How Emerging Opportunities team at Microsoft uses Azure DevOps for project management

Microsoft

We want to share how we created a project management system with Scrum practices based on Azure DevOps.

We chose the Scrum template from Azure DevOps that supports Work Items - Epics, Features, Product Backlog Items (PBIs) and Tasks as shown below.

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Epic represents the overall Project. Features are used to organize specific objectives within the project. To build the features, we need User Stories that group work into logical collections of activities. Tasks captures the actual work that needs to be done to satisfy the User story.

During the planning of Sprint, each PBI in the current Sprint is given an estimated effort. Effort is defined as a relative estimate of the amount of work required to fully implement a PBI.

To set the effort, you can use any numeric unit of measurement. e.g., powers of 2 (1, 2, 4, 8) and the Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, etc.).

 

How do we know we are progressing in a Sprint and Sprint-over-Sprint?

  1. Sprint Burndown - By reviewing a sprint burndown report, we can monitor how much work remains in a sprint backlog, understand how quickly our team has completed tasks, and predict when our team will achieve the goals of the sprint.

We defined it by the number of Tasks under each PBI. To achieve this, the measurement to do a task should be consistent. In our case, Task should be a work that can be completed in a day or less. If a Task, was not marked as Done in 3 days, it was classified as a blocker. This enabled us to easily find any blockers and focus on resolving them to keep the project moving forward.

 

  1. Velocity - We track the velocity to determine how much work we can perform sprint-over-sprint. Velocity provides an indication of how much work a team can complete during a sprint based either on a count of work items completed or the sum of estimates made to Effort (PBIs).

By using Azure DevOps for project management, the built-in reporting for burndown charts and Sprint planning allows us to analyze progress, have reasonable expectations from the team, focus on prioritizing and keep everyone fully informed.

 

Resources: Implement Scrum, track work in sprints - Azure Boards | Microsoft Docs

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