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.
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.
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.
Visibility: Public / Private. Public is used for open source projects. Private will usually be the correct choice
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.
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.
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.
Click on Project Settings.
Turn off Repos.
Turn off Pipelines.
Turn off Artifacts.
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.
Last week I wrote a blog post and it got a lot of interest. Just not for the reasons I would of thought. One of the screen shots on the blog post contained an image of dashboard.
Everyone was quite intrigued by this and were wondering what it was. So that is what today is about. This is the first of multiple blog posts showing how you can leverage Azure DevOps, Teams and Project Online to manage projects.
That dashboard is Azure Devops. Microsoft’s developer collaboration tools. It includes repositories(Azure Repos) for code, Kanban boards(Azure Boards), Test Plans(Azure Test Plans) as well as a few other tools targeted to developers.
In our case we are building a brand new intranet and plan to use Azure Boards to manage our workload across a variety teams, Azure Repos to store code for our Custom web parts as well as any scripts we create including site themes and site designs. Last but not least we will use Azure Test Plans to mange the quality of our new intranet.
So how can we setup our environment to ensure:
Has a place to communicate
Has a place to upload documents
Can manage their tasks
manage their sprint
See the overall project health
Step 1 Setup Azure Devops
Create a new project called Intranet
Create the teams in Azure Devops: “Communications”, “Training”, “Developers”, “Testers”
Define the sprints in our case they are two week long
Support for private channels is the number one requested feature on the user voice for Microsoft teams. Over 16000 votes have been made in an effort to get this feature implemented. The more interesting part in my mind is that there seems to be a strong divide between some of the experts of whether or not the feature should be implemented.
There have been a lot of interesting conversations on twitter around this topic.
This got me thinking. There really is no guidance that I have found on how to handle the situation other than create another team and limit the team members. This made sense until I discovered a feature solely on accident.
You can name group chats and pin them
The company I work for has been growing recently and we have implemented team leads for the various practices. I had happened to start a group chat with the team leads and by accident clicked on the little pencil next the people name.
And now low and behold we now have a group chat named team leads. With the core features of a team. Conversations, Files and Tabs.
Now I know what you might be thinking.. The conversation history thing in teams is just a long running list of my recent conversations this teams lead chat will just get lost after awhile.
Luckily enough we have the ability to pin chats.
Now that group chat will always be available at the top of the chat window. When you are done with your project or that group chat you can unpin in and it will be lost into your history to be recovered through search!
So now my take do we need Private Channels?! yeah but we should look to named grouped chats first.