Expedite work

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015

Your Kanban board supports your ability to visualize the flow of work as it moves from new to done. When you add swimlanes, you can also visualize the status of work that supports different service-level classes. You can create a swimlane to represent any other dimension that supports your tracking needs.

For example, you can create three swimlanes—Expedite, Standard, and Park—to track high-priority work, standard work, and work that's currently blocked.

Kanban board showing three swimlanes


Type o to expand all swimlanes and u to collapse all swimlanes. To move the focus up or down, enter the Up/Down arrow up/down arrows. For more tips, see kanban board keyboard shortcuts.

Types of swimlanes

You can use swimlanes to sort work on your Kanban board to track items that you differentiate as follows:

  • High priority items
  • Service-level class
  • Date-driven requirement
  • Dependency for or from another team
  • Blocked items
  • Technical debt or other engineering work that's not a specific user story

Track work in swimlanes

Once you've set up your swimlanes, you can drag items into a swimlane as well as reorder them within the lane.

Kanban board, Drag items into a swimlane

You can also focus on a single swimlane by collapsing all other lanes.

Kanban board, Collapsed swimlanes

Configure swimlanes

So, what swimlanes will support your tracking needs?

Once you've identified one or two, add them to your working Kanban board.

  1. From your Kanban board, click settings icon and as needed, click Swimlanes.

    Kanban board, open common configuration settings

    If you're not a team admin, get added as one. Only team and project admins can customize the Kanban board.

  2. Click add icon and enter the name of the swimlane you want to add.

    VSTS and TFS 2015.1:

    Kanban board, Add a swimlane

    The default lane appears unlabeled on the Kanban board. You can rename it to anything you like, however, you can't delete it. Also, you can rename it directly from the Kanban board.

    TFS 2015:

    Add a swimlane

    The default lane is automatically renamed to Standard when you add a second lane. You can rename it to anything you like, however, you can't delete it.

  3. To reorder your swimlanes, simply grab the lane and move it up or down.

    Kanban board, Open swimlanes

  4. If you need to delete a lane, first move all items out of the lane, and then click Delete from the lane's context menu.

    Kanban board, Delete a swimlane

As you can see, swimlanes provides another way to organize and visualize the flow of work using Kanban. Here are a few more options you have for customizing the look and feel of your Kanban board.

Tracking lane moves

VSTS and TFS 2015.1 and later versions

You can track Kanban board swimlane moves using the Board Lane field.

TFS 2015

Similar to the way column moves are tracked, swimlane moves are captured in the history field.

Work item form, History tab, History of a swimlane move

For TFS 2015 and earlier versions, you can't query for all items in a particular swimlane. To perform such a query, you'd have to assign a value to a field, such as the Priority field, or tag each item in a similar way.

REST API resources

To programmatically interact with Kanban board and other team settings, see the REST API, Boards reference.