Visual Studio 2010 Application Lifecycle Management - Manage Work Items


With big improvements in Visual Studio 2010 Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools, project tracking can now be a part of development process. Anyone from team member to project managers can now update tasks, check-in code, report bugs etc. In this article, I am going to show step by step process of

  1. Creating Work Items (User Stories /Tasks )
  2. Create queries to view the Work Items assigned to you
  3. Managing same Work Items using Microsoft Office Excel.

Combining Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS), you can apply proven practices to manage your application's lifecycle.

Note: Here I am using AGILE template for demo.

Step 1: Connect to Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Open Visual Studio 2010 and connect to TFS. Once you are connected to TFS create project under collection. Then right click Work Items and click on "New Work Item ->User Story".


Step 2: Enter data for User Story

Once you click User story in step 1, a form is opened to enter user story details as shown below.
  1. Enter title of User Story e.g.
    A. "As a Customer, I want to create account"
  2. By default State is Active when you are creating new User Story.
  3. Then Click Save Work Item.


Step 3: Select New Query

To view work items created in step 2, you will have to create new query. For that right click My Queries and Select New Query as shown below.


Step 4: Create and Save Query

Once you click New Query in step 3, a form will be shown to create query parameters.
  1. For Team Project set value @Project. This means current project.
  2. Then in next row Select "And " and Work Item Type = User story
  3. Then in next row Select "And " and State = Active
  4. Click Save Query

  5. A window will popup and then enter Name "My User Stories" and select "Server" as save location.


Step 5: View Results (User Stories)

Under My Queries -> My User Stories will be created.


Right Click "My User Stories" and select View Results. On the left it shows all User Stories created by you.


Step 6: Add task and link task to User Story

Select User Story and click on "New Linked Work Item".

A new window will popup.
  1. Select Link type = Child
  2. Work Item Type = Task and enter task details in the Title
  3. Click OK.


Step 7: Edit Query to show User story and task as linked

Now if you select Query -> My User Stories". It will only show User Story and not linked tasks to User Story. For that, right click "My User Stories "and Select Edit Query.


Modify query parameters as shown below. Here add "Or" condition Work Item type= Task and Click Run.

Now it will show User stories and task. Here it's showing in flat style and not showing task as child of User Story. For that, right click "My User Stories "and Select Edit Query. In the Edit Query window, select Type of Query = Work Items and Direct Link and Direct link from dropdown list and in the linked work item section select Work Item type = Task


Now Click on Refresh it shows User story with linked child tasks

Step 8: Manage User Story/Task from Microsoft office Excel
  1. Open Microsoft office Excel 2007.
  2. Click on Team tab
  3. Select New List
  4. A new window will popup
  5. Select project and Click OK.

In the popup window, select My User Stories (this was created using Visual studio 2010/TFS) and click OK


In the excel sheet same result is diplayed that was created earlier.

Now change State = Closed for Task ID = 3


Open Visual Studio 2010/TFS. Select My User Stories and Refresh. The changes made in excel is reflected here.

In MS Office excel, click on choose columns and add Start date column and click OK.


Enter Start date for task ID 3, 4 and 5 as shown below. Then select changed cell and click on Publish.


Open Visual Studio 2010/TFS and open same project. Click on Column Options and add "Start Date" and click OK.


Then Click on Refresh. You will see all the changes made for "Start Date" using Microsoft Office Excel are reflected here.



In this article we have seen step by step process to create User Story and linked task to the User Story. Also we have seen that work items can be managed using Microsoft Office Excel. Similarly we can manage work items using Microsoft Project. There are many other things you can do with Visual Studio 2010 like Code UI testing, Web Testing, Load Testing, Data driven Code UI testing etc, which I will explain in next articles.