What is Azure Boards and the Basic process?

Azure Boards

With Azure Boards, you can quickly and easily start tracking tasks, features, and bugs associated with your project. You do so by adding one of three work item types—epics, issues, and tasks—that the Basic process provides.


If your project uses the Agile, Scrum, or CMMI process, see What is Azure Boards?.

As works progresses from not started to completed, you update the State workflow field from To Do, Doing, and Done.

Work item types Workflow
Basic process work item types, conceptual image Basic process workflow, conceptual image

When you add an issue, task, or epic, you create a work item. Each work item represents an object stored in the work item data store. Each work item is assigned an identifier. The IDs are unique within your projects.

Add epics to track significant features or requirements. Use issues to track user stories, bugs, or other smaller items of work. And, use tasks to track even smaller amounts of work for which you want to track time either in hours or days.

Track work, implement Kanban

  • Quickly add and update the status of work you track from To Do, Doing, and Done using the Kanban board. Add tasks as child items to issues. To learn more, see Track issues and tasks.
  • Assign work to team members and tag with labels to support queries and filtering. Share information through descriptions, attachments, or links to network shared content.
  • Prioritize work through drag-and-drop on your team backlog. To learn more, see Create your backlog.

Update the status of issues

Update status on Kanban board

Prioritize your backlog of issues

Reorder work items


  • Collaborate with others through the Discussion section of the work item form. Use @mentions and #ID controls to quickly include others in the conversation or link to other work items. To learn more, see Discussion section.
  • Create dashboards that track status and trends of work being accomplished. To learn more, see Add and manage dashboards.
  • Set notifications to get alerted when an issue is created or changed. To learn more, see Set personal notifications.
  • Choose to follow specific issues to get alerted when they are updated. To learn more, see Follow a work item.

Get updated when a work item is updated

Work item form, Follow icon control

Work in sprints, implement Scrum

  • Plan sprints by assigning work to current or future sprints. To learn more, see Assign work to sprints.
  • Forecast work that can get completed based on effort estimates: To learn more, see Forecast work.
  • Determine how much work can be done within a sprint. To learn more, see Set team capacity.
  • Bulk assign issues and tasks to team members and sprints. To learn more, see Bulk modify work items.

Assign backlog items to a sprint

Boards>Backlogs>Drag-drop items onto sprint

Work effectively

  • Organize work into a hierarchy by grouping issues under epics, and tasks under issues. To learn more, see Organize your backlog.
  • Create queries and quickly triage issues and tasks. To learn more, see View and run queries and Triage work.
  • Create work item templates to help contributors quickly add and define open meaningful issues and tasks. To learn more, see Use work item templates.
  • Quickly find work items that are assigned to you. Pivot or filter work items based on other criteria, such as work items that you follow, that you're mentioned in, or that you viewed or updated. To learn more, see View and add work items.

Group items to create a hierarchy

Backlogs, show parents

Connect with GitHub

If you use Azure Boards connected with GitHub, you can also do the following tasks:

  • From GitHub, use AB# to link GitHub commits and pull requests to your issues and tasks
  • From Azure Boards issues and tasks, link to GitHub commits and pull requests.

To learn more, see GitHub & Azure Boards.

Best tool for the job

Azure Boards provides the following interactive lists and signboards. Each tool provides a filtered set of work items. All tools support viewing and defining work items. To learn more about effective use of these tools, see Best tool to add, update, and link work items.

  • Boards: Boards present work items as cards and support quick status updates through drag-and-drop. The feature is similar to sticky notes on a physical whiteboard. Use to implement Kanban practices and visualize the flow of work for a team.
  • Backlogs: Backlogs present work items as lists. A product backlog represents your project plan and a repository of all the information you need to track and share with your team. Portfolio backlogs allow you to group and organize your backlog into a hierarchy. Use backlogs to plan, prioritize, and organize work.
  • Sprints: Sprint backlogs and taskboards provide a filtered view of work items a team assigned to a specific iteration path, or sprint. From your backlog, assign work to an iteration path by using drag-and-drop. You can then view that work in a separate sprint backlog. Use to implement Scrum practices.
  • Queries: Queries are filtered lists of work items based on criteria that you define by using a query editor. You use queries to support the following tasks:
    • Find groups of work items with something in common
    • List work items to share with others or perform bulk updates. Triage a set of items to prioritize or assign
    • Create status and trend charts that you then can add to dashboards.
  • Work items: Quickly find work items assigned to you or pivot or filter work items based on other criteria, such as work items that you follow, that you're mentioned in, or that you viewed or updated.

Teams and Backlogs, Boards, and Sprints

A team refers to a group of project members who work in a particular product area. Those areas are represented as area paths. Area paths are hierarchical paths that denote the possible areas of ownership in an organization. A team is defined by a name, its members, and its area paths.

Boards, Backlogs, Sprints rely on team configurations. For example, if you want to add a Kanban board or product backlog, you define a team. For more information on teams, see About teams and Agile tools.

Install and manage extensions

An extension is an installable unit that adds new capabilities to your projects. Find extensions in the Visual Studio Marketplace, Azure DevOps tab to support planning and tracking of work items, sprints, scrums, and more and collaboration among team members.