Plan your organizational structure

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

Use your business structure as a guide for the number of organizations, projects, and teams that you create in Azure DevOps. This article helps you plan for different structures and scenarios for Azure DevOps.

Consider the following structures for your business and collaborative work in Azure DevOps:

You also may want to plan for the following scenarios:

Have at least one organization, which may represent your company, your larger collection of code projects, or even multiple related business units.

What's an organization?

An organization in Azure DevOps is a mechanism for organizing and connecting groups of related projects. Examples include business divisions, regional divisions, or other enterprise structures. You can choose one organization for your entire company, one organization for yourself, or separate organizations for specific business units.

Each organization gets its own free tier of services (up to five users for each service type) as follows. You can use all the services, or choose only what you need to complement your existing workflows.

  • Azure Pipelines: One hosted job with 1,800 minutes per month for CI/CD and one self-hosted job
  • Azure Boards: Work item tracking and Kanban boards
  • Azure Repos: Unlimited private Git repos
  • Azure Artifacts: Package management
  • Unlimited Stakeholders
    • First five users free (Basic license)
    • Azure Pipelines:
      • One Microsoft-hosted CI/CD (one concurrent job, up to 30 hours per month)
      • One self-hosted CI/CD concurrent job
    • Azure Boards: Work item tracking and Kanban boards
    • Azure Repos: Unlimited private Git repos
    • Azure Artifacts: Two GiB free per organization


While Azure DevOps cloud-based load testing service is deprecated, Azure Load Testing is available. Azure Load Testing is a fully managed load testing service that enables you to use existing Apache JMeter scripts to generate high-scale load. To learn more, see What is Azure Load Testing?. To learn more about the deprecation of Azure DevOps load testing and other, alternative services see Changes to load test functionality in Visual Studio and cloud load testing in Azure DevOps.

How many organizations do you need?

Start with one organization in Azure DevOps. Then, you can add more organizations—which may require different security models—later. A single code repo or project only needs one organization. If you have separate teams that need to work on code or other projects in isolation, consider creating separate organizations for those teams. They'll have different URLs. Add projects, teams, and repos, as necessary, before you add another organization.

Take some time to review your work structure and the different business groups and participants to be managed. For more information, see Map your projects to business units and Structure considerations.


For company-owned Microsoft Entra organizations, consider restricting users from creating new organizations as a way to protect your IP. For more information, see Restrict organization creation via Microsoft Entra tenant policy. Users can create organizations using their MSA or GitHub accounts with no restrictions.

What's a team?

A team is a unit that supports many team-configurable tools. These tools help you plan and manage work, and make collaboration easier.

Create a team for each distinct product or feature team

Each team owns their own backlog. To create a new backlog, you create a new team. Configure teams and backlogs into a hierarchical structure, so program owners can more easily track progress across teams, manage portfolios, and generate rollup data. A team group gets created when you create a team. You can use this group in queries or to set permissions for your team.

What's a project?

A project in Azure DevOps contains the following set of features:

  • Boards and backlogs for agile planning
  • Pipelines for continuous integration and deployment
  • Repos for version control and management of source code and artifacts
  • Continuous test integration throughout the project life cycle Each organization contains one or more projects

In the following image, the fictitious Contoso company has four projects within their Contoso-Manufacturing organization.

Image of an organization with four projects

How many projects do you need?

Have at least one project to start using an Azure DevOps service, such as Azure Boards, Azure Repos, or Azure Pipelines. When you create your organization, a default project gets created for you. In your default project, there's a code repo to start working in, backlog to track work, and at least one pipeline to begin automating build and release.

Within an organization, you can do either of the following approaches:

  • Create a single project that contains many repos and teams
  • Create many projects, each with its own set of teams, repos, builds, work items, and other elements

Even if you have many teams working on hundreds of different applications and software projects, you can manage them within a single project in Azure DevOps. However, if you want to manage more granular security between your software projects and their teams, consider using many projects. At the highest level of isolation is an organization, where each organization is connected to a single Microsoft Entra tenant. A single Microsoft Entra tenant, however, can be connected to many Azure DevOps organizations.


If the Limit user visibility and collaboration to specific projects preview feature is enabled for the organization, users added to the Project-Scoped Users group won't be able to access projects that they haven't been added to. For more information and important security-related call-outs, see Manage your organization, Limit user visibility for projects and more.

Single project

A single project puts all of the work at the same "portfolio" level for the entire organization. Your work has the same set of repos and iteration paths. With a single project, teams share source repos, build definitions, release definitions, reports, and package feeds. You might have a large product or service that's managed by many teams. Those teams have tight inter-dependencies across the product life cycle. You create a project and divide the work using teams and area paths. This setup gives your teams visibility into each other's work, so the organization stays aligned. Your teams use the same taxonomy for work item tracking, making it easier to communicate and stay consistent.


When multiple teams work on the same product, having all teams on the same iteration schedule helps keep your teams aligned and delivering value on the same cadence. For example, our organization in Azure DevOps has over 40 feature teams and 500 users within a single project - this works well because we're all working on a common product set with common goals and a common release schedule.

A high volume of queries and boards can make it hard to find what you're looking for. Depending on the architecture of your product, this difficulty can bleed into other areas such as builds, releases, and repos. Make sure to use good naming conventions and a simple folder structure. When you add a repo to your project, consider your strategy and determine whether that repo could be placed into its own project.

Many projects

You can best determine project structure by how you ship the product. Having several projects shifts the administration burden and gives your teams more autonomy to manage the project as the team decides. It also provides greater control of security and access to assets across the different projects. Having team independence with many projects creates some alignment challenges, however. If each project is using a different process or iteration schedule, it can make communication and collaboration difficult if the taxonomies aren't the same.


If you use the same process and iteration schedules across all your projects, your ability to roll-up data and report across teams improves.

Azure DevOps provides cross-project experiences for managing work.

You may want to add another project due to the following scenarios:

  • To prohibit or manage access to the information 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

When you're considering many projects, keep in mind that Git repo portability makes it easy to migrate repos (including full history) between projects. Other history can't be migrated between projects. Examples are push and pull request history.

When you map projects to business units, your company gets a single organization and sets up many projects with one or more projects representing a business unit. All Azure DevOps assets of the company are contained within this organization and located within a given region (for example, Western Europe). Consider the following guidance for mapping your projects to business units:

One project, many teams One organization, many projects, and teams Many organizations
General guidance Best for smaller organizations or larger organizations with highly aligned teams. Good when different efforts require different processes. Useful as part of TFS legacy migrations and for hard security boundaries between organizations. Used with multiple projects and teams within each organization.
Scale Supports tens of thousands of users and hundreds of teams, but best at this scale if all teams are working on related efforts. Same as with one project, but many projects may be easier.
Process Aligned processes across teams; team flexibility to customize boards, dashboards, and so on. Independent processes for each project. For example, different work item types, custom fields, and so on. Same as many projects.
Collaboration Highest default visibility and reuse between work and assets of different teams. Good visibility and reuse are possible, but it's easier to hide assets between projects whether intentional. Poor visibility, collaboration, and reuse between organizations.
Roll-up reporting and portfolio management Best ability to roll up across teams and coordinate between teams. Good reporting possible across projects. More difficult for cross-project roll-up and team coordination. No roll-up or coordination between organizations.
Security/isolation Can lock down assets at a team level, but default is open visibility and collaboration. Better ability to lock down between projects. By default, provides good visibility within projects and good isolation across projects. Hard boundaries across organizations; excellent isolation and minimal ability to share across organizations.
Context switching Easiest for teams to work together and for users to switch between efforts. Relatively easy for users to work together and switch contexts between efforts. More difficult for users having to work across different organizations.
Information overload By default, all assets are visible to users who make use of “favorites” and similar mechanisms to avoid “information overload.” Reduced risk of information overload; most project assets hidden across project boundaries. Assets across organizations are isolated, reducing risk of information overload.
Administrative overhead Much administration is delegated down to individual teams. Easiest for user licensing and org-level administration. More work may be needed if alignment is required between efforts. More administration at the project level. More overhead, but can be useful when projects have different administrative needs. As with more projects, there's more administrative overhead, which enables more flexibility between orgs.

Structure repos and version control within a project

Consider the specific strategic work scoped to one of the organizations you created previously and who needs access. Use this information to name and create a project. This project has a URL defined under the organization you created it in and can be accessed at{organization-name}/{project-name}.

Configure your project in Project settings.

Screenshot showing the Project settings button.

For more information about managing projects, see Manage projects in Azure DevOps. You can move a project to a different organization by migrating the data. For more information about migrating your project, see Migration options.

Manage version control

In projects where the Azure Repos service is enabled, version control repos can store and revise code. Consider the following options when you're configuring repos.

Git vs. Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC)

Azure Repos offers the following version control systems for teams to choose from:

  • Git and TFVC. Projects can have repos of each type. By default, new projects have an empty Git repo. Git enables a great amount of flexibility in developer workflows and integrates with nearly every relevant tool in the developer ecosystem. Any project can use Git repos. There's no limit on the amount of Git repos that can be added to a project.

TFVC is a centralized version control system that is also available. Unlike Git, only one TFVC repository is allowed for a project. But, within that repo, folders, and branches are used to organize code for multiple products and services, if wanted. Projects can use both TFVC and Git, if appropriate.

One vs. many repos

Do you need to set up multiple repos within a single project or have a repo set up per project? The following guidance relates to the planning and administration functions across those repos.

One project containing multiple repos works well if the products/services are working on a coordinated release schedule. If developers are frequently working with multiple repos, keep them in a single project to ensure the processes remain shared and consistent. It's easier to manage repo access within a single project, as access controls and options like case enforcement and max file size get set at the project level. You can manage the access controls and settings individually, even if your repos are in a single project.

If the products stored in multiple repos work on independent schedules or processes, you can split them into multiple projects. Git repo portability makes it easy to move a repo between projects and still keep full-fidelity commit history. Other history, such as pull requests or build history, aren't easily migrated.

Base your decision for one vs. many repos on the following factors and tips:

  • code dependencies and architecture
  • put each independently deploy-able product or service in its own repo
  • don't separate a codebase into many repos if you expect to make coordinated code changes across those repos, as no tools can help coordinate those changes
  • if your codebase is already a monolith, keep it in one repo. For more information about monolithic repos, see How Microsoft develops modern software with DevOps articles
  • if you have many disconnected services, one repo per service is a good strategy


Consider managing your permissions, so not everyone in your organization can create a repo. If you have too many repos, it's hard to keep track of who owns which code or other content stored in those repos.

Shared repo vs. forked repos

We recommend using a shared repo within a trusted organization. Developers use branches to maintain isolation of their changes from one another. With a good branching and release strategy, a single repo can scale to support concurrent development for more than a thousand developers. For more information about branching and release strategy, see Adopt a Git branching strategy and Release Flow: Our Branching Strategy.

Forks can be useful when you're working with vendor teams that shouldn't have direct access to update the main repository. Forks can also be useful in scenarios where many developers contribute infrequently, such as in an open-source project. When you're working with forks, you may want to maintain a separate project to isolate the forked repos from the main repo. There may be added administrative overhead, but it keeps the main project cleaner. For more information, see the Forks article.

The following image displays a sample of how "your company" could structure its organizations, projects, work items, teams, and repos.

Diagram showing organizational structure for a company.

More about organizational structure

Choose your organization administrator account type

When you create an organization, the credentials that you sign in with define which identity provider your organization uses. Create your organization with a Microsoft account or Microsoft Entra instance. Use those credentials to sign in as an administrator to your new organization at{YourOrganization}.

Use your Microsoft account

Use your Microsoft account if you don't need to authenticate users for an organization with Microsoft Entra ID. All users must sign in to your organization with a Microsoft account. If you don't have one, create a Microsoft account.

Enter your password and sign in

If you don't have a Microsoft Entra instance, create one for free from the Azure portal or use your Microsoft account to create an organization. Then, you can connect your organization to Microsoft Entra ID.

Use your Microsoft Entra account

You might have a Microsoft Entra account already if you use Azure or Microsoft 365. If you work for a company that uses Microsoft Entra ID to manage user permissions, you probably have a Microsoft Entra account.

If you don't have a Microsoft Entra account, sign up for Microsoft Entra ID to automatically connect your organization to your Microsoft Entra ID. All users must be members in that directory to access your organization. To add users from other organizations, use Microsoft Entra B2B collaboration.

Azure DevOps authenticates users through your Microsoft Entra ID, so that only users who are members in that directory have access to your organization. When you remove users from that directory, they can no longer access your organization. Only specific Microsoft Entra administrators manage users in your directory, so administrators control who accesses your organization.

For more information on managing users, see Manage users.

Map organizations to business units

Each business unit within your company gets its own organization in Azure DevOps, along with its own Microsoft Entra tenant. You can set up projects within those individual organizations, as required, based on teams or ongoing work.

For a larger company, you can create multiple organizations using different user accounts (most likely Microsoft Entra accounts). Consider what groups and users share strategies and work, and group them into specific organizations.

For example, the fictional Fabrikam company created the following three organizations:

  • Fabrikam-Marketing
  • Fabrikam-Engineering
  • Fabrikam-Sales

Each organization has a separate URL, such as:


The organizations are for the same company, but are mostly isolated from each other. You don't need to separate anything this way. Only create boundaries when it makes sense to your business.


You can more easily partition an existing organization with projects, than combine different organizations.