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:
- I pull a handful of stories out of the backlog, which we want to deliver.
- Assign them.
- Optionally break some into subtasks
- Developers work on them and move them to todo/done
- Tag each task with prod-fix or next-release (JIRA releases feature)
- I may pull a few more tasks onto the board as needed.
- We do a deployment/release.
- 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.
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.