Customize cards on a sprint taskboard in Azure Boards

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

Sprint Taskboards are similar to Kanban boards because they show work items as cards instead of as lists. They're different in the ways summarized in Backlogs, Boards, and Plans. Similar to the Kanban boards, you can customize cards and add columns.

Sprint Taskboards are similar to Kanban boards in that they show work items as cards instead of as lists. They're different in the ways summarized in Backlogs, Boards, and Plans. Similar to the Kanban boards, you can customize cards. To change column names or add columns, you need to customize the workflow.

Note

This article addresses customization of a sprint Taskboard. For information on customizing a Kanban board, see Manage and configure team tools.

Prerequisites

  • You must have a sprint Taskboard you want to configure. When you add a team, you add a Taskboard for every sprint that you select for your team. To learn more, see About teams and Agile tools.
  • To add or rename columns, or customize cards, you must be added to the team administrator role for the team's settings you want to modify, or be a member of the Project Administrators security group. To get added, see Add a team administrator or Change project-level permissions.

Taskboard customization options

To add or remove columns, choose Column Options. You customize all other options through the Settings dialog for the Taskboard.

Important

Select a version from Azure DevOps Content Version selector.

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Option

Use to...


Manage bugs on Taskboard similar to tasks.

Add or remove columns shown on Taskboard.

Add or remove fields from cards.
Includes adding the Parent field to cards.

Add or remove fields from cards.

Add styling rules to change card color and title style based on field criteria.


Note

Each team can customize their Taskboard columns and cards. Taskboard settings are not inherited from other teams that they may share portions of area paths.

Understand the Taskboard customization sequence

Before you configure your Taskboard, you'll want to make sure the following tasks are as complete as possible. Otherwise, you'll find yourself revisiting your configuration.

Process Administrator:

  1. Add custom work item types that you want to appear on your Taskboard. For details, see Add and manage work item types.
  2. Customize your iteration backlog to ensure all work item types you want to have will appear on the Taskboards. For details see Customize backlogs & boards.
  3. Customize each work item type to have any custom fields you want to show. For details, see Customize a workflow.

Note

You can customize a work item type which is different then customizing the card displayed on the Taskboard. You customize a WIT by adding fields, changing the workflow, adding custom rules and more. You can also add custom work item types and custom backlog levels. For details, see Customize an inheritance process.

Note

You can customize a work item type which is different then customizing the card displayed on the Taskboard. You customize a WIT by adding fields, changing the workflow, adding custom rules and more. You can also add custom work item types and custom backlog levels. For details, see Customize the On-premises XML process model.

Team Administrator:

  1. Meet with your team and determine how the team wants to manage bugs, similar to requirements or tasks.
  2. Add any tags to work items that you want to use to support styling rules.

Show bugs on your taskboard

If you want bugs to appear on your taskboard, change your team settings for show bugs on the backlogs and boards.

Add columns

You can add columns or rename columns that appear in your Taskboard. You'll see different column titles and choices based on the process used to create your project and whether your team has chosen to treat bugs like requirements or like tasks.

Note

Columns you add to a Taskboard aren't supported with corresponding fields such as the Kanban board columns you add which is supported with Board Column field.

The changes made apply to all sprint taskboards for the selected team.

  1. From your web browser, open your team's sprint Taskboard as described in Update and monitor your Taskboard. Remember, only team or project administrators can customize the taskboard.

  2. Choose Column Options.

    Open Column Options

  3. In the Customize Columns dialog, choose the column you want to rename, or choose Add Column.

    In this example, we add a column named Review and set the Task to In Progress.

    Customize Columns dialog

    Similar to the Kanban board, each column must map to a category state. There are four category states: Proposed, Committed, In Progress, and Completed. At least one column must map to Proposed and one column must map to Completed. To learn more about each state, see Workflow states and state categories.

  4. To change the column order, hover over the column and choose the grabber icon and drag it up or down within the list of columns.

    Move column

  5. To delete a column, first make sure that the column doesn't contain any work items. If it does, move the items to another column. Then, hover over the column and choose the delete icon.

    Delete column

Add fields to cards on a sprint taskboard

Scrum teams use the Taskboard to burn down work and report on progress during daily stand ups. Each sprint Taskboard shows cards that correspond to both requirements and tasks.

Provide information-rich cards

Information rich cards not only provide at-a-glance information of interest to you and your team. They also provide a way for you to update a field without opening the work item. And, with style rules, you can highlight those work items with select colors based on the criteria you set.

Each card corresponds to a work item that you use to share information, track status, and assign work.

Note

To understand the differences between backlogs, boards, taskboards, and Delivery plans, see Backlogs, boards, and plans. If your backlog or board doesn't show the work items that you expect or want, see Set up your backlogs and boards.

In this example, the bug work item type (WIT) shows all the core fields. It also shows three other fields and tags. To make severity 1 bugs stand out, a styling rule has been added to cause the card to display as yellow.

In the card shown below, the following customizations have been set for the task work item type (WIT):

  • Show all core fields: ID, Assigned To, Remaining Work, Tags
  • Show three additional fields: Priority
  • Apply styling rule to display tasks with Priority=1 as green

Card customize to show additional fields, tags, and style rule

You can either increase or simplify the information that displays on your cards. It all depends on what's of interest to your team. Does your team like to refer to work items by their ID? Do they want to see estimates? Do they want to highlight work items according to set criteria? Or, will just the bare bones of title and assignment suffice?

Your best bet is to show fields on cards based on what your team frequently refers to. Or, you can show fields based on updates when using the Taskboards. Also, add fields with information that you can use to filter the board. If you're new to working with these tools, see Sprint planning.

Add or remove fields from cards on the Taskboard

You change the way cards appear on the Taskboard in the same way you change the appearance of cards on Kanban boards. Only here, you start from the Taskboard.

  1. Open the taskboard for the sprint you want to customize. Remember, only team or project administrators can customize the taskboard.

  2. Choose the gear icon to open the Settings dialog.

    Taskboard, open Settings dialog

  3. Choose Fields and then a work item type to see all the settings you can modify.

  4. Place a check mark in the check box for those fields you want to have appear on the board.

    Settings dialog, Fields, Task work item type

    Repeat this step for each work item type you want to change. Don't be surprised if the options change when you choose a different work item type. For example, Show Remaining Work only applies to tasks and perhaps bugs, but not to user stories or product backlog items.

  5. To add a field, choose the plus icon and enter the name of a field you want to add.

  6. To remove a field, choose the delete icon next to the field.

  7. When done with your changes, choose Save.

  1. Open the taskboard for the sprint you want to customize. Remember, only team or project administrators can customize the taskboard.

  2. Choose the gear icon to open the Settings dialog.

    taskboard, open card customization dialog

  3. Choose Fields and then a work item type to see all the settings you can modify.

  4. Place a check mark in the check box for those fields you want to have appear on the board.

    Settings dialog, Fields, Task work item type

    Repeat this step for each work item type you want to change. Don't be surprised if the options change when you choose a different work item type. For example, Show Remaining Work only applies to tasks and perhaps bugs, but not to user stories or product backlog items.

  5. To add a field, choose the plus icon and enter the name of a field you want to add.

  6. To remove a field, choose the delete icon next to the field.

  7. When done with your changes, choose Save.

Update fields from cards

Using the board views provides you with quick and easy ways to update work items as work progresses. Making daily or frequent updates helps everyone on your team stay in sync with what's been done and what needs doing next.

To update status of a work item, you simply drag-and-drop cards to a different column. To change the order or stack ranking of a work item, you drag a card up or down within a column.

Moving the card from In Progress to the Done column on the Task board, for example, updates the corresponding State field. In this case, the State field updates from Doing to Done.

Taskboard, move a work item

Another handy feature is to update a field without having to open the work item. You can update most fields shown on the card. Here we reassign a task.

Kanban board, assign a work item

This quick update feature is useful when you need to update many work items at once. For example, you can add estimates or update Remaining Work.

To change the title, choose the actions icon, and then choose Edit title.

Edit title

To add tags, double-click the work item to open it. And, just a reminder, you can't change the IDs for a work item, not from the card and not from within the form.

Define style rules, highlight cards

With styling rules, you can cause cards to change color when their corresponding work items meet criteria that you set. Here, we highlight Priority 1 tasks by having the cards display as green.

Styling rule applied to tasks with Priority=1

Example styling rules

What rules should you apply to highlight work items? Here are a few examples and their associated criteria.

Work items Criteria
High priority items Priority = 1
High effort items Remaining Work>=12
Stale items unchanged in the last 5 days Changed Date @Today-5
Title contains a key word Title Contains Yes
Severity 1 bugs Severity = 1 - Critical AND Work Item Type = Bug
High value business items Business Value 50
Items assigned to specific feature area Area Path Under Fabrikam Fiber\Phone
Contains specific tag Tags Contain RTM
Blocked tasks (Scrum process only) Blocked = Yes

Add or remove a style rule

You can apply style rules to change the color of Taskboard cards based on specified field criteria.

  1. Open the Taskboard that you want to customize.

  2. Choose the gear icon to open the Settings dialog.

  3. Choose Styles to specify a style rule. Choose the plus icon to add a style. Select the color to apply to the card and define the criteria for the style rule.

    In this example, we show the Styles dialog for the taskboard.

    Settings, Styles dialog

    Follow these rules when creating and ordering your style rules:

    • The criteria you specify works in a similar fashion as when constructing a query.

    • All clauses are considered AND clauses, grouping clauses isn't supported.

    • Card rules apply to all work items that meet the rule criteria

    • Rule color applies to work items based on the order in which rules are listed. If you add more than one style rule, make sure that you move them in the order of most importance. Drag them into the order you want them applied.

    • You can quickly enable and disable a style rule.

      Here we add a Stale tasks rule that highlights tasks that haven't changed in the last five days.

      taskboard, Style dialog, example style rule

  4. To copy or delete a style rule, choose the actions icon and select Clone or Delete, respectively.

    Delete-clone-move menu options

  5. When done with your changes, choose Save.

  1. Open the Taskboard that you want to customize. If you're not a team admin, get added as one. Only team and project admins can customize boards.

  2. Choose the gear icon to open the Settings dialog.

  3. Choose Styles to specify a style rule. Choose the plus icon to add a style. Select the color to apply to the card and define the criteria for the style rule.

    In this example, we show the Styles dialog for the taskboard.

    Settings, Styles dialog

    Follow these rules when creating and ordering your style rules:

    • The criteria you specify works in a similar fashion as when constructing a query

    • All clauses are considered AND clauses, grouping clauses isn't supported

    • Card rules apply to all work items that meet the rule criteria

    • Rule color applies to work items based on the order in which rules are listed. If you add more than one style rule, make sure that you move them in the order of most importance. Drag them into the order you want them applied.

    • You can quickly enable and disable a style rule

      Here we add a Stale tasks rule that highlights tasks that haven't changed in the last five days.

      taskboard, Style dialog, example style rule

  4. To copy or delete a style rule, choose the actions icon and select Clone or Delete, respectively.

  5. When done with your changes, choose Save.

Changes cause automatic taskboard updates

Your Taskboard automatically refreshes when changes occur. There isn't any live updates control, it simply happens in the background. As other team members move or reorder cards on the taskboard, the Taskboard automatically updates with these changes. You don't need to press F5 to see the latest changes.