Custom work item types on Team Services

Derrick Fu

NOTE 9/13: The custom work item type feature should now be rolled out to all accounts. If you are not seeing it, please reach out to me directly

NOTE 9/12: As evidenced by the comments, this feature is still rolling out across Team Services so not all accounts will see the custom work item type feature just yet. I apologize for the delay and will update this blog post when the deployment is finalized. ETA: early this week.

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With the latest deployment to VSTS, you can now create your own custom work item types (WITs) and place them on the backlog and board level of your choice. Read on for a walk through of the process.

Create a custom work item type

If you do not already have one, you’ll need to create an inherited process and migrate your projects to use it. Once you have an inherited process, you’ll notice a new button above the work item types list:

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Click the New work item type button to bring up the dialog. Here, you need to provide a name and, optionally, a description and color for your custom WIT. Currently, you can’t rename a WIT, but  you can update the description and color at a later time.

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Once you’ve created your WIT, you’ll land on the layout page where you can customize your form layout and add new fields. Your WIT will have default states that you can also modify. Note: the existing limitations for states in the completed category still exist. See this topic to learn more:

Add a custom work item type to a backlog and board level

Each work item type now has a new “Backlogs” tab that allows the process admin to choose where their custom WITs appear in the Agile experiences. You can’t change the inherited (system) WITs backlog level.

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Choosing a new backlog level will give you details on the changes that will be made:

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Commit your change by clicking the “Save” button. Your custom WIT will then begin appearing on the selected backlog and board. You may have to refresh your web browser to see the changes.

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Destroy a custom work item type

From the overview page of a custom WIT, you can destroy the WIT. Destroying a WIT will permanently delete all work items of that type as well as all references to the WIT. It also frees up the WIT name for reuse.

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In the next few weeks, we will be adding the ability to disable any WIT. Disabling a WIT will prevent new work items of that type from being created while still preserving existing work items on your backlog, board and queries. It will provide a way to get rid of unwanted inherited WITs and deprecate WITs.

Please comment or email with any feedback or questions.

Derrick Fu


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