Where is the field on the work item form to order the backlog?

Ewald Hofman (MSFT)

In our latest deployment to Visual Studio Online on July 1, we have removed the Stack Rank (Agile / CMMI) or Backlog Priority (Scrum) field from the work item form. The backlog uses that field to order the items and updates the field to arbitrary values, which caused confusion. If you are interested in the detailed background, please read a previous post called “Behind the scenes: the Backlog Priority or Stack Rank field”.

When we introduced the field in TFS 2012, the intention was to make it a system field, hidden to the user. But for a variety of reasons, such as keyboard accessibility, we added it to the form. Today we have resolved all these (technical) reasons , however we have found that a lot of customers found value in having the field on the form to quickly change the position of an item on the backlog. The customer value prevented us from removing the field for a long time. It was a tough call to remove the field, but we believe that the confusion the field created outweighs the benefit of having the field on the form. Especially with the introduction of the two context menu items to change the position of an item without having to drag and drop.

 Move to position on the backlog


Many customers use Excel to order the backlog. That scenario still works: the field is still part of the work item, it is only removed from the form.

Please note that customers with an on-prem installation are not affected by this change for their existing projects. Only new projects using the latest process templates will not have the field on the form anymore. If you want to see the field for new projects you can customize the process template to add the field to the form, using this MSDN article or using the Process Editor from the TFS Power Tools.


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