Using TFS 2012 and SCRUM to Run the Sprint

Posted by: Subodh Sohoni , on 8/17/2012, in Category VSTS & TFS (Azure DevOps)
Views: 125847
Abstract: In our previous article, Using TFS 2012 and SCRUM for Iteration Capacity Planning for Software Development, we had seen how to plan the sprint and balance the work to be done during the sprint. In this article, we will take a look at how to run the sprint till the finish line. We will use TFS 2012 and its task board capability to do that.

In our previous article, Using TFS 2012 and SCRUM for Iteration Capacity Planning for Software Development, we had seen how to plan the sprint and balance the work to be done during the sprint. In this article, we will take a look at how to run the sprint till the finish line. We will use TFS 2012 and its task board capability to do that.

We had created a set of PBIs and tasks to implement those PBIs. Both of these were created as work items in TFS. Those tasks were assigned to various team members. SCRUM encourages team members who can play multiple roles so a team member may get tasks that are for architecting or development or for testing.

Open the board tab that is under the Sprint 2 of WORK tab of Web Access. It shows all the PBIs of Sprint 2 with tasks for each of those PBIs.


SCRUM implementation in TFS 2012 is with the help of work items. Each work item may pass through the states of TO DO, IN PROGRESS and DONE. These phases are represented on this task board by columns.

Although the default view of the task board is to show the split of tasks based upon the PBIs, we can also view the split based upon the team members. If you move to team members tab on the same page, you can view the tasks assigned to each team member.


All the tasks initially are in the TO DO state. In the task board, we can even see the total efforts required to complete those tasks.

Now one by one, the team members start taking up the tasks for execution. They can move the tasks that they can take for execution to IN PROGRESS state. Let us now use drag and drop facility on this board to move the tasks that are started actively to be worked by team members, to the IN PROGRESS column.


If we double click on a task before moving it and after moving then we can see that the State of the task gets changed when moved.



Many a times, it becomes necessary that during the run of the Sprint we need to add some task. It can be done easily from the contents tab of the Sprint.

Sometimes there are causes due to which the PBI, Bug or a Task may get blocked. In TFS 2012, that cause is represented by the work item of the type Impediment. Impediment can be technical or something to do with availability of team member to do a task or any other issue. Anyone can create an impediment and assign it to Scrum Master.



Impediment is either Open or Close. It is the responsibility of Scrum Master to remove the impediment and close it.


Impediment is linked to the other work items with Parent – Child relationship and queried through the normal mechanism.



Query Designer


Query Results



Sprint output usually is a shippable product that has incremental additions as compared to earlier sprint. Once the sprint is run, we can view various reports. One of the most important is Sprint Burndown. Another report that is available is Backlog view. It provides the details of each PBI in the backlog.

Sprint Burndown Chart is where we come to know daily how much work has been done and how much is yet to be done in the sprint. It shows an ideal trend and against that, the actual trend. This chart is calculated automatically by TFS 2012 every day based upon the tasks that are set as in DONE state. This chart gives an understanding - is the sprint going to be completed with all PBIs or are some of them are needed to be shifted to the next sprint.


Backlog Overview is more detailed view of each PBI. It tells us the story of the PBI. How much efforts on that PBI already DONE and how much more are needed, how many test cases are related to that PBI and out of those, how many have passed and failed.


We can also set a filter on the Sprint we are interested in and view the Backlog details of the sprint.


SCRUM is a process where the completion date is not always defined in the beginning. Sprints can continue till either one of these events occurs

  1. Product Backlog has no more PBIs
  2. Budget for the project is over
  3. Deadline given by the customer arrives.

Since SCRUM inherently encourages teams to pick most important and high priority PBIs, even if the project is stopped or if the budget is exhausted or the deadline approached, the team has ensured that the most important and high priority features that define the product, have already been implemented in the shippable products that were output of earlier sprints.

Summary: Sprinting is when the team completes the scope of that iteration. During the sprint, the team works on usually the most important and high priority PBIs. Team is a set of cross functional people who can sprint only by working collaboratively. They may pass the work between the team members to take it forward. TFS 2012 supports the team to manage the sprints by providing the tools to make the sprint run. It provides task boarding capability as well as the reports, that are considered to be the core artifacts of SCRUM process.

Make sure you also read Using TFS 2012 and SCRUM for Iteration Capacity Planning for Software Development

This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.

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Subodh is a Trainer and consultant on Azure DevOps and Scrum. He has an experience of over 33 years in team management, training, consulting, sales, production, software development and deployment. He is an engineer from Pune University and has done his post-graduation from IIT, Madras. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) - Developer Technologies (Azure DevOps), Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), Microsoft Certified Azure DevOps Engineer Expert, Professional Scrum Developer and Professional Scrum Master (II). He has conducted more than 300 corporate trainings on Microsoft technologies in India, USA, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, UAE, Philippines and Sri Lanka. He has also completed over 50 consulting assignments - some of which included entire Azure DevOps implementation for the organizations.

He has authored more than 85 tutorials on Azure DevOps, Scrum, TFS and VS ALM which are published on is a regular speaker at Microsoft events including Partner Leadership Conclave.You can connect with him on LinkedIn .

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Feedback - Leave us some adulation, criticism and everything in between!
Comment posted by Dimz on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 6:27 AM
Nice write-up.

The problems start with the business wants to get involved and do testing, report bugs and prioritise change requests.

If you hit this problem then just stick Gemini in front of TFS. (free)
Comment posted by Jim Strange on Monday, June 3, 2013 7:59 AM
Is it possible in TFS to relate more than one PBI/task to an impediment? An impediment often affects more than one PBI, but my initial dabbling with TFS seems to suggest that the parent-child relationship necessitates creating multiple identical impediments for each affected PBI.
Comment posted by John Sewell on Thursday, October 17, 2013 6:52 PM
Isn't "Backlog Overview" for Scrum new in TFS 2013? Your write-up implies it is in TFS 2012 already.