Customize your backlogs or boards

VSTS

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.

Prerequisites

  • You must have an organization created in VSTS. If you haven't created one yet, do that now.
  • You must be a member of the Project Collection Administrators group, the organization owner, or be granted explicit permissions to edit, create, or manage a specific process and to create a project.

    If you aren't a project administrator, get added as one. Or, have someone provide you with explicit permissions to Edit or Create a specific process and Create new projects.

Open Settings>Process hub

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

  1. To open the admin context from the user context, choose the settings icon and choose Account settings.

    Important

    If you don't see the Account settings option, 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.

    VSTS web portal, open Account Settings

  2. Choose Process.

    Account Settings context, Process page

Note

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.

Note

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

Note

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

Note

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

Note

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