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Work in sprints

Go here to open the Visual Studio 2015 version of this topic.

You can use sprints to schedule your work in intervals of time.

If your team hasn’t configured a sprint schedule, do that now.

Assign items from the backlog to the sprint

  1. If you don't have access, get invited to the team.

    If you don’t have a backlog, here’s how to create a backlog using the backlog page.

  2. From the backlog page, move the items that you expect to work on into the current sprint.

    Add an item to a sprint backlog

    You can access the backlog page from Team Web Access or Team Explorer. For example, the Fabrikam, Inc. team navigates to http://fabrikamprime:8080/tfs/DefaultCollection/Fabrikam%20Fiber%20Website/_backlogs.

    That’s your initial guess at what you’ll be able to do in the sprint. Next, you’ll define tasks, estimate that work, and use your team’s capacity to make sure it fits in the sprint.

    After you’ve run through a few sprints, you’ll be able to use forecasting to help with the initial list of items for the sprint, too.

Set your team’s capacity

The capacity helps you make sure you’re taking on the right amount of work in the sprint. As you work day-to-day, you’ll be able to see if your team is on track.

  1. Go to the capacity tab for the sprint and set the daily capacity for each team member.

    The team's capacity

  2. If you have days during this sprint where the whole team is off, set them so the sprint capacity reflects that.

    Set team days off

  3. Individual team members can enter their days off, too.

    Set individual days off

  4. If you assign work by activities when you plan your sprint, allocate individual capacities to an activity.

    Set hours per day and activity type

Break the items down into tasks

  1. In the sprint backlog, add a task.

    Add a task to an item in the sprint backlog

  2. Give the task a name, and estimate the work it will take.

    Add a title and an estimate of hours

  3. Just like with your backlog, you can add tags to tasks and other work items to help you sort and identify the work you're doing in the sprint.

  4. After you've added some tasks, your backlog looks something like this.

    The sprint backlog shows items, tasks, and bugs

Determine what can be completed in the sprint

  • As you add estimated tasks to the items in the sprint backlog, you can tell how each task uses up your capacity.

    You can see whether your team, as a whole, has the capacity to complete the work.

    Review the capacity of the team

    If you assign work to individuals when you plan the sprint, you can see whether each individual has the capacity for the work assigned to him.

    Review the capacity of individuals

    Or, if you assign work to activities, you can make sure each activity is within capacity.

    Review the capacity of activity area

    The colors of the capacity bars help you understand whether you still have capacity remaining, whether you are over capacity, or whether you are simply looking at the total work without any reference to capacity.

    These colors help you distinguish capacity

Use the task board to update tasks day to day

The task board is at the heart of daily standups. Let's look at some of the things you can do with the task board to facilitate these meetings and visualize progress.

  1. Move tasks on the task board to reflect their current state.

    Move items to the appropriate column

  2. You can assign a task to a specific person.

    Assign the task to a specific person

  3. Update the remaining work by either using the drop-down list or typing a specific value.

    Update the remaining hours

    Notice how the remaining work for each column changes as you change the amount of remaining work or move tasks from one state to another.

  4. If you discover work during the sprint, add a task to the backlog item it supports by choosing the plus sign.

  5. You can filter the task board by person. The stories where they don't have any tasks are collapsed.

    Only items assigned to that person display

    You can also see all tasks organized by team member.

  6. Review overall progress by opening the burndown chart for the sprint.

    The minature chart expands to show detail

Try this next

Q & A

Q: How do I move multiple items at one time?

A: To move multiple items from the backlog to a sprint, or to update several tasks at once, use the bulk edit feature from the Queries page. From the backlogs and boards, you can only move one item at a time.

Q: How can I increase the number of work items that can display on the task board?

A: To limit the display load time to acceptable parameters, the task board is restricted to a maximum of 500 work items.

For TFS on-premises deployments, you can increase this value up to a maximum of 1500 work items by specifying a value for the workItemCountLimit attribute of the TaskBacklog element. For details, see ProcessConfiguration XML element reference.

Q: How do I print the work plan for a sprint?

A: You can print or share the set of backlog items, tasks, and bugs your team has assigned for a sprint by following these steps:

  1. Choose the Create query link for the sprint backlog.

  2. Choose Click here to view it.

  3. Select all items in the query.

  4. Open the context menu for an item, and choose Email selected items.

Q: Do you want to include bugs as well as backlog items on your taskboard?

A: See Add bugs or other work item types to backlogs or boards.

Q: Do you want to receive an alert when a task changes?

A: See Set up personal status alerts.

Q: Do you want to learn more about working in sprints from industry experts?

A: Review the following whitepapers: Sprint Planning and Effective Sprint Retrospectives.