Devops Office 365 Project Management

Managing Projects in a Modern World (Part 2)

In my previous post (Managing Projects in a Modern World (Part 1))I showed an example of an integrated Microsoft Teams, Azure DevOps and Project Roadmap environment. This post is all about setting up Azure DevOps to work with Teams and Roadmap

At a high-level we need to:

  1. Create a project
  2. Setup your teams
  3. Configure your work items

1. Create a Project

Navigate to and sign in with your Microsoft account.

If your organization has never used Azure DevOps. That is OK. You get five free licenses. Once your team gets larger or you choose to use more advanced features then there will be a cost associated.

At the top right of the page you will see a button “Create Project”. Click on the “Create Project” button will open a side bar.

  1. Project Name: The project name should reflect the project you are working on and if possible map it to the name of the Microsoft Team you will be creating.
  2. Description: This allows for you to describe what this project is about so anyone looking through the project list in Azure DevOps knows what it is about.
  3. Visibility: Public / Private. Public is used for open source projects. Private will usually be the correct choice
  4. Version Control: You have the choice between Git and Team Foundation Version Control. Git seems to be the most popular choice these days and most modern web developers will be capable of using it.
  5. Work Item Process: This is the most important choice you will make when creating a project. While you can customize the process you choose you cannot switch between processes. So if you choose CMMI but then wanted to move to a scrum process you would not be able too.

Work Item Process is your most important decision. Make sure you understand your options. Click Here to see the Work Item Process Options.

Once you have filled out the form click on “Create”.

It will take about a minute for your new project to get created.

Once the Project has been created, we can configure it to work for us. We don’t need to use Repos, Pipelines, Test Plans or Artifacts.

  1. Click on Project Settings.
  2. Scroll Down.
  3. Turn off Repos.
  4. Turn off Pipelines.
  5. Turn off Artifacts.
  6. Turn of Test Plans.

This does not remove your ability to use any of the tools. It just hides them until you are ready. Simplifying the user experience. When you are ready turn them on.

2. Create your Teams

While still within the project settings form. Select “Teams” under the general drop down.

Click on New Team and add all of your required teams. In this scenario the teams are broken down by role. This could very well be by features or functions.

When creating new teams you have the option to create a new Area path. This is helpful when you want to separate your backlog of tasks to each team. You will also be able to have separate sprint lengths.

The area path is what allows us to have channel specific Kanban boards.

3. Update your work items

For Azure Devops to work with Project Roadmap we need to have a Start Date and a Finish Date on a work item. Depending on the work item process you chose you may or may not have a start and finish dates on your work items.

In the case of this example I chose the “Basic” template which gives us “Epics”, “Issues” and “Tasks”. By default the epic does not have a Start Date or Targeted Date.

I would like to use epics on my project roadmap so to do so we can add the start and finish date.

The easiest way to do this is when creating a new Epic on your back log:

Once you are in the “New Epic” screen, click on the actions button on the far right.

Then click on “Customize”.

This will take you to the organization settings process page.

Click on “New Field”, then use an existing field.

Add the Start Date and Target Date. Your Epic layout should now look like below:

Now, when we create a new Epic, we can add a timeline to it:

Our Azure DevOps environment is now set up and ready for use. The backlogs can start to be populated and added to teams and project roadmaps.

One reply on “Managing Projects in a Modern World (Part 2)”

The magic is really when we can tie in these stories in the boards to branches in Repos and then to deployments in Pipelines. Once that story makes it to “ready for prod” column – the product owner can look at the entire development, build and deployment history in each card bound for the prod deployment!


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