Add a group rule to assign access levels

Azure DevOps Services

Azure DevOps includes group-based licensing for Microsoft Entra groups and Azure DevOps groups. Learn how to add a group rule to assign an access level to a group. Resources in Azure DevOps are assigned to all members of the group. Group rules are also used to add users to team projects and other specific groups, like Contributors, Readers, and Administrators.

When users leave the group, the licenses get freed and returned to your pool. You don't need to automate license management to reflect changes in your organizational structure on a per-user basis.


We recommend that you regularly review the rules listed on the "Group rules" tab of the "Users" page. If there are any changes made to the Active Directory (AD) group membership, these changes will be reflected in the next re-evaluation of the group rules, which can be done on demand, when a group rule is modified, or automatically every 24 hours. Azure DevOps updates Microsoft Entra group membership every hour, but it may take up to 24 hours for Microsoft Entra ID to update dynamic group membership.


  • To manage licenses and group rules, you must be a member of the Project Collection Administrators group. If you're not a member, get added as one.

Add group rule

  1. Sign in to your organization ({yourorganization}).

  2. Select gear icon Organization settings.

    Screenshot showing highlighted Organization settings button.

  3. Select Permissions, and then verify that you're a member of the Project Collection Administrators group.

    Project collection administrators group members

  4. Select Users, and then select Group rules. This view shows you all of your created group rules. Select Add a group rule.

    Select Add a group rule

    Group rules appear only if you're a member of the Project Collection Administrators group.

  5. Complete the dialog box for the group for which you want to create a rule. Include an access level for the group and any optional project access for the group. Select Add.

    Complete add a group rule dialog

    A notification displays, showing the status and outcome of the rule. If the assignment couldn't be completed (for example, because your organization didn't have enough purchased licenses), select View status to see the details.

    Group rule completed


Group rules only apply to users without direct assignments and to users added to the group going forward. Remove direct assignments so the group rules apply to those users. Visual Studio Subscribers are always directly assigned via the Visual Studio Admin Portal and take precedence in Azure DevOps over access levels assigned directly or via group rules. When viewing these users from the Users Hub, the License Source always shows as Direct. The only exception are Visual Studio Professional subscribers who are assigned Basic + Test Plans. Since Basic + Test Plans provides more access in Azure DevOps, it takes precedence over a Visual Studio Professional subscription.

Manage group members

  1. Select Group rules > > Manage members. Highlight a group rule and select manage members


    Leave existing automation for managing access levels for users running as-is (for example, PowerShell). The goal is to reflect the same resources that the automation is applying to those users.

  2. Add members, and then select Add.

    Add group member

When you assign the same access level to a user, the user consumes only one access level. User assignments can be made both directly and through a group. No other licenses are required.


You can assign Group rules to support both access levels and project memberships. Users are granted the highest access level when assigned to more than one rule or Microsoft Entra group which specify different levels of access. For example, if John is assigned to two Microsoft Entra groups and two different Group rules that specify Stakeholder access and the other Basic access, then John's access level is Basic.

Verify group rule

Verify that the resources are applied to each group and individual user. Select All users, highlight a user, and then select Summary.

Verify user summary for group rule

Remove direct assignments

To manage a user's resources only by the groups that they're in, remove their direct assignments. Resources assigned to a user via individual assignment stay assigned to the user. This assignment stays whether the resources are assigned or taken away from the user's groups.

  1. Sign in to your organization ({yourorganization}).

  2. Select gear icon Organization settings.

    Screenshot showing highlighted Organization settings button.

  3. Select the Users tab.

    Select the Users tab

  4. Select all users with resources for management only by groups.

    Select group rules for migration

  5. To confirm that you want to remove the direct assignments, select Remove.


Direct assignments are removed from the users.


If a user isn't a member of any groups, then the user isn't affected.