December 17, 2014
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Managing Projects Backlog with Visual Studio Online

  • June 17, 2014
  • By Vipul Patel
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Introduction

Microsoft now offers the ability to use the cloud for software project management. With Visual Studio Online, Team Foundation is now hosted in the cloud. This also means that we can now completely manage the project without requiring any on-premises tool. In this article, we will explore the various project management features available in Visual Studio Online.

To check the features mentioned below, you will need a Visual Studio Online account. You can create a free account by visiting http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=309297&clcid=0x409&slcid=0x409 and signing up.

Backlog Management

The heart of modern software development is having features to build – all of which are either in the backlog or will land there some day. To create a backlog, you need to have a project created in Visual Studio Online. Once you sign into Visual Studio Online, you can click a link to create a new project.

Create New Team Project
Create New Team Project

Provide a description and select a process template you want to apply for the project. If this is an Agile project, leave the default process template as Microsoft Visual Studio Scrum 2013.3.

Once you provide the information and click “Create Project”, the project creation process will start.

Team Project Information
Team Project Information

Once it is created, you will be greeted by the following screen.

Your Project is Created
Your Project is Created

Click Navigate to project to go to the project dashboard.

To manage your product backlog, click the link highlighted below.

Manage Your Product Backlog
Manage Your Product Backlog

You will be taken to your backlog view.

Backlog View
Backlog View

Before we proceed further, there is a key concept to understand.

Microsoft Visual Studio Online provides two ways to manage projects. One can define backlog items (which map closely to the Agile concept of tasks), which is a bottoms up approach. An alternate approach is to go top-down by defining features that need to be built (akin to the story concept in Agile) and then determine backlog items (tasks) to map to the feature.

Adding backlog items is pretty easy in Visual Studio Online.

On the following screen, click New.

Backlog Items
Backlog Items

Enter the details and click Add.

Backlog Items: Click Add
Backlog Items: Click Add

For the purpose of this article, I will create a few more backlog items.

If you want to add a task to track a bug that needs to be fixed, you can switch the type to Bug and follow the same steps as a backlog item.

Add a Task to Track a Bug
Add a Task to Track a Bug

If you want to prioritize one backlog item ahead of another, you can drag and drop the item to the new desired position. Click and Hold the mouse button and drag it to the new position. Here is an example of when “Backlog item 3” is above “Backlog item 2” in terms of priority.

Prioritize Backlog Items
Prioritize Backlog Items

Adding Features

To add features, click the Features link on the left and you will be directed to the Features view.

Features View
Features View

To add a new feature, enter the title of the feature and click Add.

Features View: Add a New Feature
Features View: Add a New Feature

You can double click on the feature created to go to the details of the feature and edit the details.

To associate backlog items to features, click the link to change the view to show “Features to backlog items”.

Features to backlog Items
Features to backlog Items

To create a new backlog item associate with the feature, right click on the feature and select link to add a backlog item.

Add a Backlog Item
Add a Backlog Item

Add a Backlog Item
Add a Backlog Item

You can also add a bug to a feature using the same steps.

Add a Bug to a Feature
Add a Bug to a Feature

You can see all the bug and backlog items for that feature.

All the Bug and Backlog Items
All the Bug and Backlog Items

Summary

 In this article, we learned about managing project backlog with Visual Studio Online. In upcoming articles, we will explore more project management features available in Visual Studio Online.

About the Author

Vipul Patel is a Program Manager currently working at Amazon Corporation. He has formerly worked at Microsoft in the Lync team and in the .NET team (in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team). He can be reached at vipul.patel@hotmail.com


Tags: Cloud, Project management, Visual Studio Online




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