Set permissions and access for work tracking

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You grant or restrict access to various work tracking features by granting users or groups specific permissions for an object, project, or collection. Or, you can specify custom rules for a process or project that apply to users or groups which may restrict or require users to perform a select action. In general, you'll want to add users to a project's Contributors group to provide access to most features as listed in Permissions and access for work tracking.

Note

For public projects, Stakeholder access gives users greater access to work tracking features and full access to Azure Pipelines. To learn more, see Stakeholder access quick reference.

Support business workflows through custom rules

Custom rules don't set permissions, but do impact the effective permissions of a user at run-time to modify a work item or set the value of a work item field. Azure Boards supports the following work tracking customizations that support business workflows.

  • Apply select rules upon work item creation, state change, specified state.
  • Apply select rules when a field value is empty,set to a specific value, or was changed or not changed to a value.
  • Restrict the transition to a specific state when moving from a specified state.
  • Apply select rules based on user or group membership of the user modifying a work item.

Common actions set by rules include:

  • Make a field required or read-only
  • Clear or set the value of a field, or copy a field value to another field
  • Hide a field.

For example, you can specify rules that effectively restrict a group of users from performing the following tasks:

  • Creating a work item
  • Transitioning a work item to a closed or completed state
  • Changing the value of a field.

Or, perform the following automations:

  • Reassign a work item based on state change
  • State transitions of parent work items based on state changes made to their child work items.

Some restrictions are placed on applying custom rules to system fields. For example, you can't specify rules that set or clear the value for Area Path or Iteration Path as these are system fields. To learn more about custom rules you can define and system field restrictions on custom rules, see Rules and rule evaluation. For sample scenarios that define custom rules, see Sample rule scenarios.

Work tracking roles and permission levels

The following table summarizes the different permissions you can set at the object, project, or collection level. The team administrator role provides access to add and modify team resources.


Role or permission level

Functional areas set


Team administrator role
To add a user to the team administrator role, see Add a team administrator.


Object-level permissions


Project-level permissions


Project collection-level permissions


Create child nodes, modify work items under an area path

Area path permissions let you grant or restrict access to edit or modify work items, test cases, or test plans assigned to those areas. You can restrict access to users or groups. You can also set permissions for who can add or modify areas or iterations for the project.

You define both areas and iterations for a project from the Project Settings>Work>Project configuration.

  1. Choose (1) Project Settings, expand Work if needed, and choose (2) Project configuration and then (3) Areas.

    Project Settings>Work>Project Configuration

  2. Choose the ... context menu for the node you want to manage and select Security.

    Open the security dialog

  3. Select the group or team member, and then change the permission settings. If you don't see the group you want, try adding it first.

    For example, here we've added the Disallow Access Group, and disallowed members of this group the ability to view, modify, or edit work items in the Customer Service area path.

    Permissions for an area node

    You can specify two explicit authorization states for permissions: Deny and Allow. In addition, permissions can exist in one of three additional states. To learn more, see Get started with permissions, access, and security groups.

  1. From the web portal for the project, choose the gear icon.

    Web portal, Open Admin context, project level

    If you're currently working from a team context, then hover over the gear icon and choose Project settings.

    Open Project Settings, horz nav

  2. Choose Work and then Areas.

  3. Choose the ... context menu for the node you want to manage and select Security.

    In the context menu, select Security.

  1. From the web portal, choose the gear icon to open project administration pages. Then choose Areas.

    Open the project administration page

  2. Choose the context menu for the node you want to manage.

    Choose the context menu for the node you want to manage.

  3. Select the group or team member, and then change the permission settings. If you don't see the group you want, try adding it first.

    For example, here we've added the Disallow Access Group, and disallowed members of this group the ability to view, modify, or edit work items in the Customer Service area path.

    Permissions for an area node

    You can specify two explicit authorization states for permissions: Deny and Allow. In addition, permissions can exist in one of three additional states. To learn more, see Get started with permissions, access, and security groups.

Set permissions on queries or query folders

You can specify who can add or edit query folders or queries at the object-level. To manage permissions for a query or query folder, you must be the creator of the query or folder, a member of the Project Administrators or Project Collection Administrators group, or granted explicit access through the object's Security dialog.

Query folder Permissions dialog

Permissions dialog for a query folder

For details, see Set permissions on a shared query or query folder. To learn more about queries, see Create managed queries to list, update, or chart work items.

Set permissions on work item tags

By default, all users of the Contributors group can create and add tags to work items. To set permissions for a group or user to restrict this ability, you can set the Create tag definition to Deny at the project-level. To learn how, see Change the permission level for a project-level group.

Edit or manage permissions for Delivery Plans

Delivery Plans are an object within a project. You manage plan permissions for each plan similar to the way you manage permissions for shared queries or query folders. The creator of a Delivery Plan as well as all members of the Project Collection Administrators and Project Administrators groups have permissions to edit, manage, and delete plans.

Delivery Plan Permissions dialog

Permissions dialog for a delivery plan

To learn more, see Edit or manage Delivery Plan permissions. To learn more about Delivery Plans, see Review team plans.

Move or permanently delete work items

By default, Project Administrators and Contributors can change the work item type and delete work items by moving them to the Recycle Bin. Only Project Administrators can permanently delete work items and test artifacts. Project admins can grant permissions to other team members as needed.

For example, as a project admin you can grant a user, team group, or other group you've created to have these permissions. Open the Security page for the project and choose the user or group you want to grant permissions. (To learn how to access project-level Security, see Set permissions at the project-level or project collection-level.)

Note

The Move work items out of this project permission requires the project uses the Inherited process model.

In this example, we grant members assigned to the team administrator role, who belong to the Team Admin groups, permissions to move work items to another project and to permanently delete work items.

Set project-level permissions for a custom group, Team Admin

Manage test plans and test suites

In addition to the project-level permissions set in the previous section, team members need permissions to manage test artifacts which are set for an area path.

Open the Security page for area paths and choose the user or group you want to grant permissions.

Open Area path permissions for the project

Set the permissions for Manage test plans and Manage test suites to Allow.

Set Area path permissions for the project

To have full access to the Test feature set, your access level must be set to Basic + Test Plans. Users with Basic access and with permissions to permanently delete work items and manage test artifacts can only delete orphaned test cases.

Customize an inherited process

By default, only Project Collection Administrators can create and edit processes. However, these admins can grant permissions to other team members by explicitly setting the Create process, Delete process, or Edit process permissions at the collection level for a specific user.

To customize a process, you need to grant Edit process permissions to a user account for the specific process.

Note

Users added to the Project-Scoped Users group won't be able to access Process settings if the Limit user visibility for projects preview feature is enabled for the organization. To learn more, see About projects and scaling your organization, Project-scoped Users group .

  1. Open the … context menu for the inherited process and choose Security. To open this page, see Customize a project using an inherited process.

    Process, Open security dialog

  2. Add the account name of the person you want to grant permissions to, set the permissions to Allow that you want them to have, and then choose Save changes.

    Here we add Christie Church and allow her to edit the process.

    Permissions for a process dialogue

Note

Each process is a securable unit and has individual access control lists (ACLs) that govern creating, editing, and deleting inherited processes. At the collection level, project collection administrators can choose which processes can be inherited from and by whom. When you create a new inherited process, the process creator as well as project collection administrators have full control of the process and can also set individual ACLs for other users and groups to edit and delete the process.

Additional options for restricting access to work items

See Restrict access, Restrict modification of work items based on a user or group for additional options for customizing work item types to support restrictions.