Exercise – Plan work using Azure Boards

Exercise – Plan work using Azure Boards

Here you’ll create a project, a team, and a board in Azure DevOps.

The Tailspin team is eager to see how Azure Boards is going to work. With the pre-planning out of the way, they can start to use the tools and build the solution they planned.

Set up Azure Boards using the Basic process

In this part, you’ll set up an Azure DevOps project and Azure Boards for the Tailspin team.

Create the project

Here you’ll create an Azure DevOps project.

  1. Sign into your account at dev.azure.com.
  2. Select + Create project.

    The Create a project dialog box opens.

  3. In the Project name field, type Space Game – web.
  4. In the Description field, type The Space Game website.
  5. Under Visibility, you choose whether to make your project public or private. For now, you can choose private.

    Creators of open source projects will often choose public visibility so that others can view active issues and build status.

  6. Select Advanced.
  7. Under Version control, make sure that Git is selected. Under Work item process, make sure that Basic is selected.
  8. Select Create.

After just a few moments, you’re taken to your new project.

Create a team

Here you’ll create a team for the project.

  1. Select Project settings in the lower-left corner.
  2. On the Project details page, under General, select Teams.

    You see that a default team, based on the name of the project, Space Game – web Team, has been created. We’ll use this team, but in practice you may have multiple teams that contribute to the same project.

  3. Select Space Game – web Team.

    You’ll see that you’re already a member of this team. Let’s add more members.

Add team members

Now’s a good time to add members to your team. Although not required, if you’d like to add a coworker to your Azure DevOps organization, here’s how:

  1. Under Members, select + Add.
  2. Enter the email address of the user you’d like to add. Then select Save changes.
  3. Repeat the process for any other members you’d like to add.

Mara adds entries for herself and her team members: “andy@tailspintoys.com”, “amita@tailspintoys.com”, “mara@tailspintoys.com”, and “tim@tailspintoys.com”.

In practice, you might manage your team through an identity and access management service such as Azure Active Directory and set the appropriate permission levels for each team member. We’ll point you to more resources at the end of this module.

Create the board

Although Mara and her team identified a number of issues, here you’ll add the three work items Mara originally proposed to your board to practice the process.

  1. In the column on the left, point to Boards and select Boards from the menu that appears.
  2. Select Space Game – web Team boards. A blank board appears.

    Azure Boards showing an initially empty board.

    Recall that you’re using the Basic process. The Basic process involves three task states: To DoDoing, and Done.

    If you choose a different process, such as Scrum, you’ll see a layout that supports that process.

  3. In the To Do column, select the green + button next to the New item field.
  4. Enter Stabilize the build server and then press Enter.
  5. Select the ellipsis (), and then select Open.
  6. In the Description field, enter this text:

    The build server keeps falling over. The OS, Ubuntu 16.04, requires security patches and updates. It’s also a challenge to keep build tools and other software up to date.

  7. Select Save & Close.
  8. Follow the same steps for the next two items.
    Title Description
    Create a Git-based workflow Migrate source code to GitHub and define how we’ll collaborate.
    Create unit tests Add unit tests to the project to help minimize regression bugs.
  9. Drag Stabilize the build server to the top of the stack. Then, drag Create a Git-based workflow to the second item position. Your final board looks like this.

    Azure Boards showing the initial three tasks

Define a sprint

Mara: This is looking great. Now let’s define a sprint.

When you create an Azure Boards project, you get an initial sprint called Sprint 1. All you need to do is assign dates to the sprint and add tasks. Here’s how to follow along with the team:

  1. In the left-side column, select Sprints.

    Azure DevOps showing the location of the Sprints menu

  2. Select Set dates from the upper right.
  3. Leave the name as Sprint 1.
  4. In the Start date field, select the calendar and pick today’s date.
  5. In the End date field, select the calendar and pick the date two weeks from today.
  6. Select Save and Close.

Assign tasks and set the iteration

An iteration is another name for a sprint.

You have an initial set of work items and a timeline for your first sprint. Here you’ll connect work items to your sprint and assign the tasks to yourself.

  1. Under Boards, select Work items.
  2. Select Stabilize the build server.
  3. In the Iteration drop-down list, select Sprint 1.

    Assigning an iteration to a Sprint

  4. From the same window, select Unassigned and set yourself as the task owner.

    Assigning the task owner

  5. Repeat the process for the other two work items.
    • Create a Git-based workflow
    • Create unit tests

Mara: We did it! We created our first project on Azure Boards and we identified the first tasks we’ll take on. It’s great! As Andy and I do this work, we’ll move each work item to the Doing state.

Amita: Sounds good. I enjoyed getting together and deciding what’s important to us right now. And, like Andy said, now we have a way to see everything all in one place.


In this module, the Tailspin team took their first steps towards adopting DevOps practices. You worked with them and learned how to use Azure Boards to get started with Agile work planning. A board gives you an easy way to see what’s going on with a project and to manage your work. Some of the things you learned to do with Azure Boards include how to:

  • Create projects
  • Create work items
  • Assign work items to team members
  • Associate work items with a sprint, or iteration

Learning path summary

Congratulations. You’ve completed the final module in the Evolve your DevOps practices learning path. In this learning path, you:

  • Saw how a value stream map can help you examine your existing processes and technologies.
  • Saw what DevOps is (and isn’t) and created an Azure DevOps organization.
  • Learned how Azure Boards helps teams plan the work that needs to be done. You used the Basic process to set up a basic backlog of tasks you’ll work on in upcoming modules.

Continue the journey

You’ve seen the team identify their top-priority problems, but how will they solve them? If you want to work along with them and learn how to configure build pipelines that continuously build, test, and verify your applications, go to Build applications with Azure DevOps .

For more self-paced, hands-on learning around Azure DevOps, also check out Azure DevOps Labs .

Learn more

This module touches on Agile and Agile processes but there’s a lot more to learn.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of Agile, check out What is Agile Development? 

In this module, you followed the Basic process. You’ll continue using this process in upcoming modules. For your own projects, learn how to choose a process  that best fits your team. You can also learn more about each process Azure Boards supports.

Also in this module, you added fictitious team members to your project. Learn more about how to add users to your organization or project .

As you plan and track your work with Azure Boards, you can refer to our complete Azure Boards Documentation  to get the most out of them.

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