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Add, Find, View, Update Status, and Modify a Work Item

You can manage work defined in Team Foundation Server that is assigned to you, your team, or your team projects, and to coordinate your efforts with other team members to develop a project. Work items are a key component in managing work. You can create a work item and then update its status, add information to it, and even reassign it. Work items are used to track the product backlog, tasks, bugs, issues, and other information. You can link work items to one another, as well as to changesets and source code files.

Note Note

The procedures in this topic reference how to work in Team Explorer. You can perform similar procedures in Team Web Access, although the details might differ slightly.

In this topic

Requirements

  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or have the Edit work items in this node permission set to Allow for the team project for which the work items are defined. Other restrictions may apply. For more information, see Manage My Profile and View My Permissions.

You can create a work item or create a work item that is automatically linked to an existing work item. For example, you can create a linked work item when defining tasks to implement a backlog item or fix a bug. But before you create a work item, you have to connect to Team Explorer.

  1. In Team Explorer, connect to the team project that you want to work in. For more information, see Connect to Team Projects in Team Foundation Server.

    Tip Tip

    If Team Explorer is not visible, on the menu bar, choose View, Team Explorer.

  2. Choose Home icon Home, and then choose Work Items node Work Items.

The following illustration shows how you can create a work item by opening the New Work Item menu and choosing the type of work item that you want to create.

Add a work item
  1. Choose New Work Item, and then choose the type of work item to add. For example, choose Product Backlog Item.

  2. Enter a descriptive title, and specify any additional details to be captured. For example, you can enter the value of 1 for the Business Value, and describe the work item in Description.

    Tip Tip

    A descriptive title reflects the value to the customer or the functionality that needs to be implemented. Also, adopting title conventions can make it easier to find work items that are based on common titles.

  3. On the work item toolbar, choose the Save Save Work Item button.

    Tip Tip

    Before you can assign the work item to a team member or change the default State, you must save it.

  4. (Optional) In Assigned To, choose the team member to assign the work item to.

  5. (Optional) In State, choose the status.

  6. Choose the Save Save Work Item button.

The following illustration shows how you can create a linked work item by opening the work item form of an existing work item, choosing the links control tab that matches the type of work item you want to link to, and then choosing the Add New Linked Work Item New button.

Add a linked work item
  1. From an open work item, choose the tab that supports the link type that you want to create. For example, you can choose the TASKS tab from the product backlog item to add tasks to support work for that item.

  2. Choose the Add New Linked Work Item New button

  3. In the Add New Linked Work Item dialog box, enter a descriptive title in the Title text box, and then choose the OK button.

    A new window appears. The new linked work item is displayed.

  4. (Optional) Define the fields. For example, specify the number of hours for Remaining Work, and choose the type of work, such as Development for Activity.

  5. Choose the Save Save Work Item button.

Use the search box to find a specific work item. You can search for a work item based on its ID, a keyword or phrase within the Title or Description fields, a specific state, or a specific type.

Tip Tip

In the search box, enter a work item ID, a keyword, or phrase that’s in the Title or Description fields. You can also enter a shortcut identifier.

Choose A for Assigned To, C for Created By, S for State, and T for Work Item Type fields.

For example, the following shortcut phrases are valid: A:Annie or A=@me for Assigned To, C:Peter or C=@me for Created By, T=Task for type of work item, S=New for State.

Use the =, :, and operators to specify the operations: Equals, Contains, and Not, respectively.

Find a work item using the search text box

For more information, see Work Item Search Syntax.

To find and open a work item using the search box

  • To find and open a work item based on its ID, enter the ID in the search box, and choose Enter. For example, enter 15 to open the work item with the ID of 15.

    The corresponding work item opens in a new tabbed page in Visual Studio.

  • To find work items that contain a keyword or phrase within the Title or Description fields, enter the keyword or phrase and choose Enter. For example, to find all product backlog items that have “Technician” in their Title, enter Technician in the search box.

  • To find work items in a specific state and of a specific type, enter the S and T shortcuts. For example, to find all product backlog items which have not yet been approved, enter S=New T="Product Backlog Item" in the search box, and then choose Enter.

    Tip Tip

    To open any work item in the Search Results list, choose the item and choose Enter. To open the results as a work item query, choose the Open as Query link. For more information about queries, see Find Bugs, Tasks, and Other Work Items.

Each team member can update the status of a work item or change the value of a field, except History, at any time. Modifications made to a work item are recorded in the History field.

Tip Tip

You can change the Title and any writeable field in the work item form. You cannot change the ID for a work item.

  1. In an open work item, update the status, change the value for a field, or attach a file as shown in the following steps:

    • To move the work item to a different sprint or iteration: In Iteration, choose the iteration to assign to the work item.

      Note Note

      The project administrator or owner defines area and iteration paths for their project and team so that the team can track work by those designations. For more information, see Create and Modify Areas and Iterations.

    • To reassign an item to a team member: In Assigned to, choose the team member that you want to assign the work item to.

    • To change the status of an item: Choose State, and choose the value from the pick list. For example, choose Approved to move a product backlog item from New to Approved.

      Tip Tip

      When you change the state, the Reason field automatically changes based on a default, or, you must choose the reason. You change the state of an item to track the workflow for the item. In general, when you change the State, you also reassign the work item to another team member.

      A team can track the progress of a product backlog item by setting its State field to one of the following values: New, Approved, Removed, Committed, or Done. The following diagram shows both a typical and an atypical workflow progression of a backlog item.

      State Diagram for a Product Backlog Item

      State diagram of product backlog item

      Typical workflow progression:

      • Create a product backlog item in the default state, New.

      • Change the state from New to Approved.

      • Change the state from Approved to Committed.

      • Change the state from Committed to Done.

      Atypical transitions:

      • Change the state from New to Removed.

      • Change the state from Removed to New.

      • Change the state from Approved to Removed.

      • Change the state from Committed to Approved.

      • Change the state from Done to Committed.

    • To change the priority of an item: For a product backlog item, in Business Value, enter a number that indicates the relative business value of the item. For example, enter a value of 1 for those items that have the highest priority.

    • To update hours: Open a task, and in Remaining Work, enter a number that indicates the amount of hours, or days depending on how your team tracks tasks, that remain to complete the task.

    • To add information: Open an item, and in Description, enter text, images, and format the text.

      For more information, see Manage My Profile and View My Permissions

    • To link a bug to a work item: Choose the LINKS tab, choose Add Links Link to button. In the Add New Link dialog box, choose the Link type, enter the ID for the work item, and then choose the OK button.

      Or, choose the Add Attachment Add button, choose the message that you have saved locally, and then choose the OK button.

      For more information, see Create Dependencies and Relationships Among Work Items.

    • To attach an email message: Choose the Attachments tab, and drag the email message into the box.

      Or, choose the Add Attachment Add button, choose the message that you have saved locally, and then choose the OK button.

  2. On the work item toolbar, choose the Save Save Work Item button.

You can view the changes that were made to any work item by viewing its history. The history field records every change to each field made to the work item each time the field is saved to the data store. The history field is most often located on its own tab labeled History. However, it might be located elsewhere on the work item form. The following illustration shows the History field for a feedback response work item.

View change history
  1. From an open work item, choose the History tab.

  2. To view only the comments added to the log, choose the Discussion tab.

  3. To view all changes made to the item, choose the All Changes tab, and then choose the show all changes link for a specific date and time or field.

    Note Note

    From Team Web Access, choose the Expand/Collapse (Collapsed) expand icon for a specific date and time as the following illustration shows.

    View change history in Team Web Access

You can email a link to a work item. Copy the link from the work item form in Visual Studio. The link opens the work item in Team Web Access.

Email a hyperlink for a work item
  1. From an open work item, open the short-cut menu for the tabbed item, and choose Copy Full Path.

    Tip Tip

    To copy the link from Team Web Access, open the work item and copy the URL.

  2. Paste the link into the body of an email message.

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