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We have a small team, and most of us are part-time. We have been managing the project using JIRA's simplified software template. We have started using Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) for continuous integration and we like it. I would like to attempt to use VSTS to replace JIRA, but I am struggling with the differences between the tools.

Here is the workflow which has worked well for our small (non-full-time) team:

  1. I pull a handful of stories out of the backlog, which we want to deliver.
  2. Assign them.
  3. Optionally break some into subtasks
  4. Developers work on them and move them to todo/done
  5. Tag each task with prod-fix or next-release (JIRA releases feature)
  6. I may pull a few more tasks onto the board as needed.
  7. We do a deployment/release.
  8. By marking a 'release' as done, they automatically get removed from the board. I actually do 2 releases in JIRA: one for fixes and one for the new release. This helps keep track of what was done where.
  9. Repeat.

I would like to duplicate something like this in VSTS. But it seems that it is built around rigid Scrum practice, rather than our semi ad-hoc approach.

I created a new 'Agile' project in VSTS to try and duplicate our process. I have the following questions:

  • I see Features and Stories have separate backlogs.... why? Is there a way to see them together?
  • I can see how I would use Iterations similarly to how I am using Releases in JIRA. But why do iterations have a backlog?
  • I figured out how to rename board columns on Features/Stories, but how do I rename the columns on the Iterations boards?
  • Is the 'Work Items' just a flat list of tasks?
  • Why do I need to go into Backlogs to a see the Current iteration? I have to explain to the Team that to see the board, they have to go under Work -> Backlogs -> Click the current Iteration -> Click Board? That is not going to go over well. Is there a quick way to get to the board for the current iteration? 99% of the team will only ever need that. It seems that Work -> Backlogs defaults to the board view of the current iteration. The the main issue is the odd naming, telling them to Backlogs to see their 'Current' tasks
    • If I want to simplify things and Make Epics and Issues go away, can I do that? I foresee wasted time on people debating the difference between an epic and feature, and issue and bug, etc. (why is formatter indenting this bullet?)
  • Is there a way to get rid of the Capacity tab?
  • Can I rename priorities low/normal/high? I don't want debates of when 1 is a higher priority than 4.
  • In some of the forms certain letters of words are underlined, such as the 'e' in State, and 'A' in Area, and 'r' in Iteration. What is the point of that? I can't find mention of it in shortcuts help.
  • How do you log work against task? Or do the Effort (hours) have to be manually recorded? (we rarely use this features, so not a big deal)
  • Are areas equivalent to components in JIRA?
  • How do I complete an iteration? Start another?
  • How do you mark a task as Resolved? It only lets me set it to New/Active/Closed? What is the diff between resolved and closed?

Any answers and thoughts appreciated.

  • Far too broad. Ask one question per Question, please. – Sarov Jun 13 '18 at 16:33

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