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Test a Backlog Item with Team Foundation and Microsoft Test Manager

Visual Studio 2012

Our tutorial continues with Adam, a tester on the Fabrikam team. He wants to perform acceptance testing on a product backlog item that the team finished during the iteration and uses the Exploratory Testing window in Microsoft Test Manager to complete his task. While testing, he finds a bug and reports it to the team.


  • Some features might not be available depending on your permissions or edition of Team Foundation Server. See Change access levels.

In this topic

  1. Connect to the Team Project and Define a Test Plan

  2. Test the Code for a Backlog Item

  3. Track Progress

When the iteration started, Adam connected to the team project in TFS and created a test plan that defined tests for each item in the iteration backlog.

Microsoft Test Manager - connect to team project
  1. To add a server that's running Team Foundation Server (TFS), type its name or URL in the box, and choose Add. (For Adam's server, it's ALMSVR)


    The connection string that is used to connect to TFS appears next to Preview.

  2. In Connect to Your Team Project, under your team project collection, expand the team project list, and choose your team project. (For example, FabrikamFiber).

  3. Choose Connect now.

Microsoft Test Manager - test planMicrosoft Test Manager - test plan added
  1. In Testing Center, choose Add.

  2. In Add Test Plan, name your plan (for example, Sprint 1), and choose Add. The plan now appears in the test plan list.


    You can create a URL that other team members can use to access this plan. Copy the URL for the plan you created to the Clipboard by choosing Copy URL for plan. You can now paste this URL into an email and send it to others on your team so they can access the plan easily. See How to: Switch between Test Plans Using URLs.

  3. Now choose the test plan from the list. Choose Select plan to open Microsoft Test Manager and display the Contents view of your test plan.

    Microsoft Test Manager - Testing Center - Contents

  • To see your test plan's properties, choose Properties.

  • To assign your test plan to a different iteration, choose Iteration, and the iteration (for example FabrikamFiber\Release1\Sprint1).


    When you assign the test plan to an iteration, the Explorer tab in the test case shows only the backlog items that are also assigned to that iteration.

In a daily standup meeting, Adam learns that the code for one of the backlog items is ready for testing, "Customer wants to modify a request that they have previously submitted." When he's back at his desk, he opens the backlog item and performs exploratory testing.


By starting his exploratory testing session from a backlog item, Adam associates the test results with that item automatically.

Teams can perform exploratory testing for any work item type in the Requirements category. Fabrikam Fiber uses product backlog items because its team project was created from the Visual Studio Scrum process template. Teams that use the MSF for Agile Software Development process template use user stories, and teams that use the MSF for CMMI Process Improvement process template use requirements. See How to: Create a Work Item using Microsoft Test Manager and Creating Tests for Product Backlog Items, User Stories, or Requirements.

You can also perform general exploratory testing that is not associated with a specific item by choosing the Start Exploratory Testing button. See Performing Exploratory Testing Using Microsoft Test Manager.

Microsoft Test Manager Explore
  1. On the menu bar, choose Test.

  2. Choose Do Exploratory Testing to open the Explore window and see all the backlog items associated with the test plan.


    The list includes all work items that are in the Requirements category.

  3. Choose the product backlog item that you want to open.

  4. Choose Open to see the item and add details before you run a test.

    Prodcut Backlog Item

Microsoft Test Manager - start exploratory test
  1. Choose the product backlog item on which you want to perform exploratory testing.

  2. Choose Explore work item to open the Exploratory Testing window.


    To specify a build instead or override the test plan's test settings and environment settings, choose Explore with options instead. See How to: Override Settings in Your Test Plan for Test Runs.

  3. Choose Start to start the recording.

    Exploratory Tester - Start
  4. Start the application that you want to test.

    Adam opens the FabrikamFiber customer portal in his web browser.


    You can pause the recording if another task requires your attention while the test session is running. You can perform other activities on your computer, such as responding to email, without including them in the recording. See How to: Pause the Recording of Action Steps During an Exploratory Test Session.

You can add screenshots and comments that help identify bugs and other issues in the application. The following illustration shows how Adam adds a screen capture and a comment when he discovers a spelling error.

You can also attach files in the Exploratory Testing window and submit a bug. For example, you can attach requirements for the application or log files that the application generates.

Exploratory Tester - capture screenshot
  1. In the Exploratory Testing window, on the toolbar, choose Capture rectangular screenshot (the camera icon).

    The Exploratory Testing window disappears, and the pointer becomes a crosshair.


    (Optional) Open the Capture rectangular screenshot list, and choose Capture full screenshot or Capture window screenshot.

  2. Draw a selection box around the area of the screen that you want to capture.

    The comment box in the Exploratory Testing window now contains a screenshot of the selected area.

  3. To add comments, enter them in the comments box of the Exploratory Testing window.


    To format the comment text, use the comment toolbar in the Exploratory Testing window. As the illustration shows, you can emphasize key points by using formatting options such as bold, underline, or color highlighting.

    To add a file, on the toolbar of the Exploratory Testing window, choose Attach file (paper clip icon). Specify the file, such as a requirement or a log file, which is attached to the test and appears in the Exploratory Testing window with a paper clip icon.

Exploratory Tester - create bug

Exploratory Tester - change steps
  1. On the toolbar of the Exploratory Testing window, choose Create bug.

    A New Bug form appears with comments, screenshots, file attachments, and audio and video recordings displayed under STEPS TO REPRODUCE.


    The Exploratory Testing window pauses automatically while you create the bug.

  2. In Title, type the title of the bug.

  3. Open the Assigned To list, and choose the team member to assign the bug for further investigation.

  4. To see information about the computer used for the test, choose SYSTEM.

  5. To update the bug's severity, open the Severity list, and choose a severity.

  6. To see the test result attachments, choose ATTACHMENTS.

  7. To change the bug's action steps, choose Change steps.

  8. Select the steps to include in the bug.

  9. When you finish, choose Save and close.


    To create a manual test case based on the steps recorded during your session, choose Save and create test. This creates a link between the bug and the manual test case. Any changes you made to the steps by choosing Change steps are applied. The next procedure describes how you can also create a manual test during your session.

    The Exploratory Testing window resumes recording and adds a link to the new bug in the comments box. You can continue your session and create additional bugs.


    The bug you created also appears under the Bugs node near the bottom of the Exploratory Testing window. You can edit bugs if you choose the link in either the comment box of the Exploratory Testing window or in the Bugs node. See How to: View Previously Submitted Bugs During an Exploratory Test Session.

    For information about how Peter uses Team Explorer and Visual Studio to fix this bug, see Develop Code for a Backlog Item and Fix a Bug.

You can create a manual test case automatically based on the recorded steps you performed during your session by using the Exploratory Testing window. If you create this kind of test case, it is associated with your backlog item and placed in the appropriate test suite. All bugs that you file during this session are linked automatically with the same item, and the manual test case is associated with your team project. This way, you can add the test case to multiple test suites in the same or different test plans. You can also refine the test case and use it later to test the application. See How to: Create a New Manual Test Case from an Exploratory Testing Session, Creating Manual Test Cases Using Microsoft Test Manager, and Running Manual Tests Using Test Runner.

Exploratory Tester - create test case
  1. In the toolbar of the Exploratory Testing window, choose Create test case.

    A new test case appears. It contains the action steps that you performed during your exploratory test session.


    The recording in the Exploratory Testing window pauses automatically while you create the manual test case.

  2. In Enter title here, enter a title for the new test case.

  3. Edit the remaining fields in the test case as appropriate.

    For example, choose Priority and Assigned To values.

  4. To change the action or expected results, go to the STEPS tab, and edit the information in the Action and Expected Result columns.

    For example, you can insert additional steps and shared steps. See Creating Manual Test Cases Using Microsoft Test Manager and How to: Share Common Test Case Steps Using Shared Steps.

  5. Choose Save and close.

    The Exploratory Testing window resumes recording the exploratory test session and adds a link to the new test case in the comments box. The test case also appears under the Test Cases node near the bottom of the Exploratory Testing window.


    To edit the test case, choose the link either in the comment box of the Exploratory Testing window or under the Test Cases node.

    You can continue your session and create additional bugs and test cases.

Adam tracks his progress against his test plan by viewing his completed tests.

Exploratory Tester - capture screenshot

  1. To see your progress, choose View Exploratory Test Sessions and the session that you want to see.

  2. Choose Open.

    Details about that session appear.

    Microsoft Test Manager - Exploratory Test Sessions