Delivery Plans 2.0 is now GA!

Martina

The Azure Boards team is thrilled to announce the GA of Delivery Plans in the Azure DevOps Service!

We have worked hard over the past year to deliver a feature our customers have wanted for a long time. To use it click “Delivery Plans” on the left navigation under the Boards service. Delivery Plans will be available for Azure DevOps Server (on-prem) later this year with Update 2.

Thank you to all the customers who participated in the private and public previews, the feedback was invaluable.

Delivery Plans 2.0 delivers on 3 key scenarios

  • A timeline view of the plan
  • Progress of the work
  • Dependency Tracking

These scenarios work across teams and projects. Delivery Plans 2.0 is now native to the product so an extension is no longer required. Plans created with the original Plans extension will continue to work in Delivery Plans.

Here’s a quick comparison of the differences between Plans and Delivery Plans

Feature Plans 1.0 (extension) Delivery Plans 2.0
Number of teams Limit is 10 Limit is 15
Work item timeframe Iterations only Start/Target date and Iteration
Visualization Full card view Condensed and Expanded views
Roll-up information None % done of child and linked items
Dependency Tracking None Yes
Start Time visualization No, only where work item ends Yes, both start and target dates
Card Styling No Yes

Delivery Plans Features

Below are the main features. Filtering, Markers and Field Criteria are also part of Delivery Plans.

Views

Work items in a Delivery Plans 2.0 plan are based on start and target dates, and iteration dates. The order of precedence is start & target dates then followed by iteration. This enables customers to add portfolio level work items like Epic which often are not defined to an iteration. There are two main views the condensed view and expanded view. Customers can also zoom in and out of the plan by clicking on the magnifying glass in the right-hand side of the plan.

Condensed View

The condensed view shows all work item cards “collapsed” meaning that not all card information is shown. This view is useful for an overall view of the work in the plan. To collapse the card fields, click on the card icon next to the magnifying icons in the right-hand side of the plan. Here’s an example of a plan toggling between the condensed and expanded views.

Image DeliveryPlans collapsed cards

Expanded View

The expanded view shows the progress of a work item by counting the number of child and linked items and showing the percentage complete. Currently progress is determined by work item count. Here is an example of a plan using an expanded view. Note the progress bars and percentage complete.

Image ExpandedViewPlan

Dependency Tracking

Dependency tracking is based on predecessor and successor links being defined in work items. If those links are not defined, then no dependency lines will be displayed. When there is a dependency issue with a work item, the dependency link icon is colored red.

Image RedDependencyIconsCondensed

Viewing Dependencies

Specific dependencies are viewed through the dependency panel which shows all the dependencies for that work item, including the direction. A red exclamation mark indicates a dependency problem. To bring up the panel simply click on the dependency link icon in the upper right corner of the card. Here are examples of dependencies.

Image dependencies

Image dependencies cross project

Dependency Lines

Dependencies between work items are visualized with arrow headed lines between the respective work items. Multiple dependencies will display as multiple lines. A red colored line indicates a problem. Here are some examples

Image BlackLineDependency

Here’s an example of a work item with multiple dependencies and it works using condensed view too.

Image DependencyLinesMultiple

When there is an issue the line color is red, and so is the dependency icon. Here is an example.

Image DependencyLineMultiplewRed

Card Styling

Cards can now be styled using rules, like the Kanban boards. Open the plan settings and click on “Styles”. In the Styles pane click on “ + Add styling rule” to add the rule and then click “Save”. There can be up to 10 rules and each rule can have up to 5 clauses.

This example shows the before and after views of a Delivery Plan with a card styling rule that highlights architecture work.

Image CardStyleSettings

Before…

Image CardNoStylePlan

After…

Image CardStylePlan

29 comments

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  • Willy Schaub

    Great progress with the Delivery Plan view!

    I have two feature requests to give a five out of five score:

    • Synchronize the feature name “Delivery Plans” with the navigation menu item “Plans”. The current mismatch is confusing.
    • Add a visual cue for cards with healthy dependencies. While unhealthy links have a nice visual cue, we must click on all other cards to find cards with healthy dependencies. Current experience is not practical as a SAFe program dependency board or view-only displays.

    Keep up the great innovation!

    • Rob Gale

      100% agree with Willy on these two points. I’m not seeing the new “Plans” yet, so I assume that’s a rollout issue, but in the Preview I already ran across the dependency issue. We are also using SAFe, and the new Plans view could be a great help with managing and tracking our Features and Stories with cross-team dependencies.

      • Scott Clark

        Delivery Plans makes great movement towards providing further capabilities which support SAFe implementations. I urge you to look at the @Scale extension from Solidify. Although not a “free” extension it has proven to be well worth the investment for our SAFe implementation. https://solidify.dev/products/scale

  • Akil Quirindongo

    I’m still seeing the old Plans feature and can only see the new one when preview features are enabled.

  • Sandy Teenan

    The configuration wheel to allow you to edit plans seems to have gone awol since this moved to GA at the weekend.

    Workaround : add the plan to your favourites, go to the (old) Plans menu, (ignore the deprecated message at the top), select the plan you want to and click the configuration wheel. Changes will be visible in the new Delivery Plans.

  • Pourfarid Kourosh

    Hi,
    great progress including the capabilities of Dependency Tracker extension. So another important step to include the needs for Scaling/SAFe. Many thx!
    Currently I do have some Issues with the visualizazion in general, esp. with dependency lines:

    Example:
    – 3 Teams, 3 Features each Team, the features are in depedency to eachother (via Predecessor -> Successor link type)
    – The number of features is showed correctly (i.e. 3 Features) if the team is collapsed
    – But only 1 of them is visible, if the team is expanded (the other 2 ones remains hidden/not visable)

    What’s wrong and how could it be fixed.

    Many thanks

    • MartinaMicrosoft employee

      Hi Kourosh

      Are you still experiencing these issues? If so could you send screenshots to my work email (marthi@microsoft.com)

      Thanks

  • Philip Youngworth

    This looks great! One thing we are noticing in our testing of the preview is that our hosted XML process templates don’t seem to work correctly. The inheritance template views are working great though.

    Issues we are seeing in the hosted XML on ADO vs inheritance.

    • The dependencies lines don’t seem to work or show up
    • Cards stack one on top of each other making it impossible to see them (if they are on the same date(s) they just overlap with one another

    Are these known issues that will be addressed?

    Thanks!

    • MartinaMicrosoft employee

      Hi Philip
      Are you still seeing the issues with Hosted XML? If so could you send your XML process zip file to my work email(marthi@microsoft.com)

      Thanks

  • Lospalluto, Carlo

    Great feature and very expected.

    I have a problem with the Delivery plan. Some work items (Epics) are displayed in all teams while those work items are belonging to different team backlogs. All Epics have the same Area Path and are assigned to different teams by the Iteration Path.

    If I use the “legacy” Plan feature it shows the correct work items per team.

  • Alex Vaccaro

    I am based in the UK and I still see the old Plans, when will this be rolled out here?

    I also tried the preview, looks promising but there are definitely some bugs, e.g. selecting to display parent on cards doesn’t do anything – is this because we are getting a delayed rollout outside of the US?

    • MartinaMicrosoft employee

      Hi Alex

      The rollout is taking particularly long and hasn’t deployed to the last ring. The goal is to have it deployed to the last ring by Wednesday or Thursday of this week.

      Thanks Martina

  • Nik Mason

    HI Martina,

    Is there anything in the roadmap to make the Epics/Features displayed with the Teams in the delivery plan to reflect the backlog?

    Currently Epics/Features can be displayed with a Team even if the item isn’t in their backlog but is in an Area Path that the team also happens to use.

    Regards
    Nik

  • Anders Forsgren

    Please don’t forget to make the backend usable (it’s been broken for years). The /_apis/work/plans endpoint doesn’t seem to have the auth scopes set up properly. There is an extension api available e.g. workClient.getPlans() but no way to authorize the extension to actually make it work.