Add and follow a work item

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017

You add work items to plan and manage your project. You use different types of work items to track different types of work—such as user stories or product backlog items, tasks, bugs, or issues. You can describe the work to be done, assign work, track status, and coordinate efforts within your team.

Add a work item

You can start adding work items once you connect to a team project. If you don't have a team project yet, create one in VSTS.

Here we show how to add work items from the web portal.


Feature availability: The new work item form is available from VSTS and TFS 2017 and later versions. This topic describes how to track work using the new form. If you don't see the new form, your admin may need to enable it, or if it's enabled, you may need to switch to use it.

  1. From the Work hub, choose the work item type from the New Work Item list of options. Here, we choose to create a User Story.

    VSTS, TFS 2017, Work hub, Add a work item


    Depending on the process chosen when the team project was created—Scrum, Agile, or CMMI—the types of work items you can create will differ. For example, backlog items may be called product backlog items (Scrum), user stories (Agile), or requirements (CMMI). All three are similar: they describe the customer value to deliver and the work to be performed.

    For an overview of all three processes, see Choose a process.

    Click the pin icon pin icon to have it show up within the Work hub drop down menu.

  2. Enter a title and then save the work item. Before you can change the State from its initial default, you must save it.

    Agile process, User story work item form

    You can add tags to any work item to filter backlogs and queries.

    Work items you add are automatically scoped to your team's area and iteration paths. To change the team context, see Switch team project or team focus.

That's it!

Create as many work items as you need of the type you need to track the work you want to manage.

Follow a work item

When you want to track the progress of a single work item, click the Follow icon icon. This signals the system to notify you when changes are made to the work item.

VSTS Work item form, Follow icon control

You'll only receive notifications when other members of your team modifies the work item, such as adding to the discussion, changing a field value, or adding an attachment.

Notifications are sent to your preferred email address, which which you can change from your account preferences.

To stop following changes, click the Following icon icon.


For on-premises TFS, you must configure an SMTP sever in order for team members to receive notifications.

Try this next

From the Work hub you can add the most common types of work items. To quickly add backlog items, such as user stories or requirements, see these topics:

For additional clients that you can use to add work items, see Clients that support tracking work items.

Once you've added several work items, you can use additional features to get notified of changes, create queries, define status and trend charts, plus more.

For descriptions of each field and work item form control, see Work item field index and Work item form controls.