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Assignments and workflow field reference

You use status and assignment fields to track the progress of user stories, tasks, bugs, and other types of work items. These fields support many team queries and reports. Most work items move from a New, Active, or Proposed state to a Done or Closed state. As each work item moves from one state to another, the item might also be reassigned to various members of the team. For example, a tester might create a bug that is assigned to another team member during triage. When the other team member resolves the bug, it is reassigned to the tester who created it. Workflow state diagrams differ among the default process templates provided with Team Foundation Server (TFS), see Work with team project artifacts, choose a process template.

Tip Tip

You can view state diagrams for a workflow using the Process Editor, a power tool for Visual Studio available here: Team Foundation Server Power Tools.

The Assigned To and State fields are tracked for each type of work item that is provided with the default TFS process templates.

The following table describes the fields that track assignments and workflow progress. For information about data types and default field attributes, see Define and modify work item fields.

Field name

Description

Reference name

Data type

Default value of the reportable type attribute

Default value of the index attribute

Assigned To

The name of the team member who currently owns the work item.

The default list of names available in the drop-down menu for this system-defined, person-name field contains all accounts added to TFS, referred to as the valid users group. However, some shortcut menus that support assignment from the backlog or board pages in Team Web Access are automatically limited to team members. Also, these names are automatically synchronized with Active Directory when it is configured as part of the deployment. See Synchronization and person-name fields and Drop-down menu of the Assigned To field.

System.AssignedTo

String

Dimension

True

Reason

The reason why the work item is in the current state.

Values are defined within the WORKFLOW section of the WIT definition using the REASON element. To modify the defined reasons, see Change the workflow for a work item type.

This field is not tracked for Test Cases or Shared Steps.

System.Reason

String

Dimension

True

Resolved Reason

The reason why a work item was resolved. For example, the user story is code complete or the bug is fixed.

This field is read-only and only valid for Agile and CMMI work item types.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ResolvedReason

String

Dimension

False

State

The current state of the work item. This field allows you to update the status of a work item as it progresses from new or active to a done or closed state.

Values are defined within the WORKFLOW section of the WIT definition using the STATE element. To modify the states, see Change the workflow for a work item type.

System.State

String

Dimension

True

By default, TFS synchronizes system-defined person-name fields with Active Directory. These fields include: Activated By, Assigned To, Closed By, Created By, and Resolved By. You can grant access to TFS by adding security groups that you created in Active Directory or by adding accounts to existing or custom groups defined in TFS. See Set up groups for use in TFS deployments.

You can enable or disable synchronization for a person-name field by using the witadmin changefields command-line tool. You can also synchronize custom person-name fields by specifying the syncnamechanges attribute. See Manage work item fields [witadmin] and FIELD (Definition) element reference.

By default, the drop-down menu of the Assigned To field displays all users that have been added to TFS, whether as a member of a group or an individual member. Also, TFS shows the display name and adds the account name when required to disambiguate identical display names.

To minimize the list of names that appear in the drop-down menus of person-name fields, you can scope the field to only those TFS groups that you want to appear in the menu. You do this by adding one or more of the following child elements to the FIELD definition in the work item type definition: ALLOWEDVALUES, PROHIBITEDVALUES, and VALIDUSER. See All FIELD XML elements reference and Define pick lists.

Additional fields are populated with information as a work item progresses from one state to another. These fields do not appear on the work item form, but they are tracked for each type of work item as the following table indicates. You can use these fields to filter queries and create reports.

Field name

Description

Reference name

Data type

Default value of the reportable type attribute

Default value of the index attribute

Activated By

The name of the team member who created the work item or changed its status from closed, completed, or done state to a new or active state.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ActivatedBy

String

Dimension

False

Activated Date

The date and time when the work item was created or when its status was changed from closed, completed, or done to a new or active state.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ActivatedDate

DateTime

Dimension

False

Closed By

The name of the team member who set the state to closed, completed, or done.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ClosedBy

String

Dimension

False

Closed Date

The date and time when a work item was closed.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ClosedDate

DateTime

Dimension

False

Created By

The name of the team member who created the work item.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.CreatedBy

String

Dimension

False

Created Date

The date and time when a work item was created.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.CreatedDate

DateTime

Dimension

False

Resolved By

The name of the team member who resolved the work item.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ResolvedBy

String

Dimension

False

Resolved Date

The date and time when the work item was moved into a resolved or done state.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.ResolvedDate

DateTime

Dimension

False

State Change Date

The date and time when the value of the State field changed.

Microsoft.VSTS.Common.StateChangeDate

DateTime

None

False

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