New fields in TFS work Items. Part 1.

In this and several future posts I would like to cover what I have created new in TFS in order to give me additional tools for planning and analysis.

Additional information for planning:

  • Business Priority field – directly puts the Task into single sphere. It has different filling rules for support, projects and internal activities. I will describe in future posts how we work with this field while describing reports I use.
  • Iteration Work Item Type field is used only for projects’ iterations. Here I have to describe how we work with projects and how we build work item hierarchy:
    • Project is a single Work Item that is approved by project sponsor. All decomposition is done inside it as a set of child Tasks. All child Tasks are Internal Requests (IR).
    • All Tasks get the same iteration for example 10.000.
    • Iteration Work Item Type is set following the rules:
      • Tasks that were created based on the technical designs got “Basic Type”.
      • Other types are set when we start internal or user tests:
        • Design Change – we have to change design before coding.
        • Error – there is an error in program.
        • Support – support activities (including not only code changes but also merging, work with business, etc.)
  • When we pass the first test iteration and ready for User Acceptance Test (UAT), all Tasks that will be created will get the next iteration – in our case 10.001. Stabilization phase – gets next iteration 10.002. If the project consists of several phases with separate go-life for each one, the iterations are 10.003, 10.004 etc.
  • Units field shows how many percent of time the developer must spend working on the Task. It helps to spread Tasks the same way as Microsoft Project does. We have special report that uses this field and built something like Gantt Chart.

Additional Work Items:

  • Project Work Item – generates list of all active projects, and queue of projects. Helps me easily to administrate and plan department work for this and next years. For active projects it indicates when there are some problems whether with meeting milestones or lack of resources.
  • Scenario Work Item – is used to allocate developer IT resources for long periods (from 1 month to 1 year). I plan Tasks for two-week period, not more, because everything is changing, the workload can increase or decrease, developer can fall ill etc. So if you have tasks planned for long periods you will spend all your time re-planning them again and again. On the other hand, you need to have some place where you can log you plans for each developer, or just simply allocate resources for future projects. That what we do using Scenario work item.

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