Software development roles supported by Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2020 | Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018 - TFS 2013

If you're a sole developer or work in a small setting, you track issues, plan features, code, test, build, and deploy.

If you work in a large setting, you may be more focused on a specific set of tasks that aligns with specific roles. These specific roles could be software development, project management, or DevOps.

This article describes the features and tasks available to you, based on your role.

Contributor roles

Team members are contributors who have access to the following areas and more:

  • code base
  • work item tracking
  • Agile tools
  • build pipelines
  • test tools

If you need to lock down specific areas to a select set of contributors, see permission management.

Software developers

Developers use Visual Studio or other tools to develop their applications. They then check in their changes to a Git or Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC) repository hosted in Azure DevOps. From the web portal or a supported IDE, they can view repositories, check history, and more.

Project managers

Project managers (PMs) typically plan the feature set to deliver, set priorities, and track the status of work, code defects, and customer issues. The suite of web-based Agile tools provides PMs with the views and features that they need to do these tasks. All work is captured within a work item. Each work item represents a specific type such as a user story, task, or bug.

  • Use the product backlog to quickly define and prioritize user stories, features, and other work items
  • Use the sprint backlog and task board to implement Scrum practices
  • Use the Kanban board to work with Kanban methods
  • Use queries to list and update work items, create status and trend charts, and post charts to dashboards
  • Use dashboards to share information, status, and trends with your team or organization

For more information about getting started, see About Azure Boards and Agile tools.

You can integrate Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project with Azure DevOps to plan and track your work. For more information, see Bulk modify by using Excel and Create your backlog and tasks by using Project.

DevOps: builders, testers, and release managers

An advantage of working with Azure DevOps is the suite of tools and integrated functionality that support build, testing, and deploying software applications. See the following general DevOps-associated tasks that Azure DevOps supports.

  • Define builds
  • Unit test your code
  • Run tests with your builds
  • Perform exploratory tests
  • Define, manage, track, and approve releases
  • Deploy applications to Azure, a virtual machine, Docker containers, and more

To get started, see the overviews in Azure Pipelines and Azure Test Plans.


With Stakeholder access, anyone in your organization can check project status and provide feedback. Stakeholders can track project priorities and provide direction, feature ideas, and business alignment to a team. Stakeholders also contribute to plans by adding and modifying work items. They can't, however, contribute to the code base or exercise test tools.

Stakeholder access essentially provides free access to a limited set of feature to project sponsors and supporters. To learn more, see Work as a Stakeholder.

Administrator roles

A distinct advantage to working in Azure DevOps Services is the reduced overhead of server maintenance. But there are several administrative tasks required to support a collaborative, integrated software development environment.

The main tasks are grouped as follows by membership in a security group or role.

Team administrators

Responsible for configuring team settings, which include:

  • Backlog and board settings
  • Team areas and iterations (sprints)
  • Team members
  • Team dashboards
  • Team work item templates
  • Team alerts

To get started, see Manage teams and configure team tools.

Project administrators

Responsible for configuring project-level resources, including:

Organization Owners and Project Collection Administrators

Responsible for configuring organization-level resources, including the following tasks:

  • Manage billing
  • Add and manage projects
  • Manage collection-level permissions
  • Customize work tracking processes
  • Install and manage extensions

To get started, see Manage organizations and Settings.

Project Collection Administrators

Responsible for configuring collection-level resources. These tasks include:

  • Add and manage projects
  • Manage collection-level permissions
  • Install and manage extensions

To get started, see Settings.

Azure DevOps Server administrators

Responsible for installing, upgrading, and maintaining an on-premises Azure DevOps Server deployment, including the:

  • Install Azure DevOps Server
  • Update servers running Azure DevOps Server
  • Manage database backups
  • Manage server administrative settings and permissions
  • Build retention policies
  • Add and manage project collections

To get started, see Server Administration (Azure DevOps Server).