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Have a project setup in VSTS with the scrum template and one of my team has added several work items. We have several different teams setup and Ive added separate sets of iterations, 1 set per team. My questions as Im going through the docs are

  1. What is the difference between "work items" and "backlogs"
  2. If I see the list of work items when I select that menu, how can move things from work items to one of the backlogs for a team?
  3. I've read somewhere that the "work items" menu refer to "portfolio backlog" which is at one level higher so to speak, whereas the backlogs are "product backlogs". Does this sound right?

I think what has happened, is that someone has gone in before I created the teams and added work items, so they exist at the team-project level. Now, I want to have these at the team level.

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[updates]

My team project is setup like this:

vsts root
 |___team 1
     |__sprint 1
     |__sprint 2
     |__sprint 3
 |___team 2 
     |__sprint 1
     |__sprint 2
     |__sprint 3

etc

Each team also has an associated area. So there doesn't seem to be a "direct" way to move work items at the root level pro team project level, to a team backlog. I have to first reassign the iteration of a work item at the root, to an iteration I have defined, THEN I can move it into a backlog for the team.

  • From my experience in using TFS - You have a backlog that contains PBIs and Bugs. You can move these items to a specific Sprint thus causing them to belong to the Sprint Backlog. – JohnOsborne Aug 3 '18 at 18:44
  • Yes, I have added a few "dummy" items in a teams backlog, and can then drag them over onto a sprint. Its the items under "work items", which I believe were setup earlier before the teams were defined that I am trying to figure out how to add/move them under one of the teams backlogs. – bitshift Aug 3 '18 at 18:59
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(1) What is the difference between "work items" and "backlogs"

A work item is the generic term for an entry that describes and tracks activity, such as a product backlog item, a task, a bug, or a test. Work items also have a hierarchy -- a task is a work item, but it is owned by a product backlog item, which is itself a work item.

A backlog is a collection of work items. You can have a product backlog, which represents all activity in scope. You can also have a sprint backlog, which is a subset of work items from the product backlog.

(2) If I see the list of work items when I select that menu, how can move things from work items to one of the backlogs for a team?

You should be able to drag and drop work items from the product backlog into a different backlog, as well as explicitly assign the sprint backlog from within the work item itself. New work items are created under the product backlog initially.

(3) Ive read somewhere that the "work items" menu refer to "portfolio backlog" which is at one level higher so to speak, whereas the backlogs are "product backlogs". Does this sound right?

The work items menu is simply a view from the work item point of view -- it's flat, compared to the backlog view, which rolls up work items according the selected backlog.

Each team also has an associated area. So there doesn't seem to be a "direct" way to move work items at the root level pro team project level, to a team backlog. I have to first reassign the iteration of a work item at the root, to an iteration i have defined, THEN I can move it into a backlog for the team.

That sounds correct. Teams are implemented by using the Area field, which is a bit of a hack, because each team really operates independently, and has its own separate product and sprint backlogs. You might investigate the Delivery Plans extension to see if it gives you more flexibility.

  • Ok, that helps a bit. Regarding #2 where you mention you can assign the backlog from the work item itself. Are you talking about changing the Area or Iteration of the work item? I dont see anywhere (at least with the new UI) to change or assign the backlog on a workitem. – bitshift Aug 3 '18 at 19:06
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    @bitshift yes, I have edited to clarify -- you can assign a work item to a sprint backlog by changing the iteration. Area is just a classification independent of backlog. When you create a new work item, you create it under the product backlog, and from there can assign to a sprint. – mcknz Aug 3 '18 at 20:09
  • See updates above, regarding project config for iterations/teams and areas. Regarding changing the iteration of a workitem, I can only change the iteration to reflect one of the iterations (sprint1, sprint2 etc). I dont seem to be able to assign it directly to one of the team backlogs. I first have to assign it to an iteration (eg. sprint1), then drag it from there to the teams backlog. – bitshift Aug 3 '18 at 20:17
  • So, from the main "Work Items" view, how can someone add a new PBI directly to a team backlog? I can specify an iteration path that will put it on one of the team iterations, but not directly onto the backlog of a team? – bitshift Aug 3 '18 at 20:37

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