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Performing Top-Down Planning Using a Tree List of Work Items (In Excel)

Visual Studio 2010

You can use top-down planning to more easily define your work items, complete your work item content and create parent-child links that relate your work items in a hierarchical tree.

When you build a work breakdown structure (WBS) in Office Excel, you can configure the work item list as a tree list. A tree list displays the relationships between parent and child work items in an Office Excel worksheet. You can create additional work items and use the multiple-column layout to create and view parent-child relationships.

Work item tree's representation in Excel

The following types of work items are used for this walkthrough:

  • Requirement: A set of logically-related features that provides a capability to the user and satisfies a business objective.

  • Feature: A condition or capability that must be met by a product or contained in a product or product component to satisfy a contract, standard, specification, or other formally imposed document.

  • Task: A description of work that must to be accomplished to complete a feature.

Tasks are defined to be children of features, and features are defined as children of requirements.

Topic Contents:

To perform top-down planning in Office Excel, perform the following sequence of steps:

  1. Review Prerequisites for Top-Down Planning

  2. Create a Work Item Input List in Office Excel

  3. Convert the Flat List to a Tree List

  4. Define Your Requirements

  5. Define Your Features

  6. Define Your Tasks

  7. Define Required and Additional Fields

  8. Publish Work Items

After your work items are published, you can continue to define new work items and change links among work items. For more information, see Configure Work Items in a Tree List in Office Excel.

Required Permissions

To perform these procedures, you must be a member of the Contributors group or your View work items in this node and Edit work items in this node permissions must be set to Allow. For more information, see Team Foundation Server Permissions.

Before you can create a top-down plan, you should have the following elements defined:

  • Team project.

  • (Optional) Custom types of work items.

  • (Optional) Custom types of links.

For more information, see Customizing Team Projects and Processes.

You will also want to define your strategy for using different types of work items and links. This strategy should include:

  • How you want to track dependencies.

  • How you want to manage work items.

  • How you want to view relationships between work items.

For more information, see Choosing Link Types to Effectively Track Your Project.

To create an input list from Office Excel

  1. Open a worksheet and select the cell where the upper-left corner of the work item list should appear.

  2. On the Team tab, in the Work Items group, click New List.

  3. In the Connect to Team Foundation Server dialog box, perform the following steps:

    1. Click the name of the server that contains the team project that you want.

    2. In the Team projects list, click the name of the team project.

    3. Click OK.

    For more information, see Connect a Microsoft Office Document to Team Foundation Server.

  4. In the New List dialog box, click Input List, and then click OK.

    The following columns are displayed:

    ID

    Title

    Work Item Type

    State

    Reason

    Assigned To

  5. Save the Office Excel file.

You convert a flat list query to a tree list so that you can create work items that are associated with parent-child links.

To convert the flat list to a tree list

  1. Click a cell in the work item list.

  2. On the Team tab, in the Tree group, click Add Tree Level.

  3. Click Yes to confirm that you want to convert the list.

    The first column is renamed and a new column is added as shown below:

    ID

    Title 1

    Title 2

    Work Item Type

    State

    Reason

    Assigned To

For each requirement, enter a descriptive title and leave the ID field blank.

To define requirements

  1. Type the name or description of each requirement under the Title 1 column.

  2. Click Requirement for the Work Item Type field.

    NoteNote

    The State and Reason fields are automatically filled in based on the defaults assigned to the Work Item Type that you select.

  3. Under Assigned To, type the name of a team member who owns or is assigned to the requirement.

  4. After you complete the fields, the tree list will be defined as follows:

    ID

    Title 1

    Title 2

    Work Item Type

    State

    Reason

    Assigned To

    Requirement 1

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Requirement 2

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

    Requirement 3

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

    Requirement 4

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

    Requirement 5

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

  5. Save the Office Excel file.

For each feature, insert a row below its parent requirement, enter a descriptive title and leave the ID field blank.

To define the features for each requirement

  • Complete each feature that you want to define by following these steps:

    1. Insert a row below its parent requirement.

    2. Type the name or description of the feature under Title 2 column.

    3. Click Feature for the Work Item Type field.

NoteNote

The State and Reason fields are automatically filled in based on the defaults assigned to the Work Item Type that you select.

  1. Under Assigned To, type the name of a team member who owns or is assigned to the feature.

  1. After you complete the fields, the tree list will be defined as follows:

    ID

    Title 1

    Title 2

    Work Item Type

    State

    Reason

    Assigned To

    Requirement 1

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Feature A

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Feature B

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Feature C

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Requirement 2

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

    Requirement 3

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

  2. Save the Office Excel file.

Add a new tree level and define the tasks required to develop, test, and document each feature.

To define the tasks for each feature

  1. Click a cell in the work item list.

  2. On the Team tab, in the Tree group, click Add Tree Level.

    A column is added labeled Title 3.

  3. Complete each task that you want to define by following these steps:

    1. Insert a row after its parent feature.

    2. Type the name or description of the task under Title 3 column.

    3. Click Task for the Work Item Type field.

    NoteNote

    The State and Reason fields are automatically filled in based on the defaults assigned to the Work Item Type that you select.

    1. Under Assigned To, type the name of a team member who owns or is assigned to the task.

  4. After you complete the fields, the tree list will be defined as follows:

    ID

    Title 1

    Title 2

    Title 3

    Work Item Type

    State

    Reason

    Assigned To

    Requirement 1

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Feature A

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Code Commands

    Task

    Active

    New

    Name 3

    Define UI

    Task

    Active

    New

    Name 3

    Test Feature A

    Task

    Active

    New

    Name 3

    Feature B

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Feature C

    Feature

    Active

    New

    Name 1

    Requirement 2

    Requirement

    Active

    New

    Name 2

  5. Save the Office Excel file.

In order to publish work items to Team Foundation Server, you must define all required fields for the work item. Required fields will vary based on the types of work items that you are using to create your top-down plan. Also, you may want to add additional, non-required fields and define their contents prior to publishing the work items.

To define required and additional fields

  1. Click a cell in the work item list.

  2. On the Team tab, in the Work Items group, click Choose Columns.

  3. In the Work Item Type list, click the type of work item for which you want to pick data columns.

    This option filters the columns that appear under Available columns.

  4. To add all columns that the work item requires, click Add Required.

    NoteNote

    The columns that the work item type requires are marked (Required).

  5. To add an optional column, for each column you want to add, in the Available columns list, click the data column that you want to add, and then click the arrow that points to the right to add.

  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for each type of work item type that you want defined.

  7. Click OK.

  8. Enter the information for each of the fields that you have added.

  9. Save the Office Excel file.

You must publish your work items for them to be stored in Team Foundation Server and accessible to your team members. After you successfully publish the results your work item will be assigned an ID. In addition to the work items being published, links are defined for each of the parent-child relationships that are represented in the tree list.

NoteNote

Publishing a work item list can take several minutes to complete.

To publish your work items

  1. Click the Team tab.

  2. In the Work Items group, click Publish.

    For information about publishing, see Working in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Project Connected to Team Foundation Server.

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