About projects and scaling your organization

Azure DevOps Services | Azure DevOps Server 2022 - Azure DevOps Server 2019 | TFS 2018

A project in Azure DevOps provides a place for users to plan, track progress, and collaborate on building software solutions. A project represents a fundamental container where you can store data and source code.

When you create your project, Azure DevOps automatically creates a team of the same name, which is sufficient for small organizations. For enterprise-level organizations, it may be necessary to scale up and create more teams and projects. You can have up to 1000 projects within an organization in Azure DevOps.

The following diagram shows one project and team versus multiple projects and teams in an organization or collection. This structure allows teams to configure the tools in ways that work for them and complete administrative tasks at the appropriate levels. As your organization grows, your tools can grow to support a culture of team autonomy and organizational alignment.


One project + team

Multiple projects + teams


Conceptual image, Single collection-project-team.

Conceptual image, Scaled collection-project-team.


For more information, see Work tracking, process, and project limits and Plan your organizational structure.

Manage work across your organization

When you connect to Azure DevOps, you connect to an organization or project collection. Within that container, one or more projects may be defined. At least one project must be created to use the system.

You can scale your organization in the following ways:

  • To support different business units, you can add projects
  • Within a project, you can add teams
  • Add repositories and branches
  • To support continuous integration and deployment, you can add agents, agent pools, and deployment pools
  • To manage a large number of users, you can manage access through Azure Active Directory

You can scale your on-premises Azure DevOps deployment in the following ways:

  • To increase performance, you can add server instances
  • To support different business units, you can add project collections and projects
  • Within a project, you can add teams
  • Add repositories and branches
  • To support continuous integration and deployment, you can add agents, agent pools, and deployment pools
  • To manage a large number of users, you can manage access through Active Directory

View projects in your organization

View the projects defined for your organization by opening the Projects page.

  1. Select Azure DevOps to open Projects.

    Screenshot showing projects page.

  2. Choose a project from the list of projects.

For more information, see Create a project.

  1. Select Azure DevOps to open Projects.

    Screenshot of open Projects button, horizontal nav

  2. Choose a project from the projects list.

    Choose a project from the set of projects listed.

Limit visibility of projects

By default, users added to an organization can view all organization and project information and settings.

The Limit user visibility and collaboration to specific projects preview feature for the organization limits user access in the following ways.

  • Restricts views that display a list of users, list of projects, billing details, usage data, and more information accessed through Organization settings.
  • Limits the set of users or groups that appear through people-picker search selections and the ability to @mention users.

Important

  • The limited visibility features described in this section apply only to interactions through the web portal. With the REST APIs or azure devops CLI commands, project members can access the restricted data.
  • Guest users who are members in the limited group with default access in Azure AD, can't search for users with the people picker. When the preview feature's turned off or when guest users aren't members of the limited group, guest users can search all Azure AD users, as expected.

Limit access to organization settings

To limit access to organization settings, enable the Limit user visibility and collaboration to specific projects preview feature. Users and groups in the "Project-scoped users group" can't access organization settings. They can only see the Overview and Projects pages and those projects to which they've been added.

Note

All security groups are organization-level entities, even those groups that only have permissions to a specific project. From the web portal, visibility of some security groups may be limited based on user permissions. However, you can discover the names of all groups in an organization using the azure devops CLI tool or our REST APIs. To learn more, see Add and manage security groups.

Note

All security groups are collection-level entities, even those groups that only have permissions to a specific project. From the web portal, visibility of some security groups may be limited based on user permissions. However, you can discover the names of all groups in an organization using the azure devops CLI tool or our REST APIs. To learn more, see Add and manage security groups.

Note

All security groups are collection-level entities, even those groups that only have permissions to a specific project. From the web portal, visibility of some security groups may be limited based on user permissions. However, you can discover the names of all groups in an organization using the REST APIs. To learn more, see Add and manage security groups.

Limit visibility within people pickers

Organizations that are connected to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) can use people pickers. People pickers support searching all users and groups added to Azure AD, not just those users and groups added to your project. People pickers support the following Azure DevOps functions:

  • Select a user identity from a work tracking field, such as "Assigned to"
  • Select a user or group with @mention in a work item discussion or field, pull request discussion, commit comments, or changeset or shelveset comments
  • Select a user or group using @mention from a wiki page

As shown in the following image, start to enter a user in the people picker box until you find a match to the user name or security group.

Screenshot of people picker.

Warning

When you enable the Limit user visibility and collaboration to specific projects preview feature, project-scoped users can't search for users who were added to the organization through Azure AD group membership, rather than through an explicit user invitation. We're working on a solution to this behavior. As a work around, you can disable the Limit user visibility and collaboration to specific projects preview feature.

Users and groups within the Project-scoped users group can only see and select users and groups in the project they're connected to from a people picker. To scope people pickers for all project members, see Limit identity search and selection.

View historical data

All project members can view identities that were added to a comment, discussion, or assignment. For example, everyone in the project (even users with the new restriction) can still see a user's name assigned to a work item when the user's no longer part of the project. The same is true for @mentions in PRs, comments, discussions, and more.

Use a single project

We recommend that you use a single project to support your organization or enterprise. A single project minimizes the maintenance of administrative tasks and supports the most optimized and full-flexibility cross-link object experience.

Even if you have many teams working on hundreds of different applications and software projects, you can easily manage them within a single project. A project serves to isolate data stored within it and you can't easily move data from one project to another. When you move data from one project to another, you typically lose the history associated with that data.

For more information, see How many projects do you need?.

Add another project

You may want to add another project in the following instances:

  • To prohibit or manage access to the information contained within a project to select groups
  • To support custom work tracking processes for specific business units within your organization
  • To support entirely separate business units that have their own administrative policies and administrators
  • To support testing customization activities or adding extensions before rolling out changes to the working project
  • To support an open-source software (OSS) project

You may want to add another project in following instances:

  • To prohibit or manage access to the information contained within a project
  • To support custom work tracking processes for specific business units within your organization
  • To support entirely separate business units that have their own administrative policies and administrators
  • To support testing customization activities or adding extensions before rolling out changes to the working project

Use private and public projects

You can have both private and public projects. You can also change the visibility of a project from private to public.

Private projects require that you add and manage user access. Users must sign in to gain access to a project, even if it's read-only access. All project members have access to the project and organization information. For more information, see Resources granted to project members.

Public projects don't require users to sign in to gain read-only access to many of the following services. Public projects provide support to share code with others and to support continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) of open-source software.

For more information about features and access levels for public projects, see Make a private project public.

Version control support

Git repositories can be browsed and cloned, but only via HTTPS. SSH and GVFS endpoints are unavailable. Clients like Visual Studio and IntelliJ work with the HTTPS clone URL but don't offer the connected experience linking to work items and other collateral.

Dashboard widget support

The following dashboard widgets won't display any useful information for non-members.

  • Assigned to me
  • Code tile
  • New work item
  • Pull request
  • Query results
  • Requirements quality
  • Sprint burndown
  • Sprint capacity
  • Sprint overview
  • Team members
  • Welcome
  • Work links
  • Other links

Structure your project

Use the following elements to structure your project to support your business needs.

Customize and configure your project

You can configure and customize most services and applications to support your business needs or the way your teams work. Within each project, you can do the following tasks. For a comprehensive view of which resources can be configured, see About team, project, and organizational-level settings.

  • Dashboards: Each team can configure their set of dashboards to share information and monitor progress.
  • Source control: For each Git repository, you can apply branch policies and define branch permissions. For TFVC repositories, you can set check-in policies.
  • Work tracking: You can add fields, change the workflow, add custom rules, and add custom pages to the work item form of most work item types. You can also add custom work item types. For more information, see Customize an inheritance process.
  • Azure Pipelines: You can fully customize your build and release pipelines, and define build steps, release environments, and deployment schedule. For more information, see Build and release.
  • Azure Test Plans: You can define and configure test plans, test suites, test cases, and test environments. You can also add test steps within your build pipelines. For more information, see Exploratory and manual testing and continuous testing for your builds.

Add a team

As your organization grows, you can add teams equipped with configurable Agile tools to meet each team's workflow. For more information, see the following articles.

Connect to a project with other clients

Aside from connecting via a web browser, you can connect to a project from the following clients:

For more information, see Compatibility with Azure DevOps Server versions.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I move or transfer a project to another organization or collection?

A: Yes, but not without losing data. You can manually copy resources and leave some behind, or use a third-party tool, such as OpsHub Visual Studio Migration Utility, which copies data using the REST APIs.

Q: What programmatic tools support projects?

A. See Projects REST API.

You can also use the az devops project CLI.