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So, I'm helping an agile software consulting company to create a workflow between themselves and their customers.

The goal is to provide the customer with an Agile way of approving features (stories) before they are developed, and then accepting them (or not) when they are delivered.

The consultants are already using User Stories within their internal system (TFS), but those are much more granular than would be appropriate for surfacing to the customer. In fact, while the customer should be able to approve and reject feature level items, they should not be able to directly view or edit stories that are assigned to the developers.

Has anyone had any experience with trying to manage this separate of concerns using just Team Foundation Server / Visual Studio Online? How did you configure it? I'm considering a separate area and team for the customers, or perhaps a separate Team Project.

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It sounds like you lack transparency and trust with the customer. If each Story represents value for the customer then the customer should approve, view, and order those things.

That said, you can achieve this in TFS. If you create the following Area Paths:

-Internal

--Team 1

--Team 2

-External

You can secure work items within Internal to be internal folks only. Then create an "external" Team for your customers that views the work in the External area path.

Turn off iterations for that team, and move all of the Features to the External Area Path.

Now teams see all, and can see parent features of their PBI, but customers can't see child PBI of their features.

This gets complicated if you want, as you should, customers to interact with Test Cases as well. I would recommend that you address the trust issues that have lead to this requirement.

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