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Work as a stakeholder

With Stakeholder access, anyone on your team can check project status and provide feedback. Stakeholders can track project priorities and provide direction, feature ideas, and business alignment to a team.

As a stakeholder, you can:

  • View, add, and modify items on the backlog

  • View team home pages and portfolio backlogs

  • View, create, and modify work items such as stories, features, bugs, and feedback responses

  • View, create, and save queries

  • Sign up and receive alerts when changes are made to work items.

Stakeholder access was renamed from Limited access with Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2013 Update 4. If the TFS you connect to has not yet been updated, than you’ll be working in Limited access.

First time signing in

  1. Open a browser window and enter the URL for TFS web access.


    For example, to connect to the server named FabrikamPrime, type http://FabrikamPrime:8080/tfs/.

  2. Enter your credentials. If you aren't able to sign in, you need to be added as a member to a team and added to Stakeholder access.

    Enter user name and password to access TFS

  3. To connect to a team project, choose Browse.

    Browse team projects

    If you don't see a project listed, contact the project administrator for your team and ask them to add you to the project.  

  4. From the Home page, you can open the backlog that tracks work. Or, you can create a work item to track new work. 

    Browse team projects

    You might see different work item types in your view. 

Check the backlog or add new work

Work appears in the backlog in priority order.

  1. To view or edit a work item, select it and choose Enter.

    Backlog page with work items in priority order

  2. To add a new item, select the type and then name it. Your items are added to the bottom of the list. 

    Add a backlog item from the quick add panel

Check work in progress

  • To view the team's work status, open the board. Choose an item to open or edit it. 

    View Kanban board

Find work assigned to you, or query for other work items

  1. Open the Queries page to see the list of work items assigned to you.

    Queries page, items assigned to you

  2. Or, open any of the queries defined in the Shared Queries folder.

    Run a shared query

  3. And, you can create new queries or edit existing queries and save them under My Queries folder. More info about editing queries.

    Query Editor

Create a bug

You can create any type of work item listed on the New menu. Types listed can differ among different projects.

  1. Open a bug.

    Open bug work item form

  2. Fill out the form and save it. A field with a yellow background indicates you need to enter valid data.

    Fill out the bug work item form


    A caution icon on a tab indicates values that violate validation rules. You must correct information on that tab in order to save the work item.

To learn more about each of the default work item types, see one of these topics: Scrum, Agile, or CMMI.

Q & A

Who is Stakeholder access for?

A: Project managers or other personnel who don't use Visual Studio can still support their teams through Stakeholder access. Stakeholder access supports members in an organization with a TFS deployment who don't have a client access license (CAL). This view restricts functionality so that your organization complies with the end-user license agreement for Team Foundation Server. For more information, see Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing white paper.

Limited access has also been referred to as Work Item Only View (WIOV).

Q: What features don’t I have access to?

A: If you need access to these features, you need to be added to either the Basic or Advanced access level group:

  • Change the priority of an item within a backlog

  • Create new tags to group work items

  • Create shared queries, view charts, and modify the home page

  • Access the full set of features of the Code, Build, and Test hubs

  • Participate in team rooms, which capture interactive, detailed conversations about the project

  • View administrative pages that support managing membership, permissions, area and iteration paths, and licensing.

These features support the daily work of product owners, team leads, developers, testers, and project administrators. Go here for a comparison chart of features to all licenses

Q: How does Limited access differ from Stakeholder access?

A: Stakeholder access provides access to more features than Limited access. With Limited access, you are able to view and modify only those work items that you create. You can report a code defect or suggest a product feature. However, you have no access to the team home page, backlog page, or other Agile planning tools.

Your view is limited to the following page:

View work items that you have created

Q: How do I switch context to a different project or team?

A: To view or create work items for another team project or team, switch to that project. Choose Browse All if the name you want doesn't appear in the list.

Switch to a different team or team project

Q: Can I add or edit work items in Team Explorer?

A: Yes, though you can only see some features, like the backlog and board pages, through your web browser.

In Team Explorer, if you choose a feature that's not available for stakeholders, you'll just get an error that you don't have access. Go here to download Team Explorer for free.

Q: Can I get email when someone changes work items?

A: Yes, you can create an alert for when items change.

Q: Can I use third-party tools that are connected to Visual Studio Online through APIs or service hooks?

A: Yes, only those tools that support work item tracking.