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Task (Scrum)

By defining and managing task work items, your team can track and report on the detailed work that it must accomplish for a product backlog. Teams typically forecast work and define tasks at the start of each sprint, and each team member performs a subset of those tasks. Tasks can include development, testing, and other kinds of work. For example, a developer can define tasks to implement product backlog items, and a tester can define tasks to write and run test cases.

In this topic

Required Permissions

To view a task, you must be a member of the Readers group or your View work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. To create or modify a task, you must be a member of the Contributors group or your Edit work items in this node permission must be set to Allow. For more information, see Managing Permissions.

The work item form for a task contains the fields and tabs in the following illustration:

Screenshot showing a new task work item

When you define a task, all fields are optional except Title.

To define a task

  1. In the upper section of the work item form for a task, specify one or more of the following types of information:

    • In Title (required), type a title that provides a concise overview of the area of work in the task.

    • In the Assigned To list, click the team member who is responsible for ensuring that the task is completed.

      If more than one team member should own the same task, divide it into separate tasks or subtasks, and assign each task or subtask to one owner.

      Note Note

      Only members of the Contributors group can own a work item.

    • In the State list, leave the default value, To Do.

      For more information about the State field and how you use it to track workflow, see Changing the State of a Task later in this topic.

    • In the Reason list, leave the default value, New task.

    • In the Blocked list, click Yes if this task is blocked.

    • In Remaining Work, type a number that indicates how many hours of work you expect the task to require.

      Important note Important

      If you divide a task into subtasks, specify hours for the subtasks only.

    • In Backlog Priority, type a number that indicates the relative priority of the task.

      A larger number indicates a lower priority.

    • In the Activity list, click the type of activity that the task represents.

    • In the Area list, click the appropriate area path or leave the field blank, to be assigned later during a sprint planning meeting.

      For more information, see Create and Modify Areas and Iterations.

  2. (Optional) In the lower section, specify information on the following tabs:

    • On the DESCRIPTION tab, type enough details to describe the work that will be performed.

    • On the HISTORY tab, type comments that you want to capture as part of the historical record. Every time that a team member updates the work item, its history shows the date of the change, the team member who made the change, and the fields that changed.

  3. (Optional) Link the task to other work items, such as product backlog items, bugs, impediments, or other tasks. For more information, see the next section.

  4. Click Save Save Work Item.

    After you save the task, the identifier appears under the work item toolbar.

You can link a task to other tasks or to other types of work items, such as impediments or bugs.

To link a task to an existing work item

  1. On the Links tab, click Add Links Link to.

    The Add Link to Task dialog box opens.

  2. In the Link Type list, click an appropriate link type.

    For example, you might click Related.

  3. Perform one of the following actions:

    • In Work item IDs, type the IDs of one or more items.

    • Click Browse to specify work items from a list.

      The Choose linked work items dialog box appears.

      Screenshot shows Choose Linked Worked Item form

      In Saved query, click a query that will return the item or items to which you want to link. Click Find, and select the check box next to each work item that you want to link to the task.

      For more information, see Find Work Items to Link or Import.

  4. (Optional) Type a description for the items to which you are linking.

  5. Click OK, and then click Save.

    Both the task and the items to which you linked it are updated. A Related link to the task is defined for each bug or issue that you added.

Your team can track the progress of a task by setting its State field to one of the following values: To Do, In Progress, Done, or Removed. The following diagram shows both a typical and an atypical workflow progression of a task.

Task State Diagram

Sate Diagram of task work item

Typical workflow progression:

  • Create a task in the To Do state.

  • Change the state from To Do to In Progress.

  • Change the state from In Progress to Done.

Atypical workflow transition states:

  • Change the state from To Do to Removed.

  • Change the state from In Progress to Removed.

  • Change the state from In Progress to To Do.

  • Change the state from Done to In Progress.

State Changes

When to use

From To Do to In Progress

When a team member starts to work on the task.

From To Do to Removed

When the work that the task represents no longer helps complete the product or when the team removes functionality for the task from the product.

From In Progress to Done

When the team has completed the task and has fulfilled its requirements.

From In Progress to Removed

When the work that the task represents no longer helps complete the product or when the team removes functionality for the task from the product.

From In Progress to To Do.

When the work for the task has stopped because of staff changes or priority adjustment.

From Done to In Progress.

When the team has found additional work that the task requires to be complete.

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