Customize your backlogs or boards

Azure Boards

You can customize your backlogs to add more levels or add custom work item types (WITs) to them. As shown below, we've added a third level portfolio backlog labeled Initiatives which tracks the custom Initiative WIT, and we've renamed the product backlog to Stories and Tickets to indicate that we not only track User Stories, but also Customer Tickets on the product backlog.

Changes made to the backlog levels

Your project comes equipped with two portfolio backlogs: Features and Epics. However, if you need one or more additional portfolio backlogs, you can add them.

Portfolio backlogs are useful for organizing your backlog under various business initiatives and user scenarios. When you organize your backlogs into portfolios, you can gain a hierarchical view of the work defined in lower-level backlogs, including work in progress across several teams. Program managers can track the status of those backlog items of interest and drill down to ensure that all work is represented.

To learn more about what you can customize, see About process customization and inherited processes.


  • You must have an organization created in Azure DevOps Services. If you haven't created one yet, do that now.
  • Users granted Basic or Stakeholder access are automatically granted permission to create, edit, and delete processes, change the process of a project, and administer process permissions. To change these defaults, you can restrict access by setting permissions at the organization level and set permissions explicitly.
  • To create a project, you must be a member of the Project Collection Administrators group, or have the permission Create new team projects set to Create new projects.

Open Settings>Process


Choose Previous navigation when you see a top-level, blue-bar. Choose New navigation if you see a vertical sidebar or if you enabled the New Navigation preview feature. The vertical sidebar along with other navigational features are enabled when the New Navigation preview feature has been enabled for the signed-in user or the Azure DevOps Services organization. To learn how to use the web portal effectively, see Web portal navigation.

You create, manage, and make customizations to processes from Organization Settings>Process.

  1. Choose the Azure DevOps logo to open Projects. Then choose Admin settings.

    Open Organization settings

  2. Then, expand Boards as needed and choose Process.

    Organization Settings, Process page


    If you don't see Process, then you're working from an on-premises TFS. The Process page isn't supported. You must use the features supported for the On-premises XML process model as described in Customize your work tracking experience.


As you customize an inherited process, all projects that use that process will update automatically to reflect the customizations. For this reason, we recommend that you create a test process and test project when you have a number of customizations to make in order to test the customizations prior to rolling them out to your organization. To learn more, see Create and manage inherited processes.

Add or edit portfolio backlogs

Each process defines two default portfolio backlogs, Epics and Features; each is associated with their corresponding work item types, epics and features.

You can add a custom work item type when adding or editing a portfolio backlog, or you can choose a work item type you've previously added. Only those work item types that don't belong to another backlog level will appear for selection.

Add a portfolio backlog

  1. From the Backlog levels page, choose  New top level portfolio backlog.

    Web portal, Admin context, Process page, select Process

  2. Name the backlog level, select the backlog level color, and add the work item type to associate with this level. Click Add.

    Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Add new work item type

  3. If you are associating only one work item type with the backlog, then click Save to save your changes. Otherwise, you can add more work item types as needed.

    Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Save changes

Edit, rename, or delete a portfolio backlog

Open the context menu of a portfolio backlog that you've added to edit, rename, or delete it. From the Backlog levels page, open the Add portfolio backlog dialog.


You can't can't add an inherited WIT to any backlog level.

Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Save changes

Deleting a backlog level removes the backlog and board associated with the level for all teams, including customizations made to them. The work items defined with the associated work item types are not deleted or affected in any way.

Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Save changes


You can't remove the default, inherited WIT from the Epics or Features portfolio backlogs.

Edit or rename the requirement backlog

The Requirement backlog, also referred to as the product backlog, defines the WITs that appear on the product backlog and Kanban board. The default WIT for Agile is User Story; for Scrum, Product Backlog Item; and for CMMI, Requirement.

You can rename the backlog, change the color, add WITs, and change the default WIT. Open the Edit backlog dialog from the context menu for the Requirements backlog.

Here, we've renamed the backlog, added Customer Ticket, and changed the default type to Customer Ticket.

Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Save changes


You can't remove the default, inherited WIT from the Requirements backlog.

Edit the iteration backlog

The Iteration backlog, also referred to as the sprint backlogs, defines the WITs that are displayed on the sprint backlogs and task boards. The default WIT for all processes is Task.

For the iteration backlog, you can add WITs and change the default WIT. Open the Edit backlog dialog from the context menu for the Iteration backlog.

Here, we've added the Ticket WIT which will be tracked along with tasks.

Web portal, Add a portfolio backlog dialog, Save changes


You can't remove the default, inherited WIT from the Iteration backlog.