I am often asked about the states of a work item in Azure DevOps. Can I add new states. Can I add a state just for my team? How do I stop my users from changing the state from New and going directly to closed?

So I thought I would talk a bit about Work item states. I’ll organize this article into 4 separate components.

State Category: The categories of states built into the product that you cannot change, but an build on.

States: The states defined my the process template that you can customize and change in your inherited…


Remember back in the old days when the TFS/VSTS Process Templates were a series of XML files, instead of an inherited process with a nice UI to customize them?

Well, back then there was a rule built into the bug in the Agile template that set the “assigned to” field to the user that created the bug when you changed the state to Resolved. It was clever. Whoever created the bug had it reassigned to them when the bug was fixed automatically.

Rules like these made their way into the Azure DevOps processes and a lot of them are still…


Want to test a story but you don’t have a test case to follow?

You have a full set of unit tests, integration tests and even some UI tests to validate certain aspects of the application. But lets face it, even with all that, someone should kick the tires. Validate what the business is going to get and see from their perspective.

When doing these exploratory tests, do you keep good notes on your progress in case something unexpected happens? Do you grab screen shots along the way? Where do you store them? How do they tie in with the…


For some time I have wanted to be able to see impediments/issues in the backlog.

In lieu of that, I often create a query and expose it on a dashboard as a tile, configured to be green by default and Red when the count > 0.

However having to switch over to a dashboard to see if there are impediments/issues blocking a story is just annoying. Having them right there in my the backlog would be great. Well I have good news for you.

In sprint 172 Microsoft started a private preview of a new feature that allows us to…


This is my third article on Azure DevOps Test Plans best practices. In the first two I talk about Test cases and Test plans, so now we know how to write a test case and add it to a test plan so lets talk about how to execute those test plans and report on their results.

There are basically 2 ways to execute a test case, or in others words report if the test case is passing or failing.

  • You can just simply select the test case and mark it as passed or failed.
  • Or you can use the test…


This is my second article on Azure Test Plans, the first one concentrated on best practices for Test Cases. In this article I will show you how I add those test cases to a test plan for execution.

In todays DevOps/Agile development world hopefully most of your tests are automated and running with your Build and Release pipeline. If not you may be doing a fair bit of manual testing. However even if you have a lot of automated tests in the pipeline there are still going to be some test cases that need to be run manually. …


I have helped many clients understand how to use Microsoft Test Manager and now Azure Test Plans over the paste 10 years that these tools have been around.

People are often asking for best practices. I thought it might be useful to write a couple of articles that outline some of the basic best practices I follow when integrating the QA team into Azure Devops.

I am going to be referring to User Story a fair bit. …


Looking for something fun to do with your friends while self isolating?

Around this time every year my friends and I start going to the pub on Tuesday nights for Trivia. We love it. We play as a team, each person has different trivia knowledge that helps the team. We don’t win, but we have a lot of fun.

With social distancing in effect and being responsible citizens (plus the pub’s not open) we are all staying home right now and don’t get to see each other at all. …


This one is for all of you out there that evangelize, teach or just find yourselves demoing Azure DevOps to others.

It’s easy to set up a demo project in Azure DevOps. In case you didn’t know already, there is a tool you can use called the Azure DevOps Demo Generator that will create a project in your organization with pre-populated sample content including source code, work items, iterations, build and release definitions. You can read all about it here.

I used this tool a long time ago to create a project for all my demos. The issue with this…


I am loving the azure-devops extension to azure cli. This is such a useful tool.

First of all if you don’t have azure cli installed you can find that here. Then install the azure devops extension using this command.

az extension add --name azure-devops

If you want to see what other extensions are available try this command.

az extension list-available --output table

With the azure-devops extension you can do just about anything in Azure DevOps from a script or the command line. My preference is to use PowerShell but windows command line and bash work just as well.

Go here…

Dave Lloyd

I have been writing software and teaching/coaching developers for over 35 years. My current passion is Azure DevOps and all the things it can do for a team.

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