VSTS Work Item Rules

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In this episode, Donovan is joined by Charles Taylor, to show the Visual Studio Team Services Work Item Rules. Using these rules, you can customize the behavior of your work items in VSTS.



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The Discussion

  • User profile image

    You guys probably forgot to upload the edited version of the video! :)

  • User profile image

    Are you planning to support rules across different items? Example: a developer could not have two distinct tasks in parallel at the same time. Or: setting a story to "done" when all its tasks are done.

  • User profile image

    @Arad: Thanks for pointing that out to us. We made the edit and republished. 

  • User profile image

    Looks great - are we going to see this in TFS 2017 or 2018?

    Manual edits of XML are a real pain, this makes the processes so much easier.

  • User profile image

    Great questions Donovan! [H]

    By the way, this nice UI is only available to inherited processes, correct?

  • User profile image

    @nmenegay: Yes! For now, the new Work Item Rules UI is only available for those on VSTS using the inheritance process model for process customization. 


    Charles Taylor

  • User profile image

    @lef: Thanks for the feedback! We have definitely heard the request for the ability to achieve more powerful scenarios with the new Work Item Rules experience. We do not have definitive plans to tackle those scenarios you mentioned, but they are on our backlog. And as I mentioned, this is definitely not something we are walking away from. We want to continue improving the experience and making it more robust. 


    Charles Taylor


  • User profile image

    @Steve: Thanks for the feedback! Unfortunately, this new Work Item Rules UI is only available on VSTS. Currently, while the new UI is powerful, it does not support all possible rule configurations supported via XML with TFS. As such, we have not made definitive plans to bring this experience to TFS.

    In the meantime, we are continuing to invest in the UI and build out added experiences to fill some of these gaps.


    Charles Taylor 

  • User profile image

    Nice. This will be handy.

    That said, there is/was much value in VSTS creating the "Best Practise" template that works for most people. So many teams create customisations & processes that actually slow them down. (eg: Changes that kept one guy happy who thought it was a good idea, but now he has left the team ;)  )

  • User profile image

    @David_Lean: I could not agree more. As I said in the video I hope people don't go crazy with this. When I was a consultant I spent a lot of my time talking customers out of customizing the template. Take the time to really learn why the template is the way it is before you change it.

    Ask yourself why are we moving from where we are now to VSTS? The answer normally is because the tool/process you have today is lacking. So why customize VSTS back to the tool you are leaving?

    The out of the box process templates are great and have been shaped over a long period of time. They have best practices and years of team experiences baked in.

    After sitting with a customer and understanding why the made the customization I realized what they wanted was already in the template they just did not know how to use it. 

    Here you can read how each process was designed to be used https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/vsts/work/work-items/guidance/choose-process

  • User profile image
    Suresh Kumar

    Awesome and it is useful

    However, Workitem Rules should have lot more features that are missing. I recommend you guys inlcude these features to make it wonderful tool.

    1. Make non-mandatory (not-required)
    2. Attachment Mandatory (make required)
    3. Links Mandatory (make required)
    4. When a state is changed (just changed)
    5. Value equals, greater, lesser => =< so on will help
    6. Area Path/Node Name conditions missing
    7. Iteration Path Conditions missing
    8. Rule for conditional field dependency missing (if Field A="Apple", Field B should list 3 to 7 items and ignore 1-3, 8-10....
    9. It always gives and conditions, why don't have or command or a section to write logic like
    (A AND B) And (C or D)
    10. Force pop-up parent task field to update when a child task field value = xyz
    11. Date Field Logic
    12. Validation should not be one by one... if you have 5 field marked as required. It gives alert one by one, it should validate all 5 and show validation results for all 5. Check products like Gainsight to build rule engine. It is so flexible, powerful and robust.
    13. A state changes from (stop here, do not go "from" and "TO") Lets say a value changes from state=On hold to in progress or removed or done...it should trigger another action.
    14. Why alert trigger is missing in the rule? it is so basic for apps nowadays
    15. Duplicate or copy rule options again very basic
    16. Minimum one parent, child or related or associated or so on.
    17. Minimum one changeset, shelvesets, comments or notes required for a build.
    18. Code review and test case mandate.
    19. Trigger to or change assigned to from "Employee A" to Employee immeidate manager.
    20. If dates greater or lessor or equal and all other combinations.

  • User profile image

    @Suresh Kumar: Thank you for the AMAZING feedback! We certainly understand there are a lot of scenarios yet to be enabled, and we have every intention of investing in these areas to make the offering even better. As always, it is simply a matter of prioritization. As we continue investing in this and other areas, I would love to have your continued feedback and input. Feel free to reach out to me at charles dot taylor at microsoft dot com, so we can follow up offline and talk about these scenarios more.

  • User profile image

    Great list Suresh Kumar - Our number one priority would be you Number 3. - to enforce links between workitems - our biggest problem with data quality in TFS today.

  • User profile image

    @Jason:Hi Jason! Thanks for your feedback on work item rules. You mention enforcing links on work items is one of the biggest problems you're encountering. Can you tell me a little more about your workflow? Why individuals in your org are not creating these links? 

  • User profile image
    Kathirvel Mariappan

    That was a great presentation and we are using in our project and helping to automate the process and removed lot of manual validations and updates. Can we include Tags into it, i know we cannot use something in project scope to individual process. but would be interested in knowing if there is a work around :).

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