Add another team or a hierarchy of teams

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Every team project has its own default team. You can add more teams to that same project. In this kind of structure, each team can work independently on its own backlog, defined by its area path, unrelated to the other team's work.

But what if you want to split work among teams and have those teams' work roll up into a portfolio backlog? It's easy to create a hierarchy of teams for your project and add people to them. The work they do will roll up to a management team by working with a portfolio backlog.

Add a team

  1. If you aren't a project administrator, get those permissions now.

  2. From Team Web Access, open the administration page for the team project by choosing the gear Settings icon.

  3. Create a new team.

    Create subteams from the administration menu

  4. Give the team a name, and make sure to select Create an area path with the name of the team.

    Create the subteam with its own area path

    If you do not select this option, you will have to create an area path for the team. Until you create an area path, the team will not be able to function.

  5. Configure sprints for the new team.

    Choose the sprints for the agile team

  6. Add team administrators and team members to the new team.

    You can also add team members from the team home page. To learn more about adding people to your team, go here.

Grant permissions

For teams to work autonomously, you might want to provide them with permissions that they don't have by default. Suggested tasks include providing team administrators or team leads permissions to:

Set up a hierarchy of teams

Part of portfolio management is dividing up the work to be done. This works best with a combination of a hierarchical structure of backlog levels, such as the Backlog items and Features seen in a Scrum project, and a similar hierarchical structure of teams. By adding teams that roll up into an overall management team, you gain even more flexibility with who does the work, while still maintaining the automatic roll-up of progress that you gain from a hierarchical backlog. We refer to this kind of structure as the management team and the agile teams. The management team is responsible for defining and owning the big picture work items and agile teams are the teams who actually do the work. Each agile team can continue to work on its own backlog while contributing to the overall picture that the management team owns.

  1. Add one or more teams, as described above. Make sure to select Create an area path with the name of the team.

    Create the subteam with its own area path

    This will be used as a sub-area of the area path for the management team. It provides both the separation of work across multiple agile teams, and much of the automated roll-up of progress to the management team.

  2. Configure sprints for the agile team.

    Choose the sprints for the agile team

  3. Add members to the new agile team and remove unnecessary members from the management team.

    As a best practice, membership in the management team should be limited to the managers and team members who create and manage features. Members of the agile teams will still be able to see the management team's home page and backlog, just like the management team will be able to see each agile team's home pages and backlogs.

  4. Change the areas for the management team so that sub-areas are not included.

    Sub-areas will be used for agile team backlogs

    If the management team does not work in sprints, consider removing iterations for them. Typically, they don’t because they work at a feature level on big ideas that take longer to complete.

    Create as many agile teams as you need. When work items are assigned to an agile team, each of those teams will see those items on its backlog, and manage them on their Kanban board, task board, and sprint backlogs, just like before.

    You can toggle the view to show features

    The team works from the sprint backlog

    The management team will see similar views of their work. They can see their backlog of Feature work items and use the Kanban board to monitor progress.

    The Features backlog has its own Kanban board

    However, if they have also configured a portfolio backlog relationship between work items, they can toggle their view to see the agile teams' Backlog items that support their work. They can even drill down further to see the tasks associated with each work item.

    Drill down to backlog items, bugs, and tasks

Q & A

Q: How do I change permissions for team members?

A: Learn how here.

Q: What are the default permissions assigned to Contributors and Team Administrators?

A: By default, members you add to a team have the permissions set for the team project Contributors group.

Contributor role default permissions

Team Administrators are members of the Contributors group, while also being granted additional permissions based on their role. To learn more about how permissions are set, see Manage users and groups and the TFS permissions reference.

Q: I work on more than one team. How can I track all my work?

A: You can set up queries that will track work across teams. Learn how here: Track your work when assigned to two or more teams.

Q: I want to create a hierarchy of backlog items. How do I do that?

A: That's referred to as working with a portfolio backlog, and you can learn how here: Work with portfolio backlogs.

Q: I want to add a team picture. What do I need to know?

A: If you're a team administrator, you can add a team picture. Open the administration page and choose the picture icon under Team Profile. The maximum file size is 4 MB.

Q: What’s the best way to structure teams when working in an enterprise?

A: Review the white paper, Scaled Agile Framework: Using TFS to support epics, release trains, and multiple backlogs, to learn how to structure teams and work in an agile way within an enterprise.