Changes made to process templates

Visual Studio Team Services | Visual Studio 2015 | Previous versions

This topic applies primarily to team projects hosted on an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS). Team projects on Visual Studio Team Services update automatically with each service upgrade. To customize a team project hosted on VS Team Services, see Manage processes.

To support the addition of new features, changes are introduced periodically to the default process templates. A process template defines the building blocks of the work item tracking system as well as other sub-systems you access through the web portal for an on-premises Team Foundation Server (TFS).

If you've customized your team project and haven't upgraded TFS for a while, you may need to manually apply some changes to gain access to new features. Review the following table to determine which changes may apply to your situation. See New features added when you update TFS for a description of each feature added with the updates.

TFS update

Changes introduced

TFS 2015

Added the Bugs Behavior feature, and enhancements to the Planning Tools and Portfolio Backlogs features. Several enhancements were made to support the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe).

The changes introduced support the following feature additions or enhancements:

  • Process template names have been changed to Agile, CMMI, and Scrum and have been repurposed as locked, system templates. You can export these templates for customization, but you can no longer overwrite these templates with your changes.
  • Second-level portfolio backlog, Epic, plus configurable option for teams to activate portfolio backlogs.
  • Team configurable option to choose which backlogs and portfolio backlogs are active.
  • Tracking Time Criticality of portfolio backlog items. Time Criticality captures how the business value decreases over time for a Feature or Epic. Higher values indicate that the item is inherently more time critical than those items with lower values.
  • Tracking the Value Area for portfolio backlog and backlog items. The Value Area differentiates items based on work performed to support Architectural requirements or Business needs.
  • Support any-to-any workflow transitions on Agile boards.
  • Team configurable option to choose to track bugs on backlogs and boards either as requirements or as tasks. This necessitated adding fields to the bug WIT definition as well as adding a process configuration behavior.

The following changes were made to the default process templates:

  • WITs added: Epic
  • Miscellaneous WIT changes:
    • Feature: Added Time Criticality, Effort, and Value Area fields; added workflow transition from Active to Removed
    • Bug: Added fields and workflow states to support the show bugs on backlog and boards team-configurable option
    • Minor layout changes to WIT forms to reflect additions of new fields; added ID field to all forms
    • Added WIT refname attribute to all WIT definitions
  • Categories: Added Epic Category
  • Process configuration changes:
    • Added Epic portfolio backlog
    • Feature: Added Effort and Value Area fields to the default columns of the backlog
    • Requirement Category backlog: Added Value Area to the default columns of the backlog
    • Increased the default work item count limits on all boards to 1000
    • Added new properties to specify the default behavior for new teams
  • ProcessTemplate changes: Process template names no longer specify the version or year; Agile, CMMI, Scrum

Changes made to Agile WIT definitions:

  • User Story:
    • Added Acceptance Criteria, Priority and Value Area fields
    • Added transitions from Active to Removed and Resolved to Removed
    • Removed rules that populated Activated By and Activated Date fields when state=Resolved
  • Bug:
    • Added Activity, Story Points, Original Work, Completed Work, Remaining Work, Severity, and Value Area fields
    • Added New state and corresponding workflow transitions
    • Added several field rules to copy or set defaults during state transitions
    • Added Fixed and verified as a Resolved Reason
  • Task: Added rule to empty Remaining Work field to support zeroing out the field when the State is set to Closed

Changes made to CMMI WIT definitions:

  • Requirement:
    • Added Acceptance Criteria, Priority and Value Area fields
    • Added transitions from Active to Removed and Resolved to Removed
    • Removed rules that populated Activated By and Activated Date fields when state=Resolved
  • Bug: Added Size, Discipline, Original Work, Completed Work, and Value Area fields

Changes made to Scrum WIT definitions:

  • Product backlog item: Added Priority and Value Area fields; added transition from Committed to Removed
  • Bug: Added Activity, Remaining Work, Priority, and Value Area fields; added rule to zero out Remaining Work when State=Done.
  • Task: Added rule to require Remaining Work when State=In Progress; removed Backlog Priority field from work item form

TFS 2013.4

The following changes were made to the WIT definitions:

  • Scrum - Bug and Product backlog item: Removed the Backlog Priority field
  • Agile - Bug: Added the Story Points field; User Story: Removed the Stack Rank field
  • CMMI: Added the Size field to the Bug definition. Removed the Stack Rank field from the Requirement definition.

TFS 2013.3

Added support for the Test Plan and Test Suite feature to support customization and tracking of these items similar to other work item types.

The following changes were made to the default process templates:

  • WITs added: Test Plan and Test Suite
  • Categories added: Test Plan Category and Test Suite Category
  • Category updates: Added Test Plan and Test Suite to the Hidden Types Category

TFS 2013.2

Added support for the Shared Parameters feature which allows you to run tests with different data.

The following changes were made to the default process templates:

  • WITs added: Shared Parameter
  • Categories added: Shared Parameter Category
  • Category updates: Added Shared Parameter to the Hidden Types Category

TFS 2013 RTM

Added the Portfolio Backlog feature and changes to simplify process configuration management.

The following changes were made to the default process templates:

TFS 2012.1

Added the Portfolio Backlog feature and introduced changes to support Planning Tools.

Changes to WIT definitions to support status updates via Kanban and task boards

Each of the default process templates that TFS provides was updated to support additional regressive transitions. These transitions, shown in red in the following illustration, support moving items back to the backlog when they were incorrectly set to done or resolved. Now when you inadvertently drag a work item on the Kanban board or the task board to a resolved or closed state, you can drag it back to an earlier workflow state.

The following work item types now support any-to-any workflow transitions:

  • Visual Studio Scrum 2.1: Bug, Product Backlog Item, Task
  • MSF Agile 6.1: Bug, Task, User Story
  • MSF Scrum 6.1: Bug, Task, Requirement
State diagram for Product Backlog Item

To apply the changes to your existing team projects, you need to replace the WORKFLOW sections defined for each of the updated work item types with the new definitions. You can do this by modifying the work item type definition. See Design the Workflow and Import, export, and manage Work Item Types .

TFS 2012 RTM

Added the Code Review, My Work, Feedback, Storyboarding, and Planning Tools features.

The following changes were added to all default process templates:

  • WITs added: Code Review Request, Code Review Response, Feedback Request, and Feedback Response
  • WIT form changes:
    • Many work item forms have been updated to display the larger font for the Title field and a two column layout of tab groups
    • Maintained mnemonic support only for the following fields: Area Path, Assigned To, History, Iteration Path, State, and Title. Mnemonics have been removed from all other fields within the type definitions.

  • Categories added: Code Review Request Category, Code Review Response Category, Feedback Request Category, Feedback Response Category, and Hidden Types Category
  • Process configuration: Added CommonConfiguration and AgileConfiguration definition files to support Agile planning tools, code review, feedback, and My Work.
  • Build plug-in: Added a new build process template. When you upgrade from earlier versions of Team Foundation Server, you can continue to use legacy build processes.
  • Process template plug-in: Added version element to support updating team projects when configuring new features.
  • Updated support files that contain forward links to process guidance content to point to the latest content.

The following changes were made to the Scrum process:

  • Removed the Sprint type definition and All Sprints query, whose functionality has been replaced with the Agile planning tools.
  • Removed the Backlog Priority field from the work item form for the Product Backlog type definition. This field is used in the background to track the relative priority of items displayed on the backlog pages.

  • The Removed state was added to the workflow state for the Bug, Product Backlog Item, and Task type definitions, which supports removing cut items from the backlog.

  • Added the Storyboards tab to the Product Backlog Item type definition.

  • Added the Backlog Overview report to the set of SQL Server Reporting Services reports, similar to the Agile Stories Overview report.

The following changes were made to the Agile process:

  • The New state was added as the initial state for User Stories and Tasks. This change was introduced to support transitioning User Stories and Tasks from a New state to an Active state. Without the New state, User Stories assigned to an iteration remain on the product backlog until they are resolved, which is not a desired or expected behavior. See Update the Workflow for Agile Team Projects.

  • To support removing cut work items from the backlog, the Removed state was added to the workflow state for the following work item types: User Story and Task.

  • Added the Storyboards tab to the User Story WIT.

  • The Product Planning and Iteration Backlog Excel workbooks have been removed. The Agile planning tools replace this functionality.

The following changes were made to the CMMI process:

  • Requirement: Added the Size field used in calculating team velocity and forecast; added the Storyboards tab
  • Shared queries: Added Corrective Action and Mitigation Action.

Related upgrade notes

To update your existing team projects hosted on an on-premises TFS to access new features, run the Configure Features wizard. In the event that you're upgrading from a much earlier version of TFS or you've customized your team project, you’ll need to make some manual updates.

See the following resources as they relate to updating your team project: