Sunday, February 16, 2020

What's Minimal Azure DevOps (ADO) Setup Process for Team Backlog Management?

On my journey as Scrum Master, I always use Atlassian suite products like Jira and Confluence, so I'm really used to it, know really well and comfortable on using them. Until recently when I join the new team, I start to use different tools named Microsoft Azure DevOps, nickname as ADO (previously named VSTS or Visual Studio Team Services).

It took me quite sometime to understand on how to use it. I started to request the system admin to grant me permission as project admin so I can explore more and perform necessary configuration. Once it's granted, I did some basic project admin stuffs below:

  • Configure teams and areas for all teams within the program, only add team members that involve in respective team, and housekeeping to remove unknown credential. This is to ensure right people to be able to view the right backlogs.

  • Define work-items structure. Epic and Capability exist in Program level, and Feature, User Story, and Task exist in Team level. And I will ensure the linkage between work-items is correct so everyone can see from top to bottom. This will align with SAFe guideline as well that Feature must fit within one Program Increment (PI) and User Story must fit within one iteration.

  • Manage team permission: not to allow delete work-items to avoid some people to accidentally delete any items. And update some permissions that inherited from the organizational-level configuration, that potentially cause any harm to the project.
  • Configure iteration with naming standard, define the iteration duration, and enable it on each team. I use iteration name as (year).(quarter).(sprint), e.g. 20.Q1.S1 means Sprint 1 in 2020 quarter 1 program increment.

  • Add non-working days (e.g. public holidays) & request team to put leave plan in calendar, and define each team members assignment & daily hour allocation on each iteration to know every team's capacity on every sprint. This will be really useful as input on Sprint Planning, to make sure that everyone knows their capacity before start any iteration. To make sure they won't over-commit or under-commit on that iteration.

  • Create Wiki pages on Scrum guidelines (e.g. how to write sprint goals, good way to write user story, scrum cadence, story point estimation, etc.) and some step by step guidelines on how to use Azure DevOps.
  • Configure dashboard to add some default widgets: sprint countdown, team velocity, burndown-chart, task hour effort status. To be honest, it's not my favorite dashboard because their widgetsis quite limited and not as advance as Jira's. But it's better to have something than nothing. I will write different blog post next time on how to generate some reports from Azure DevOps to Power BI.

After complete above setting and configuration, I'm quite happy and satisfied on the outcome, Azure DevOps project is ready to be used by my team. The next BIG challenge is to make sure team to religiously use and update it regularly on daily basis. And that will be addressed in different topic later :)

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