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Work Item Type Customization Overview

Team members use work items to track work to be done. Depending on the installed methodology, such as MSF for CMMI Process Improvement or MSF for Agile Software Development, a selection of types of work items, such as bug, requirement, risk, and task, will be available to the members of your team.

You might want to expand this selection so that Visual Studio Team System better serves the processes your team uses and the ways you communicate. To do that, you can author new work item types. A work item type is a template from which new work items are created. Depending on the processes being used by your team, it could find useful any one of the following work item types: task, bug, change request, quality of service requirement, issue, requirement, review, risk, and scenario.

After you create a work item, it contains the fields and behavior that were defined in the work item type from which you created it.

NoteNote

In addition to creating new work item types, you can also modify existing work item types. For example, you may have installed a methodology that includes the task and requirement work item types. To better support the processes used by your team, you can choose to add fields to the task work item type or change the workflow behavior of the requirement work item type.

Although you can view a work item type as an abstraction of the more concrete work item that is formed from it, a work item type is a set of XML definitions that you can author. The following sections and topics describe the work item type definitions. For a step-by-step illustration, see Customizing Work Item Types on Team Foundation Server.

The following sections describe the work item type definition. The XML schemas, WorkItemTypeDefinition.xsd and WorkItemMethodology.xsd, are available to download. For more information, see Process Template Schemas Download, Work Item Type Definition Schema, and Work Item Methodology Schema.

Scope of Your Changes

Your customization work can have broader or narrower effect, depending on what you customize. These are your two choices:

  • Customize for All New Team Projects   You can customize work item types in a process template by changing its plug-ins, work item types, and process guidance. In this case, your effects appear in all projects that are created from that process template.

  • Customize an Existing Team Project   You can customize work item types on single project by using command-line tools. In this case, your changes affect the way people work in that project, but they do not affect other projects, existing, or yet to be created.

Customizing for All New Team Projects

To customize work item types on all new team projects, you should change the process template your team project uses. This lets you make changes in one location, and have these changes reflected in all new team projects made from the new process template. For more information, see Modify an Existing MSF Process Template.

NoteNote

You may want to create a new process template for a new series of team projects. We recommend that you use an existing process template, such as MSF for Agile Software Development or MSF for CMMI Process Improvement, and modify it to suit your needs.

Modify an Existing MSF Process Template

Process Template Plug-ins

Process template plug-ins are components that run when a new team project is created. A plug-in sets up required files or configures data for its area. Microsoft provides six plug-ins with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System: work item tracking, classification, Windows SharePoint Services, version control, reports, and groups and permissions. Each plug-in can be modified to customize a process template. For more information about how to modify the work item tracking plug-in, see Work Item Tracking.

Work Item Types

Team members use work items to track work to be completed. You might want to expand the selection of work items provided by Visual Studio Team System so that it better serves the processes your team uses and the ways that you communicate. To do that, you can author new work item types. A work item type is a template from which new work items are created. For more information about how to customize or create work item types for a process template, see Customizing Work Item Types or How to: Create a New Work Item Type.

Process Guidance

Process guidance is the content that documents the roles, work items, work products, activities, and reports for a specific software development process. The process guidance complements the process template.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System includes two process templates: MSF for Agile Software Development and MSF for CMMI Process Improvement. Each of these processes may be customized and used to develop software in projects. As work item types are customized or added, the corresponding process guidance should be updated to address any changes that were made. For more information, see MSF for Agile Software Development (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55200) and MSF for CMMI Process Improvement (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55203).

Customizing an Existing Team Project

Changing an existing team project is similar to changing a process template, but the scope is much narrower. Changing an existing team project affects the way team members conduct their day-to-day work. It does not change the nature of new projects that will be created from a process template in the future.

Work Items Types

Use the following tools to administer work item types on already existing projects. For more information, see Customizing Work Item Types.

Use the witexport command to export an XML definition for a work item type from Team Foundation Server. You can also use this command to print an XML definition to the display. For more information, see witexport.

As soon as you have made changes to the work item type, you can use the witimport command to validate and import a work item type from an XML file to a team project for Team Foundation Server. For more information, see witimport.

Use the witfields command to administer work item type fields for Team Foundation Server. For more information, see witfields.

Use the glexport command to export an XML definition for global lists from Team Foundation Server. You can also use this command to print an XML definition to the display. For more information, see glexport.

As soon as you have made changes to the global lists, you can use the glimport command to validate and import global lists from an XML file to a team project for Team Foundation Server. For more information, see glimport.

Process Guidance

Process guidance is the content that documents the roles, work items, work products, activities, and reports for a specific software development process. The process guidance complements the process template.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System includes two process templates: MSF for Agile Software Development and MSF for CMMI Process Improvement. Each of these processes may be customized and used to develop software in projects. As work item types are customized or added, the corresponding process guidance should be updated to address any changes that were made. For more information, see MSF for Agile Software Development (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55200) and MSF for CMMI Process Improvement (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55203).

See Also

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