1. Assign work to a sprint

VSTS | TFS 2018 | TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

The first step in planning your sprint is to assign work from your backlog to a sprint. Your team builds the sprint backlog during the sprint planning meeting, typically held on the first day of the sprint. Each sprint corresponds to a time-boxed interval which supports your team's ability to work using Agile processes and tools. During the planning meeting, your product owner works with your team to identify those stories or backlog items to complete in the sprint.

Note

Your project comes with several predefined sprints. You can quickly add more sprints from your backlog as needed. Or, change the dates of the predefined sprints. To learn more about sprints, also referred to as iterations, see About areas and iterations.

Here's an example of a sprint plan that consists of backlog items and the tasks required to complete each item. By setting team capacity and estimating tasks, the team can see when the team or a team member is at, under, or over capacity.

Note

The New Navigation feature, which provides a vertical navigation experience, is in preview for VSTS. Go here to enable it. When you enable New Navigation, you automatically enable several new Agile tool features described in this blog post, New Work Hubs. For on-premises TFS users, choose Horizontal Navigation for guidance.

Sprint planning, vertical nav

The New Navigation feature isn't supported on the TFS platform at this time. Choose the Horizontal Navigation tab for guidance.

In this topic you'll learn how to:

  • Open your product backlog
  • Assign backlog items to a sprint
  • Use multi-select to bulk update work items

Planning meetings typically consist of two parts. In the first part, the team and product owner identify the backlog items that the team feels it can commit to completing in the sprint, based on experience with previous sprints. These items get added to the sprint backlog. In the second part, your team determines how it will develop and test each item. They then define and estimate the tasks required to complete each item. Finally, your team commits to implementing some or all of the items based on these estimates.

Note

Sprint planning doesn't need to be challenging. It can be fun and a time for the entire Scrum team to build camaraderie by working together to answer the question of "What can we commit to?" For examples and strategies to keep your sprint planning focused and effective, check out the What is Scrum?.

When you've completed your sprint plan, your sprint backlog should contain all the information your team needs to successfully complete work within the time allotted without having to rush at the end.

Prerequisites

  • You must connect to a team project. If you don't have a team project yet, create one in VSTS.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.
  • If you haven't been added to a team project or team, get added now.

To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

  • You must connect to a team project. If you don't have a team project yet, create one in an on-premises TFS.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.
  • If you haven't been added to a team project or team, get added now.

To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

Note

Your sprint backlogs are one of three classes of backlogs available to you. For an overview of the features supported on each backlog and the two types of boards, see Backlogs, boards, and plans.

For a beginner's guide to planning and tracking work, see Get started with Agile tools.

Open your team's product backlog

Note

The New Navigation feature, which provides a vertical navigation experience, is in preview for VSTS. Go here to enable it. When you enable New Navigation, you automatically enable several new Agile tool features described in this blog post, New Work Hubs. For on-premises TFS users, choose Horizontal Navigation for guidance.

  1. From your web browser, open your product backlog. (1) Check that you have selected the right project, (2) choose Work>Backlogs, and then (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu.

    Open Work, Backlogs, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the home-icon Browse all team backlogs option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Choose another team

    Tip

    Choose the star icon to favorite a team backlog. Favorited artifacts ( favorited icon) appear at the top of the team selector list.

  2. Check that you have selected Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI) as the backlog level.

    Choose product backlog level, Backlog items, Stories, or Requirements

  3. (Optional) To choose which columns should display and in what order, choose the actions icon and select Column options. You may want to add the Iteration Path to the set of columns that appear on your backlog. To learn more, see Change column options.

    Open Column Options

The New Navigation feature isn't supported on the TFS platform at this time. Choose the Horizontal Navigation tab for guidance.

Assign work from your backlog to a sprint

Before you start planning your sprint, you'll want to have created, prioritized, and estimated your backlog.

Also, you'll want to have set the start and end dates for your sprint.

You can quickly assign work items to a sprint through drag-and-drop from the product backlog to the sprint.

  1. The next step is to open the Planning pane. Choose the view options icon and select Planning. While you're at it, make sure Parents and Forecasting are Off. You can choose to set In Progress items to On or Off.

    New Navigation, Work>Backlogs hub, Open view options and choose Planning

    The set of sprints selected for your team appears. If you don't see any sprints listed, you can add sprints or select existing sprints for your team's use. To learn how, see Define sprints.

  2. You can drag and drop items from the Backlog onto a sprint.

    New Navigation, Work>Backlogs hub, Drag-drop items onto sprint

  3. Select one or more items from the backlog and drag them to the sprint you are planning, usually the one marked Current. This action will update the Iteration Path of the backlog items and any of its child tasks to the sprint you selected.

  4. Check the level of effort displayed in the sprint window. As you assign backlog items to a sprint, the sprint window will update with a running tally of the number of backlog items and tasks, as well as the Planned Effort.

    Product backlog page, drag work items to sprint or assign to sprint through the context menu

    Planned Effort provides a sum of all Story Points or Effort defined for backlog items assigned to the sprint. This represents your initial guess at what your team will be able to complete in the sprint. Next, you'll define tasks, estimate that work, and use your team's capacity to make sure it fits in the sprint.

The New Navigation feature isn't supported on the TFS platform at this time. Choose the Horizontal Navigation tab for guidance.

Use multi-select to bulk modify items

Multi-select of work items on the product and sprint backlogs works in the same way as multi-select works within query results.

With multi-select, you can perform several actions on several work items at once, such as:

Multi-select of backlog work items requires TFS 2015.1 or later version.

To select several items in a sequence, hold down the shift key. To select several non-sequential items, use the Ctrl key. Then, you can either drag the selected items to a new position within the backlog, to a different sprint, or select an option from the context (context icon) or action (actions icon) menu of one of the items.

To learn more, see Bulk modify work items.

Try this next

Now that you've defined your sprint plan, your team's ready to begin work on the sprint tasks.

If you need to add or rename the sprints your team uses, you must first define them at the project level and then select them for your team.