite a team backlog. Favorited artifacts ( favorited icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you have selected Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI) as the backlog level.

    Screenshot, Choose product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements, Azure DevOps 2019.

  3. (Optional) To choose which columns should display and in what order, choose the actions icon and select Column options. You may want to add the Iteration Path to the set of columns that appear on your backlog. To learn more, see Change column options.

    Screenshot for Open Column Options, Azure DevOps 2019.

  1. From your web browser, open your team's product backlog. (1) Select the team from the project/team selector, choose (2) Work, (3) Backlogs, and then (4) the product backlog, which is Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI).

    Screenshot, Open the Boards>Backlogs page, TFS 2018.

    To choose another team, open the project/team selector and select a different team or choose the Browse option.

    Choose another team

    The set of sprints selected for your team appears in the left pane. If you don't see any sprints listed, you can add sprints or select existing sprints for your team's use. To learn how, see Define sprints.

  2. (Optional) To choose which columns should display and in what order, choose Column options. You may want to add the Iteration Path to the set of columns that appear on your backlog. To learn more, see Change column options.

Assign work from your backlog to a sprint

Before you start planning your sprint, you'll want to have created, organized, and estimated your backlog.

Also, you'll want to have set the start and end dates for your sprint.

You can quickly assign work items to a sprint through drag-and-drop from the product backlog to the sprint.

  1. The next step is to open the Planning pane. Choose the view options icon and select Planning. While you're at it, make sure Parents and Forecasting are Off. You can choose to set In Progress items to On or Off.

    Boards>Backlogs>Open view options and choose Planning

    The set of sprints selected for your team appears. If you don't see any sprints listed, you can add sprints or select existing sprints for your team's use. To learn how, see Define sprints.

  2. You can drag and drop items from the Backlog onto a sprint.

    Note

    The Planning pane only shows the current sprint and the next 10 future sprints in the list, even if more have been selected for the team. Only a team administrator or member of the Project Administrators group can select iterations for a team.

    Boards>Backlogs>Drag-drop items onto sprint

  3. Select one or more items from the backlog and drag them to the sprint you're planning. This action will update the Iteration Path of the backlog items and any of its child tasks to the sprint you selected.

  4. Check the level of effort displayed in the sprint window. As you assign backlog items to a sprint, the sprint window updates with a running tally of the number of backlog items and tasks and the Planned Effort.

    Product backlog page, drag work items to sprint or assign to sprint through the context menu

    Planned Effort provides a sum of all Story Points or Effort defined for backlog items assigned to the sprint. This sum represents your initial guess at the amount of work your team will complete in the sprint. Next, you'll define tasks, estimate that work, and use your team's capacity to make sure it fits in the sprint.

Select one or more items and drag them to one of the listed sprints.

Note

The Iteration Paths listed only show the current sprint and the next 10 future sprints in the list, even if more have been selected for the team. Only a team administrator or member of the Project Administrators group can select iterations for a team.

Product backlog page, drag work items to sprint or assign to sprint through the context menu

Use the multi-select feature to modify items in bulk

Multi-select of work items on the product and sprint backlogs works in the same way as multi-select works within query results.

With multi-select, you can complete several actions on several work items at once, such as:

To select several items in a sequence, hold down the shift key. To select several non-sequential items, use the Ctrl key. Then, you can either drag the selected items to a new position within the backlog, to a different sprint, or select an option from the context (context icon) or action ( ) menu of one of the items.

To learn more, see Bulk modify work items.

Next step

Now that you've defined your sprint plan, your team's ready to begin work on the sprint tasks.

To add or rename the sprints your team uses, see Define iteration (sprint) paths and configure team iterations.

If your backlog doesn't show the work items you expect, see Setup your Backlogs & Boards.