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Software development and other stuff.

Dev 11 TFS and Potential Limits on the Requirements Category

with 2 comments

04/24/2012 Update: I noticed that in the Microsoft Scrum V2 Template in Dev 11 that the Product Backlog Screen has two options for PBIs – Bug and Product Backlog Item. So multiple selections are an options. Now I must dig deeper to find out why it works in Scrum V2 but not MSF Agile V6. See the image that follows:

Scrum V2 Choices

This post is pertaining to Dev 11 TFS and the use of work item categories. Not sure if this is a bug or by design. You can vote, comment or do otherwise on this reported issue on Microsoft Connect: ID 736750.


In the Agile V6 Template the Web Interface specifically the portion for presenting the burn down chart and also for working with the backlog to include adding items into the backlog, natively uses the User Story as the primary product backlog item. This use of User Story is to be expected and it seems the system uses the User Story in the roles for this portion of the web interface and many other parts of the system based on the category assignment of User Story in the Requirements Category. Nothing really new there.

The issue is that if one adds an additional work item type to the team project -  a requirement work item type in this particular case and then adds that requirement work item type to the Requirements Category the system will present exception text in the web interface in place of numerous parts of the system including on the backlog management page.  This is despite that the User Story type was left as the default for the Requirements Category.

It is understandable that the system might rely on the user story as the ruling product backlog item and expect it to be the default work item type for the category as it seems it is only currently able to show one work item type on the backlog screen for adding items into the backlog on the fly. But to not support additional work item types in the Requirements Category without rendering a chunk of the web interface broken is hopefully a bug versus a choice. You can see the results when adding an additional work item type in Image 1. In Image 2 is how it would look normally.


Multiple Items in Requirement Category

Image 1 (Click image for larger view)


Proper Web Interface

Image 2 (Click image for a larger view)


The Categories.xml file with the additional work item type loads fine into the Team Project as it conforms with the schema but the results of doing so can be seen.

I know many organizations that do not use the User Story as the definitive carrier of requirements but add back into their set of work items under Agile a Requirements work item that can augment a user story or for non-functional requirements work in place of the user story (though estimated etc. in the same way)

I propose that at the least the parts in the Agile template that rely on the Requirements Category should use the DefaultWorkItemType and ideally should be able to use all item types in the Requirements Category in many instances.

There are other reasons why this might be failing.

I intend to investigate this further to see if I can rule out some other potential causes and will report back. Perhaps it is not that two types are in the category but that I have missing from my Requirements Work Item Type some estimation field or a needed set of specific States. I will look into this further but I suspect the mere existence of two work item types in the category presents the problem based on the fact that the User Story Creation section on the backlog page issues an error. It seems the page is designed to look at the Requirements Category but is not designed to know what to do if more than one entry exists.

I’ll report back as I get the opportunity.


Written by Michael Ruminer

April 13, 2012 at 9:01 am

Posted in Dev 11 TFS

Tagged with , ,

2 Responses

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  1. Hi Michael,

    I`ve been trying to enable the display of bugs in the backlog and the task board but with no success. Were you able to figure out how to do it in the msf agile 6.0 template?

    Louis-Philippe Meunier

    June 11, 2012 at 9:13 am

    • Sadly, I never saw Louis-Philippe’s message to be approved amid the junk messages. As I am sure Louis-Phillipe and everyone else knows this is not an issue any longer if ever it was an issue outside my world.

      Michael Ruminer

      August 8, 2013 at 10:37 pm

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